Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shipping breakthrough! Part two.

A continuation of my shipping blather...

Up until last year, I would handwrite the address on the box, put a return label on, and then take all of the packages to the post office, stand in line, and the postal worker would weigh each package and sticker it and then I'd pay. But then I started wondering about online solutions. After a little bit of research, I discovered Endicia, and I decided to try their service. I paid $9.95 per month, bought a Dymo LabelWriter 450 printer, and started using that. I bought 3-part labels, and soon realized that I didn't like the extra work of sticking on three labels.

Then I found out that there was a single long label (2.5"x7") that one could use. However, my boxes are 6" long! So I kept with the 3-part labels that I'd bought. Eventually I ran out, though. I ordered the long labels and decided to try using Paypal again.

? The advantages with the Paypal method were many. The customer gets an automatic notice that the item has been shipped, and a tracking number, and it's automatically marked as "paid and shipped" within eBay. Plus, with Endicia I had to type in the name, address, email address, weight, etc. With Paypal, I only needed to verify the weight. Also, eBay automatically marks the DSR as the highest rating if you ship with this method, which is a great bonus. And I could cancel the Endicia service.

Sadly, it was a big mistake at first. I set up the multiple-shipment queue, and clicked to print twelve labels, and...everything got stuck. I ended up having to void all the labels and I caused a lot of confusion with the customers, who thought I was cancelling their orders. Plus, I had no 3-part labels, just the long labels, so when I used Endicia, I couldn't find the right option to print on them, and ended up using the 3-part layout, which meant I had to cut the labels apart by hand and stick them on. So now I was doing even more work.

Finally I decided to try again, but with a single label. I set it up and tried printing it, even choosing the second choice of Dymo label printer instead, and it still didn't work. It froze.

It just seemed crazy to me that it wouldn't work. Then I started thinking about it further, and I decided to give it one last chance, but instead of using Internet Explorer, I used Firefox. Firefox is my default browser for everything, but since I got the new computer and Windows 7, my old HP printer refuses to work with it, and only works with IE, so I'd been using IE to try to print the labels.

And surprise...it worked! I have to wrap the labels around to get them to fit, but other than that, it's fantastic! No more cutting apart labels, typing in customer addresses and having to double-check that I've typed them in correctly, and no more having to update eBay with what's been paid for and shipped. Plus, the tracking number rocks! I am absolutely thrilled.

I love technology when it works!

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