One of the fun things about writing a business blog is hearing from people all over the world. We’re a relatively small company producing a product that has value mostly for customers within a couple of hundred mile radius of our plant. The main reason for that is shipping costs. Unless the order is small (10,000 or under can make it reasonable to ship across the country), the cost of freight to deliver envelopes or web printing to a remote location will often render the transaction uncompetitive. There are still many companies like us all over the country and a local vendor is usually a better choice for a large order.
But the global village of the world-wide web brings us all together so it’s not unusual for me to receive a comment on something I’ve written from a far-off land. Today I got a request from a school administrator in Western Australia asking if we could provide 2,000 printed envelopes to her. I told her we most certainly could but after checking with UPS found that the cost to ship a case of envelopes to Australia would be almost $600! I suggested she try someone a little closer.
Another more practical request I received recently from someone who read my blog was from a small business owner in Brooklyn, NY. She has a business that provides a cloth diaper service to local families among other things. She has a need for a shipping envelope and we’re going back and forth on options and samples in order to come up with the optimum product for her needs.
In the past 5 years or so we’ve seen an increase in the amount of orders we receive online from people doing web searches and contacting us through our website or commenting on our blog. The printing and envelope industries have always been primarily local and regional businesses mainly for the reason listed in the first paragraph. But the digital world, while taking over some of the functions formerly handled through printed forms and envelopes has also created huge new opportunities for companies in our industry. Online retail shopping has gotten people used to buying from companies sight-unseen and the trust level has increased due to the ubiquity of the practice.
Small business, which as we all know is where most of the growth in the economy takes place has been juiced by the internet to the extent where pretty much anyone with a desk, a computer and a dream can start a company. Many of these businesses are directly shipping and fulfilling orders to their customers. And that’s where the envelope part comes in. There are many options for shipping items that can be contained in an envelope which includes a large percentage of what’s being sold out there.
Envelopes have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive when compared to boxes or other harder packaging. They can be padded with foam or a bubble liner. They come in many different types of paper stock or synthetic and often recyclable material. They can be printed using all sorts of color with great results
In my next post, I’ll get into the various options that are available more specifically and compare the relative benefits and disadvantages of each. I should have a resolution on the project I’m working on with the New York-based entrepreneur and will fill you in on that as well.
In the meantime, feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance on your project. Free advice is always available no matter what continent it comes from!