eBay sellers recently reported that some USPS postal carriers had begun limiting the number of packages they would scan upon pick-up to five. Leaving some packages unscanned is problematic for sellers who must prove to customers and to marketplaces that they ship in a timely fashion.
USPS SCAN Forms would normally overcome this problem – sellers can provide their carrier with a single form that contains a master barcode representing all the packages in a shipment, and a single scan of the form enters all of the associated packages into the USPS database as “Shipment Accepted.”
But some sellers prefer to print shipping labels out one at a time and said that prevented them from printing a single SCAN sheet on eBay for all of their packages.
The issue was tackled in a recent eBay for Business podcast. Podcast host Jim “Griff” Griffith said the discussion on the eBay boards had caught his eye, and interviewed eBay employee Tyler to see if SCAN forms for printed bulk labels on eBay were only available at the moment of printing and then disappeared after that.
Tyler said it was true that, “once a seller finishes printing out a batch of bulk labels and leaves the labels page there is no direct link back to the scan forms page.” But, he said, “There are two links to get back to the SCAN form page after a seller has left the bulk label print pages.”
He provided instructions on how to find those links that would take sellers back to the scan forms page.
However, Griffith and Tyler indicated that if a seller purchased more than one batch of labels during the day, there would be more than one SCAN form. “Correct,” Tyler said. “But technically, if you have say five SCAN forms to generate, that would be five SCAN sheets for the postal clerk to scan. Even if there are 25 parcels with five parcels on each SCAN form, that’s still only five scans.”
Sellers may want to review a March 2nd post by an eBay seller who said they were able to print labels in batches throughout the morning and then print one SCAN form that includes all of their packages.
Sellers had asked eBay for confirmation about the reports that postal carriers in at least some locales refused to scan more than 5 packages on their routes. Moderators said in early March they had forwarded the question on to the Shipping team, but it’s unclear if the team ever provided an answer. (In the podcast, Tyler said it was apparently the case that some post offices in rural locations had been given the okay to limit scans to only five parcels per customer.)
Once a marketplace seller reaches over 5 packages a day, they need an online postage provider that can automate not only SCAN forms, but upload tracking information to the marketplace. There are third-party providers that can make sellers’ lives easier – even handling multiple selling channels and multiple shipping carriers – but they generally come with monthly subscription costs, which is why some sellers stick with printing shipping labels through the marketplaces on which they sell.
If you’ve been impacted by new USPS scanning practices or have advice for colleagues on how to be more efficient when printing shipping labels, on eBay or elsewhere, feel free to share in the comments.