The United States Postal Service annual rate change went into effect Sunday, January 24th. What does this mean for ecommerce retailers looking to leverage USPS rates in their shipping mix? First, let’s review the overall increases for USPS shipping products:
- Priority Mail® increased an average of 3.5%
- Priority Mail Express® increased an average of 1.2%
- Parcel Return® Services increased an average of 4.9%
- First-Class Package Services® increased an average of 6.2%
- Parcel Select® increased an average of 8.9%
Flat Rate Envelope and Small Flat Rate Box prices went up $.25. The cost of a Medium Flat Rate Box went up $.55 and the price of a Large Flat Rate Box went up $1.00.
One thing to note is that these increased prices are based off the 2020 USPS rates and not the temporarily increased prices between October 18th and December 27th, 2020. Even though these rates are rising, by printing USPS labels through DesktopShipper you’re automatically saving substantially from retail rates.
Besides the reasonably straightforward increases in prices, there are two other significant changes to be aware of. The USPS is now assessing a $100 fee for packages found in the mail stream that exceed the maximum mailable size limit (combined length and girth greater than 130 inches). The USPS is also changing the number of country groups to 20 to allow for more specific pricing.
Here are a few other things to think about before you print that shipping label:
Minimize your box size (while assuring the item is safely packaged to avoid damage). Package weight and box size matter when shipping. Package your items in the smallest box possible, but make sure you keep those fragile items safe. If you’re shipping with the USPS, make sure you don’t go over that 130-inch limit.
Use flat rate and regional rate boxes. If it fits is ships still rings true. Flat rate boxes are great for heavier, denser items. Instead of paying $42.24 for a 15-pound shipment going to zone 7, pay $19.30 for a Large Flat Rate Box going to the same address. The weight of the package might be the same, but you’ll save over $20 using flat rate boxes.
Meet your customers’ delivery expectations. By using DesktopShipper to rate shop the major carriers, you’ll be able to find the most cost-effective way to get your product to your customers without breaking the bank. The USPS is typically the most cost-effective way to ship smaller lighter weight packages to residential addresses. With DesktopShipper, you can double-check and set rules to ensure this is the case.
The USPS, along with all carriers, saw an unprecedented surge in shipments due to COVID. The USPS was the only major carrier that didn’t put limits on their parcel volume. This put them in an almost unattainable position during the holidays. Our data shows that even though delivery times slipped, the USPS handled the increased volume well. Delivery times have significantly improved over the last two weeks and their Priority Mail delivery times are back to holiday peak levels.
The USPS typically offers the best value when shipping lighter weight packages (under 7 pounds) to residential addresses in the 1 to 3-day range. Priority Mail provides a fully trackable solution, and when you print your Priority Mail labels through DesktopShipper (using Pitney Bowes technology) you automatically qualify for Delivery Guarantee, a 3-day guaranteed delivery.
For a deeper dive into the 2021 USPS rate change, visit our USPS carrier update page.
This post is courtesy of our partners at Pitney Bowes. Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is a global technology company providing commerce solutions that power billions of transactions. Clients around the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on the accuracy and precision delivered by Pitney Bowes solutions, analytics, and APIs in the areas of ecommerce fulfillment, shipping and returns; cross-border ecommerce; office mailing and shipping; presort services; and financing. For 100 years Pitney Bowes has been innovating and delivering technologies that remove the complexity of getting commerce transactions precisely right. For additional information visit Pitney Bowes, the Craftsmen of Commerce, at www.pitneybowes.com.