Maybe you’ve noticed your Amazon orders haven’t included packing slips for single item boxes. Maybe you haven’t. I just noticed today. I received some award-wining Columbian coffee from Klatch Coffee in a Tyvek USPS envelope. It was taped up tight and the coffee showed up just fine. Then the Mrs. got some pills in a box from Amazon. There was a packing slip in with the coffee, but not inside the Amazon order. This got me thinking. Why or why not the packing slip?
Why. Printing out a packing slip helps you get the orders correct. Print it, grab the right coffee, and stuff ‘em both in the bag. Boom and boom. Done and out. Klatch isn’t the only one that does it. Most of the coffee I’ve ordered had a packing slip. Speckled Ax. Black Rifle. Klatch. But not Blue Bottle. For BB, the type of coffee that goes in the box is on the shipping label that’s printed out. That’s another way to make sure you put the right coffee in the box. Now for dropshippers who don’t pack their own boxes, it becomes the primary way the buyer is going to be reminded of the brand. Seriously, if that’s your business, you’re just selling stuff. You’re making money, but you’re not really building a brand, not something special, right? Maybe.
Why Not. Opponents of the packing slip consider it costly and redundant. Amazon had this to say on their site: “Packing slips aren’t required to make a return. We’ve begun eliminating packing slips from single-box deliveries as an initiative to reduce packaging waste. If you need a receipt for your order, you can always print one in Your Account.” Very interesting. They’re trying to reduce waste by removing the packing slip. Surely this cuts printing costs as well. But to me, I wasn’t interested in the savings involved. I’m more interested in the packaging and product delivery.
Conclusion. I’m not a fan of the packing slip. I know what coffee I ordered. I can understand if you have a bunch of different products in the same box, but for one- not needed. I’m even less a fan when it’s just a print out. Some companies will draw on, write on, or sign the packing slip to make it a little more personal. Without it, it seems cold, corporate, and needless. Johnny Cupcakes has said: “Great packaging doesn’t get thrown away,” but ugly packing slips surely get tossed. It’s also a miss for brand engagement. It’s a business solution to a business problem.
If you can get the correct product in the correct box, you don’t have a business problem. If not, there’s a marketing solution to this problem. Look at the box. Look at the slip. Look at the tape. With a little ingenuity, you can get your brand in more places that fit, organically. This isn’t over-the-top marketing putting the wrong product in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is a perfect opportunity to enhance your brand. Make it a sticker. Make it a thank you note. If your customers buy via mail order, make it another order form. Make that packing slip serve a function beyond stating the obvious of what’s in the box.