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Sun Apr 14 2013 14:00:21

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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It's been a while now since the USPS rates have gone up, and I'm wondering how you sellers out there have been dealing with the changes in your business practices. One seller named Angela who has a store at Truly's Natural Products, where she sells natural deodorant, says she has had to adjust what she charges for shipping with a slight increase.

"My main product is a lower cost item ($7.99), so I try to keep my shipping charges as low as possible," she said. "So the charge for shipping one unit changed from $2.50 to $2.99. I do ship Priority Mail for larger orders and I had some wiggle room in my shipping rate already, so that stayed at $5.50."

Angela says she is new at running an online store, and something that has helped her is  ShipStation: "It has helped a beginner like me get up and running, she says, and she likes its "ease of use and the intuitive user interface. " She also said "l loved that
ShipStation integrates and organizes so many shipping and business tasks all in one place. It's where I buy my postage, set my shipping presets, print my labels, print my
packing slips, track my orders, verify addresses, etc, as well as track my monthly sales and shipping totals." And she liked that ShipStation handles international shipping as well, which she says she knew nothing about. 

As for me, for the most part, I simply use eBay's and PayPal's shipping services, as well as Amazon's when I makes sales on there. I usually use a guesstimated first class international price for items I offer internationally on eBay which are 4 lbs. and under. This number used to be $11; I had planned to bump it up to $16, but I can see the last item I shipped internationally first class (now called "First-Class Package International") which was also under 4 lbs. ended up costing me $18.41.

One service I have not yet used is the USPS's new Parcel Select. I'm wondering who among you out there have used it, and how do you like it? Have you upped your first class international prices enough to compensate for the price increase, or are you trying to keep them down to entice international bidding?

Have all these changes made you move to a shipping service such as Shipstation? And has anyone had success tracking a First-Class Package International parcel to Canada? (One seller on a board I was reading was wondering when we were going to see international tracking to all those other countries that were alluded to as coming soon in the last price change announcement).

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Comments (37) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Sun Apr 14 18:58:19 2013

I switched to calculated shipping before the USPS increase. Our handling charge remains the same. I also eliminated domestic letters/flats to satisfy eBay's tracking requirements. I really need the entire 10% buffer just to cover eBay bugs and other infrastructure issues. One mistake with tracking on a large combined order can easily sink your upload %.  Here's what happened:

1) As expected, less international buyers.

2) 'Shipping Cost' DSR has been hit hard. We're no longer global TRS. Domestic TRS will remain a challenge.

'Free' shipping is not a viable option since we encourage combined shipment. I'm still able to ship some items as First Class International 'flat' aka 'large envelope'. However, even with $0 handling, eBay's calculated package rate is nearly $2 over. This means lots of refunds with lost FVF.

I'm still holding fast on $2 base handling. This may be impacting our 'Shipping Cost' DSR, but search visibility and 20% discount aren't really guaranteed. The $2 per order handling is money in the bank.

--David

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Sun Apr 14 23:49:46 2013

I used to include several freebie extras in my shipments... samples, old stock and ''gimmies''.

Now, I include fewer samples. In time, I'll gradually increase my prices (with built-in shipping) to fully cover the cost of shipping again. At that point, I'll return to giving more freebies in the packages.

I think I'd rather raise my prices slower (in response to higher shipping costs) instead of just having a sudden ''SURPRISE!'' that may irritate regular customers.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 00:13:18 2013

I'm guessing the new shipping rates are hurting us. That along with increase cost of products created a large increase overall on our retail pricing. What sales we are getting are small orders under $100 mainly. I do know we haven't had this bad of a start in sales since 2007.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Overlandgadgets This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 00:14:50 2013

It's pretty easy to deal with International shipping.  There isn't any anymore.  I'm small potatoes but, before the price increase, I probably did $300- $400 in foreign shipping fees. as foreign sales were about 25% of my business.  In February, I had ONE international sale.  In March I zoomed all the way up to THREE.  Still waiting for the first one in April.  Since the increase on January 27, I have spent about $100.00 on foreign shipping.  Do the math and you will see that is at least $800 less than I spent over the same period before the increase.  I sent a letter to both of my Senators and, of course, got now response.  I hope that increase is working good for them.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon Apr 15 00:23:36 2013

Adding extra freebies is the rope you hang yourself with by doing such. All a scam buyer does is submit a claim against you stating you sent ''other'' which are your freebies instead of the actual paid product and PP refunds buyer instantly.

Never in retail nor anywhere in USA retail do I know of ''any merchant'' permitting you to walk into their store, make a purchase and they hand you a free identical or a trip for 2 to nowhere land, etc.

True serious merchants know better!

HOW AM I DEALING WITH POSTAGE INCREASE?

Answer} Very easily! I dump the cost on the buyer making them PAY the actual shipping or its increased within a FREE SHIPPING ad and it all works well at their end.

If the buyer wants the item, they will pay your price and most-true business smart merchants already know to do this too. There's no hidden agenda because the buyer chooses to pay what is offered.

This was such an easy topic!

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 00:32:19 2013

I started giving free postage. My business really increased fast when I did--surprised me. Now I cut costs in the extras I used to provide--nice gift boxes, custom shipping labels, tissue, bubble wrap, thicker mailers. I can pretty much adjust to anything or I wouldn't still be at eBay after 17 years. Oh--and I stopped all international sales. The dsrs were murder.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: joyful17 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 00:33:26 2013

A small 10x14 flat package(containing one sheet of paper) costs $17.50 from Canada to the US. My last three trips to the post office cost over $60 (each)for shipping items to the Sates. I do ship, overseas...and the Canada Post has gotten tricky in their pricing so that too has become more expensive.
Shipping, packing, schelping to the PO..all part of doing business..after PayPal and eBay take their double dip..profit ?..not so much!

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: AlBeSure This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 00:57:02 2013

I stopped all international sales on ebay as the out of USA shipping rates for my items DOUBLED and lost about 40% of my sales instantly. But on the brighter side all the false claims of lost shipments and items not received stopped. So did the ebay/preypal refunds for not received items.
So I am happy with that change.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 01:57:56 2013

We also simply discontinued all international shipments from ebay and our web site. If a international client wants an ebay item, we request they contact us for purchase options.

International shipping rates have increased so much that many of our perspective buyers are shell shocked from the quote, they rarely follow through with a sale.

We don't mind as all our problems with international sales such as ''where's my item'' and ''I didn't receive my item'' have ended which is worth the reduction in overall sales. We're fine without the added hassles.

There was a time when international sales were almost half our business but not any more... and I couldn't care less. Good riddance!

Sometimes things just work out for the better. When corporate greed gets out of hand we leave them in the dust, life's too short to spend it holding onto your ankles. Man was intended to stand straight and tall, not bent over.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 03:56:48 2013

The 57% increase in First Class International has destroyed my overseas business. I used to get some nice sales from Britain, Europe, Japan and especially Australia. All gone.  

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Apr 15 07:52:17 2013

''Adding extra freebies is the rope you hang yourself with by doing such.''

HA! Fortunately, in over 13 years of selling online, my experience with this practice has always been positive. Whatever risk that accompanies this practice in your realm of online selling simply doesn't exist in mine.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: mcfiver

Mon Apr 15 07:53:07 2013

We are also small potato sellers. Each week we dig stuff out of estate sales, thrifts, auctions, etc.

After research, cleaning and testing, that usually leaves us 15-20 superior condition items which make our weekly listing cut. Size and weight maddeningly vary, as these are unique vintage items, from old telephones to 8-track tapes.

We pre-pack and weigh most, then use our scale to test shipping rates using Endicia's program or eBay's shipping calculator. We factor in eBay & PayPal's fee, our rough cost of shipping supplies, and add that to the shipping cost, which usually adds anywhere from 50 cents to $4.50 beyond the actual cost.

Thanks to the new international shipping prices, we've simply quit offering our heavier items to folks overseas. And smaller lighter items that are easy to pack, we're offering them with First Class International or Priority Flat Rate. But, for the most part, as others have noted, sales from our international friends is dead.

We're not interested in eBay's new international shipping service for one simple reason: it takes the quality control our of our hands.

For domestic shipping, because our items are vintage and previously owned (and parts can be swapped out) we don't offer free shipping or returns, unless sealed.

Ultimately, most of our customers are understanding of our pricing, because it's fair and we ship within 24 hours. Their items arrive quickly, properly packed and safely. We also include a little hand written 'thank you' note on each packing slip, a vintage bit of good old fashioned customer service.

And I have to say, without any hesitation, that the U.S. Post Office, for their pricing and speed of delivery, is awesome. Strictly from our experience, they've done an incredible job meeting our needs. I remember the old days, waiting in interminably long lines for them to surly postage our items. The fact we can prepare & print postage at home, their speed of delivery, their modest cost and, for us, a less than 1% damage/loss record over 12 years, is all we could ever ask for. Back to work!

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Apr 15 08:11:57 2013

USPS really shot themselves in the foot with their international shipping pricing.  International sales have fallen considerably--we get very few since the price hikes.

Shipping a single button is upwards of $10.00 or more.  Insane pricing?  Yes.  And you better insure that button or else you'll get a "we didn't receive our button" email from the buyer.

I hope to eventually see a news article stating how much money USPS loses on their new international shipping pricing. Surely eBay is monitoring this and it must be hurting them really badly.  Look for them to make up for it somehow with more price increases to please those esteemed shareholders while simultaneously putting more hardship on sellers.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Apr 15 08:20:34 2013

One more thought, I can only hope that eBay do some wheeling and dealing with USPS at it relates to international shipping.  When they see how badly that this is hurting them I am hoping that they will approach USPS and do some bargaining for eBay sellers (and of course themselves).   They definitely have the leverage to do so--I would imagine business from eBay account for a very large chunk of change for USPS.  

I don't think sellers are flocking to their Pitney Bowes scheme so they may have no choice but to wheel and deal with USPS.   Making the Pitney Bowes scheme mandatory will not help with the shipping pricing as it is still expensive.  

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Bethofvt This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 08:35:26 2013

I, too, have stopped shipping internationally with rare exceptions where a bidder has written an email "begging" me to sell to them. Most buyers not willing to pay the shipping internationally and too big a risk in lost shipping costs for me if the item is returned.  

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 08:51:11 2013

We have no problem with the increase of USPS. We understand that cost can go up. We do have a problem with ebay still asking the buyers if shipping cost is very reasonable when shipping from zone 1 to zone 7 or 8 is over double. We charge actual shipping and we know that shipping is many times more than the item.

If a buyer now ask us if we can lower the shipping price we just put them on our block list. We know this hurts us but the DSR system hurts us more. We see the opinion of the buyer should be do I want to buy the item or not. We should not lose our reputation just because USPS has a postal increase.

If we get to many low DSR over shipping we will just put our store on vacation until it gets under control. The stress of ebay is no longer worth it.  

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Apr 15 09:11:55 2013

We used the same strategy as with past postal increases.

We watch the prices other sellers are charging for the same or similar items, and increase our prices as they increase theirs.

We continue to refuse to ship outside the United States.

For domestic orders... Ounces are our enemy in that a large number of our items ship as First Class Mail Parcels.

We reviewed packaging to save an ounce here or there, and looked at which items could ship in slightly smaller - less expensive bubble mailers. We researched alternate vendors to assure best pricing, and increased our purchase quantity to obtain lower cost per unit.

For items which do not really require the protection of a bubble mailer, we switched to a plain poly mailer to better manage cost as well as to slightly reduce weight.

At the same time, we reduced the printed size of our shipping labels and added a lighter weight mailing tape for items where we are simply reinforcing existing packaging or securing labels.

For Priority Mail items, we returned to shipping some orders in plain Flat Rate envelopes instead of the slightly more expensive bubble FRE's and brought in Regional Rate and Flat Rate boxes to handle larger items.

Overall, we have done what we can to minimize the impact of USPS rate increases.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Apr 15 09:29:38 2013

Domestic sales in the collectible area has not been affected by the increase.

International sales have dropped by half. When it costs close to $40 to ship a book to Australia (4lb not envelope size), that sort of kills the deal unless combined with a few other books.

Too bad, had a nice set of clientele in the UK, Australia, EU.

I sympathize with the USPS, but have none for the dopes in Congress who want to "privatize" the system so only the uber-bosses get their stock options.

The other hurt inflicted was the elimination of surface international postage - the best way to send books cheap.

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 15 09:59:19 2013

Ric is 100% correct on this and we have done this for years. It is about time that ebay stop tying to micro manage shipping since they have no clue one how and have no investment at all.

Buyers have to step up and either pay the cost or not buy. Sellers can only move the number around so much and they know what they have to do. We don't need ebay trying to tell us what we need to do.

When it comes to ebay Customer they score zero. We were told that if customers think USPS shipping is to much we needed to switch to UPS or FedEx. I told them we can't change on first class mail but they insisted we were not willing to make changes.  

How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?   How Are You Dealing with Postage Increases?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Apr 15 10:53:37 2013

Surprisingly enough, while I thought I would lose all my international orders, I actually had more in February than I had before the price increase which was horrendous. I took the time to add to my shipping notification starting in December that foreign shipping was going to take a huge jump. For all practical purposes, my international sales haven't changed at all. I use endicia for my postage program and that helped me to get set up with the right charges. Because of what I sell and the shipping matrix on ecrater, I only have one problem and that is some single items weigh 5-6 ounces and I set my shipping for one item to 3-4 ounces, otherwise I would have had to individually preweigh over 8000 pieces of inventory on the slim chance a heavier item will go international. I 'ate' the difference in shipping once, for a package that slightly weighed more than what I collected. My US shipping was bumped up a bit for the first time in several years and other than the rare occasion when a FC international weighs a bit too much, my shipping charge covers the cost of my shipping and supplies, etc. No reason for it not to. I'm never sure why a seller presupposes that since no one will pay the shipping fees, cancel all international sales. Let the buyer decide what is important to them.

My last packet to Canada was tracked and shows as delivered 6-7 days after sending it.

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