Important online selling lessons you can learn from Papermash

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 9 November 2011

To celebrate my son’s birthday, I ordered several items from various websites, both large and small. One of them, Papermash, completely blew me away with their customer service – so much so, that I just had to share it with you because I think there’s a great lesson in there for small e-commerce businesses.

I arrived home this evening to find a beautifully packaged set of paper straws along with a lovely note. It’s not a grand gesture, but it was personal and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

I was also hugely impressed at the speed at which they despatched my parcel. Of the five or six orders I placed on Tuesday evening, just one of them arrived today – one working day after ordering. It’s not enormously expensive to implement that sort of turnaround, but it does make a big difference to customer satisfaction. I will certainly be shopping with Papermash again, and I would certainly recommend them.

So what can small retailers learn from Papermash?

Personalise. It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to write a personal note – or if you’re larger, at the very least put in a pre-printed postcard saying thank you. Or you could write a thank you on your invoice. However you choose to do it – just make sure you do it.

Be quick and efficient. I know that despatching same day adds pressure to an already overstretched small-business owner. But, my goodness, does it make a difference to the customer, who will be sure to be much more keen to shop with you again (or perhaps even write a nice blog post about you).

Make sure people can find what they’re looking for. One of the reasons I went with Papermash in the first place was that when I searched for Stripy Paper Straws, they came up high in the search engines and they had an offering that represented good value for money.

These things really are fundamental, they don’t need to cost you huge amounts to get right, but they will make a very big difference when it comes to gaining repeat business through your e-commerce website.

Fiona Humberstone, Flourish design & marketing