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Online Merchants Should Prep as DIM Weight Pricing Looms

With any luck readers of EcommerceBytes.com are busily fulfilling numerous ecommerce orders for their customers. The season should get busier with more packages being shipped each week through the Christmas holiday.

Those shipping processes face a potentially expensive change for small and medium sized sellers once the holiday shopping season comes to an end. Pitney Bowesissued a reminder of the planned broader shift to dimensional, or DIM, weight pricing by UPS and FedEx that is pending, as well as the oncoming implementation of the USPS Intelligent Barcode program, and is holding a webinar about the changes on Thursday.

That change to DIM weight pricing recognizes the value of the space a package occupies in the transportation modes of the big shipping companies. UPS and FedEx already placed a premium on that space for domestic and international air shipments, with physically larger boxes commanding a higher shipping fee (even if they were light weight).

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UPS will change on December 29th to their DIM weight pricing for ground shipping as well as standard shipping to Canada. The company previously stated DIM weight pricing lets UPS “align rates with costs which are influenced by both the size and weight of packages.”

The FedEx change to DIM weight pricing for ground shipping will happen a little later than the UPS shift, as FedEx plans to make that adjustment active on January 1 of the New Year. FedEx had only imposed DIM weight pricing on packages taking up 3 cubic feet or more of space.

As EcommerceBytes advised online sellers in October, using the right shipping box is one way to prepare for DIM Weight pricing.

Sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon are not immune from the impact of dimensional weight changes. The company told marketplace sellers recently that for certain items, it would use Dimensional Weight to determine both Fulfillment Fees and fees for the optional Inventory Placement Service if the Dimensional Weight is greater than the unit weight.

Pitney Bowes also reminded merchants that the U.S. Postal Service has new plans that will affect its customer base. Starting on January 26th, shippers who want the best pricing for their package shipments will have to use Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) labels.

However, not only will shippers get the best pricing for their USPS packages through the new program, IMpb will also provide tracking at no extra charge for items going by Parcel Select, Parcel Select Lightweight, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Services.

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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