Wednesday, April 18, 2007
A post about post . . .
As a couple of people responded to my comment yesterday about the cost of postage I thought that I would open out the topic a bit and ask for some feedback both from other small mail order businesses and from people who buy mail order.
What can small businesses do about the cost of posting things?
I do a mailing two or three times a year - at the start of the season, sometimes at the end of the season and before Christmas. Ideally I would like to cut this down to one mailing a year but I do feel that, from a business point of view, a clutch of pretty postcards in the hand is better than any number of e-mails. They can be stuck to a fridge, handed on to friends etc. etc. . . .I hope. Am I right? Do people relish getting a bright hand addressed envelope (Or might they be disappointed that it isn't a birthday card with a fat cheque inside?)
There is also the issue of paper. I use recycled paper for all letters and print-outs but I do not use recycled envelopes as I couldn't source them in bright colours and I could not afford the cost of recycled postcards. This is not as good as it should be. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Then there is the issue of mailing out orders. We thought long and hard about this with the website and decided on a flat fee as, when I am buying things, I like to be able to do a transaction in one go without faffing about with e-mails (spot the stressed mother). We pitched this at £4.95, sort of on a par with Cath Kidston, Plumo or the White Company which are the type of catalogues my customers tend to read.
The average actual cost of the mailings I have done so far has been £7.50 (and that is postage, not boxes or tape) so really I can't afford to bring it down any lower. None has been under the £4.95.
What is other people's experience of this - do you look at the postage and think mmmmm, maybe I'll pop into the shops in town? Are people more au fait with postage costs in our post e-bay world? Should I be conning couriers into thinking I am a big company?
That aside - I am on a high today - the first batch of letters went out yesterday, would have arrived with people today, and already I have had phonecalls from a high percentage of last year's subscription customers re-ordering for this year. If I could work out how to insert one of those smily face icons, I would.