Thursday, June 19, 2008
Don't be afraid of the PayPal monster!
When PayPal first came out with their multi-order shipping tool, I was scared, nay, terrified to use it. What if I got all of my packages mixed up and sent to the wrong customers?!? What if the labels didn't print out correctly--would I lose them? Would I be able to get my money back? I had a lot of fears and questions, but at the time I had a booming business on eBay and printing shipping labels out one at a time was sucking up way too much of my precious days, so I decided to give it a whirl.
That particular eBay business is long since done now, but with my supply shop keeping me busy, and occasional sales in my art shop and even the rare eBay sale, I still rely heavily on PayPal's multi-order shipping. There are other services that are great for busy businesses, such as Endicia, but if you are like me you aren't ready to shell out their monthly service fees just yet. Once you give PayPal multi-order shipping a try, you will see that it is easy to use, and it will even automatically upload all of your orders that have been paid with PayPal onto one screen, and you can even upload other addresses if you had some payments by check or other means.
Here is how it works:
1. You may handle it differently, but for me I find it easiest to keep track of all of my orders by printing up each transaction, from both of my etsy shops and my eBay sales as well. As I pack up each order, I write the customer's name on the outside of the envelope so that they don't get mixed up later.
2. Log in to your PayPal account. In the upper left-hand corner, click the "PayPal multi-order shipping" link.
3. Make sure your browser is set to accept pop-up windows from PayPal. A small window will open--click the "import" button. You will then be able to choose if you want to import all orders paid with PayPal or all eBay orders (if you are an eBay seller this is helpful if you had some customers pay with checks or money orders).
4. You will be presented with a screen listing all of your orders in chronological order. You can click on any one of the headers to re-order them by name if you would like.
5. Click on the top order. Make all of your choices from the two drop-down menus--type of shipping (priority, first-class, etc), and weight of the package. If you are using Priority it will also ask that you fill in the dimensions of your package.
6. Look at the column on the right-hand side of the screen. There you can double-check your customer's name and address with the address on the Etsy receipt that you printed up earlier and make any necessary changes. Just below that is a small window showing you the cost of shipping for that order.
7. Repeat #5 and #6 for each customer until you are finished. The box on the left-hand column will turn green next to each order that is ready to go.
8. Now you are ready to print! Click the "print" button on the top left-hand side of your screen. You will get a review of all orders, and you can also change the shipping date if you need to (if, for example, today is Sunday and you won't actually be shipping until Monday). Make sure the date is correct or the post office might not accept your packages!
9. Click the tab at the top of the screen that says "pay and print." Your printer's pop-up screen will come up and you just hit go. If you are using sticky labels make sure they are loaded in your printer so you don't have to re-print or tape them all on! (I know you are smart, but I might have made this mistake several times...maybe....)
10. Viola! It prints up in alphabetical order, and since you have all of the names written on the outside of your packages, you are all set to go! My post office has a loading dock in back that I can just drive up to and hand them all over. Yay!
Now, if your printer freaks out or misprints, or one of the labels sticks to itself and gets all messed up, re-printing is very simple. Just click on the "history" tab and you can easily re-print whichever label you need, or all of them if you (hopefully never) have to.
The only drawback for me is that you cannot use this option to ship international packages, so you may still have to stand in line at the post office for that. (Priority International can be done through PayPal, but still have to be done one at a time due to the customs forms). Your time there will be shorter and sweeter, though. And if you are a tiny bit twisted like me, you might take a bit of pleasure in freaking out the people in line behind you with your huge bag of packages, only to hear their sighs of relief as you hand over mostly all-ready-to-go packages :)