What April USPS Rate Changes Mean for Online Merchants

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
February 26, 2015





The US Postal Service is making rate changes in April, both for market dominant services and competitive products. The USPS received approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission this week.

The good news for many small online sellers is that Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express rates are not increasing. But there is negative news for sellers using First Class Package International Service.

We checked in with Eric Nash of Stamps.com for help in understanding the impact of the new rates on online sellers.

Parcel Select, which came into being in 2013, is seeing some decreases in rates, but rates will increase for packages sent to farther distances - Zones 5 through 8, all weights.

There are no changes in pricing for Commercial Plus for First Class Package Service, but Commercial Base rates are increasing. (Commercial Base is the rate many sellers qualify for if they print postage labels online rather than purchase at the post office counter.) However, Nash said, "For packages that weigh 13 ounces or less, First Class Package Service remains the best deal in the shipping industry."

Media Mail rates are increasing by $0.03 (1 lb.) to $2.67 (70 lbs.). For packages that qualify, Media Mail remains the lowest-cost shipping option, he said.

Commercial Base Pricing for First Class Package International Service is increasing from $0.23 (Group 1 Canada, 1 oz.) to $2.74 (Groups 6 to 9, 4 lbs.). "This one will probably sting the most with e-commerce sellers as the rates for 2 to 4 lbs. are going up quite a bit," Nash said.

The average price increases by pound are:

  • Up to 1 lb. Average increase of $0.66.

  • 2 lbs. Average increase of $1.29.

  • 3 lbs. Average increase of $1.65.

  • 4 lbs. Average increase of $2.01.

But Nash said First Class Package International Service remains the cheapest option among all carriers to ship internationally. "It also includes tracking for the most popular countries, so if you are selling lower value items, First Class Package International Service is still a great option," he said.

The Postal Service will maintain the price of the First-Class Mail stamp, which includes the Forever stamp, at 49 cents. But the single-piece additional ounce for letters will increase from 21 to 22 cents, and the price of Postcards will increase to 35 cents.

As far as international mail, Outbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail (first ounce) will increase by 5 cents to $1.20; Non-machinable Outbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail will increase to $1.42; and Outbound Single-Piece Postcards will increase to $1.20.

The PRC noted that it did not delay the review and approval of First-Class Mail "despite incomplete information filed by the Postal Service for other classes of Market Dominant mail."

The Postal Service had requested the transfer of First-Class Mail Retail parcels to the Competitive products list, and the Commission said it was still reviewing the request.

The new prices will take effect April 26, 2015.


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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