When it comes to building your apparel business, we often forget to consider what happens once the customer actually places their order. Your business is up and running, you are doing marketing, making sales, things are really going smoothly until someone places an order and you realize, I actually have to ship this! Not only that, but we have to consider that fulfillment can be a little tougher than you would think! But don’t worry, we are here to help.
The first place you want to start is with the organization of your products. Even if you are just starting out, maybe shipping items out of your garage or your living room, you need make sure that you are organized so that you can be efficient and cut down on the possibility of making an error. Not only that, but the way you organize your products has a big effect on how your business is perceived.
Here at Industry Threadworks, we operate for other brands, so we separate our warehouse by brand. Each brand has their own location in the warehouse, and then each product within that brand is separated into different sections by design and size. We get custom boxes from Uline that we construct ourselves to keep items separate, but you can even do something as simple as pieces of cardboard. When you are starting out, organized chaos is still organization, and still helps ensure that orders are being filled accurately.
Making sure that you are labeling EVERYTHING is essential. You want the label to indicate the important features, and that main details should be in large bold font. Having a system that makes sense to you as far as the way items are organized and labeled can cut back on stress and chaos because you can easily remember where items are located and also if inventory is getting low.
Now that you have your inventory organized, you will want to streamline the actual packing process. As far as labeling your packages go, its most efficient to have a label printer that prints out self-adhesive labels. This saves time on printing labels out of a normal printer and having to tape them on the box. Not only is it inefficient, but it is also messy looking and not as presentable. Additionally, making sure that you have pens, sharpies, and post-it notes close by is important. Oftentimes things come up throughout the packing process that need to be revisited and may be easily forgotten that you need to make note of. We know that these things seem obvious, but when you are focused on building your brand you tend to forget about the small things along the way.
When it comes to shipping software, Shipstation is a great easy to use platform that you can connect directly to your Shopify account and communicates efficiently. However, there are several different options for software out there, and you will most likely need to do some research to figure out what works best for you and your business.As your business expands and grows, you will need to decide if you want to hire on a team to do fulfillment, have an outside company handle your on-hand inventory, or if you want to keep doing it yourself! Some people enjoy doing it while others would prefer to handle the creative side of business. But whichever you decide, you hopefully have some ideas on how to do it effectively.