A regular question on the Etsy forums is whether or not one should enclose a printed receipt when sending out the items you sell online.
Here are some of the reasons why I include a receipt with sales from my vintage shop on Etsy, and why I think they can be a very powerful and useful part of your branding.
It is a powerful opportunity to include your branding with your product. Very often people complain that they hear folks saying they bought items “from Etsy” rather than from the individual sellers. To help ensure that your customers know they bought from YOU, having a receipt with your shop branding clearly on it is a cheap and very effective device.
I made the receipts for my Tin Teddy Vintage shop using Serif PagePlus, but you could use any word-processing or desktop-publishing program to do the same thing. I usually fill them in and print them out when needed, but I also keep some ready printed “blank” ones so I can fill them in with a pen if I had printer problems (my printer has its moments).
If you regularly sell multiple units then it provides a convenient list for the customer to check that everything is included in the parcel. Most supply sellers include a document like this as a packing list. They also use it as a checklist for themselves when packing up the order.
You can include your return address on the receipt, along with any instructions for returns. Naturally you don’t really want your customer to return their purchase – and most of the time they will have no desire to do so! But having this information clearly available shows confidence in your product and is reassuring to the customer. If you are in the European Union you must have ensure your customer has access to this information anyway.
Some people like to include a polite reminder about keaving feedback on their receipts. I don’t personally do this, but have seen many Etsy and eBay sellers who do, and as long as it is subtle and polite it should not cause offence.
5 Loss Prevention
Just occasionally a parcel gets damaged on route to its location. Addresses can become unreadable. Having a receipt inside the parcel is a back up in case this happens. The postal workers can readdress the parcel and ensure it reaches your customer, or get it back to you safely. If you have listed the contents then even if the parcel is very badly damaged the post office may be able to reassemble it and get it delivered safely.
Sometimes people buy a lot of things in a short period of time, for example at Christmas. When the parcels start arriving it is handy to be able to easily tell which items came from where, and how much was spent on them – without having to go to the computer. Including a receipt means the recipient instantly knows who sent the parcel.
7 Customers’ Convenience
If you sell supplies then your customers may well appreciate the receipt to file away for tax purposes. Sure, they could print it off Etsy themselves, but if you are providing it then this little extra convenience may help them become a repeat customer.
The same can be true for vintage sellers. A fact of life is that sometimes your customers will be buying things to resell. If so then they will appreciate a receipt as a record of how much they paid and for tax purposes. You will have got the sale you wanted, and making their life a wee bit easier may encourage more purchases from them in the future.
When you buy online from a “big company” you will always get a receipt. It is somewhat standard business practice. Therefore when doing so yourself you are helping your little business to look more professional. This is reassuring to customers.
Personally I think the benefits of including a receipt more than justify the tiny cost in paper and ink to do so.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject 🙂
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