Garden marketers who deliver product through the mail — especially those who sell live plants — devote extraordinary attention to their packing and shipping. Yet it’s surprising how little attention is paid to the marketing possibilities that package shipments present. They offer superb opportunities to:
• Encourage additional sales
• Reduce customer service calls
• Brand your company
• Turn customers into fans
• Gather customer feedback
Here are just a few suggestions on how to do so.
Sell More. If you publish a catalog and don’t already include one in every outgoing shipment, start today. It may be one of the most profitable things you can do.
In addition, consider adding other promotions to your shipments. Offer a bonus or discount on orders placed by a certain date. Or try promotions that encourage people to explore specific product categories — such as “buy two ground covers, get the third free.”
Reduce Calls. The better the information you provide customers, the fewer customer service calls you’ll need to field. Be sure to include well-written planting, care and/or use instructions.
Keep in mind that many of your customers may be new to gardening. Even basic terminology or gardening techniques may be unfamiliar to them. Supplement in-package instructions by referring customers to online FAQs, instructions and how-to videos.
Establish Your Brand. If you cover up the company name on most plant, seed or garden tool shipments, you’ll usually be hard pressed to guess what company it’s from. Yet fulfillment packages offer plenty of ways to support your company’s image. Print a tag line on your labels, or on your box. Dress up your packing slips to reinforce your brand. Add literature that highlights your company’s unique benefits.
Take advantage of your customer’s excitement about receiving your product by reinforcing your brand and your main marketing message.
Encourage Engagement. Is one of your missions to build a relationship with your customers? To encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or blog, become Facebook fans, or join your forum? Then take advantage of your product shipments to tell them why they should!
Packing slips are also a perfect place to print a message requesting that buyers rate their purchase on your website, too.
Generate Profits. One of the easiest ways to generate additional income with virtually no extra cost is by putting literature from non-competitive companies in your outgoing shipments. If you don’t already have such an insert program in place, it’s worth investigating. Companies that specialize in such programs can handle the details for you for a nominal fee.
Say Thank You. Last but not least, let your customers know how much you appreciate them. Whether you print a handwritten “thank you” on your packing slip or shipping box, or include a separate note in the package, saying “thank you” is always appreciated.
If you include a “thank you” gift with purchase, be sure it’s clearly identified as such. If people think it was a mistake instead of a gift, you lose the intended impact.
There’s usually no better prospect than a customer who’s delighted by the purchase they just received. Future sales depend not only on product satisfaction, but also on proper branding, appropriate messaging, compelling offers and customer engagement. Product shipments give you the opportunity to address all of these with virtually no extra cost. Take a fresh look at your shipments and see what else you can do to cement a profitable long-term relationship with all your customers.