Things to do for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day 2023 - Where to go?

Valentine’s Day 2023 is just around the corner! And, there’s still that niggling thought on many people’s minds, “where to go on Valentine’s Day?”

Whether you choose to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner, close friends and family, or just enjoying your own company, we’ve got some ideas for what you can get up to. If it’s a meal in a nice restaurant, an overnight stay, or simply to get outdoors, we’ve got all angles covered.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

We’re so fortunate to have a great selection of hotels right across the country, and so many of them are ideal to celebrate Valentine’s day. Whether it’s for a romantic getaway, something authentic, or a weekend of luxury, our top 5 picks will have something for you! From the picturesque Lough Eske Castle tucked away from the hustle and bustle, or the Castlemartyr Resort providing a luxurious, relaxing and romantic retreat. For something intimate the elegant Mount Juliet Estate is ideal, or just to unwind and take in the beautiful scenery of the River Shannon, it has to be The Lakeside Hotel & Leisure Centre! Regardless of which one you choose, they’re all sure to leave a lasting impression.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

For an unforgettable Valentine’s Day meal, one of our top 5 picks should be to your taste! The Dax Restaurant in Dublin is a Michelin-starred restaurant that is ideal if you’re wanting something luxurious and a little special. O’Grady’s on the Pier in Galway is a wonderful option, beautifully positioned with stunning views of the harbour and of course the delicious seafood dishes. For Irish Cuisine with a modern twist, the Lemon Tree in Letterkenny is a great choice. And the Red Bank Restaurant in Carrick-on-Shannon is a cozy spot with a fantastic menu and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Finally, for those wanting a unique dining experience it has to be Paradiso in Cork, offering a fabulous variety of vegetable cuisines.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

For a romantic and unique escape, why not consider visiting one of the stunning locations around Ireland. There’s so many choices from the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, to the majestic Rock of Cashel, there is something special waiting to be explored. For a more adventurous outing, you can also explore the Gap of Dunloe or take a trip to Connemara National Park. Each of these stunning locations are just as good as the next, it’s a difficult choice we know!

Whatever you get up to this Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s a great one!

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Your Guide To Finding The Right E-commerce Courier

Ecommerce Courier Example

When it comes to running a successful e-commerce business, choosing the right courier is crucial. Your chosen courier will be responsible for delivering your products to customers in a timely and professional manner, ensuring that their business experience is a positive one. But with so many courier options available, how do you ensure that you choose the right one for your business?

This step by step guide will walk you through the process of establishing your shipping and courier needs before selecting the ideal e-commerce courier for your particular business niche.

Step 1: Determine Your Shipping Needs

Before looking for a courier, it’s important to assess your shipping needs. Consider factors such as…

Volume of Orders

Determine the average number of orders you receive per month. This will help you determine the size and capacity of your courier partner.

Weight and Dimensions of Products

Evaluate the size and weight of your products to determine if any special handling or packaging is required.

Delivery Areas

Determine the regions or countries you want to serve. This will help you identify couriers that cover those areas.


Determine the timeframe you need to deliver your products to customers. This will help you choose a courier that offers express or overnight delivery services.

Tracking and Notifications

Determine if you need real-time tracking or notifications for customers to track their orders; this will depend on your products, especially if they are perishable, such as fresh food items.

Step 2: Research Courier Options

Once you have a clear understanding of your shipping needs, it’s time to research different courier options. When it comes to choosing a courier company, there are several key indicators that can help you identify a reliable and trustworthy service provider. By considering these indicators, you can make an informed decision and ensure that your logistics needs are handled efficiently and effectively.

Here are some key indicators of a good courier company:

Reputation and Reputation

A reputable courier company will have a solid reputation in the industry. Look for customer feedback and reviews online, as well as industry awards and recognition. These indicators can give you an idea of the company’s reliability, professionalism, and customer satisfaction.

Experience and Expertise

A well-established courier company will have years of experience in the field. This experience allows them to understand the specific requirements of different industries and tailor their offerings to meet individual needs. Look for a company with a team of experienced professionals who can provide guidance and advice on logistics strategies.

Network and Coverage

A courier company with good coverage will have an extensive network of shipping locations around the world. This network allows for efficient and cost-effective deliveries, regardless of where your packages need to go. Look for a company that has a wide network of depots, warehouses, and partner carriers to ensure a seamless delivery process.

Track and Trace Technology

A reputable courier company will offer advanced track and trace technology to keep customers informed about the status of their shipments. With real-time tracking information, you can monitor the progress of your packages every step of the way. Look for a company with an advanced tracking system that provides regular updates and notifications.

Flexibility and Customisation

A good courier company should be flexible in terms of the services offered and able to tailor their solutions to your specific needs. Whether you need express delivery, specialised shipping, or bulk shipping, you should be able to find a company that can accommodate your requirements. Look for a company that offers a wide range of services and provides personalised solutions to meet your specific requirements.

Competitive Rates and Pricing

While quality should always be a priority, it’s natural to look for courier services that offer competitive rates. Look for a company that provides transparent pricing and offers flexible pricing options based on volume and frequency of shipments. This will ensure that you are getting the best value for your budget.

Excellent Customer Service

A good courier company will prioritise excellent customer service. Look for a company that has a dedicated customer support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns you may have. Whether it’s over the phone, email, or live chat, a responsive and helpful customer service department can make a significant difference in your overall experience.

By considering these key indicators, you can identify a good courier company that will deliver your packages efficiently and securely.

Step 3: Evaluate Customer Support

While shipping efficiency is important, it’s equally important to have a reliable customer support team. Consider the following when evaluating customer support…


Check the availability of customer support representatives, both via phone and email. Ensure you can easily reach a representative during regular business hours.


Assess the knowledge and expertise of the customer support team. Look for representatives who can answer questions and address any concerns you may have.


Evaluate the response time of the customer support team. Look for prompt and helpful responses that resolve any issues or concerns promptly.

Step 4: Test and Evaluate

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential couriers, it’s time to test and evaluate their services. Here are a few steps to follow…

Send a Test Shipment

Ship a small batch of products with each courier to compare the speed and accuracy of their delivery service.

Assess Packaging

Pay attention to the courier’s packaging and handling to ensure your product arrives in good condition.

Customer Feedback

Reach out to customers who recently received orders from your chosen courier. Ask for their feedback and inquire about their experience.

Repeat Orders

Once you have selected a courier, continue to use their services and monitor their performance. Pay attention to any recurring issues or delays.

By following these steps, you can make an informed decision and choose the ideal e-commerce courier for your business. Remember, the right courier will not only ensure that your products arrive on time and in good condition, but will also contribute to a positive customer experience and the growth of your e-commerce business.

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Your Guide to Irish Parcels

Your Guide to Irish Parcels

Are you new to Irish Parcels? If you’re not familiar with us, or how our service works, let us explain it. Whether you’re a first-time or experienced shipper, we strive to simplify the shipping process with an affordable and convenient solution, saving you time and money!

Who are Irish Parcels?

Irish Parcels offer a fast, reliable and affordable door-to-door parcel delivery service across Ireland, and to over 200 countries worldwide. Ideal for small businesses sending parcels to their customers, or for someone simply wanting to send a gift to loved ones abroad.

What is a Parcel Delivery Service?

A parcel delivery service, often known as a courier or delivery service, is the transportation of a parcel from one location to another.

What is a Door-to-Door Parcel Delivery Service?

A door-to-door parcel delivery service means your parcel will be collected from your home or business, and then transported to its destination, meaning that you will not have to drop it off or collect it.

How does Irish Parcels work?

We’ve made our process as smooth and seamless as possible.

  1. Get an Instant Quote and Book Online
  2. Print and Attach your Labels
  3. We’ll Collect your Parcel
  4. We’ll Deliver your Parcel

Irish Parcels - How it works

Every order with Irish Parcels comes with full online tracking, so you can monitor the progress of your shipment from start to finish.

Why use Irish Parcels

Enjoy the convenience of our affordable and speedy courier services available online 24/7. Our service also comes with a host of benefits that you won’t want to miss out on!

Pay-as-you-go service

There’s no need to apply for credit or rate cards, it’s as simple as you see the price, you pay for it there and then with your Credit or Debit card, or via your PayPal account.

Top-up and Receive 5% discount

If you’re planning to send multiple parcels, we offer a handy top-up facility which enables you to add funds to your account, making your booking process an even faster one. And for every €100 you top-up, we’ll add 5% credit to your account.

FREE and Enhanced Compensation Cover

Although damage is rare with Irish Parcels, there’s compensation options for additional peace of mind. With every order we provide a FREE €50 Compensation cover, with the option to enhance this cover up to €1000 for a small fee.

Local & Worldwide

Whether you’re shipping Locally or Worldwide, Irish Parcels is your one-stop shop for Parcel Deliveries, offering services throughout Ireland, and beyond to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Competitive Prices & Great Choice

We work with a variety of top couriers to make sure we offer you competitive prices. We also offer a great range of services that enable you to choose something that’ll suit your needs.

Local Customer Support

Our friendly and knowledgeable Local Customer Support team are available by Phone, Email, or Live Chat, to assist you with any queries you may have. We also wealth of information available on the support pages of our website.

A Trusted Brand

We’re incredibly proud to be trusted by thousands of business and personal users across Ireland. We are independently rated 4.5 out of 5, which reflects the exceptional customer service we strive to provide.

Join our thousands of happy customers and get an Instant Quote.

Irish Parcels

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Shipping During Peak Seasons: Holiday Survival Guide

Peak shipping times

Most e-commerce companies can count on a significant uptick in business during the months surrounding the winter holidays. For businesses that sell directly to customers online, the holiday shopping season is crucial. You’ll need a foolproof shipping plan and efficient fulfillment procedures to keep up with the enormous volume in such a short time. With this guide, we hope to provide you with a holiday survival guide for shipping during the peak seasons.

Contrary to popular belief, the busiest time of year for businesses like e-commerce and shipping begins as early as October and continues until the new year. After the last holiday season, it’s possible that these schedules will be pushed back even more and begin sooner. Here is a rundown of the most important dates and celebrations that fall during the busiest time of year for shipping.

Halloween (October 31) and Thanksgiving (November 23)

Despite being associated with the United States and its culture, many Europeans continue to celebrate Halloween. The potential for making a sale grows during this time of year, regardless of whether or not you specialize in selling “spooky” décor and costumes. Many companies will take advantage of the break by offering discounts and sales. Black Friday (November 24) and Cyber Monday (November 27) fall on the same weekend as Thanksgiving, officially kicking off the Christmas shopping season. Now is the season when people start looking for sales and stocking up on holiday presents.

Christmas Day (December 25)

Presents ordered over the holiday season are expected to arrive before the big day. Keep in mind the carriers’ holiday cutoff dates (and add some buffer time to be safe) and let your customers know so they may plan ahead for their orders to arrive on time.

Christmas Day (December 26) is Boxing Day

Although Christmas has passed, that doesn’t mean the busiest time of year has passed. There will likely be a large number of sales the day after Christmas, since many stores hold Boxing Day sales. If you want your consumers to be able to shop on Boxing Day, you’ll need to restock. In addition, Boxing Day is a popular day for returns. After opening their Christmas presents, customers may be more inclined to return or exchange their purchases on this day.

New Year (December 31/January 1)

Even though the holiday shopping season is winding down, the number of returns remains extremely high. During this period, extra effort is typically required from customer service and logistical operations teams to facilitate the smooth processing of returns and exchanges.

Think ahead

Use available data to your advantage, give some thought to any upcoming promotions, and establish a strategy for dealing with unexpectedly high demand. In order to maximize stock and make informed judgments about when and how much of each item to reorder, demand forecasting is essential. Even if it’s impossible to predict stock levels with absolute precision, there are ways to get closer to reality in your projections:

  • Take into account past patterns
  • Plan for anticipated promotions and peaks.
  • Monitor which products are moving quickly and which are sitting on the shelves.
  • In the event of a stockout, you should have a system in place to immediately designate orders as “out of stock” in your shop, so both you and your consumers are aware of the situation.
  • Excess inventory can be liquidated through a promotion or a quick sale to create space for more in-demand items.

Inform your customers in advance

Since this is the busiest time of year for shipping, e-commerce firms need to pay close attention to carrier cutoffs for each service (even padding in extra time) and carrier transit time performance, so that they can inform customers of any delays. Customer satisfaction is directly tied to timely delivery, but delays do occur. Be anticipatory in informing clients of prospective delays in the event of a delay. Pay close attention to carrier holiday shipping deadlines when they become available, so that you may inform your consumers of the absolute latest date an order can be placed and still be received in time for the holidays. Monitoring stock levels is also essential.

Boost Your Customer Service

Because of the surge in orders and possibly even delays from carriers, you should increase the size of your customer service team. If you want to keep up with the increased traffic and orders at your online store, you’ll need to make sure your consumers can reach you when and how they like. Be sure that everyone on your team is aware of carrier cutoff dates, active discounts, the various shipping options, estimated arrival times, and the quickest ways to return or exchange things.

Get in touch with your vendors

To prevent stock outs this Christmas season, it is important to communicate with your manufacturer or supplier as soon as possible and share your anticipated order volume. Increased demand, together with port delays and other supply chain difficulties, has resulted in longer than usual lead times. Stockouts, backorders, and promotions on out-of-stock items can be avoided with knowledge of production lead times. To further mitigate risk in the event that their major supplier is unable to restock as planned, several brands even try to vary their manufacturing mix with numerous partners in different sectors.

Get some additional packing supplies

If you’re doing fulfillment in-house, you should stock up on boxes, poly mailers, and any other supplies you’ll need to avoid any delays caused by a lack of packaging materials. Furthermore, this holiday season is a great time to consider how you may make your business stand out. Custom packaging, promotional inserts, and handwritten gift notes are just a few ways to add a special touch to the unwrapping process. In today’s world of social media, if you provide your consumers with an unforgettable unboxing experience, they are more likely to rave about it to their friends and followers.

And finally, get an effective system in place for handling returns

Always have a clear, easily accessible returns and exchanges policy posted somewhere prominent on your website or product pages, no matter the time of year. By streamlining the returns process for customers, a well-organized returns management system can boost brand loyalty and keep sales steady. You may prevent the loss of a sale by providing a pleasant returns process, which will encourage customers to make exchanges. Make sure you’re not losing money by reviewing your return policy sometimes. Examine the most frequently returned items, find out why customers are sending them back, and think about making adjustments to the products themselves or their descriptions in order to better meet customers’ expectations.

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Step By Step Guide To Becoming An E-commerce Seller

E-commerce website

If you’re considering starting your own eCommerce business, you should have a crystal clear and in-depth understanding of what it takes to be successful as an online seller. Only then can you hope to attain any measure of achievement. Continue reading to find out what you need to launch an online storefront before you go out and buy an array of inventory and a domain name.

Read THE step by step guide to becoming an e-commerce seller, and you will be on the road to online selling success…

Step 1: Your e-commerce niche

When it comes to online sales, the most successful businesses target tiny, niche markets. In online commerce, niche markets are those that don’t have any competing goods or services. If you can carve out a specialised market for your goods, you’ll face fewer rivals, increasing your odds of success. You should look for a market segment that is sizeable enough to support a substantial customer base yet limited in terms of competition. Starting with a product market and narrowing down from there is the best strategy for finding your niche. Finding your product’s ideal market is the first step towards honing in on a certain subset within that market. If your product sells well in its chosen subset of the market, you’ll be able to expand into more lucrative niches and hire additional people to help you out. Your ability to dominate a larger portion of the market increases as your business expands.

Step 2: Your shipping strategy

When it comes to selling online, it’s not just about the major retail chains anymore. Your decision about which eCommerce sales channel to use is crucial. One of these choices might work better for you than the others, depending on your circumstances:

Dropshipping: In the dropshipping eCommerce approach, you don’t keep any stock of the things you’re selling. When a customer places an order on your website, you communicate with the vendor to arrange shipment. Due to the low initial investment required, dropshipping has become a common method of doing business in the online retail industry.

Wholesale: The practice of selling in bulk to merchants using an online wholesale marketplace. The ability to buy things at wholesale prices and then resell them at a higher price while still making a profit is the main attraction of wholesaling. However, you’ll need to put up a lot of capital up front so that you can buy supplies in massive quantities.

Subscriptions: E-commerce stores that specialise in subscriptions typically offer a monthly delivery of a handpicked selection of products. Online courses and private clubs are two further examples of subscription-based enterprises.

Once a distribution method has been chosen, shipping details must be sorted out. Find out if your eCommerce website builder can print shipping labels and calculate delivery fees for your clients. Evaluate your own shipping expenses and determine whether or not certain destinations are out of your price range. Then do your research and find a local shipping company to partner with, that will ship to wherever on the globe your buyers live. This is one of the most important e-commerce business decisions you will make! No online customer will make a return visit to your store if their initial purchase is delivered late and/or damaged.

Step 3: Your business plan

Business plans are written after key decisions have been made, such as the target market and distribution approach. A business plan can be seen as a tool for refining your concepts into a coherent whole. It will determine how you allocate resources and how you approach expanding your consumer base. Financial forecasts (estimates of your price and sales strategy, profit goals, and any investor data), a roadmap, and a mission statement are the standard components of a business plan.

Step 4: Your online store

You’ve identified your target demographic, zeroed in on your specialty, and settled on a product; now it’s time to start manufacturing and selling. It’s time to pick a host and launch your online shop.

  • Choose an eCommerce platform

Those interested in opening an online shop have a wide variety of options to choose from. You can also sell your wares through several different marketplace channels, such as eBay, Amazon, etc, or a selling platform like Shopify or BigCommerce , without having to set up your own website.

  • Set up your own website

You can develop a whole website of your own with a typical website builder like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or WordPress; you just need a small section of the site to concentrate on your store’s features.

Step 5: Your marketing

Now that you have your online store up and running, you must devote your full attention to making it a huge success. You need to actively seek out, connect with, and ultimately persuade your ideal clientele. Your product does the heavy lifting of attracting buyers, but it’s your brand’s job to give your product a personality all its own. Branding helps you stand out from the crowd, even if your competitors all provide the same thing. Make sure the marketing materials, product names, and images all reflect what sets your product apart. Making a memorable brand is one way to gain customers without having to rely just on the quality of your offering. Once you’ve settled on a brand strategy, be sure to apply it consistently across the board.

Search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, social media, email marketing, and content marketing are all examples of inbound sales methods that aim to bring customers to you rather than the other way around. You will demonstrate your product’s value to customers by addressing their pain points and improving their daily routines across these platforms. Start documenting your routines and behind-the-scenes activities with regular photos and videos. That way, you’ll have content for your website and social media platforms on hand at all times. Working smarter, not harder, is key when it comes to marketing, maximise the impact of your content by recycling and repurposing where possible. Maintaining efficacy allows you to direct more resources toward developing and perfecting your company’s business plan.

And finally…

By automating the mundane tasks, you and your team will have more time to focus on growing your business, satisfying your customers, and achieving your ultimate goals—whether that’s entering a new market or launching an eCommerce site from scratch.

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Guide To Creating Packaging For Your E-commerce Products

The closest your company will get to giving your customers a personalised touch is through eCommerce packaging. The best eCommerce packaging combines the appropriate box and infill for the finest unboxing experience. These minor adjustments transform the packaging of your product from a standard delivery to a totally unique one. BUT you need to remember that your shipping and production expenses will be impacted by the eCommerce packaging you use. Weight and price are crucial factors to take into account since when boxes get bigger or the infill gets heavier, the cost of shipping a product can go up. Returns are another way that packaging and filling can affect your bottom line. A well-packed order will arrive undamaged. Damaged products and dissatisfied customers will result from eCommerce packing that can’t withstand the delivery process.

The following is our guide to creating packaging for your e-commerce products…

Bag or Box?

The box or bag that will be used to pack all of your products comes first on the list. When your client opens their mailbox, it will be the first thing they see. If branded packaging produces a memorable experience, it can be worth the cost (especially because some consumers reuse their boxes). Packaging options have expanded along with the quantity and variety of goods supplied via eCommerce.

Cardboard Boxes

For the majority of the business, corrugated cardboard boxes continue to be the preferred packaging for eCommerce. Cardboard is strong, doesn’t significantly increase the weight of your product, and is recyclable. Double-walled cardboard adds an additional layer of strength and protection for items that are extremely fragile or heavy. Sometimes a product is packaged in a shipping-friendly box of its own. But occasionally it makes sense to cap it off with a simple brown cardboard box.

Wallets and Bags

A plastic shipping bag is a wonderful option if you offer lightweight, non-fragile items. Bags and envelopes are compact, self-sealing, sturdy, and lightweight. For sending minor apparel orders, they are effective. Instead of over-boxing a tiny item, you can place it inside an envelope or bag. These mailers have the added virtue of being waterproof.

Padded Envelopes

An effective delivery method for tiny or flat objects is a padded envelope. Some are easier to recycle because they are cushioned with shredded paper. Although less environmentally friendly, padded envelopes filled with bubble wrap are quite protective.

Successful Ecommerce Packaging Relies on Infill:

In order to prevent your products from shifting during delivery, you almost always need to add infill to the boxes you ship them in. Infill provides additional stability and padding to guarantee that your items arrive intact. There are numerous infill options available. One of the biggest shippers in the world, Amazon, combines brown paper and air-filled cushions. There isn’t a single, perfect solution for infill. You’ll need to plan according to your particular merchandise and shipping.

Kraft Paper

One of the most adaptable and flexible materials for package infill is brown kraft (brown) paper. It is simple to crumple it to fit any infill requirement or easily rip it into sheets of any size you require. The fact that Kraft paper may be recycled endlessly is another advantage. Kraft paper requires less chemical input than items made from bleached white paper. You can also find kraft that is manufactured from recycled paper.

Air Pillows

The plastic sacs filled with air known as “air pillows” are becoming a more popular sort of infill. One of the lightest filler materials for eCommerce packaging, they are. Air pillows may be the least expensive option if you’re worried about the weight of your delivery and require a lot of filler. Although they can sometimes be recycled, it’s a sure bet that the majority of them end up in landfill.

Packing Peanuts

The traditional filler, packing peanuts, can be messy and annoying to work with or receive. This can lead to issues with packing and unpacking, and as Styrofoam cannot be recycled, there may also be issues. However, packing peanuts manufactured from corn flour are much easier to discard and far more environmentally beneficial.

Bubble Wrap

The best protection for delicate items is bubble wrap. The bubbles are enjoyable to pop too! Customers can view the bubble wrap infill as more than just packing and more of a bonus. You might want to let your consumers know that many locations that now accept plastic bag recycling will also accept bubble wrap, allowing them to enjoy their popping in a secure, environmentally friendly manner.

Shredded cardboard

Infill made of shredded cardboard is a fantastic way to recycle while wrapping. All you need is a machine that transforms used cardboard into sheets that can be folded into an accordion. These sheets can be used to safely wrap fragile items during delivery. It’s also simple for customers to remove and recycle at the other end.

Finishing Touches for your eCommerce packaging:

Packaging for online sales involves more than just the supplies you employ to deliver products to clients securely. In addition to the contents, what you place inside the box can have a significant impact. Consider it the tangible representation of your brand voice.

Put The Receipt In

Surprisingly, the receipt plays a significant role in the packaging process. Although it frequently goes unremembered, your customers anticipate an itemised receipt for the order. Don’t just attach a receipt; make it stand out. Ensure that it enhances and supports your entire branding. Your receipt can enhance your order with a little imagination.

Apply stickers

Stickers are perhaps one of the simplest and least expensive methods for in-box branding. They can be used to embellish the outside of the box or the carrying bag or to hold down tissue paper around the product. A few extra stickers can be added as a freebie. You will receive free promotion as a result.

Eco-Friendly eCommerce Packaging:

The consumer of today has a wide range of eCommerce possibilities. They want to make purchases from people who share their ideals. Eco-friendly packaging can frequently assist you in demonstrating that common value and culture. But not everybody will be aware of what can be recycled. Include a remark on your label explaining how to properly dispose of the materials if you utilise compostable fillers or components, such as bags made of vegetable starches.

Keep in mind that your packaging and infill are not static. Keep refining your packing methods and supplies. You might wish to update the design and feel of your eCommerce orders as your business develops. You will also have access to newer, greener, and more appealing packaging and infill alternatives as packaging materials and methods advance.

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6 Things To Look For When Choosing A Courier For Your Shipping

Courier with van

There are lots of businesses that rely on couriers and delivery services to keep their business afloat. Whether they’re delivering to consumers or even other businesses, this requires a timely and reliable courier service provider that will ensure they get their goods in one piece.

But how do you go about choosing the right courier service in the first place?

Well, whether you’re just starting out on your business venture or you’re scaling up and need a better provider, there are certain aspects you should look out for in an excellent courier service.

We’re now going to share these with your below, so you can take these important factors into consideration when setting up your shipping strategy.

Read on to find out more.

1. The services they offer

First and foremost, when choosing a courier for your business, you need to look at the services they offer and whether or not they’re gonna be able to tick all the right boxes. For example, if you need to track all your deliveries, then you need to make sure this is a service that they offer. Otherwise, they are not the provider for you.

There are lots of other services you might require, and in most cases, these will be listed on the company website. But if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to get in touch with the sales or customer service team to check if they offer all the features you need.

At this stage, you might also wish to determine what is going to be absolutely essential for your business and if there are certain services you could live without. This might factor in later when you are trying to find the right provider for the right price. But we will discuss this in more detail next.

2. Prices

There are loads of costs associated with running a business, so it stands to reason that you want to keep these to a minimum wherever possible. Therefore, when choosing a courier service to ship your goods, you need to choose wisely and ensure that you pick the most budget-friendly provider; without compromising on service, of course.

So as you begin narrowing down the service providers, it’s important to look out for their prices and weigh this up against what they are offering.

Some providers might include prices on their website, while others may require you to speak to a sales representative for a tailored quote. Whatever the case may be, don’t rush this decision and spend some time comparing the different providers until you find the right one for the right price.

3. Speed of delivery

Something else that is going to largely affect the services you choose and also the service you can offer your customers is the speed of delivery.

Today’s consumers are far less patient, and in the era of Amazon Prime, they expect to get their goods quickly. In fact, only one in three (32%) consumers would be willing to wait more than two days for a parcel.

Therefore you need to account for customer demands and make sure you’re offering the quickest possible delivery times in order to keep your customers satisfied.

Of course, there will always be exceptions where rapid delivery is not possible, but it’s a good idea to do some research and find out what the average delivery speeds are and whether they offer any special services, such as same day, next day or overnight delivery.

4. Reviews and testimonials

You might have looked at a courier’s website and been happy with everything you’ve seen online. However, you can’t be sure that they’re going to deliver on promises until you begin using the services.

That’s where reviews and testimonials come in. By looking at feedback from other businesses that have used their services before, you can begin to gauge just how reliable these providers will really be.

There are several places you can look for this information. Specific review sites like Trustpilot and Google reviews make this much easier. You can also check out the courier’s website and social media profiles. This is where people are most likely to share their opinions and experiences with that courier.

Make sure to read a good number of reviews and testimonials before making your mind up. Weigh these up against each other to determine what the pain points are and what the benefits are of using that company.

You should then be able to determine whether this service provider is going to be right for you and your company.

5. Location

If you are running an online search for couriers in a specific area, then it’s likely that Google will only show you relevant results. However, if you make the mistake of being too broad, you might be presented with hundreds of options, but that doesn’t mean they’re all accessible to your business.

So before you spend ages reading up on a great provider, looking at testimonials and deciding if they’re right for you, be sure to check the location and radius they cover with their deliveries.

The last thing you want to do is find the perfect service provider, only to be let down at the last minute when you realise they don’t deliver in your area.

6. Flexibility and scalability

Finally, delivery needs can change at different points throughout the year. For example, it’s very common to get busy over periods like Christmas, and you might find you are sending out a lot more deliveries.

However, there might be other times of the year when you find yourself fulfilling fewer orders and therefore needing less from your courier service provider.

Of course, this is something you can discuss when setting an account and agreeing on a price, but it’s always good to look out for those who offer more flexibility and scalability.

You want them to reflect your business needs so you aren’t spending unnecessary money on a courier service you’re not using, but you’re also not going to find yourself with hundreds of orders that you’re unable to ship out to your customers in the agreed timeframe.

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Guide To Shipping Unusual Items

Whether you run a business or you’re simply selling belongings that you no longer need, there might be times when you’re required to ship unusual items. These could be large, heavy, oddly-shaped or very fragile, but whatever the case may be, you need to prepare these correctly.

Essentially, you need to make sure that you protect and package your goods carefully. You must also know the correct weight and dimensions of your goods and ensure that they are labelled properly.

This makes it easier for courier services to know what to expect and for their team to manage and handle your packages accordingly. This way, they can make sure your goods reach their destination in one piece.

But if you’re not sure where to start with sending your goods, then this guide is for you.

Below, we’ll offer some top tips and techniques from an expert shipping provider so that you can pack and send your usual items with peace of mind.

Carefully choose the right packaging material

One of the most important parts of shipping unusual items is choosing the right packaging in the first place. There are several things you need to consider at this stage; for example, will you need to use a box, bag or crate as the primary packaging for your items?

Whatever you choose, you need to make sure that your packaging is going to be plenty big enough for your item(s). It’s vital that you don’t cram these in and potentially damage your goods before you even begin.

However, you also need to make sure that the box or bag isn’t so big that your item is not going to slide or rattle around during transit, as this can also lead to damage.

Once you’ve chosen your primary package, you will then need to decide if you’re going to need additional protection, depending on the unusual item you are shipping. Some of the most common and useful materials for protecting your goods include:

  • Packing peanuts
  • Bubble wrap
  • Crumpled paper
  • Corrugated card
  • Foam sheets

These will ensure that your unusual goods sit securely within their box or bag and will add an additional layer of protection for the journey. This is going to be key if you’re shipping something that is fragile or has small, fragile elements to it.

So, the first thing you need to do is determine which primary packaging and additional protection are going to be best suited to the items you are sending.

Always test your packaging

But before you load up your packaging and stick the label on, it’s important to test that it’s going to be strong enough to make the journey in one piece. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always test the strength of your box or bag right away, particularly if you’re sending heavier items (more on this next).

You don’t have to test this with the item you’re shipping if you’re worried this could cause damage. Simply find something of a similar shape or weight and pop this inside the box or bag instead to make sure that it is going to hold out and protect your items during transit.

After all, the last thing you need is for the bottom of your box to give way and your goods to drop to the floor and break before they’ve even reached the courier.

If you’re concerned about the strength of your chosen packaging, you might wish to reinforce this with items such as corrugated card or choose a bigger, stronger box even if this costs a little more to ship.

Packing different items

There are lots of reasons that you might not be able to simply put your item in a standard box or padded bag and send it off.

These items might be deemed unusual and need a little extra care because of their shape, size, weight or fragility. Below, we’re going to look at how to deal with a few specific examples to give you a better idea of how to package your unusual goods. These include:

Oddly-shaped items

If you’re packing an oddly-shaped item, you might find that you’ve had to place it in a box that is much larger than the item itself just because of certain elements on it. For example, if you’re shipping a musical instrument or piece of furniture like a chair.

In these cases, you may need to use padding and additional packaging to fill in the gaps and pad out any additional space within the box. This will help to protect and steady your item during transit.

Heavy items

If you’re packing a heavier item like building materials, stone items or something made of metal, a reinforced cardboard box might not be enough, particularly if these are large items.

In this scenario, it might be worth placing the item on a wooden pallet even if you then put this inside a box. Be sure to strap the item down or tie it to the pallet in some way to stop it from moving around. Alternatively, you could use a wooden crate for packaging heavier items.

It might also be worth adding an additional label to let the courier know quickly that this is a weighty item that requires extra attention.

Fragile items

If you’ve got to send something that is fragile, for example, something ceramic or made of glass, you’re going to need lots of extra packaging elements such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Find a box or bag that the item fits in snuggly but without being forced, and fill the additional space with the aforementioned protective packaging. Be sure to add a label that says fragile to let the courier know that they need to take extra care when handling your parcel.

Dismantle your items where possible

Finally, if you’re able to dismantle your unusual item and package each element separately, this can drastically increase the level of protection during transit. This is particularly important if you’re shipping larger items or those with lots of different parts.

Let’s say, for example, you’re shipping a drum kit. If you send this in one piece, you increase the risk of damage, plus you’ll need a much bigger container to fit in. Alternatively, you can take this apart and wrap each individual element, giving them more protection.

Of course, your ability to take the item apart will completely depend on what it is you’re sending and whether this is practical.

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8 Reasons To Choose Irish Parcels

8 reasons to choose Irish Parcels

At Irish Parcels, we provide a fast, reliable and affordable parcel delivery service.

We strive to simplify the shipping process, resulting in both businesses & individuals saving valuable time and money. Whether you’re sending a gift to loved ones or a package to a customer, our service is perfect.

Listed below are the 8 reasons why you should choose Irish Parcels:

1 – Competitive Prices

Offering you competitive prices by comparing multiple couriers. 

Competitive Prices | Irish Parcels

2 – Local & Worldwide Shipping

Whether you’re shipping from Sligo to Sydney, or somewhere in between, we ship to over 200 countries worldwide.

Local & Worldwide Shipping | Irish Parcels

3 – Quote & Book Online

Our website allows you to Quote & Book instantly 24 hours a day,  7 days a week.

Quote & Book Online | Irish Parcels

4 – Pay-as-you-go service

For your convenience, we’re a pay-as-you-go service. Our secure online payment system allows you to pay by credit/debit card with no additional billing or invoicing required.

Pay-as-you-go | NI Parcels

5 – Door to Door Service

Once you book, we’ll collect your parcel and deliver it. Providing an estimated delivery time frame.

Door to Door Delivery Service | NI Parcels

6 – Full Online Tracking

You can monitor the progress of your parcel with our full online tracking.

Full Online Tracking | NI Parcels

7 – Irish Customer Support

As well as our extensive support section online, our Irish customer support team is available should you require assistance. You can contact us via phone, email or online chat.

Irish Customer Support | Irish Parcels

8 – A brand you can trust

At Irish Parcels, we’ve been trusted by thousands of businesses and individuals across Ireland, and currently, we are rated EXCELLENT 4.8 out of 5 with

A brand you can trust | NI Parcels

Get an instant quote here.

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4 Payment Processing Options For Online Businesses

There are lots of reasons to start and run an online business. It can help to eliminate some of the costs associated with having a brick-and-mortar business, it opens you up to a much larger customer base, or you could just use this to support sales alongside a brick-and-mortar shop.

Of course, there are lots of important aspects to consider when setting up an online business, such as web design, branding, how to market your products or services and shipping options. However, arguably one of the most important things is getting the right payment solutions in place so you can actually take payments.

After all, without this, how are you going to make any money?

Not only this, but today’s consumers are used to having multiple options when it comes to payment. They like to pay quickly through online portals without having to search for their card in their bag. They also like options such as buy now, pay later or the ability to pay in monthly instalments.

However, it’s worth noting that not all payment processing platforms were created equally, and they often serve different purposes. Therefore, you need to choose the option that is going to be best for your business and your customers.

If you’re not sure where to start or how to meet customer demands, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we are going to look at four top payment processing options you could choose for your online business, weighing up the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

1. Square

Square is one of the easiest out-of-the-box payment solutions you can use. It is also one of the most complete, offering a huge range of online payment tools for free. That is if you don’t want to upgrade to the paid plan.

And even if you do decide to upgrade to the paid plan to access the extra features, you are not tied in by a contract, which is great news.

Some of the key features of this platform include a payment gateway, links, buy buttons, click and collect options, invoicing and recurring payments. Best of all, you can integrate Square with lots of other partner apps, such as accounting software or takeaway platforms, depending on the needs of your business.

In terms of cost, debit and credit card transactions have a fixed rate of 1.9% per online transaction, which is pretty reasonable. Though for non-European cards, these charges are slightly higher at 2.9% per transaction.

The slight downside is that these fees are non-negotiable unless your business is turning over more than £250k a year -which is a lot of money! Not only this, but customer support is only available on weekdays, which can be problematic if you get into a spot of bother over the weekend. After all, most online businesses are available 24/7; they don’t shut down at the weekend.

2. PayPal

PayPal is probably one of the better-known payment processing platforms out there, as it was one of the earliest innovators in this field. Often, the familiarity of the brand can be reassuring to customers, and they feel safe making an online payment in this way. Not to mention that most people already have a PayPal account set up, making it very convenient.

It’s free to sign up to PayPal as a business, and there are some features that are free to use without upgrading your account. These include an integrated checkout, payment links, buy buttons, QR codes and email invoices.

However, this is not the cheapest platform when compared to others on the list. For advanced features such as virtual terminal and advanced checkout solutions, it’s a monthly fee of £20 a month. Plus, transaction fees for the standard features are set at 2.9% + 30p. Cross-border fees include an additional 1.29%-1.99%. Those with a monthly turnover above £50k can negotiate to get better fees.

As this is an online portal rather than a bank account, money is paid into your PayPal account when someone buys through your site. This can then be transferred across to your bank account in just a day or two.

3. Worldpay

Worldpay is a solid payment processor that has been trusted by thousands of businesses for decades. In fact, as much as 40% of all card payments made in the UK go through this processor, making it the industry leader.

One of the biggest selling points here is that in order to sign up, you must have a conversation with a Worldpay representative. They will tailor your quote based on your sales volumes and the type of business you have. This is ideal for getting personalised rates rather than generic monthly fees and saving your business money.

There are two different types of contracts available, either long-term or 30-day rolling and businesses are given their own merchant account. This means that Worldpay is regarded as more reliable than some of the other platforms on this list.

Transaction fees are competitive, though a continued online turnover of at least £2,000 a month is required. This can be trickier for smaller businesses just starting out. As such, this is often a better platform for more established brands.

4. Stripe

Last but not least, we have Stripe. This is a huge international platform which is popular with businesses of all sizes, from startups to high-growth organisations. Stripe accounts are really easy to set up online without any fees, and you are not tied into any contracts. It also integrates well with other popular e-commerce platforms, such as Squarespace.

Some of the key features include a payment gateway, payment links, buy buttons and virtual terminals. Through Stripe, you also have the option to use payment solutions such as subscriptions.

Stripe’s payment system is scalable, which is great for growing business, and it offers effective sales reporting and fraud prevention tools. Another key selling point is the competitive card transaction fees, starting as low as 1.4% + 20p depending on which version of the payment processing system you use.

The downside? Stripe can be pretty tricky to set up if you’re not a web developer.

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