|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2988 - January 28, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065 3 of 5|
Online merchants face higher costs each January when shipping carriers raise rates, and this year, USPS changes are having a big impact on eBay and Amazon sellers in particular. EcommerceBytes explains what you should know about changes to Parcel Post changes and rate hikes rolling out this week.
Changes to Parcel Post
A better alternative, however, is to use Parcel Select, a comparable replacement service, according to Lauren Vance from Endicia. Parcel Select has the exact same delivery standard as Parcel Post (now Standard Post), includes free tracking, and is less expensive for nearly all weights and zones less than 27 lbs, she said. And, it's already available for online purchasing. "So, even if online shippers could use Standard Post, they'd want to choose Parcel Select anyway and get the same delivery times for less," Vance said.
Beware of Parcel Select on eBay
An eBay seller called the 2-month lag "absurd" and wrote, "I am sure there are literally millions of items on Ebay which offer Parcel Post....what a mess."
eBay sent an email to sellers who've used Parcel Post in the past informing them of the changes. In the letter, eBay reminded sellers who go to the post office or use an alternate online postage provider (i.e. Pitney Bowes, Endicia.com, Stamps.com, etc.) to be sure to upload tracking information within their stated handling time.
eBay sellers must add tracking information to My eBay within their stated handling time in order to meet Top Rated Seller requirements.
"If you would like to continue to take advantage of the convenience of eBay Labels until Parcel Select is added to the eBay Labels system, consider temporarily offering a similar service," it advised.
Some Confusion at the Postal Counter
Rafael Zimberoff, ShipRush Product Manager, said that was incorrect. "Some internal communication in the postal service is either inaccurate or open to misinterpretation," he said.
Richard Perry, VP of Business Development at ShipWorks, concurred, saying, "The only services that is going way from Online Postage is Parcel Post. It is being rebranded as Standard Post and will only be available at the PO counter. Anyone using Parcel Post in the past will have to use Parcel Select."
Eric Nash Director of Online Marketing for Stamps.com also agreed. "The local PO is probably referring to the Click-N-Ship program on usps.com where customers are only allowed to print Priority Mail or Express Mail. As long as a person has access to PC Postage (such as Stamps.com, Endicia, etc.), they will be able to print all mail classes."
Highlights of the USPS Changes
Higher International Rates and the Amazon Implications
As described in the EcommerceBytes Blog on Thursday, many media sellers were considering changing their listings to domestic sales only, as they would actually lose money on international orders for books and CDs thanks to a drastic increase in costs of mailing low-weight items internationally.
Eric Nash said First Class Package International Service (formerly First Class Mail International) "are definitely going to shock many sellers," and said, "As Amazon sellers have mentioned in the forum, without any increase in the shipping credit from Amazon, it can be tough to sell internationally for many items."
Amazon did raise shipping Shipping Credits for international packages over the weekend - but only in the books category. (See today's Newsflash story for details.)
Good News: Delivery Confirmation for First Class Mail International
"The USPS also has 19 other countries they will be adding the free DC service in the future (hopefully in 2013). Plus, even with the rate increase, USPS First Class Package International Service still will be the cheapest option to ship overseas for ecommerce sellers."
Links to More Information about USPS Changes
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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