For anyone who regularly runs crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc) campaigns, or just who regularly sends parcels, I thought I’d let you know how Blue Fox Comics go about sending out their online shop postage around the world.
Of course, there may be better ways of doing it, but we’ve been running Kickstarter’s and fulfilling backers for five years now. One of our recent campaigns had 1700+ separate backers!
We are not at the stage of using a fulfillment company yet, though that may be on the cards for larger campaigns in the future. At the moment, I’m just talking about the creator sticking the comics in envelopes and sending them out.
The Post Office Click & Drop service also means you do not have to stand in queues at the Post Office for hours on end annoying people – you just put the parcels in the nearest Click & Drop bin and away you go. It’s the way to go not just for online shop postage, but for any instance where multiple parcels are sent out on a regular basis.
Find out the nearest one to you here.
The TL:DR is this:
- Buy a Dymo Labelwriter 4XL – we used Amazon – they’re not cheap, but they don’t need ink, which will save you money in the long run
- Buy the labels for the printer
- Sign up to the Royal Mail Click & Drop
- Format the name & address information for the backers/shop customers in a simple spreadsheet – template is here
- Add the weight, the parcel type and shipping type code to the spreadsheet
- Import it into the Click & Drop system
- Match the spreadsheet headings to the required fields
- Generate the postage cost information (all you do is hit a button)
- Pay for the postage (it then downloads the labels for you)
- Print the labels on the label printer
step 1: Buy a Dymo Labelwriter 4XL
We print our labels, which, if you’ve ever had the misfortune to see my handwriting, you’ll know is essential if you want the parcel to actually reach you.
It uses a USB connection into your PC. It says on Amazon it works with a Mac, too.
Step 2: Buy the labels for the printer
Yes, this is another expense, but they make the online shop postage so much easier and more professional. If you need to factor the cost of the labels into your products, then that’s fine.
Step 3: Sign up to the Royal Mail Click & Drop
The interface is really easy to the system, which surprised me. Once you have an account, go to Settings in the top right-hand corner. The screen below should appear:
There is also a Desktop version of the software, though I don’t use that. Things to set up in settings are:
- Company Address
- User Management (I only have me showing in here)
- Trading Names
- Label Format (we use Separate Label & Despatch Note, 6×4, Do Not Generate Despatch Notes, Generate Customs Declarations with Orders)
- Default Customs Information (we use Other, Automatically Sign and Date Customs Declaration Documents, Apply the Following Default Package Contents to International Orders – see image below)
- Miscellaneous – Hide Postage Price on Your Postage Labels (this seems to be the norm for all the packages we receive)
step 4: Format the online shop postage name & address information
Using the postage spreadsheet template, fill out the information (or, more likely, export the information from the Kickstarter, Backerkit, etc) and format the column titles appropriately.
Step 5: Add the weight, the parcel type and shipping type
- The Weight column is in kilograms, so format 499 grams as 0.499
- The Size is generally going to be Large Letter or Small Parcel
- The Services are shown in the Settings section mentioned above, but the common ones are:
- OLP1 – First Class
- OLP2 – Second Class
- IEOLP – International Economy (only makes a real difference outside of Europe)
- ISOLP – International Standard Class
- ITROLP – International Tracked
- ITSOLP – International Tracked and Signed
Step 6: Import it into the Click & Drop system
Then in Click & Drop, go to the Orders menu, and select Import.
The first thing you’ll need to do is select your file, then you’ll need to say the Name Format is ‘First and Last Names Are Combined‘, select the date format, and select the check boxes as shown below.
Step 7: Match the spreadsheet headings to the required fields
You will also need to map your fields. The first seven are shown above, and the last three are shown below. You can see the mandatory fields are shown in green.
Then you need to click the Import Orders button shown above.
If the import is successful, you should see a green banner appear as below.
If it has errors, I usually Undo the Import (on the screen after) and then fix the errors in the spreadsheet and re-import. The errors are fairly self-explanatory, I think.
Step 8: Generate the online shop postage cost information
Click on the Pay & Generate Labels button shown below.
You can receive errors here, mainly to do with the address containing characters that need replacing. I try and find the most similar letter and use that.
step 9: Pay for the online shop postage
Personally, I use PayPal, I think it might be the only option. When you come back to the Click & Drop screen (after successful payment) it will automatically download your labels. I find these really useful for interrogating when I’ve sent the rewards out.
step 10: Print the labels on the label printer
Open the PDF, and select your Dymo printer. The label name is as shown below when you come to print them out.
Stick the labels on the parcels, and it’s off to the parcel bin with them! Amazingly simple, and no waiting in queues at the post office ever again!
Let me know if this helps with your online shop postage and if you spot anything which needs fixing/elaborating on.
1st January 2021
Blue Fox Publishing Limited
As well as comics, Simon writes plays, poetry, (award winning) film scripts. He also acts, directs and produces films, too, because why have any spare time…