Hyperantiques best practices and Etsy shopping for vintage items
High levels of customer satisfaction and great customer reviews are very important to our Etsy business. We will try to describe our Hyperantiques best practices in the following post. We will also try to describe our items as best as humanly possible and if we run into issues prior to shipping we usually cancel and refund the order before it turns into a problem. We sell honestly by describing our vintage products as best and we possibly can – in text and in photos. We also try to ship as fast as humanly possible.
Shipping challenges in the COVID era and maintaining Hyperantiques best practices
COVID has created some challenges in the area of shipping. Prior to COVID we used to try to get the package packed and shipped the same day as the order was received. That practice has been deferred as we do not go into our local post office for any reason while COVID rages in our community. The US Postal service has made it possible for us to not go to the post office by facilitating pickups at our shop. This however has led to challenges in timing as we cannot request a pickup for the same day but must wait for the regularly scheduled delivery person to pick up. This usually adds a day to the shipping process.
So, if an order is received on Sunday through Friday we try to pack it and schedule a pickup for the next day. For example an order received on Sunday is packed on Sunday and scheduled for pickup on Monday. The same process is followed for each day except for orders received on Saturday. These orders need to wait until Monday for a pickup. We have altered our shipping policies to reflect the changes in effect during this COVID pandemic.
USPS scheduled pickups
Other strange anomalies in the process of scheduling pickups with the USPS is that it is difficult to modify the quantity of items scheduled for pickup. We have not figured out the precise process and how it works but we have found that if we have scheduled items for pickup and we receive another order before the pickup is to be made, the new item cannot be added to the list of items and it has to be scheduled for a future date. We kind of understand why this is but for small shippers like us we only try to add one or two items to the list. It is just not dependably consistent so we apply the next day rule to orders received after a pickup haven scheduled.
Other things that influence our shipping positively is that our local post office is staffed by some pretty amazing people. For the most part they really try to make our shipping a pleasant and dependable experience for us and our customers. We rarely have seen any issues with our local team. The bigger postal ecosystem is a bit more unpredictable.
Most if not all of the issue that we have experiences have been with orders that ship to densely populated cities or to homes that have ambiguous addresses. For the tricky addresses we either use the address provided by the Etsy shipping portal or if that does not work we contact the USPS to validate the address. If all of these methods fail, we will reach out to the customer to seek more information. We never ship to an ambiguous address.
We do not ship to nefarious re-shipping addresses. We will only ship to a verified business address or to a verified residential address. As we do not ship overseas we avoid these re-shippers like the plague. Unfortunately our vintage Chanel jewelry and garments seem to attract a lot of activity to these re-shippers. Our assumption is that people are seeing the stock from afar and using a re-shipper to get the goods delivered to them. Just avoid them where possible. Googling these re-shipper addresses can help you weed them out. Many complaints are shown for the ones that have seen trouble in the past.
We decided early on to not sell outside of the US. This decision was based on the high number of problems we had in a former iteration of on-line selling through eBay. The terrible stories we have been hearing about items being delayed for weeks even if just going to France has kept us from entering that market. Perhaps in a post-COVID time we will reconsider that decision.
Another practice that we found very useful in high value items is obviously to add insurance to the item. We insure all packages over a certain value. We also insist on a signature with USPS priority shipping for any item over $300. We also try to price our items in a way that we share in the added costs for insurance and required signatures. So far it has been an excellent deterrent to loss of packages (knock on wood).
Things Hyperantique does to help ensure a high quality customer experience
A few odds and ends that make our process better (in our opinion):
- We try to use new boxes where possible. We will use recycled boxes but only for items that are larger or unusually shaped. Some smaller items will ship in lightly used boxes but we have tried to stop that practice wherever possible. We try to avoid “frankenboxes” as they detract from the positive experience of receiving an item from our shop.
- We add branding to the package. A sticker or an ink stamped message is all we have right now but we do plan to have boxes imprinted in the future. We like to build a bit of excitement when the package arrives.
- We add a hand written note to each order. A thank you note mostly but if we find that upgrading the delivery method is fitting for the item we note that as well.
- We always upgrade shipping if there is left over money to cover the upgrade. Sometimes we even upgrade if the money is a tad short. We feel that getting the item to the customer as fast as possible is our best curse of action.
- Package like it was the Mona Lisa. We never want to see an item arrive damaged so we “over pack”. Nothing more frustrating than seeing a one of a kind vintage item get broken on the way to a customer. We take packing seriously.
Here is a link to our shop to review Hyperantiques best practices Our humble shop – Hyperantique