“We’re a small enough brand that we don’t have a storefront presence of our own,” Shawnee said. The Massachusetts entrepreneur provides specialty candles, soaps, and other handmade products to spas and lifestyle boutiques. “Many of those businesses had to shut their doors for quite a while, and even those that are open are seeing far less traffic than they did pre-pandemic. So it isn’t a matter of if we wanted to sell online, it’s that we had to do so.”
Satisfied Customers Begins With Great Fulfillment Experience
“We started with wholesale only, because we were new to ecommerce,” Shawnee said. “And the response was much better than we anticipated – which was very gratifying – but also terrifying as I quickly realized we didn’t have the capacity in house to ship that number of orders quickly and efficiently. So I did what any businesswoman in my position would do: I called the local Massachusetts package and delivery company to discover what my options are.”
Shawnee’s business needs fell into two categories – local area businesses who needed small, regular deliveries of her best-selling products and larger orders going to retailers who are further away, including cross-country shipments.
“The key is really keeping costs down while making sure everyone gets their orders on time in a way that really impresses them. We worked with packaging experts to determine what needed to be shipped in bubble mailers versus what needed to go in cardboard cartons, and what the fastest, most reliable delivery method was for each of the different regions we ship to. The time they spent with us, going over each of our options and the costs, really made it easier to make smart decisions. That’s very helpful to the small business owner.”
“If you’re new to ecommerce, know you don’t have to figure out everything about it on your own,” Shawnee advised. “Look at local resources like your Boston package and delivery service to see how they can help you.”