Shipping - How we see it!
Here it is, Saturday July 3rd, 2021. It's almost noon and I am sitting here trying to think of something to write about in our company blog. I am kind of stumped.
Yes, it is Saturday on a holiday weekend and we are working. As a small family owned business, we are always working, even when we aren't. The morning started out with the usual cup(s) of strong coffee and going through orders that came in overnight. We emailed out our Independence Day newsletter with coupon codes, posted to social media and made the needed reddit posts for the weekend sale. Knowing that Monday, July 5th is a postal holiday, we scrambled to fill all the orders that rolled in so they would ship out today and be in the hand of customers as soon as possible.
As I am finally sitting back to relax, knowing the postal truck will be by anytime to pick up the Saturday shipments, a little cash register sound dings on my phone.... then dings again. Another order from our webstore and an Amazon order. Instead of blowing it off until Tuesday, I peek out to see if the pick-up has come. Nope! OK, mad race to print receipts, shipping labels and some quick packaging. YES, I made it just in time! Now there are two more customers that don't have to wait for the order they placed on a holiday weekend.
So, sitting back down to work up a blog post, it occurs to me that how and why we ship the way we do might make for a good and hopefully interesting post.
As I mentioned above, it is a holiday weekend and Monday there is no mail service. I know that if we don't get orders out today, customers will end up waiting several extra days. Sometimes that can't be avoided. That said, we do our damnedest to avoid that situation. The customer has entrusted us with their purchase. We know they have many options when shopping on the internet and we want to be sure they don't regret buying from us.
It is part of our company mantra - Stock it / Ship it! We don't want our customers to place an order, just to find the item was out of stock, or wait 3-4 days for "processing" before shipment. We know they already have a small wait with whichever carrier we end up using. Why make the customer wait longer?
As we started growing, we were inundated with solicitations from freight and mail forwarding companies. They all make promises of fast shipping from regional warehouses. Some offer bottling, labeling and warehousing services. Gee, wouldn't that be great? We wouldn't even need to touch our product and everything will be taken care of. Great for us and great for our customer. I know that some of our competitors use these services, so it must be a good idea, right? Well, not so fast!
As you discuss the services offered, you start realizing and theoretical savings are lost with warehousing, pick & pack fees, etc. We also have to bulk ship products to the centers. It was quickly apparent, we would be nickel and dimed to death. The only one really making money would be the fulfillment center AND it would take longer to get items to our customers. In order to make a living, we would have to raise retail prices to compensate. NOPE! Makes zero sense, no matter how much shine is put on it.
We know that the best way to serve you, our customer, is to formulate, mix and fill inhouse. We package every item right here. Actual company employees and owners are opening clamshells and filling products. Drums of solvent, oil and grease are pumped through our machines and then into bottles right here. We organize and stock products and shipping supplies so your order can be picked, packed and shipped immediately. Most of the time orders ship out the next day, if they came in late. If they come in early, we scramble to ship the same day. We often find ourselves running down to the local postal center after the pick-up is long gone for the day, as we know we might still get those packages down there before they close the back doors. We have our UPS and FedEx pick-ups scheduled for as late as possible. Typically after 5 pm. During the Christmas rush, it isn't unusual for UPS to pick up from us after 9pm.
So, why do we go to this much effort for our customers? Well, because every business should. PERIOD! We care about doing the right thing for our customers. We know that without our loyal customers, we would not exist. We never take that for granted! No matter how big we get, we will always "act small" when it comes to customer service. We think you deserve no less as a customer.
With that I will leave you to what is hopefully a joyful Independence Day weekend. Enjoy and be safe!