Friday, November 6, 2009

Online Sellers: Pack Your Items Like You Mean Business - Because it Does

There was an active thread in a popular online marketplace forum a few weeks ago about packing sold items for shipment. Literally, the topic was: “Does how you package an item really matter?”
Seeing this question in the forum of an online sales venue over 100,000 sellers strong generated some serious thought from responders, but just some stunned bewilderment from me.

Now, I’ve been selling Belissima online for at least 6 years, and involved in web sales an awful lot longer than that. As an employee for companies who had an online presence, I can go back as far as 1992! Personally, I’m more than a little bit amazed that this question is even asked. While I would never ‘call out’ any of the posters in the thread, I have to take issue with any seller who admits to ‘just putting a business card and the item in a mailer’ and shipping it out.

After some thought, I realize that my astonishment at this particular ‘strategy’ comes from being a part (small as it was!) of the early days of online sales. I remember all too well how incredibly difficult it used to be to try to convince consumers that buying online was not only safe and secure, but also that they were buying quality items, that they would still receive top-notch customer service and that, other than waiting a few days for their purchase to arrive, their buying experience would be no different - if not better - than shopping in any brick-and-mortar retail establishment.

I may be dating myself, but I still recall so many of the questions I fielded as one of the pioneers in the early days of online retail sales:

‘Is this a real business?’
‘Are these items used?’
‘Will I really get what’s in the photo?’
'How do I know you’ll send the right thing?'
'How do I know you'll send anything at all?'
‘What happens to my credit card information?’
'How do I know you won't take off to Aruba with my Credit Card Number?'

In these days of HSN, eBay and Amazon, questions like this may seem a little silly, but believe me - we answered the craziest of questions with all seriousness. We struggled to build relationships and establish trust. We believed in the world wide web as a viable sales venue and worked hard - in our own small ways - to help pave the way for every seller online today.

And one of the most important keys to success was in making our customers feel special. When we launched Bellissima, we decided that each and every buyer would feel as if they just walked out of a high-end boutique. We would package and ship every item quickly, with the utmost of care and as beautifully as possible. And in recent years, we take conservation into consideration, using 100% recycled materials whenever possible.

We try to give our customers an extraordinary buying experience and make them feel exceptional. We make sure they know that we value their business and care about their satisfaction. And we are rewarded every day with treasured repeat customers, priceless referral business and precious word-of-mouth advertising that money just can’t buy.

And so, to all my fellow online sellers who‘ve asked themselves or others, please take some advice: Pack Your Sold Items Like It Means Business - Because It Really Does.

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