All About Multiple Address Shipping Q&A
Designing your own custom products shouldn’t be a challenge, and neither should making sure they get to the right people. You asked for it, and we delivered—Custom Ink offers multiple address shipping as an option to ensure that everyone in your group is covered when it comes to your custom order. Whether you have everyone’s sizes and addresses on hand or you want an easy way to collect them, Custom Ink has the tools that make shipping to everyone easy.
Product Manager Katie Durkin was part of the team that turned multiple address shipping from a customer request into a reality. She was able to take some time to answer some questions about the process and why it can be a great option for your needs.
CI: What is your name and title? What was your role in the creation of multiple address shipping?
KD: My name is Katie Durkin and I am a Product Manager at Custom Ink. My role in multiple address shipping has been to bring the capability from an idea that started during the pandemic to a real offering for all of our customers who have the need to ship their order to more than one location.
CI: What does this shipping option provide?
KD: This shipping option provides customers with the ability to break their order into multiple shipments and send those shipments to their teammates, employees, family members, etc. It is a great way for groups to stay connected—even though we may be physically separated—and be reminded of how their group identity really unites them. In providing this, it also takes care of all of the logistics that a customer previously had to handle on their own, such as: unpacking the bulk shipment, organizing and repackaging into individual shipments, creating address labels, driving to the post office, and sending them off. It really takes a lot of the burden off of the customer since ordering gear is already a big project on its own!
CI: Why did the team create this shipping option? How did the team come up with the idea?
KD: We created this shipping option because our customers were asking us for it. Shortly after the pandemic began we heard our customers tell us that they still wanted to order for their group, but now everyone was spread all over the country and they didn’t know of an easy way to send them individualized packages. It was really a case of listening to our customers and delivering for them—literally and figuratively.
CI: What research did your team do when setting up the ability to ship to everyone in an order?
KD: We conducted research from end-to-end. We started by talking to our customers directly to see what their needs were and how they were currently placing and distributing these types of orders. We also talked to our frontline Inkers who are excellent at communicating customer needs to us. We then spoke with our various tech and operations teams to see what our capabilities were at the moment and to get an idea of what we were starting with. This helped us to create a plan to evolve this offering into something that could really stand on its own and that customers could use directly.
CI: What were the challenges in setting up this service?
KD: The biggest challenge for us was figuring out how to build this capability into our current tech infrastructure and operations processes without disrupting Inkers or customers. To do this we took an iterative approach where we started simple and evolved the offering into more of a self-serve capability. We also have a ton of smart people at Custom Ink who saw how we could leverage tools that we already offer to help fill in some of our technological and operational gaps, so that we weren’t building everything from scratch.
CI: What is the process for setting up an order?
KD: Currently, there are two ways you can set up your order on the website. You create your design as you normally would and go to our checkout. Once in checkout, you let us know that you want to ship to multiple addresses. From checkout you can either set up your order by entering in your shipments one-by-one (this works great when you’re a big business and you need to ship to a couple of your offices) or you can send us a spreadsheet with all of your shipment information and we’ll set the whole thing up for you (this is a great option if you’re a company and you want to ship gear to each of your employees.) If computers aren’t really your thing or you just want the reassurance of talking to a human, you can always give us a call and we’ll take care of everything for you. We try to make it as easy as possible and accommodate all of the various needs of our customers.
CI: Who is this service designed for?
KD: This service really works for anyone who needs to ship to multiple locations. So far it has been particularly popular with our business and college customers, since prior to the pandemic they were often all gathered in one place (e.g. an office or dorm) and during the pandemic they were spread out all over the world.
CI: Do you need to know custom product sizes upfront when placing your order with this shipping option?
KD: It is helpful if you know all of your sizes and who they will be going to upfront as this allows us to quickly place your order and get it on its way. However, if you still need time to gather that information, we can help you configure your order over time and place it when you’re ready.
CI: Custom Ink now offers international shipping. Is it possible to set up an order with this method and ship across the world?
KD: Yes! We offer international shipping and you can ship packages all over the world. We know that this is particularly important for our business customers who often have employees located in other countries.
CI: This shipping option covers a wide range of customer shipping needs, even beyond sending products from the same order to individual addresses. What are some examples of when this might come in handy?
KD: I mentioned that this is a great option for organizations that have various locations (businesses, colleges, schools) and need to ship gear to each of them. It is also very useful if you need to ship most of the order to one location but maybe need to send a sample to yourself or someone else. I think the coolest part of this offering though is how it relates to our Group Order Form. Eventually, customers will be able to set up shipments by sending their group a signup link, entering in shipments one-by-one, uploading a spreadsheet with large amounts of shipment data, or all three! Our multiple address shipping capability solves for a really large variety of needs while also being very flexible.
CI: What are some other shipping services that people should know about?
KD: We also offer individualized and international shipping in our Group Order Form tool, Fundraising site, and Online Stores. We continue to offer our Rush and Super Rush shipping options for bulk shipments if you happen to need your order a little faster. That’s not all though— we’re continuing to expand our shipping options and have some new things on the horizon that we’re excited to put in front of customers!
For more information on Custom Ink’s shipping options, including shipping to multiple addresses, check out our delivery options page here!