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Bisquick Boxes and The Art of eBay Packaging

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Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 12:03:50 PM

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“Could we not?” pleaded Bobby S. of The Thrifting Board Facebook group. He’d just received an eBay item in a beat-up Bisquick box and was not pleased.

 

Hundreds of sellers chimed in with their own “colorful” shipping container stories.

 

It’s one thing to reuse a legitimate shipping box. But it’s quite another to send a sweater in a pizza box or an iPhone sandwiched between two Styrofoam meat trays (yes, we’ve seen both).

 

These sellers were up in arms—and, frankly—I was glad to see it. They were well aware that a few “bad actors” had the power to make the whole eBay marketplace look bad.

 

Not to mention the fact that sloppy packaging screams, “I’m not in this to make customers happy,” “I don’t care about my seller reputation,” and “I’m not trying to make a career out of selling on eBay.”

 

So what can we do? We can lead by example and fly in the face of the poor packagers. We can delight and over-deliver. And, we can set the pace for the rest of the eBay marketplace. Here are some tips on making that happen.

 

Think inside the box.

 

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Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine them coming home from work and finding your package on their doorstep.

 

Is it clear that it’s an eBay shipment, or does it look like a mystery parcel?

 

Does it appear professional or like it was thrown together in a moment of sheer desperation?

 

Is your item properly supported or crammed to capacity? Remember, it’s standard practice to give an item two inches of space on each side. Griff’s a master at this, so here are some expert tips from him.

 

 

Did you notice his special touches? That brief note on the custom packing slip, the tissue paper supporting the shirt, the wrapping presentation—all of that sets him apart from the competition. He’s making a nonverbal statement that says, “I’m professional, trustworthy, and I care about my customers.”

 

That’s the message that keeps the money flowing in.

 

Plus, according to Forbes, “small will be the next big” in retail. These thoughtful details could really mean the difference between a one-off buyer and a loyal customer.

 

Polish your presentation.

 

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To stand out in a good way, you don’t have to go to extremes. Just be mindful of your materials and the message they’re sending. Here are some tips for getting it right every time.

 

  1. Invest in quality supplies. Stock up on professional shipping boxes and mailers to ensure that your items are well-presented, regardless of their size. Try eBay branded shipping supplies, especially if you have an eBay Store and qualify for the quarterly coupon.

  2. Get your brand on. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to add a little branding flair to your shipments. Use Vistaprint, Zazzle, or Shutterfly for low-cost product tags, custom stickers or logo stamps. Don’t have a Store logo? Use a service like Fivrr to have one created.

  3. Encourage repeat business. While you have a captive audience, encourage your buyer to come again. Include a paper insert about your company, a business card with your social media properties prominently displayed, or a promotional coupon that rewards shoppers for coming back. Remember the old business adage based on the Pareto Principle: 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. So, knock their socks off!

Some of you might be thinking, “I’m a high-volume seller, I don’t have time for any extra steps.” To that I’d say, then just do the basics really well. Be professional, and if you can, add your special touch. It’s more important than ever to stand out in the vast sea of sameness and poor packaging.

 

Feel free to share this article via email and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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27 Comments
theecobunny
Adventurer

This is really great article.  Not only is written well, it is enjoyable to read.  There are many well-known eBay sellers who still follow many of these unbelievable shipping techniques.

Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger

Thanks, @theecobunny! I hope this makes poor packagers think twice. Smiley Indifferent

Rockstar

Griff's got nothing on me about packing Glass, but he does make an effort.

magnolia_dreams
Adventurer

@victorjunkman55, wow! Good for you. Smiley LOL

 

mommytosweetpea
Adventurer

As an administrator for The Thrifting Board, I was part of that thread. Sellers need to learn the difference between recycling and reusing. Food boxes go to the recycling center, whereas sturdy shipping boxes are reused. Thank you for bringing this to light for the masses. Fantastic article!

Rockstar

@shana_champion

 

Thanks for such  wonderful article!

 

It takes so little time to make a beautiful package and  the benefits are awesome!

 

I take special pride in  wrapping my items. I use tissue paper and curly ribbons... sometimes I match the color of the curly ribbons to the  item and sometimes I just use the eBay colors! Clear plastic bags to protect the item , the eBay tape to seal the bag... and of course use the eBay plastic bags to mail it or the wonderful boxes!!

I love that store owners get shipping supplies every 3 months...  it helps spread the eBay name across the world!

 

The rewards are the feedback I receive and the return customers!

annetweekes
Adventurer

Just a note that the brown paper shown in one of the images is very heavy (by packaging standards). Return customers like you to find the least expensive shipping method. Even newspaper is a better though it does not give as neat and clean a look.

by magyar5615 · Scout
magyar5615
Scout

I always take a second even third look at the parcel before it goes out, and try to be as objective as possible,  What would I think if I were opening this?  Would I think thoughtfulness and kindness went into this packing?  That is what I want to express to my customers, that someone was thinking of them and wants them to have a great EBAY experience!  

diannevintage
Adventurer

My comment when this conversation was going is that if I were running eBay I would have a zero tolerance for such sloppy shipping practices.  I received an item I bought on Ebay that I wanted to use with to display my vintage Christmas tree,  it arrived broken.  It took me 30 days and many conversations with eBay to finally get my refund.  It was packed in a flimsy box and the seller was a TRS.  I never should have had to work so hard to get my $29.99 back.  Every case like this only drives people away from buying on eBay and makes selling on eBay a bigger challenge.  Take some pride people, buy the proper packing suppllies and concentrate on customer service.

rainbowranchmom
Adventurer

I make my own "seals" for my packages and recently submitted an idea to Avery and Evergreen to provide small stickers so I can print on them. What they provide now are oval or round and are challenging and time-consuming to format unless you are a real pro with PageMaker or similar program (and I ran my own part-time design desktop publishing company before I retired from teaching!).

 

All of my sales profits go to dog rescue that I run out of my own pocket and I really dress up my things to reflect the respect I have for the people who pay me for my things. I buy tissue wholesale, recycle clean peanuts from a source who gives me them freely, use eBay bags, and buy butterfly seals to seal the tissued clothing just as in an expensive New York Boutique. I know this works as my sales have reflected the changes I put into packaging!

 

 But I am hoping Avery will pick up my idea and provide the little seals we need - the round ones from Vistaprint just don't cut it and with a little work, you can make you own custom thank you seals that are really impressive. If they start to market the seals, I'll post this to the community so that they know they are out there!

pirate_snoopy
Thrill-Seeker

This is a great article!

I always try to send items as I would like to receive them, and I think all sellers should do that.

by ebetsy · Guide
ebetsy
Guide

As a PowerBuyer, I can attest to the fact that many, MANY eBay sellers need to step up their packing and shipping game. I receive sneakers tossed loose into a naked box or stuffed into a polyvinyl envelope; wrinkled clothing shoved willy-nilly into an envelope; and collectibles wrapped every which way but properly, let alone professionally. 

 

The absolute worst packing material ever -- well, it's a tie between shredded newspaper (the printed-on kind) and wadded-up plastic bags.

That shredded paper flies everywhere; it's dusty; the ink rubs off on everything it touches; AND it's very heavy as well.

 

As for the wadded-up plastic grocery bags -- seriously? Sometimes they even still have receipts in them! They provide no protection whatsoever for the shipped item, plus they're tacky as all get-out.

 

Then there are the items that come neatly plastic bagged, or wrapped in tissue paper tied up with a curly ribbon and sealed with an "I got this on eBay" sticker or one with the seller's logo on it, or even just neatly bubble-wrapped and properly nested in peanuts. When an item is attractively presented, it makes that item look its very best to me. Plus it's like opening a present!

 

And the new eBay-branded shipping supplies are the bomb (as are the free co-branded eBay-USPS boxes that can be ordered via the Shipping Center on eBay.com). Even if all you use is the eBay tape, it makes that package stand out and look eBay proud! 

 

By contrast, I have to say that FBA products are packed extremely poorly. Way overboxed -- they don't seem to care about selecting a box that's sized appropriately for the item, and their very few sizes do NOT fit all -- with maybe a couple of air pillows thrown in, but never enough to hold the contents properly in place. It makes me crazy every time I open a box from that "other" marketplace (which thankfully isn't often).

 

As eBay sellers (and yes, I sell under 2 different IDs, 1 of which is Top Rated), packing our items for shipping is an area in which we can and SHOULD shine!

 

tuminthaienterprise
Rising Star

Very useful. Thank you very much. I will considering when I do shipment.

journey555_0530
Enthusiast

Thank you for sharing. Great advice. My goal is tissue paper for clothing and a thank you note with every package. Maybe my feedback score will increase because I feel a lot of purchases do not receive feedback. Thanks so much! 

I admire people who take the time and money to add extras like pretty paper and bows. However … I'm a very practical person. I would never ship in a pizza box, but all I care about is that the product(s) gets to the customer in perfect condition. No more, no less.

I packed items for shipping for 24 years before eBay came along. No one ever said, "The box was amazing." But they all said, "The leotards are amazing." That's all I care about.

 

As a buyer, when I buy from WalMart, Amazon, reBay, and retail or wholesale online sites, I expect sturdy packaging. If I receive a bunch of frills, like tissue paper or bows or frou-frou, it makes me really mad. First because it means I paid for all that **bleep**, and could have obtained the item for less money.  And SECOND … now I have to trash or recycle that junque.

It recently came to my attention (Tamebay,) that there are laws in many EU countries, that businesses (i.e. anyone who mails a package to their country) are required to pay a fee, to pay for the disposal of the packaging materials. Sellers from outside the EU including Canada and the USA also have a legal obligation to meet these requirements.

I checked with friends from Germany, because I wasn't sure I believed it. They confirmed that this is true.

The people in Europe have been damaging their environment for a lot longer than we have on the American continent. And they are taking a stand and saying, "We don't want your garbage.  Everyone is responsible to pay for the recycling of the garbage they create."

Anything that is not easily recycled (i.e. polymailers, plastic or tyvek) is highly frowned upon. Paper or cellulose based packaging is the norm there.

rainbowranchmom
Adventurer

Part of getting a garment safely and perfectly to my buyer requires something to protect it. I just can't imagine putting a nice sweater in a bag or box without something on it. If you put it in a plastic bag, it can smell if it is mailed from a humid state like mine here in Florida. If you just put it in the box, you might get a hitchhiker (scorpion if you live in southern California or Arizona or worse yet, a roach or palmetto bug if you live in the south). (I've lived in both and you ain't lived until you find palmetto poop on something!)

 

I will still put my items in tissue first!!! I use little stickers instead of tape on the center and will continue to do that - to me, it isn't frou frou but respect for my buyer.

 

If my buyers are like penultimate leotards, well, they can just get made at me and buy elsewhere. Sorry to differ! Or maybe, penultimate lives somewhere without issues.

by nwspicegirl · Scout
nwspicegirl
Scout

I agree that the appearance of the package makes an impression on your buyer. I have been known to completely rewrap a box after I got done and was ready to ship because the end result looked like a hot mess. And I have to share this - I once got an item packed in a cereal box! 

by jaxcatt · Adventurer
jaxcatt
Adventurer

We proudly reuse all packaging material we can get our hands on.  Go Green!

by abby901 · Rising Star
abby901
Rising Star

I am all for recycling clean materials and my customers give me many thumbs up for doing that.  I sell small breakables and I would never make any money if I used as much bubble wrap as Griff did in the video.  I do wrap all items in clean bubble wrap.

alchemtrading
Adventurer

Using these suggestions will effectively eliminate first class shipping as an option for most items, significantly increasing the costs associated with selling and purchasing items. There is nothing wrong with packaging small durable items without a using box and 2 inches of packing material on each side. Often simply putting the item in a bubble mailer is adequite.

by 1057oliver · Adventurer
1057oliver
Adventurer

That is exactly what I doing with my repackaging box shoes or clothing I trying always to do more better looking my packet than the product  itself  and write something nice to impress the costumer.

In my situation I reusable boxes and reverse to look clean and my experience to clean sticker just use the hairdryer is so easy and clean. 

Take care guys 

We like the Ebay Tape and Ebay Envelopes. Those look very nice. I think it's fun to use!  Branded items are AWESOME also.  I like the creating a tag/brand idea.

 

btw GREAT post!

antique_alley777
Enthusiast

Thanks, @westhollywoodboutique! So glad you get the branding aspect. It's so important!

antique_alley777
Enthusiast

Good job, @1057oliver! Keep it up! 

by lan_coll · Adventurer
lan_coll
Adventurer

I appreciate the arcticle you have written, not only does it give me a new perspective on the possibilities of using recycled materials but also gives a better direction. Thank you for your article.

-Carroll Collins Pawn

Stuart, FL

https://www.facebook.com/carrollcollinspawnstuart/

by everlovin · Adventurer
everlovin
Adventurer

Buyers want it shipped to them fast and cheap. Problem is, supplies do cost money, above and beyond the eBay branded. Purchasing cut cardboard is an expense. If you want more than two pieces, it raises the cost of postage. One also needs to bag items just in case of moisture. eBay wants us to ship free or ship as close to cost as possible (even complicated with the fee eBay takes of our postage monies). Shipping is a real expense. It exists. Yes, you can reuse boxes (I do) reuse bubble mailers (one of the best things I do, as the little buggers can be expensive). But even the expense of tape, printing ink and all are things many buyers never contemplate when they purchase a product. One can always charge a blanket, more expensive, fee (as many of the info commercial products do). We all try to do our best with piurhcased materiasl, re-claimed materials and the ink. Never throw away a box, collapse it to take up less space and reuse it any way you can. Nothing wrong with newspaper as long as your product is protected. And, when all is said and done, one must still have space for supplies, often purchased in bulk, that need to be kept in a halfway decent environemnt to rpevent damage to such supplies. I love bubble wrap and keep it under the corner of my table where it is easily pulled and cut. But it takes up an awful lot of space. Thank goodness I have yet to install the "peanut" bag from the rafters of the garage. But packing material costs money, it adds weight to a purchase, and is a real expense.