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 both the artist and the buyer.
The case scenario is that the buyer lives local, and you could deliver the art in person. However, if you build your business and reach a broader audience, you will need to start shipping art to different locations across the country or even internationally.
The way you ship your art to your buyers could be one reason why they come back to purchase more or go to a different seller.
We have over 20 years of experience relating to 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 make sure your artwork is safe during sipping is not only good customer service but will also 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 that will 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 offer free packing materials
Decide what the best option is for both your customers and your business objectives.
Below is a list of the most popular shipping services based 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 shipping your artwork and crafts do 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 prints of your art 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, there are Fine Art Shipping Services 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 for you.
Take the time to research now. It is easier to get it right the first time rather than changing 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 location of the company 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 what materials you will need.)
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 with the shipping cost.
Some artists do very well by including the shipping cost into their art price and offer free shipping.
Decide what strategy will work best for you.
Like we have mentioned earlier, if you are not careful, the cost of shipping supplies could easily eat your profits.
Shop around to see where you can get the best deals.
Shipping Supplies Online:
After you have figured 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 price 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.
Bellow are the three shipping options you will want to consider before you start 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 the 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 and charge $50 to cover California’s shipping costs. The art collectors who live 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 you will face is that if you want to keep the flat rate low for residents who live by, you will lose money shipping across the country.
These are things to consider if you are thinking about 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 costs of shipping and handling in the selling price of a piece is one way to keep the profits up if you decide to offer free shipping.
The downside is that people might not purchase a piece if it is priced too high.
- Offering a low shipping cost or free shipping 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 to decide the best options are for both you and your buyers.
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