Do you have the habit of shopping at foreign online store, especially those from the west? I do, like many others, looking for bargains, stuffs that are special or not easily available here.
I do have an extra small habit though.
Whenever the order arrives, I like to observe the way it is being packaged, and minor details (some are not minor, really) that would make a difference.
Let me share two examples from my own experience recently, Threadless from US and Book Depository from UK.
Tips #1: Creative Packaging
Above is the Threadless's packaging which looks like a tee itself, rather than packaged with some ordinary boxes or bags. This leaves a strong brand impression as well as what kind of business they are in (selling creative tees). It will be great if online retailers stamping their own brand on the packaging, better still injected with creativity.
Tips #2: Element of Surprise
We have already discussed the element of surprise on the packaging, what about within it? Throw in some surprise gift! Your customer will be pleasantly surprised even though with small tokens like stickers, bookmark etc. Imagine if I put on the Threadless stickers on my laptop, it helps create brand awareness when I am using it at places like Starbucks. Again, maximize your creativity and brand impression opportunity.
Tips #3: Go Green
While we should support the no-plastic-bag day campaign (or make it 7 days), online retailers should also do their parts on environmental efforts. Take a look on photos above, there is only ONE piece of paper being used by Book Depository. When you extract the piece of shipping label paper from the pocket (fixed on top of the envelope), it is your order receipt too.
Tips #4: Return & Exchange
Providing return or exchange option for your customer is not a luxury, but pivotal especially if you are selling stuffs like apparels. It is also one of the key factors to convert shoppers into customers, to show that you are confident in your own products. As seen in the photos above, Threadless facilitate their customer with a return form as well as return address label. Of course, Zappos takes it a notch higher by providing free return shipping!
Tips #5: Go Global
Last but not least, okay not so much on fulfillment but more like a marketing strategy, an important one. Have you gotten a substantial product inquiries from overseas? Would you like to find out which market would be the most receptive to your products? Try offering a limited one day worldwide free shipping (or selected countries only) - provided if you have significant marketing fund to go global.
This is how I have gotten my Threadless tees for the first time. They even ship to Malaysia for free if you are just buying a USD 9 tee, which I guess the shipping fee itself could be more than that.
They aren't likely to earn any dollars from this deal, but they are earning me as a new customer. I am happy with the tees - the material is thin no doubt, but comfortable for our hot weather here. I will definitely consider buying again even without the rare worldwide free shipping promotions. And, I am even telling my friends and sharing with you guys here about Threadless. Viral!