Today is the last recommended send-by day to ship USPS Priority Mail for delivery by Christmas Day, and Friday is the last recommended send-by day for USPS Priority Mail Express service - see more information on the USPS website
However, online sellers won't get a chance to catch their breath from the Christmas rush before having to deal with higher shipping costs. UPS is implementing its new 2018 rates on Christmas Eve this year rather than waiting until January.
There's another reason to remain on your guard. As ShipStation
's Krish Iyer reminded us, this can impact returns. "Keep in mind that if you printed a return label before this date, you likely expected a certain price/rate," he said. But with rates going up on December 24th, "If you didn't account for it, then it can have a significant cost that you simply were not prepared for."
FedEx and USPS are also raising 2018 rates. The cost of USPS Priority Mail rates will go up by an average of 3.9% on January 21st, and sellers who use online postage to print shipping labels (commercial) could see rates increase about 6% on average.
FedEx is raising rates an average of 4.9% beginning January 1, 2018 and is also raising rates for surcharges, including for Address Correction and Residential Delivery. And as we reported in September, FedEx is adding dim-weight pricing to FedEx SmartPost effective January 22nd, when it will also change criteria and pricing for packages that require additional handling, are oversized, or are unauthorized.
Readers who sell on eBay should also be mindful of the hidden cost of higher shipping rates: eBay takes a commission on shipping costs in addition to the value of the item sold, generating more revenue for its bottom line every time sellers (or buyers) pay more to ship.
Have you adjusted your prices and shipping charges to prepare for higher rates? And as we pass from the holiday shopping season to the season of returns, we're collecting tips on how to deal with returns - do you have advice (or gripes) on dealing with returns?