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USPS Asks, How Much Does a One-Pound Box Weigh?

It sounds like a joke along the lines of, where can I find the bathroom scale? (the bathroom, of course). But the U.S. Postal Service isn’t joking when it asks “How much does a 1-pound box weigh?” in a new ad.

The answer: “11 pounds, if you use the wrong shipping company.”

The ad references “some shipping companies” that will be moving to DIM weight pricing (dimensional weight), which is based on the cubic size or dimension of the mail-piece and is designed to account for packages with a large size-to-weight ratio (in other words, big packages that don’t weigh much in relation to their size).

But in a blog post, the agency makes no bones about who it’s going after: “UPS and FedEx will soon change their pricing mechanism for ground shipments, so the Postal Service is taking out advertisements to remind businesses about its affordable alternatives,” it writes.

As we’ve previously reported, FedEx Ground will apply dimensional weight pricing to all shipments, effective January 1, 2015, and UPS will use dimensional weight to calculate the billable weight of a shipment on all UPS Ground services and UPS Standard to Canada packages beginning December 29, 2014.

The new USPS print ad says that with DIM weight pricing, it could get rather expensive. “It means you’ll have to pay by your package’s weight or dimension – whichever costs more. But you have a choice: The USPS continues to offer a broad range of efficient and economical options. Because we understand that one size does not fit all.”

The USPS recently got approval to lower commercial rates for Priority Mail packages that go into effect on September 7th. Both UPS and FedEx expressed concerns over the new rates.

According to the blog post, “The new USPS ad campaign fits with the Postal Service’s aggressive push to grow its package business, including adjusting some shipping prices to attract more business customers and investing in new package sorting equipment and other upgrades.”

The ads will run in business magazines and “other publications that promote the Postal Service’s “broad range of efficient and economical options.””

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.