Labels in the Early Days
When I first opened my Etsy shop, I used 8 1/2 x 11 sheets with 2 labels per sheet. I would have to put them in my inkjet printer tray, print half of the labels, flip them around, put them back in the tray, and then print the second half. Kind of a pain, but not a huge deal since I didn’t have a ton of sales.
Labels In Between
As my shop grew, I realized that I needed to make this process go more smoothly and quickly. After looking into label makers, I found an affordable one that was compatible with PayPal shipping, the Brother QL-700.
At that time, PayPal was still the only payment option on Etsy. Because of that, all of the addresses were in there for me and I just used MultiOrder Shipping to select the orders and add the shipping class and weight. Once I hit print, the label printer took over and finished. It was much faster than what I had previously been doing, plus the labels are thermal and so the ink was safe from smearing if it happened to be raining on my way into the post office.
A few months later (just over two years ago), Etsy introduced Direct Shipping. I decided to go ahead and activate it in my shop when they offered one month of no payment processing fees. I very quickly saw that buyers preferred it over PayPal, so I kept it as an option.
But there was one major drawback. No longer were all of my customer addresses in PayPal where I could just hop over and print shipping labels. Now, I (and later, our assistant whom we had for a few months) had to enter each Direct Checkout address manually from the invoices. Since those were the majority of orders, it introduced a lot of potential for errors.
Etsy ended up making their shipping labels compatible with two different label printers, both of which were pretty spendy.
It took a few months, but after some discussion with my husband, we realized that the time saved by not having to enter addresses manually would pay for the printer in a short amount of time. We went ahead and purchased the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL at the special Etsy seller price of $205. (It can now be found on Amazon for nearly $50 less.) It was painful, but it was definitely worth it. No more leaving Etsy and manually entering information in order to print labels and then coming back to Etsy to mark orders shipped. Everything could be done right from my Etsy account and the shipping notification was sent immediately.AND (this is a huge and, thus all caps): I can print international labels with customs information. Absolutely no need to wait in line at the post office. Since I send international packages just about every week, this is a really big deal for me.
I would estimate this little beauty saves me close to an hour a week over our previous method, which was reasonably efficient. So in two years, it has paid for itself multiple times.
We save money on the label rolls by purchasing the HouseLabels brand which has worked perfectly and costs much less than the Dymo brand.
I used to dread creating shipping labels, but once we purchased this, it was no big deal and actually became kind of fun. Favorite. Tool. Ever.
What’s one of your unexpected favorite tools for your business?
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