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3 Tips to Turn your Garage into a Fulfillment House

May 19th, 2010

fulfillment_blogFollowing these three tips can drastically reduce the time you spend fulfilling orders and can help you ship your product out to your customers faster and easier.

Tip #1  Get Organized

If you’re shipping multiple products on a regular basis, it is critical that you know exactly where your inventory is.  This will allow you to quickly package and ship your products.  A great way to accomplish this at home is to put each product you have in its own cardboard box or plastic storage bin and then clearly label each box on the outside.  By putting everything in its own box, your products will not get mixed up and you will not waste time hunting down products for each order.

Another good tip is to write the number of units on the outside of the box; as you ship units from the box, you can cross out the inventory number and re-write the new number.  This is a great first-step to help you manage your inventory.

Tip #2  Work when you want, not when you need to

One way to streamline your fulfillment process is to prepare your products for shipment when it is most convenient for you, and not wait until your item has sold/been paid for.

For example, let’s say that you sell teddy bears that you buy unpackaged.  Maybe you get them at garage sales, maybe you make them, or maybe you buy them in bulk.  Either way, they will need to be individually packaged in their own box before you ship them to your customers.  While you could wait to package them until they’ve actually sold, there may be a more efficient solution:

At a time that is convenient to you, package all of the bears in their own ready-to-ship box.  There are a number of advantages to pre-packaging your product:

A) Once your buyer pays you, you are ready to ship.  The faster you can ship, the happier your customers will be.

You may still need to print out a shipping label and drop a packing slip in with the bear, but you are as ready as you can be to ship each bear as fast as possible.

B) By batching up your packaging, you will spend less total time preparing each order.  Huge operational efficiencies can be gained by performing processes in batch and packaging your products is no exception.  This means less time spent on fulfillment and more time spent elsewhere.

C) Pre-packaging allows you to work when you have time to work by allowing you to get some of the work done when it is convenient for you.  Obviously you can’t ship a product until it sells, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started.

Tip #3  Preparing your daily fulfillment

Similar to packaging your products in batch, there are operational efficiencies to be gained when shipping your products, particularly with Stamps.com which allows you to batch print all of your shipping labels in a single step.  Instead of shipping orders one at a time throughout the day, take advantage of the efficiencies of batch shipping all of your orders at a single time every day.

The first step to batch shipping is to choose a time that works for you.  Ideally, the time you choose will allow you to finish fulfillment as close as possible to when your mail carrier usually shows up.  This will allow you to squeeze as many orders as possible into today’s batch label printing compared to making your customers wait an extra day to receive their product.

Once you determine when you want to batch your shipments, the next step is to print out both packing slips and shipping labels so you can fulfill your orders.  With Stamps.com, you can retrieve order data directly from eBay, Amazon.com and other sources to quickly batch print all of your shipping labels.  Combine these with packing slips that can be printed directly from eBay, Amazon, or an alternate source and you will be ready to fulfill your orders.

After you pack, label, and seal your shipments, you’re done.  Stamps.com allows you to schedule a free USPS carrier pickup for all of your packages as long as you are shipping at least one Priority Mail or Express Mail package.  The software also automatically posts-back all of your tracking numbers to eBay or  Amazon so your buyer knows the product is on its way.

  1. December 20th, 2010 at 13:09 | #1

    These are good fulfillment tips. For #1 you could (and should) use a spreadsheet or some form of software to keep track of inventory. Doing it manually is more time consuming and makes it hard to keep track of and project sales. #2 is a great idea but doesn’t work if you are selling multiple items. It could still work if you know you are selling ‘x’ amount of Teddy Bears by themselves per month, but then there it the added confusion of having prepackaged inventory alongside unpackaged inventory. I think if you use the technique mentioned in #3 then #2 becomes obsolete, unless of course you only ship 1 type of item.

  2. Eric Nash
    August 16th, 2010 at 18:06 | #2

    @Andrew Zack
    Hi Andrew,

    One method you can use to store weight and other info is to use a “Favorite” which will store the information for your specific items (Envelopes and Packages). If you are using the batch import process, you can create a “Preset” to fulfill the same roll.

    Regarding the 1/2 page international labels/forms problem, our IT team is working on a fix for this issue and it should be released in the next version.

    Eric
    Stamps.com

  3. Andrew Zack
    July 30th, 2010 at 13:30 | #3

    While Stamps.com software does retain item descriptions, it does not retain weight and other information, which is highly inconvenient for those of us who ship the same item over and over. Is this feature part of 8.7?

    Also, I was using 8.7 earlier (beta?) and had printing issues because 1/2-page international labels/forms were printing too low and taking more than half the page. Has this been fixed?

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