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Definitive Guide to USPS 2012 Rate Increase

Postal rate increases for 2012 are coming January 22nd. See my post about the new 2012 Priority rates here.

This year the increase is not going to be all bad news for online sellers because USPS is doing some good things with both the Regional Rate Priority service they introduced in 2011 and discounts for shippers who use internet postage.

This is a plug:

If you are a micro-seller and not already subscribing to endicia (basic rate $9.95 month for PC higher for Mac) you may wish to rethink that policy. The savings of time, convenience and cash will be considerable as shown in the charts below. Yes, you can get the same postal rates using Stamps.com for $15.99 a month (60% more) plus the cost of your special labels for NetStamps, or ship packages paying for each batch at Click N Ship, but you will not have:

  • a customer database on your computer complete with space for phone numbers and emails
  • a printable shipping log
  • a complete record of all your postage costs for the year in one place
  • access to a variety of insurance options billed monthly
  • downloadable updates before you need them

First Class Commercial Rates vs Retail

As of January 22 USPS First-Class Parcel service will be split into two separate classes: First-Class Package Service® and First-Class Mail Parcel®. The First-Class Package Service offers commercial discounted rates, but requires an integrated postage label and the special Intelligent Mail parcel barcode (iMpb) introduced last year.

2012 commercial price increase is 8c per piece in all weight tranches except the heaviest, 13oz, which is a 2c increase. Delivery confirmation charge is now included for First-Class Package Service a savings of 19c (11c net). Click the small image to get the bigger one.

If you are not already using Priority Regional Flat Rate, why not?

I am absolutely amazed to see how few sellers are using Regional Rate, to clarify that, not one seller I have bought from since the service was introduced in 2011. Do you actually enjoy paying more than necessary? Regional Flat Rate is basically the same service as regular flat rate but priced and designed for commercial shippers, us.

  • If it fits it ships, but with weight limitations
  • some of the discounts are over 50%, highest savings on heavier items going short distances but still cheaper than regular Flat Rate to Zone 8, Alaska and Hawaii.
  • order boxes online delivered to you free of any charge
  • schedule free pick up by your regular mail carrier
  • no minimum for carrier pick up, one box is fine

You should note three things:

  1. You must use the Priority Regional Flat Rate boxes
  2. These boxes are not available at your local Post Office but must be ordered online.
  3. If you take one to the Post Office without an online printed label you will be charged $0.75c extra.

The chart below shows a comparison of box sizes with the current (pre 2012 increase) rates. I will update it as soon as exact information becomes available. Best estimates are that Box C, which will be available for order January 22nd, will cost an ‘average price’ of $30, figure average as Zone 5 from you. Click the small image to get the bigger one.

Determining Zones

You can download a USPS Zone Chart for your website here. Just input the first three digits of your zip code.

Redirection of Mail

I have saved the best news for last. If you get scammed you will be able to use the new Package Intercept service to get your package back before it is delivered. The service is available for any Domestic Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, and Package Services, letter, flat, or parcel measuring not more than 108 inches in length and girth combined, with a tracking barcode. There is a fee and I believe you may also have to pay the return postage at the same rate you paid outbound. Even so, it is better than losing the package and the payment.

USPS says

“Retail and commercial customers may request Package Intercept by submitting PS Form 1509, Application for Package Intercept, at the Post Office of mailing along with valid photo identification. Intercepted mailpieces are only redirected to sender.”

Y’all come back for the (much shorter) updates in Part 2!
Henrietta!

Fifty One Weeks of Opportunity

The first week of 2012 has gone. We have fifty one weeks of opportunity ahead of us, what are you going to do with them?

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. It seems like the whole process of online selling has become so complex. It really isn’t fun any more. Every day I get email about webinars and white papers with titles like “Retail Atmospherics & 21st Century Marketing”, learned articles about future directions in social marketing and the psychology of successful sales. Do I really want to know propaganda tactics to enhance my marketing? Most of it seems to be complete time wasting guff designed to part me from my money and have no relevance to my business. Maybe that is why I am not a retail hotshot. All I want to do is sell well made (preferably in the USA) pretty things for a fair price and make an honest profit doing it. Am I weird or what?

Meanwhile back at the stock shelves I am struggling to motivate myself to complete year end inventory and the eternal books. Outside the sun is shining and the birds are singing. It would be easy to slip into a fog of indecision and doubt. Did you know that roughly 10% of the population of the United States is on anti-depressants? This is dreadful and what is truly amazing is the matter of fact way this statistic is presented.

I’m OK. Are you OK?

The near future holds the thrills of refreshing my listings and photographs. Some prices need to go up, some will go down. We won’t even think about updating the website yet, but it is there lurking and snarling in a tangle of code and databases.

It is time to start planning purchases for Spring then Christmas 2012, if I do not want to end up with the leftovers. There are Wholesale Markets to visit, or will I give them a miss this year?

High priority must be given to analyzing shipping costs and what the market will bear in the face of a rotten economy and the Post Office annual rate increase.

I have not really made any resolutions this year other than to continue what I do but do it better. How about you?

A request gentle reader.

I notice that I hardly ever comment on blogs and articles any more. You probably don’t either. We are all so darned busy, we do not interact with each other any more. We just take and move on.

It is much easier for me to rip off a quick article slagging (v. def.#3 Brit.vulgar) eBay or PayPal than to research, write and share an eCommerce article. Readership remains pretty constant thanks to the vast volume of my work (and it is work) to be found on Red Ink Diary whether I write anything new or not …

Let’s make a resolution together, to share, network and interact with each other. As small or micro sellers we have so much to offer eCommerce starting with superior and personalized service compared to the behemoths. We do have to work harder to stay afloat but anything is easier when you do it with friends.

Y’all come back!
Henrietta!

Why Does eBay Despise Women?

I am fed up with eBay’s denigrating (Def.#1, 2) attitude towards Mom and Grandma and women in general. Here is a prime example.

Really eBay?

Do tell, how did such a stupid Mother get to have such a smart daughter?

It has been going on for a while and I think it is supposed to be funny, but it really is not; especially if you happen to be a mother or grandmother. When I think about it, probably a high percentage of women in the USA are mothers, grandmothers or both.

A very quick look at eBay’s customer demographics on Alexa.com confirms my theory about eBays traffic. Most visitors to eBay.com browse from home, they are

  • More female than male
  • with some college education
  • the largest group is aged 45 to 54, (moms and some grandmas)
  • next largest group is 55 to 64 (probably lots of grandmas)
  • the lowest demographic is aged 18 to 24.

It is possible that the advertisement shown above is aimed at improving the 18 - 24 visitor statistics while touting mobile shopping capability. I question that the best way to do that is by belittling the intelligence of women who are your best customers. It is demeaning, sexist, condescending and not very funny.

What do you think?

Y’all come back!
Henrietta!

Saturday Silliness Piggy Tales

This is an Australian video, Kingsford is a feral pig and was orphaned when his family was culled. Feral pigs are a real problem in Australia (and everywhere else they are found), Kingsford got lucky.

Refresh the page if the video does not load immediately.

We have our own piggy story but no video camera. Mr Quigley is now two and a half years old and weighs over 300 lbs.

Y’all come back!
Henrietta!