Congratulations on making it to the last day!
If you’re cheating and have skipped ahead, go back…a lot of this won’t make sense unless you’ve completed previous days.
So, by now you have an online storefront that is ready to launch, your shipping materials should be delivered, and you’re ready to start shipping your product!
Today is going to summarize some of the things we’ve learned, offer some additional tips on what to do next, and of course cover the process of actually shipping your product. From Days 2-4 we were talking a lot about Shopify and setting up your store, now we’re going to get back to the “on the ground” aspect of actually shipping a product.
First, pick which days you’re going to ship on. We only ship on Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays. You might be able to ship on a Wednesday if you are doing just 1 day shipping, but the closer you get to a weekend the more risk of having a box sit for two days extra and thawing.
So now let’s go through how we ship a box at Alderspring, and how we recommend you do it if you don’t have a shipping warehouse or anything like that yet.
We pack in several stations with several people. You’ll likely be preparing shipments with just one or two of you at first, but here are our steps in brief (and in more detail below).
- Prep packing sheet (we call it the “dirty.” It’s our hard copy order sheet that we’ll mark as we pull product, and make any notes or adjustments for the customer or for final billing).
- Tray pack orders.
- Check orders.
- Pack orders in our insulated shipping box.
- Ice orders.
- Prepare shipping label (based on actual weight) and any materials we want to include for the customer.
An Inside Look at Our Shipping Process
So, after the packer has put all the meat in the box, they then weigh it (box weight plus product weight), write the weight on the packing list sheet, and then write the order number, last name, and state on the box itself where the label will go. Because we will adjust the ice amount depending on location, the final weight of the box depends on the total added ice, so we have a separate station where a person determines the amount of ice, prints the shipping label, and puts the customer invoice and pretty handouts together. We use all three, name order number and state, checking all of these things when putting the label on the box to make sure there’s not a mix-up (we’ll cover the written area with the shipping label when we get to that point). The packer then puts the order sheet inside of the box and brings it to the icing area.
Below: Here are our steps for packing a box: 1. Ground beef at the bottom. 2. Steaks in the middle (this area will thaw last, so nice cuts should be here), and 3. Wrapping of nice cuts and roasts. 4. Put a paper over the whole thing to protect from dry ice/ice pack abrasion.
Download the “partially thawed product” disclaimer here.
So that should be about all you need to know to get launched on shipping day! But if you do have any questions, feel free to direct message us on Instagram here.
Finally, before we go: some Marketing quick tips
We won’t get into marketing here too much, since this course was primarily about launching your online store and starting to ship your product. However, the next step is definitely finding customers who will order your product online! Here are a couple things you should look into moving forward:
Newsletter marketing. This is one of the most important aspects of our marketing. We send out two emails a week, and many of the people subscribing to our newsletter are committed customers of ours who like to hear from us. This is the most important thing about sending out newsletters: you have to send stuff that offers value to your readers, that they actually want to read. Additionally, newsletter marketing is so important because an email list is yours, managed by you. Social media is risky because your profile might get deleted, or your posts might not get shown unless you pay (this is what happened with Facebook). You don’t control social media, and you never know when changing policies might harm your business.
You will want to make this your priority for next week. (Now that you’ve started shipping, you are probably going to be evolving and improving every week!)
Here’s some stuff to know about setting up newsletter marketing:
Social Media Marketing
Just because social media can be more risky than newsletter marketing doesn’t mean you don’t need social media platforms for your farm. If you’re not on Facebook and Instagram, you need to be. This provides a platform for people to get to know you, ask questions, and see how their food is raised. Some quick tips on social media:
So those are two things to get you started with marketing your products online. Of course, that’s just scratching the surface, because that wasn’t really the focus of this course. If you are interested in learning more about marketing online, there are endless resources…just start googling!
So that’s it! Congratulations on completing our 5-day course. If you’ve followed along, you should have a fully functional online storefront right now and be ready to start shipping.