Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Feb 25 2016 10:28:20

Amazon Unexpectedly Hikes USPS Shipping Rates on Wednesday

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon sellers encountered higher rates for certain USPS shipping services on Wednesday with no advance warning. Amazon raised the cost of shipping Priority Mail packages yesterday for merchants using its online postage printing feature. 

The US Postal Service had raised rates last month effective January 17. But Amazon sellers were initially greeted with a message that said "for the time being," Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express rates would remain at 2015 levels.

It appeared to be against USPS rules to make such statements, and the message quickly disappeared, but the lower rates for Priority Mail and PME remained until yesterday. The lower Amazon rates had meant that some sellers disabled their Stamps.com accounts when printing PM labels on Amazon.

Here's one of several threads on the Amazon boards where sellers discussed the surprise change yesterday.

In response to our inquiry, Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh told EcommerceBytes, "Carrier rates available to sellers in Seller Central change from time to time. Please check Seller Central for the updated rates. We will continue to work with carriers providing shipping services to sellers to provide competitive rates."

It would seem Stamps.com customers - especially those selling on multiple channels - may now go back to linking their accounts with Amazon for all USPS shipping services.




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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Feb 25 11:06:29 2016

The question is, will Amazon raise what buyers pay for shipping? If not, sellers will either have to raise their item prices even higher or have their already slim margins cut into again.

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 25 11:28:54 2016

Another kick to the groin for the small seller!

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Feb 25 17:08:25 2016

The poor shipping vouchers are half the reason I don't sell, or buy, on Amazon anymore.  I don't know how anybody makes a buck getting jacked for 20% and ripped off on shipping too.

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by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 25 18:01:53 2016

Amazon fees are crazy high compared to other selling sites. I just add anywhere from $1.25 to $3.00 to my item listings on Amazon compared to the prices I charge for the exact same items on other sites. That more or less makes the revenue neutral from site to site. Despite the much higher prices I make sales on Amazon most days.

I write it off as just the dynamic of shoppers valuing their time rather than saving a few bucks and so just doing all their shopping on one site they know and trust.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 26 01:44:02 2016

Really depends on what you sell for the rates. Cheap phone accessories you really get hosed, the minimum fee of $1.50 or so in some categories eliminates most profits.

I just sold a computer card for a phone server.
It came to $250, and the total Amazon fee was $20.10 or 8%.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Feb 26 09:51:47 2016

If you sell a $20 item in toys, the fee is $0.99 fixed plus $3.00 variable + $0.45 shipping or just over 22%.  That's before they make you ship to the other side of the country on that $4.54 they've graciously passed along.  Every time you raise prices to compensate, they rake in higher fees too.  In market where people will crawl over broken glass soaked with iodine to pay $16 instead of $17, it's pointless.

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by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 26 10:17:34 2016

My average fee percentage on Amazon is 31%. It is 21% on Ebay/Paypal. 12% on Bonanza. Still too new to Etsy to get a number I think will be stable, but I expect it will be around 20% as well.

Amazon fees are completely out of step with other sites. It does not seem to be hurting them.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 26 10:25:05 2016

The fees would not be a problem if these sites/venues did not throw the word "FREE" around on every page. Online buyers are getting a valuable service: easy at wherever shopping: no parking in lots, walking, standing in lines. It is high time that consumers are told a CONVENIENCE or SERVICE does cost money.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Feb 26 11:02:06 2016

epuise, I am also sick of that term "free shipping".  It is only free to Amazon, eBay and all of the other sites that third party sellers sell on. I assure you if it came out of their pockets not only would it not be free it would be double or triple what their sellers charge.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Fri Feb 26 12:03:47 2016

"Free" won't disappear as long as consumers flock to ads with the term "free" in them. I buy lots of things for under $1 and add them to my listings as a "Free Bonus" and have no clue as to why anyone in their right mind would want that stuff free or not. I sold a pallet of K-Cup rotating chromed carousels in record time by adding a "free" brown plastic refillable K-Cup from Dollar Tree. Go figure.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 26 13:29:16 2016

It sounds like Amazon breached the contract they had with USPS when they advertised the rates they negotiated back in January and USPS slapped them down for it.  It may just be all Amazons fault for losing those rates.  I don't know this for sure, it just seems that way to me.

As for being able to get the rates raised we charge customers for shipping on Amazon.  I did ask that question back in January in light of the huge increases.  I was told that Amazon had no plans of allowing sellers to increase rates.  With that information, I took international shipping off all my listings.  I just couldn't afford the risk.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Feb 26 14:44:21 2016

Marie says "I was told that Amazon had no plans of allowing sellers to increase rates."

Like I said, it doesn't come out of their pocket, so they could care less.  You have to love a "business partner" who has little empathy for your expenses.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Feb 26 15:12:20 2016

@rex

Not exactly as Amazon charges a fee on S&H just as Ebay does.  People have passionately argued here that Ebay doesn't do as much as they could to lower USPS rates because they charge this FVF.  So for those that feel that way about Ebay, they should as well about Amazon.  I'm not saying you feel this way.  You may or may not.  I don't remember from the other threads.  I'm just sayin.....

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by: negativenate This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 26 17:02:13 2016

LOL @ RKTOYS

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 29 11:22:24 2016

The priority mail rates were lower than others, how will this change on what Amazon has set up for sellers?
Why can't this all be simplified? Whay can't it all be the same, venue's negotiating their own prices?
This is what corruption is all aboout , somebody getting their pocket's lined.  

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by: retrolink This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 1 08:46:28 2016

funny thing about Amazon. I have been selling there and on ebay since about 1998. First starting on ebay. loved it then.listed 10 items and sold 8.. Then slowly getting big with Amazon as ebay went down the drain until a few years ago when Amazon started all the convoluted stuff against sellers.Constant threats of 'having selling privileges cancelled' from bots.. restrictions, punitive behavior against your items for sale, hiring idiots that merge paperback and hardback versions of books into one and call vhs tapes 'discs' ...all the dvd restrictions and the shipping game where they keep making the sellers take the hits on expense. in addition , Amazon keeps marginalizing third party smaller sellers on their grid. Some of the stuff is so convoluted where they mix cds and vinyl records that it's just unbelievable.   What is also funny now is when I go to buy what Amazon calls a 'restricted' dvd where I, a seller with 100% feedback for many years are not allowed to sell it.. I get a thrill now when i take that same dvd and sell it on ebay right away. So after doing this for about 3 months I realize ebay has improved and my sell through rates are much higher now. So while Amazon plays there stupid games and keeps sending me emails to lower my prices while they put my profits and sales into the gutter.. Amazon has taught me to go back to ebay, who 6 months ago I thought was the devil itself. But now I see as a refreshing situation as they are not also  my worst competitor, who tries to cut their prices against my stuff every day. things change .it's very interesting.



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