What Do You Include with Your Orders?

by Sara Tams of sarah + abraham

goodies from Decoylab and Sarah Jane Studios

Two years ago when I first started selling on Etsy I also began doing a lot of shopping on Etsy and trades with other Etsy sellers.  Each time a package arrived in the mail, I was so impressed by the thoughtfulness that had gone into the packaging.  Most items arrived wrapped in pretty tissue paper, usually accompanied by some sort of small free gift.  A handwritten thank you note was almost always included.

I tend to waffle back and forth about what to include with my orders. For a while I included a set of four free personalized note cards with each order, but eventually it became too time consuming.  I also used to put a sarah + abraham sticker on the backside of my notepads and the cardboard sheets that I use to package 8×10 prints and stickers.  A few months ago I began selling PSA Essentials custom stamps, and I ordered one with my company name and website address to use instead of stickers.  One ink cartridge makes 10,000 impressions, so using this stamp to label my products works out so much better.

I also used to always include a business card with my orders, but recently I started including a promotional postcard instead, thinking that if a customer’s going to pass it along to a friend, it would be nice if it had some product photos on it.  I also write a quick thank you on the back of the postcard.  For larger orders I sometimes include a coupon good for free shipping or $5 off their next order.

I asked a few other contributors how they package their orders and what they include.  Here’s what they shared with me… Megan at Silhouette Blue packages every stationery set in a white gift box and wraps it with blue tissue paper and white satin ribbon. She pops this into a shipping box along with a business card, a hand written thank you note, and a freebie greeting card.  This must really delight her customers… it certainly makes me feel like I need to step up my game!

Simplicity is key for Tracey from Tiny Sprouts.  She uses simple jute and a hang tag to wrap all of her products giving them a very earthy yet simple look.

She always includes a hand-written note on a cute note card thanking the customer for their order and one note card size business card which stands out more than a traditional business card.

If an order is not gift-wrapped, she wraps tissue around the product so the customer knows their order is securely wrapped and so they have something to open when they receive their order. Plus it looks clean & neat.

Tracey believes the outer packaging is the most important part of the process.  It is branding your product. She has an attractive outer package with a sticker with her web address.  She thinks nothing is more exciting than getting a package on your doorstep that is cute!

I’d love to hear what you include with your orders… please leave a comment and let us know!

Tomorrow Julie from Life Verse Design will share her packaging tips with us as well as a few of the vendors she uses for her shipping supplies.

23 comments

  1. we ship our sweet paper goodness in bakery-style boxes ~ our cake inspired logo tops everything + a hand-written note is always included. when our products are purchased for gifting, we box in chocolate mailers + wrap with chocolate ribbon {love this post}!

  2. Melissa says:

    For my crayon roll ups, I put them in a clear poly bag with a business card inside and I always use brown ribbon for all of my items.

    The rest of my items are too big for a small treat size poly bag, so I wrap them in tissue paper…typically a color that matches their order and tie it with a brown bow.

    I always include a hand written note and some business cards in their note and put a cute sticker on the envelope as well.

    I have thought about include a little free gift, but I have not at this point, but I think I am going to start in large orders, free shipping or $5.00 off your next order.

    Thanks for the great ideas…and I love Tracey at tinysprouts!

  3. Lisa says:

    I always include a hand-written thank you note on a small flat card with my logo and website letterpress printed on it. I also include at least one (more depending on the order) bonus letterpress gift tag.

    A while ago I included a coupon for the next order…until I realized that not one single person used it!

    I have to be careful about what I include with orders because I keep my shipping prices modest (usually it just covers actual postage) and any additional weight (even if it’s only a few grams or an ounce) bumps it up to the next level of postage required for regular letter mail. The weight of the envelope makes a bit difference especially when nearly all of my orders are shipped internationally (outside Canada).

  4. sara says:

    I recently took a look at how many of the gift certificate codes & free shipping codes had been used, and I was really surprised to see that 28 customers had used the $5 gift certificate compared with only ONE who had used the free shipping coupon ($4.95 value)… I wonder if it’s because it’s called a gift certificate instead of a coupon?

  5. SweetBeaker says:

    so glad you posted about this!

    i think it’s important that each customer feel special EVEN AFTER a purchase has been made. the way you package your items is definitely one way you can do it!

    i’m always sure to include a handwritten note of thanks (on my own stationery of course), at least 2 two business cards (one to keep and another to pass on) and a lovely little surprise.

    along with the thank you note, i am always sure to include a copy of their receipt in the bundle too.

  6. lesley says:

    lovely post! i must say, i am always delighted by the packaging by fellow etsy sellers. it is always such a joy to unwrap 🙂
    I always wrap my packages in white tissue, closed with my japanese washi tape, and tied with a ribbon, the colour coordinating with their order.
    i include a hand written note as well, and for larger orders a coupon for a percentage off their next.
    I have had in mind to include some type of freebie but am not sure what it will be just yet, perhaps a postcard or some such thing.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I enjoy reading how everyone else packages. I wrap everything in a chocolate brown satin ribbon and purple tissue paper (my business colors.)
    I also include a hand written thank you note, the card has my business logo on it, a couple business cards, and a free gift usually one of my greeting cards (or a set of coordinating thank you notes in wedding orders.)
    Sara, I’ve been thinking about adding a promo card and I think you have inspired me to move toward that direction.

  8. I always package my notecards with a colorful band and use a coordinating ribbon to secure it. Then I place the whole ensemble in a clear cello sleeve. I place a sitcker with my logo and website on the back of each set of notecards.

    I sometimes will include a couple free notecards, calling cards, or return address labels.

    I also always include a handwritten thank you note. I have had many esty sellers do this with merchandise I have purchased from them and I always thought it was a nice touch.

    I agree that the packaging and a personal note of thanks are very important parts of one’s customer service. In order to stand apart from the big guys adding these special touches makes the customer want to come back.

  9. LLH Designs says:

    Great post! I love packaging, but in my own business, I struggle with it (especially the outer/shipping portion). I love the packaging for my local orders: kraft tote boxes tied with a chocolate grosgrain ribbon (I print my logo and website on white cardstock and attach it to the front of the box with glue). I always get compliments from customers, but I need help on the orders I ship! I tend to go with tissue on the inside and priority mail flat rate packaging on the outside…not so cute!

    I’d love to know the vendors Tiny Sprouts uses for her packaging. I’m a big fan of kraft/natural looking packaging.

    Thanks for sharing…Linsey

  10. LLH Designs says:

    Lisa’s comment (#5) made me wonder: do most of you charge more than actual postage to cover the cost of your pretty packaging? Or is it somehow built into the price of your product? Or do you just “eat the cost” in the name of beauty and creativity? I try not to charge more than actual postage because I don’t think anyone wants to spend too much on shipping, but these pretty packaging ideas do cost extra. Thoughts?

    Fun to discuss since I’ve been going solo all these years!

  11. sara says:

    I charge $4.95 flat rate shipping for all US orders. I calculated one time that my average postage for US orders is only about $3.50, so I thought about lowering my flat rate, but then I remembered that I also need to factor in the cost of packaging materials and the time it takes to print shipping labels and drop off packages.

    I think it makes the most sense to factor all of those costs into what you charge for shipping rather than build those costs into the price of your products.

    I also think that flat rate shipping is a good incentive for customers to add more to their orders… as long as they’re already paying one flat rate no matter how much they order, they might as well buy a bunch of gifts for future occasions instead of waiting & incurring separate shipping charges for each order.

  12. Sara: great post! I’ve always put a lot of thought into my packaging and branding. My colors are hot pink and white, so local stuff gets packaged in a white kraft bag with my label attached, and stuffed with lots of pink tissue. Orders to be shipped get wrapped in pink tissue and sealed with a label, and sometimes a bow depending on the type of item.

    Where did you get your great promo postcards? So nice!

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