My Personal FeelingsAs most of you know I sell on eBay and on Etsy, I have had over nearly 3,500 sales on websites over the last almost 5 years of working online, I have used Paypal for every shipping label. Including off sites off of eBay. I am down to just being a seller on both Etsy and eBay, and I have had 1 total package that has been "Lost".
It's not even lost, what happened was I made the mistake and double printed label and sent a already paid label out with the item to a customer, because of this it was sent to the fraud department here in Seattle. The postal office works with me every week calling and taking the time out of their day to see it come back to me. But due to Union pay cuts, our local fraud department is down to 2 people in that office, from 30. So with that said, it's located in Seattle, it really isn't lost, making that 0 for me for lost packages.
One of my Best friends just quit the postal service of 15 years, I have been lucky to have had her on my route, she catered to my every need, she taught me how to do the correct shipping, I asked her tons of questions. As I have grown into more sales and everything is able to be shipped differently I was asking a-lot more questions. So that said, I have a 0 record of lost shipments.
It is my responsibility as a seller online, to make sure I am working directly from the source and learn the correct way. I seriously did not know much about shipping at all until I started asking questions. I was afraid of lost packages, and having to refund money.
I do not print my shipping labels from Etsy when I make sales, I go directly to paypal and do it from there, then up-load the tracking by hand, for some reason it's easier for me to do so. Being that I am a seller on both sites it is important from what Chip says, make sure to have fresh ink, if it starts to fade it is not easy for them to scan, some sellers put tape over the full PayPal shipping label, I have seen a package recently from Etsy and a postal worker wrote on the box and said "Would not scan tape on label."
Now I am sure because they did do their job, they punched it in, but that is a given because it got to me, but think about if they didn't do their job, maybe I would not have gotten my package from the amazing Etsy shop. It is all about how you as the seller ship & how you work with the postal office if there is a issue.
We are all human, sellers & postal workers, we all make mistakes, as Michele stated.
The Student Side of Me SpeaksIn business management you are very drilled about eCommerce, in almost every text book I have studied, it rarely talks about Brick n Mortar. Online business is taking over rapidly and most business's online have something to do with shipping, the number of company's that have been merging into the retail world online, such as GoodWill, Target, Walmart and other big box chains, increase the shipping demand. The demand for shipping is up more than ever before, USPS yes has seen a de-crease in revenue, but they are not the only ones, hence the retailers like big box offices heading towards this direction. They will never be in the spot where they will have to dis-appear, that would never happen.
Being a business owner at a young age I have learned a=lot about Brick-N-Mortar vrs, the online world, having owning a deli at the age of 18 til I was 21 and than re-opening the same deli at the age of 26-31, I knew I wanted to be a business owner online after closing down the deli for the second time, I also new with the amount of items I'd be shipping, I would have to get my shipping methods down.
The Book "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson is an excellent read about the future of business, the economics of Culture and Commerce. This also talks about the supply and demand of online business, and touches the topic of shipping.
In conclusion I agree with Michele, and as you can tell this is a subject I am very passionate about, with out them I would be so lost, I thank the postal worker's everyday for their help. I even give them holiday gifts, I love seeing their face when I leave goodies in the mail box during the Christmas season.
It is important for us small business owners to be responsible for our shipping, our responsibility as a seller and business owner, is to provide good packing, fresh ink in your printer, not putting tape on the whole shipping label, as well as knowing how to work with the postal office. It is not entirely their fault of lost packages.
I have alot of respect for the USPS, they has never failed me, I have had a few grumpy interactions with some counter people, but all I do is kill them with a smile and kindness. Normally that works and lifts their spirits.
~ Lornajane ~