Small Business Shipping Tips
Are you selling your art and handmade crafts online?
Besides pricing art, shipping artwork of high value could be stressful for the artist and the buyer.
The case scenario is that the buyer lives locally, and you could deliver the art in person. However, if you build your business and reach a broader audience, you must start shipping art to different locations nationwide or internationally.
How you ship your art to your buyers could be one reason why they return to purchase more or go to a different seller.
We have over 20 years of experience in packing and shipping art that will help you ship your creations safely to your buyers.
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Tips For Shipping Artwork
Packing and shipping art or delicate handmade crafts is a task that no artist or crafter enjoys.
Using proper packing materials to ensure your artwork is safe during sipping is good customer service and will protect your name and reputation.
It is important to not invest in expensive packing materials or spend too much time packing your fine art, or it will eat up the profits of the sale.
There are ways to ship fine art safely using recycled materials or using free boxes that some careers offer, like USPS Priority Shipping.
Below are some shipping recommendations to protect your work and save you money on packing materials.
The first step is to decide what shipping service you will use to ship your original fine art.
Visit the different shipping carriers in your area to find out:
Size and weight requirements
Cost of shipping
Cost of Insurance
If they offer a tracking number
If they provide free packing materials
Decide the best option for your customers and your business objectives.
Below is a list of the most popular shipping services in the US.
All three services offer domestic and international shipping.
You will want to decide if shipping your art internationally will be something that will benefit your art business. If sending your artwork and crafts does not help your business’s goals, don’t offer it.
Offering prints of your art by using print on demand services like Fine Art America, PrintFul, or Zazzle will allow you to sell photos worldwide without worrying about shipping. The POD sites will take care of the shipping for you.
The size of your artwork will determine what service will be best for you.
If you are selling large items, Fine Art Shipping Services are available. Take some time to research those companies by doing a Google search for “fine art shipping services.”
Research the prices and reviews of the company you are researching.
Make sure you are using a reputable service that offers insurance.
Deciding What Shipping Company Will Work Best For You
Every art and crafting business is different. What shipping company is best for one might not be best for you.
Below is an outline to help you decide what the best option is.
Take the time to research now. It is easier to get it right the first time than to change everything in the future.
- Find what shipping service offers the best cost for your artwork.
- Research how well they handle your type of artwork. I would rather pay a little more if I knew my artwork was appropriately handled.
- Find the company’s location and if they provide a pick-up from your business. This will save you a lot of time.
- Find out if they offer free boxes. This will save you a lot of money in the end.
The next step is to create a list of shipping supplies you will need for shipping your products.
Here are some items you might need:
- Tissue paper
- Bubble wrap
- Packing tape
(The type of art and crafts you sell will determine your needed materials.)
After you have decided what materials you will need to ship your product, you will need to calculate how much it will cost to ship your items.
The supplies’ price should be included in the shipping and handling fees or shipping costs.
Some artists do very well by including the shipping cost in their art price and offering free shipping.
Decide what strategy will work best for you.
As we have mentioned earlier, if you are not careful, the cost of shipping supplies could quickly eat your profits.
Shop around to see where you can get the best deals.
Shipping Supplies Online:
After figuring out what shipping service you will be using and how much the cost is for shipping artwork, it is time to set up a shipping cost on your art website.
There are a few different strategies artists are using for shipping costs.
The three options are:
- Charge depending on location
- Have a set shipping fee
- Free shipping
Location prices will take you some time to figure out, and you will have to update your costs when the shipping provider prices change.
Free shipping will lower your profit margin unless you include the shipping costs in your art’s sale price.
Below are the three shipping options you want to consider before selling your art online.
Cost For Location
This will provide a shipping cost from your shipping service to the buyer’s destination. There are tools provided by shipping services to help you with the shipping fees.
Popular WordPress Shipping Plugins:
- ELEX WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label
- WooCommerce Advanced Shipping
- WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping
- Table Rate for WooCommerce
The benefit of charging shipping fees based on location is that every buyer will have an accurate shipping fee no matter where they reside.
Flat Shipping Fee
This will provide a flat shipping cost to all domestic locations.
The issue some buyers might have is the inflated costs if they live close by to your studio.
For example, if you reside on the East Coast, charge $50 to cover California’s shipping costs. The art collectors on the East Coast will be discouraged from purchasing your art if they have to pay $50 for shipping if they know you live in the next town.
The other dilemma is that you will lose money shipping across the country if you want to keep the flat rate low for residents who live by.
These are things to consider if you consider using a flat shipping fee.
Everyone likes free shipping, including people purchasing art for their homes.
Shipping artwork can be expensive, depending on where you are shipping the art, which will eat up your profits.
Including the shipping and handling costs in the selling price of a piece is one way to keep the profits up if you offer free shipping.
The downside is that people might not purchase a piece if it is too high.
- Offering a low or free shipping cost might intrigue a potential buyer to purchase.
- You can provide incentives. If a purchase is over a certain amount, the shipping is free, or if two or more items are purchased, shipping will be free.
- Offering local pick-up might be an option.
- Many people will pay more for an item if it has free shipping.
Start by wrapping the piece with plastic.
Cut small slits on the back to let the art breathe.
Place a piece of cardboard on both sides of the art.
Use packing tape to tape the cardboard.
The last step is to wrap the piece with bubble wrap.
Use a box with about an inch gap and fill the gap with tissue paper or bubble wrap.
For extra protection, purchase insurance.
Shipping Your Artwork Final Thoughts
The information above will help you decide the best options for you and your buyers.