Has COVID Cancelled Christmas? Not if you work in eCommerce…

Christmas eCommerce 2020

With gatherings of more than 6 people looking unlikely and many Christmas events cancelled, it would be easy to think Christmas might be cancelled this year.  To the contrary, a recent survey from Yieldify showed that 34% of us plan to increase our spending year on year, across Black Friday (27th November), Cyber Monday and Christmas itself.  Despite fears of unstable household income and lockdown restrictions, we are clearly still very keen to celebrate. Sending gifts to loved ones who we cannot meet up with in the usual way, will play a major role in that celebration.  

With COVID-19 serving as a catalyst for rapid growth across many eCommerce sectors, delivery companies have been building their teams to cope with a permanent increase in demand. In September, Royal Mail announced that parcel volumes are up 34%, with 117 million more parcels sent in 2020 than last year. DPD, Hermes, Amazon and DHL have all hired thousands of new delivery workers to cope with what DPD’s CEO described as a “tsunami of parcels”. 

Christmas Delivery 2020

On the flipside, high street retail has been hit hard, with 125,000 jobs lost in the UK as retailers closed stores and, in some cases, went into administration. Whilst the high street has started opening up again, with local lockdowns, long queues and unease around travelling to shop in closed-in spaces, it seems that Christmas is not cancelled. It has just moved online.

Research from eCommerce platform, Magento shows what online shoppers are looking for this season. Their main concerns are:

  • Ethical eCommerce and philanthropy
  • Safe shopping
  • Ways to re-create the “in store” experience
  • A joyful online shopping experience
  • Great mobile eCommerce experiences

Magento “Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas” guide for 2020

The Yieldify report also looked into how retailers are approaching their marketing.  Despite the consumer growth predictions, only 45% of marketers feel positive about the season ahead.  Decisions are being made much later than normal and around one third have decided not to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  This could mean great opportunities for those that do step forward confidently.  If you are planning to go ahead with discounting, shipping offers, free gifts or other promotions, now is the time to get organised. 

Christmas eCommerce 2020

Our recommendations for preparing for peak season 2020 under these unique conditions are:

  • Use your existing email lists to keep in good contact with your customers, letting them know about upcoming offers and holiday promotions. Keep these going throughout the seasonal period.
  • Highlight any ethical or sustainability messages you can. For example if you are using our eco-friendly packaging, make that information clear on your site.
  • Get going now with any last-minute work you can, to make shopping on your website easier and more enjoyable. If you also sell in-store, is there anything from that experience you could add? Is your site easy to use on mobile?
  • Check you have optimised the way you capture leads, so you can continue to market to any new customers you gain over the holiday period. Email sign-ups with a discount for the first order are a popular and effective way to do this. Plan now what you will do with those addresses once you’re through the festive season.   
  • Contact your suppliers to make sure your inventory will be available and ready for shipping around the peak holiday dates. You may well sell more than you expect.  While you’re doing that, check you have enough forms and packaging too.

In conclusion, whilst the pandemic has posed huge challenges for all types of retail this year, the peak season ahead clearly offers an opportunity for eCommerce.  We wish you all luck embracing that opportunity and will be here to help along the way. 

Do get in touch if you need any help with your packaging and print needs or have any questions along the way. 

Victoria Andrews Celebrates 30 Years at Forms Plus

Victoria Andrews 30 years at Forms Plus

Now trading for almost 40 years, Forms Plus was established in 1981. At the time, we were mostly selling computer consumables alongside pay slips and pre-printed invoices.

A few years later, in September 1990, shortly before Mrs Thatcher left Downing Street, and before seatbelts in cars were even compulsory, Forms Plus welcomed a new Office Administrator, Victoria Andrews. Now the MD, having led a management buy-out of the company in 2012 with Finance Director Jo Carter, Victoria is celebrating 30 years with the company, something not many people can say they have achieved in their career!

When Victoria joined Forms Plus back in 1990, the internet had barely been invented. Tim Berners-Lee had just launched the first ever web browser, Amazon and Ebay were 5 years’ away and it would be 10 years before even the likes of Walmart had an online store.

Very few people had mobile phones, computers were all beige, the internet involved a dial up and every office still had a fax machine. There was no social media. Gradually, through the 90s, e-commerce began and the dot com boom started.

Over time, Forms Plus moved from selling floppy discs and printer ribbons, to the labels, forms and packaging we trade in today, always looking ahead at market trends to make sure we can meet customer needs. 

To mark the occasion and celebrate her 30th Anniversary, Victoria is having a celebratory trip to the Isles of Scilly, for some much-needed rest and relaxation.  Before we let her escape, we asked her for a few thoughts on her career…

What are the main changes you’ve noticed in the company across the 30 years?

From a customer service point of view, proofing and production times have reduced vastly as email really speeds up our workflow.  Within the workplace, I have been really happy to see us grow a positive awareness around the wellbeing and mental health of our team.

Who are your longest-term clients?

Over the years, many of the local independent clients we worked with have been bought out.  Of our larger clients, some of the longest standing include Boden, Brittany Ferries and Mole Valley Farmers. 

What are you most proud of from your time at Forms Plus? 

As MD, it is really important to me that we provide staff with the best environment possible to work in and ensure they feel valued. This led to us moving into our much larger, purpose-built office and warehouse last year.  We have also won numerous Healthy Workplace Awards, including our Gold Award in 2020. 

I am also very happy that as the business has grown and evolved, we have managed to stay true to our core values – providing a competitively priced, quality product with exceptional customer care. 

Forms Plus is quite rare in being led by an all-female team of Directors. What advice would you give to other women to help them grow and develop over a long period with the same company?  

Make a real effort to learn about the industry you are in. Work hard, be adaptable, reliable and have confidence in your own abilities.

Victoria Andrews and Jo Carter

Victoria is not the only member of the Forms Plus team with such staying power.  Many of our experienced staff have been with us for quite some time. Our Finance Director and former Payroll Assistant, Jo Carter is looking forward to her holiday on Scilly, as she has been with us for 24 years.

If we can help you at all with any of your forms, labels or packaging requirements, or indeed if you’d like to ask Victoria just how she has managed her many changes of hairstyle, do get in touch.

Featured Product – Packing Tape

Brown Packing Tape with Dispenser

Occasionally we use our blog to feature products from our ranges and highlight information to help you make the best selection to meet your packaging and label needs. This month we are focussing on packing tape. 

We sell a range of packing tape, all suitable for use with cardboard, plastic or paper packaging and guaranteed to provide a secure seal, whether for storage or despatch.  Other than paper, our tapes are the standard 48mm (2”) width and work well when used with a tape dispenser. 

Our range of tapes include:

Standard 3M Packing Tape– Available in Clear or Buff, our Standard 3M Packing tape is made from polypropylene and comes in 66m length rolls.   This works well with most types of packaging, for sealing up light boxes and parcels. 

Brown 3M Packing Tape with Dispenser

Low Noise Packing Tape – Quiet off the roll and hand-tearable, our low-noise polypropylene packing tape is available in buff or clear. It is perfect for busy packaging areas where noise can be a problem. 

Eco Packing Tape – Also in Clear or Buff at 48mm wide, our Eco Packing Tape is 100% recycled, robust, incredibly strong and UV resistant. 

Fragile Tape with Dispenser

Fragile Packing Tape – For packages that need really careful handling, you might choose to use this white packing tape with Fragile in bold, red lettering. This high quality, polypropylene tape is ideal for shipping goods that need to be handled with care. 

Paper Packing Tape – To be fully environmentally friendly, choose our 50mm x 50m Paper Packing Tape.  This tape is 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly as it can be recycled with the packaging it is attached to (as long as that too is recyclable). It is tear resistant once applied but easy to tear by hand before it is stuck down.  Great for uneven surfaces and easy to use. 

Do have a look at our range of packing tape and get in touch if you have any questions.  

5 Facts about Packing Tape

Shipping experts recommend the H method of using Packing Tape

When sealing a box, start with a long piece of tape across the long flaps on the bottom. Once your box is full, tape the long seam on the top and then add tape to the two sides. Your tape should end up looking like a capital H. This will make the box more tamper proof than just taping the long flaps.

Why Is Packing Tape Noisy?

Many of our customers choose our low noise packing tape, but why does packing tape make so much noise anyway?   It is all down to physics.  As you peel tape away from the roll, the adhesive stretches, then the tape breaks, then relaxes.  These movements create an audible tone, the frequency of which will depend on how fast you pull the tape off the roll. Read more in this article about the Complex Dynamics in the Peeling of an Adhesive Tape.  Low noise tapes use a different adhesive mixture and are coated with a slight film to cut down the noise created.

Some Cats Love Licking Packing Tape

If you have a cat and leave a roll of adhesive tape around, you may well find your cat loves to lick it! Cat forums have lots of stories of cats chewing on sticky tape, even undoing packages just to get at it.  This is likely due to a condition called “pica” which causes cats to eat inedible objects, or boredom where chewing on an unusual item is a source of stimulation – but the adhesive is not good for them so do keep them away from it.

The Origins of the Name 3M May Surprise You

One of the most popular tapes we sell is called “3M” tape.  The origin of the name may surprise you.  It was invented in 1925 by a college dropout called Richard Drew who worked for a small sandpaper company called 3M Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, originally as a kind of masking tape for car sprayers. Read more about the how Scotch tape was invented here.

World’s Largest Tape Ball

The Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Tape Ball was set in Louisville, Kentucky USA on 6 May 2011.  The giant ball made up of duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape, gaffer tape and packing tape weighed in at 907 kg and had a circumference of 3.89m.

How Has COVID 19 Impacted Online Retail? How Will E-Commerce React to the New Normal?

Covid Social Distancing on the High Street

With physical stores closed, and the population of the UK confined to their homes, the last 3 months have had an extraordinary impact on online shopping, for both customers and retailers. 

As the UK enters a new period of lockdown, we thought we would take a look at which products have sold best, what the sticking points were for online sellers, and where the industry might find itself as lockdown eases. 

Industry experts have been watching the situation closely.  VISA, eBay and Google have all published reports showing how shopping behaviour has changed. 

Unsurprisingly, all three reports show dramatic changes both in the types of products searched for and in levels of purchasing. Research from VISA shows that a third of Brits purchased items online for the first-time during lockdown.  41% of those who answered the survey say they are shopping more online now than before. Many predict they will continue to do so, even those who previously preferred bricks and mortar stores.   But what were they buying? And why?

Early Weeks of Lockdown – Food, Home Schooling and Office Set Up

In the first weeks of lockdown, data insights from eBay and Google show a marked increase in food and other grocery purchases online, even searches for cat and dog food.

With pubs closed, online sales of beers, wines and spirits also soared.  Many restaurants adapted their websites to allow for online ordering of takeaway and recipe box providers struggled to cope with demand. People were even buying more freezers than normal, perhaps to store the food they had bought in a panic!

As soon as schools closed, searches grew for items to keep children entertained, including craft materials, books and games.  With people both working and schooling at home, office paper was almost as much in demand as toilet paper. 

Many of us were also improving our home offices, with new office chairs, printers and video conferencing headsets.

Cooped Up At Home – Fitness, Clothing and DIY Supplies

In late March, we started realising we needed to keep fit.  Joe Wicks began his daily PE lessons and the nation subsequently shopped for active wear, home gym equipment and fitness subscriptions. Cycling saw a huge increase, with bikes and accessory searches more than double their normal volume. 

DIY also saw a boost during lockdown. Searches for paint rose 825% year on year, and cordless drills were much in demand.

As the season changed, we realised we needed new clothes, but not the kind we might normally buy.  Retailers of office wear, such as Ted Baker and Hugo Boss really struggled.  Purveyors of relaxed clothing had more of a chance to make up for their stores being closed.  Gap reported a surge in sales through its website, up by 100% YOY in May. 

Top items purchased online during lockdown period:

  1. Groceries (bought online by 41% of those surveyed by VISA)
  2. Clothing and accessories (37%)
  3. Books, games and puzzles (31%)
  4. DIY supplies (21%)
  5. Electronics & hobby supplies (both 18%)

Easter Holidays and Sunshine – Time for Some Hedge and Hair Trimming!

As the sun came out, everyone lucky enough to have a garden was spending far more time in it than usual.  Searches rose for “barbecues”, “garden lighting” and even “fence panels”. 

Those few garden centres who were set up to sell online saw a boom in sales, with many swiftly updating their website functionality to quickly find a way to sell the plants they had ready for the new season.

Round about this time, we also realised that barbers and hairdressers would not be open for a while and eBay searches for “hair clippers” and “trimmers” shot up by 1,566%. “How to” home haircut videos were also pulling in millions of viewers, with varied results!

Lockdown Haircut

Challenges for Shoppers and Online Retailers – What Were the Sticking Points?

So, there has clearly been growth in many areas of e-commerce, but what challenges have retailers and customers faced along the way? According to VISA, these have included: being able to get a preferred delivery slot, being able to access click and collect services and getting hold of customer service teams, who are often working shorter hours.  Others reported problems accessing retailer’s websites, whether because the site had been overwhelmed (even sites as large as Boots.com now have virtual queuing systems in place) or because the user, perhaps new to online shopping, found the site difficult to use.

Main issues faced by retailers and customers:

  1. Booking a preferred delivery slot
  2. Accessing click and collect services
  3. Accessing customer service teams
  4. Issues with websites being overwhelmed

Retailers have faced these issues head on, making fast fixes to website functionality and reorganising warehouses and distribution systems.  Next had to close its online store for a couple of weeks to put social distancing systems in place in its warehouse, and even then initially struggled to cope with the volume of orders coming through on re-opening. 

How Will E-Commerce React as Bricks and Mortar Stores Re-Open?

As lockdown eases and non-essential stores re-open, what do we expect to happen next for e-commerce?

The online sales boom does not look as if it will drop back any time soon.  VISA’s research shows that 74% of those who have been shopping online during lockdown, have found it works well for them and expect to continue to do so. 

To add to this, social distancing measures mean that “real life” shopping will be very different, at least for a while.  Those brave enough to venture out may well find the queuing and safety measures change the experience drastically, leaving online retail as the more attractive choice. 

Analysts expect to see a frenzy of Sale activity in the coming weeks.  Amazon has notified sellers that it will host a Summer Sale at the end of June, with a working title of the “Biggest Sale in the Sky”. 

The High Street is also gearing up for massive post-lockdown discounts. Fashion retailers have missed out on an entire season of sales and have around £15bn worth of stock to shift.  M & S, Next, Primark, Topshop, French Connection and Debenhams are all predicted to run “Rainbow Sales” and many are already offering heavy discounts through their online channels.   

The last few months have certainly been interesting times for e-commerce.  With all physical outlets closed, being able to pick, pack and despatch from warehouses direct to people’s homes has been a lifeline for businesses.  For customers, online shopping has had a huge role to play, keeping essential products flowing and enhancing life during lockdown.  Many businesses have found they are capable of being more agile and responsive to the changes required than they ever thought possible, ourselves included. 

We wish all our customers well during these challenging times and reassure you that we are here to help with any of your print and packaging needs.  We would love to hear from you, just get in touch.   

A Year In Our New Premises

Outside the new Forms Plus Office and Warehouse

It is hard to believe it is now a year since the Forms Plus team moved into our new purpose-built offices and warehouse. We have been expanding the business significantly since our management buyout in 2012 and, as anyone who visited us knows, we were struggling to fit in our old building.

We didn’t move far but it has made a world of difference to the business. We have room for all our new packaging stock, a much improved warehouse set up so we can process orders even more efficiently, and of course super smart, clean, spacious offices.

We asked the team to let us know how they feel about the new office one year on:

What a difference a light,  clean, purpose-built office and warehouse has made.  As a company we have come a long way in 12 months and that is down to the team and how willing and eager they are to succeed.  It’s surprising how much of a difference the new building has made to our mental wellbeing.

Neil Lawrence

Our office is so light and airy. We really have the space to grow as a team and a business.

Kayley Saunders
Outside the new Forms Plus Office and Warehouse

I remember how trepidatious we were upscaling and moving into a larger building. When we started stocking packaging, we were very hesitant on how it was all going to work. But look at our warehouse now! Only yesterday we shipped out 11 pallets. We have come a long way.

Jayne Wood

We have already expanded so much into our lighter, brighter and more spacious environment and it is all down to our fantastic Forms Plus team, working together to drive our business forward and deliver excellent customer service

Jo Carter

Although many of the team are now working from home, we are all looking forward to the day we can get back together in our smart, new building.

You can read about how Forms Plus has grown over the past few years, learn more about our premises and watch a video of its development on the Forms Plus Expansion Page.

Five Years of Healthy Workplace Status – We Won Gold… again!

Forms Plus Team Walk

The health and wellbeing of our staff has always been a priority for Forms Plus.  For the past 5 years, we have taken part in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Award. We are delighted to announce that we have just been re-awarded our Gold status for the next two years.

At the Awards Ceremony on the 9th March, our team were acknowledged for the extent to which mental and physical wellbeing has been ingrained into our business culture and ethos.  The Award recognises that the Forms Plus Directors are committed to looking after their team and consider staff wellbeing a vital part of running a successful business. 

Like many of our clients, our day to day work is mostly sedentary.  Based behind a computer, taking care of the print and packaging requirements of our customers, it can be easy for the hours to pass by without much in the way of physical activity.  Particularly in the dark and stormy winter months, it is all too easy to go without natural light or fresh air.  At this time of year, we can also easily fall into the trap of indulging in sweet treats, eating at our desks and making our way through pots of coffee! The activities we have introduced to help us win, and keep, our Healthy Workplace Gold Award have given us the motivation and opportunity to break many of those bad habits.

Forms Plus Team Walk
Forms Plus Team Walk

Some of the highlights of our first year as a Healthy Workplace Gold Award Winner have included fun activities and exercises, training sessions to learn more about workplace health, and awareness campaigns. 

“I enjoy the team walks, where you can chat to a colleague from a different area of the business you might not necessarily chat to often. I also enjoy that every month is different – whether it be a team challenge, volunteering or a discussion around a certain topic.” – Sharon

One of the toughest challenges for some of the Forms Plus team was the British Heart Foundation De-Chox challenge.  This meant going a whole month without eating any chocolate, quite an achievement for some of the sweet-tooths in the office.  One member of our team, Ian, who joined us last July and was the only smoker at Forms Plus, took up an even greater challenge.  With support from the whole team, he successfully gave up smoking for Stoptober and now says quitting smoking is the best thing he has done in years – apart from changing jobs!

“The support I received for “Dechox” was great and similarly the support provided to those completing Stoptober was fantastic.’ – Kayley

Sharon and Jo receiving our Gold Award

Other campaigns we have taken part in included the Ask Twice mental health campaign, Sugar Smart and Keep Active.  As part of Keep Active, we ran on “On Your Feet!” day.  On the hour, every hour, the office was filled with the sound of James Brown singing “Get up offa that thing” and the team took part in two minutes of exercise.  Using (safely!) some of our fabulous new warehouse space, we took part in games such as balloon keepy-uppy, Malteser blowing races, target ball throwing and football games. 

Making the most of our surroundings in beautiful Cornwall, we also get outside whenever we can.  Team Walks, to support both our physical and mental health, are a common lunchtime activity. We also took part in a beach clean at Poldhu Beach.

Perhaps less fun, but just as vital, we have had the opportunity for Health Checks at work, over 40s checks, menopause information sessions and ongoing challenges to keep active and hydrated throughout the day.  Small, sustainable behaviour changes, such as making sure we drink enough water by using marked-up water bottles and encouraging each other to get out for a walk at lunchtime can lead to healthier habits that are life-changing. These adjustments are easy to do but have an important, positive impact on our long-term health.

“Outside of work, I try to keep fit as much as I can and also like healthy eating, so I really enjoy continuing these activities at work. Some of my favourites are the sharing healthy lunch days, team activities such as the Cornwall Beach Games and our regular weight checks.”- Evi

Forms Plus Karting Trip
Forms Plus Karting Challenge

Participation in our Healthy Workplace activities is never mandatory, and we do not pressure anyone to take part but most of the time we do find everyone is keen to get involved and finds it valuable. The activities help us bond as a team and get to know each other, beyond the day to day conversations we would normally have as colleagues.  This then means we can support each other better, through the natural physical and mental health issues that pop up in all our lives from time to time. 

Plans for the next few months, to make sure we live up to our Gold Award, include revisiting sun safety (when it gets warm enough!) and having a look into our sleep patterns.  We are also running a company WhatsApp group sharing healthy recipes and giving each other new ideas for weekday dinners.  This has led to challenges for “Meat Free Mondays” and colourful fruit and veg meals. 

Whilst we are proud of our Award, none of this is about winning prizes or recognition.  What matters most is that the ideas generated by taking part in the programme are helping make all of us healthier, inside and outside of work, and hopefully making us happier as a result. 

Committing to a Healthy Workplace involves more than just the occasional fun event. It needs to be firmly embedded in team culture and is something we discuss even at the employee interview stage.  If you would like to find out more about how we have achieved that, and keep it going, do get in touch. We’d be happy to share our experiences and have a chat about how they might help your organisation.

Read more about the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Scheme, and view our Case Study, on their website www.behealthyatwork.org .

Forms Plus in 2019 – It’s Been A Busy Year!

2019 Round up of Forms Plus Year

It’s the time of year for a good round up. We did think of sending you all a Christmas Letter with the usual collection of achievements and progress through the year. We even thought about writing it in that smug style distant relatives used to use, where every single member of the family has something to boast about and even the dog has won at least one show….

We have been busy, and we do have lots to be proud of, but we are staying professional, so here is a quick recap of our 2019 highlights as a blog instead.

New Warehouse and Office Space

This time last year, we were still visiting our new offices wearing hard hats.  Our purpose-built premises were ready on schedule in March and we’ve been enjoying the smart new space ever since.  We didn’t move far but our new building is a world away from the old office in terms of space, comfort, layout and the amount we can now fit into our warehouse. We now finally feel we have the right premises to support our brand and enable us to work at our best. Our friends at Bad Wolf Horizon made us a video capturing the developments.

Packaging Range Launch

Increasing our warehouse space also made room for us to add our Packaging Ranges.  We’ve learnt a lot along the way, from how to judge if packaging is as eco-friendly as it can be, to the fact that so many different types of packing tape exist. Did you know that “low noise” tape is just one of many options? Neil was the first to become an expert and the rest of the team are now all fully clued-up and ready to help advise you on the best packaging for your products.  Here is our first shipment going out. 

Our First Packaging Order on its way!

Healthy Workplace Gold Award

We’ve always taken both the mental and physical health of our team seriously.  Early in 2019, we took our Time to Change pledge to support Mental Health in the Workplace.  

In March, after working our way up through Bronze and Silver, we were finally able to celebrate winning our Healthy Workplace Gold Award.

Later in the year, we marked World Mental Health Day with additional team training on Mental Health at Work.  We also made use of our new office space to take on some physical challenges in the workplace. 

Doing Our Bit for Charity and the Environment

As well as making sure the packaging and forms we sell are as eco-friendly as possible, we like to get out and about to do our bit for the environment.  We’re lucky to be close to the coast in beautiful Cornwall, and in June we took part in a beach clean at Poldhu Cove picking up plastic and other litter and sorting it for recycling. 

In September, we took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan and raised £141. Some of the snacks were even quite healthy!

Building Our Team

We’re a strong team, and quite a competitive bunch – so where better for a team day out than a Go Karting experience?  We were blessed with dry weather and a fast race track. Who turned out to be the Lewis Hamilton of the day? We’ll keep that under wraps…

Back at the office, a more formal Team Day had us solving challenges, developing our teamwork skills and working on our business plans together. 

Our Website

If you’ve been with us for a while, you may also have noticed that you are reading this on our new website.  Launched late in the summer, the new website was about 9 months in the making and we’ll be telling you more about that process in our January blog.

Aimed at making the online shopping experience simpler, customers say they’re finding it far quicker and easier to order online. The new site has also been a great way to showcase the new packaging products.  Even photographing them all has been a learning experience!

New Team Members

In the latter part of this year, we welcomed three new members to the Forms Plus team.

Ian, an experienced Warehouse Manager, keeps our warehouse safe and ensures our products are all received, stored and despatched efficiently so every order you make is packed accurately and goes out quickly. When not at work, Ian is kept busy by his young family and supporting Watford FC.

Ryan joined us initially as a Telesales Representative and has been promoted to Team Leader. He’s proving a great support to the Telesales Team, working well with customers to identify needs and negotiate the best product and price for your business. Outside of work, Ryan plays rugby and coaches Crossfit.

An excellent listener and well organised problem solver, Helen is also proving a real asset to the Telesales Team. She and Ryan are both helping build the reputation for excellent product knowledge and customer service that sets us apart from competitors. Like many of our team, at weekends Helen is mostly found outdoors – pottering in her garden or exploring Cornwall.

Forms Plus Team Helen, Ian and Ryan
Welcome to Ian, Helen and Ryan!

Here’s to 2020!

2019 has been a busy year for Forms Plus.  Looking back, we’ve widened our offer to customers and made it easier for you to buy from us through the website.  For our own team, we’ve continued to support Workplace Health and develop professionally – and we’re all benefitting from our new office and warehouse space.

We’re hoping for slightly fewer major projects in 2020 but will of course continue to do everything we can to provide the best possible products and services.  We wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the year ahead.

Are Your Labels and Despatch Notes Working Hard For You?

Bespoke Integrated Labels

Printed materials can really drive up your profits – are you making the most of yours?

Any e-commerce retailer knows why they have to include despatch notes, invoices, returns forms and the other paperwork that accompanies any order.  Getting these materials right speeds up packing and despatch, ensures your returns department runs efficiently and means the order travels from your distribution centre to the customer without any issues.

What you may not have considered is just how much else your despatch paperwork can do for your business.  Here are just a few examples of how you can make the most of your print.


If you sell on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Trouva or any of the other Marketplaces, your customers may well not be aware of your own actual brand.  As far as they are concerned, they simply ordered their widget “from Amazon” – which means that if someone asks them where they got it, Amazon will get the recommendation.  If they need another, they’ll go back to Amazon and won’t necessarily choose you as the supplier next time.  Adding your branding to your despatch notes, even something as simple as just your logo and website address, makes it very clear who they have ordered from, who to go to next time and who they should recommend.

Bespoke Integrated Labels
Samples of Bespoke Paperwork


As an online retailer, promotions will be core to driving your sales and bringing back customers. Why not use your despatch note to highlight your current offers?  You could update these regularly, with promotions such as a product of the month. You might prefer to keep things simple, perhaps with 10% off your next order, or 10% off a friend’s first order.  Promotions like these can easily be incorporated into your Forms Plus print.

Cross Selling

“Do you want fries with that?” Well, maybe not fries but chances are there is something else your customer might be interested in hearing about from your product offer.  Those messages could easily be incorporated onto your invoices or despatch paperwork. (While we’re talking about that, have you seen our new Packaging range? )

Branded Despatch Forms for Frugi
Branded Despatch Forms for Frugi

Simple Returns Process

Research shows that a quick and easy returns process is crucial to bringing in customers. 96% of shoppers say they would be more likely to buy again from a retailer who offers an easy returns process  Whether or not your customer ends up returning the order they’ve just received, showing on your paperwork that to do so would be quick and straightforward means they are more likely to shop with you again.

Social Media

Advertising is expensive. Finding new customers takes time and lots of money.  Making sure that people who have bought from you before are following your Social Media channels opens up the way for you to tell them about new products, highlight special offers and build their loyalty with your brand.  Including your Social Media channels on your order paperwork is an easy and cheap way to make sure they know where to find you to keep in touch.  You could also use it to encourage customers to leave reviews.

These are just a few ways that your print can drive up profits.  Aside from the obvious improvements to your despatch process and ticking the boxes you need to tick to get your products to their new owners reliably, you can see there is so much more your paperwork can do for you.  Get in touch with the team at Forms Plus today and we can help you get started with making the most of your print.