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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3249 - January 28, 2014 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

Top Things Sellers Should Know about January USPS Rate Changes

By Ina Steiner
January 28, 2014

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Every year, shipping carriers raise rates, but this year, online sellers who use the U.S. Postal Service got some good news mixed in with the rate changes, according to online postage providers Stamps.com and Endicia, which provide sellers with Commercial Base rates that are more favorable than regular USPS retail rates.

Eric Nash of Stamps.com said Priority Mail rates are going up a net zero percent, for example. In a podcast interview with EcommerceBytes, Nash highlighted some of the instances where rates are actually going down. However, in one case, sellers could see a 24-cent increase - review First Class Package Service rates carefully.

Shipping software and calculators will automatically be updated, Nash said. But people should pay close attention to the rate changes. Within Priority Mail there are various ways to send a particular package, and typically Regional Rate Box A is the cheapest option across the board for packages weight between 2 to 15 pounds - even for packages going all the way across the country.

Nash also talked about First Class Package service - it's still going to be the cheapest option under 13 ounces, he said. But there are some price increases there a little bit steeper in the one- to three-ounce range (up 24 cents). For sturdy items, sellers might consider using Tyvek envelopes if it makes the package light enough to qualify for First Class packages. Typically boxes weigh 4 ounces compared to an envelope that can weigh under 1 ounce.

First Class Package - international rates are staying the same after having seen a steep rise last year, and are adding 12 additional countries to its tracking program, according to Nash.

Endicia's Amine Khechfe pointed to an infographic that favorably compares US postage rates with other carriers' retail rates (sellers who do any kind of volume can negotiate for discounted rates from UPS and FedEx).

In addition, he said, sellers previously had to commit to shipping 75,000 Priority Mail pieces per year to qualify for Commercial Plus pricing. But in 2014, this package threshold has been lowered to 50,000 Priority Mail pieces, meaning more sellers will qualify for deep discounts.

Both companies created guides for customers to help them understand the changing rates: see the Stamps.com guide and the Endicia guide.

"Take a good strong look at the beginning of each year as the rates change to see where you could save some money," Nash advised.

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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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