Important: USPS making changes to First-Class Mail International Flats

December 26th, 2017 Comments off

Jan 21, 2018 Update: has launched a new International Flat service.  Get more info on how to ship merchandise with International Flats.

Merchandise No Longer Allowed in First Class Mail International Flats
If you ship merchandise abroad using USPS First Class Mail International Flats, there’s a new rule going into effect soon that you need to know about. Effective Sunday, January 21, 2018, First Class Mail International Large Envelope/Flat service for merchandise will NO LONGER be available from the USPS. First Class Mail International Flats will only be approved for use when sending documents. This change is occurring to comply with Universal Postal Union requirements.

Here are some examples of what USPS considers a document (still OK to ship using First Class Mail International Flats):

  • Audit and business records
  • Personal correspondence
  • Circulars
  • Pamphlets
  • Advertisements
  • Written instruments not intended to be resold
  • Money orders, checks, and similar items that cannot be negotiated or converted into cash without forgery.

Here are examples of items that will NO LONGER be allowed to be shipped as First Class Mail International Flats, effective Jan. 21, 2018:

  • CDs, DVDs, flash drives, video and cassette tapes, and other digital and electronic storage media (regardless of whether they are blank or contain electronic documents or other prerecorded media)
  • Artwork
  • Collector or antique document items
  • Books
  • Periodicals
  • Printed music
  • Printed educational or test material
  • Player piano rolls
  • Commercial photographs, blueprints and engineering drawings
  • Film and negatives
  • X-rays
  • Separation negatives

These goods are dutiable and must be must be shipped using First Class Package International Service. Once this change goes into effect, shippers will need to include Customs Forms and the recipient could pay a duty or tax to receive the product.

Cost Savings Using First Class Mail International Flats
Moving from First Class Mail International Flats to First Class Package International Service will have a big impact on shippers. For example, here’s a cost comparison for items going to Canada:

Shipping Rates to Canada (as of Jan 21, 2018)

First Class International Cost Comparison
Flats vs. Packages

Weight (oz.)

First Class Mail International Flats

(goods NOT allowed)

First Class Package International Service
(goods allowed)

Cost Increase to move to First Class Package International Service


$2.29 $9.50 +$7.21


$2.50 $9.50 +$7.00


$2.71 $9.50 +$6.79
4 $2.91 $9.50



$3.12 $9.50


6 $3.33 $9.50



$3.54 $9.50 +$5.96
8 $3.75 $9.50


12 $4.79 $15.20


16 – 1 lb.

$5.83 $15.20 +$9.37


$6.87 $15.20


24 $7.91 $15.20



$8.95 $15.20 +$6.25
32 – 2 lbs. $9.99 $15.20



$11.03 $23.99



$12.08 $23.99



$13.12 $23.99


48 – 3 lbs.

$14.16 $23.99



$15.20 $35.39



$16.24 $35.39



$17.28 $35.39


64 – 4 lbs. $18.32 $35.39

+$17.07 Introduces Global Advantage Program has introduced the Global Advantage Program, a new international service  that lets you keep the cost benefits of shipping merchandise with First-Class Mail International Flats.

The Global Advantage Program includes these great benefits:

  • Allows you to ship merchandise using a service similar to First Class International Flats
  • Does not require Customs Forms
  • Plus much more!

To learn more and to have the Global Advantage Program activated to your account, please contact your Account Manager or call 1-855-889-7867 today!

Categories: USPS News Tags: wishes you a wonderful holiday season

December 22nd, 2017 Comments off

Everyone at wishes you a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2018! As you put the finishing touches on your holiday mailing and shipping, we want to share some important USPS information about holiday closures and changes in service.

Saturday, Dec. 23
USPS: Regular Post Office hours and mail collections will be made.

Sunday, Dec. 24
USPS: Post Offices nationwide will be closed, as is standard for Sundays. Blue collection boxes will not be serviced, because they are not serviced on Sundays.

Monday, Dec. 25
USPS: Post Offices will be closed and blue boxes will not be serviced for the federal holiday. Only Priority Mail Express will be delivered on Christmas Day. Support: Closed in observance of the Christmas holiday.

Tuesday, Dec. 26 through Friday, December 29
USPS: Regular Post Office hours and mail delivery. Support: Telephone support available 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific.

Saturday, Dec. 30
USPS: Regular Post Office hours and mail collections will be made.

Sunday, Dec. 31
USPS: Post Offices nationwide will be closed, and blue collection boxes will not be serviced.

Monday, Jan. 1
USPS: Post Offices will be closed and blue boxes will not be serviced for the federal holiday. Only Priority Mail Express will be delivered on New Year’s Day. Support: Closed in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

Tuesday, Jan. 2
USPS: Regular Post Office hours and mail delivery resume. Support: Telephone support available 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific.

Categories: Customer Support Tags:

5 Tips to Make Holiday Returns Easier

December 19th, 2017 Comments off

Returns are an inevitable part of ecommerce, and particularly during the holiday season when shoppers with good intentions buy gifts for their loved ones but might pick out the wrong size, style or color for their intended recipient.

One study released earlier this year by Narvar found that Millennials (under the age of 30) and affluent shoppers place a strong emphasis on the online return experience. The generous returns policies offered by companies such as Zappos (fast and free, with a 365-day window)  make it easy for shoppers of any demographic to view returns as a natural part of the ecommerce buying cycle. They’ve come to expect convenience and transparency during the process, and might take their business elsewhere if they aren’t offered free returns—84 percent of those surveyed by Narvar said restocking fees would prevent them from making a purchase, and 74 percent said return shipping fees would prevent them from making a purchase.

Here are five steps an ecommerce seller can take to make returns easier, both after the holidays and all year long:

  1. Create a returns portal

Consider creating an online returns portal for your customers where they can input information about their return and print out the shipping label and other necessary documents. This allows you to control the return shipping label and the cost associated with returning the item so you can avoid customers expecting you to pay when they opt for higher-cost shipping options. This returns portal also gives you the ability to monitor data and generate reports on your product returns. Having this information readily accessible can help save you money in the future—you might find patterns in these reports that draw your attention to problems on your site, such as inaccurate product specifications or poor photo quality.

  1. Use a return merchandise authorization system

The Return Merchandise Authorization, or RMA, system can be a part of your returns portal. Having an RMA number allows your inbound shipping team to easily pull up the return details of the order, and coding that RMA number or other return information on the label makes for easier processing once a returned product arrives. This way your inbound shipping team knows what the product is and why it’s coming back, and your warehouse team has a view of inventory due back to the warehouse.

  1. Provide good return tracking

Tracking of a returned item is imperative. Transparency and tracking capabilities are critical in the returns process, which is why it’s imperative to provide good return tracking information to your customer. As a retailer, you should keep shoppers informed of return package status—consider sending an email when their return enters the mailstream or when you receive the package, so customers aren’t worried that their packages could be lost. It’s also important to keep them informed regarding their refund status so they know when to expect to see a credit posted to their account. Transparency by way of quality return tracking communication can also help alleviate the amount of inquiries coming into your customer support team.

  1. Allow customers to return online purchases in person

Shoppers want the option to return online purchases to a brick-and-mortar store—sometimes it’s easier to drop in than it is to print out a label, package up a return and ship it. In addition to making the return more convenient for your customer, this gives the store the opportunity to immediately recapture a sale and possibly upsell or cross sell since the buyer is already on site. Plus, an immediate refund helps foster that positive customer experience.

#5 Create (or improve your) returned product review process

Develop a good product review process for your returns so the team knows how best to handle returned items. Can the product be returned back to stock as new/unused? Would it be better to repair or otherwise fix the item so it can go back into stock as reconditioned? Does the product need to be flat-out destroyed?

Other things to think about when developing your returned product review process:

  • Which team initiates a refund or exchange once you’ve received the returned item?
  • How long does it take to process an exchange or refund, and are you clearly communicating this process with the customer?
  • Do you have accounting processes in place to handle the product coming back into inventory, reversing the sales tax collected and tax liability?

Yes, returns take some work, but if done right, they can help you attract customers and build brand loyalty.

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

New: System Status Page

December 5th, 2017 Comments off is excited to announce the launch of our System Status page, located at We built this page to provide you with real-time, 24/7 information on the status of servers and networks. If we experience an interruption in service, we will post a notice on the page and will continue to update the page as changes occur.

With this new page, you can find up-to-date information on:

  • System status—Confirm service availability for the website, software and API services
  • Outages and incidents—We’ll provide details and communication on any service outage
  • Maintenance—Find information and updates about server maintenance and upgrades.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see on the System Status page:

You can also subscribe to receive System Status updates via email, SMS text or an Atom/RSS feed.

Categories: Software Updates Tags:

Post Offices with Extended Hours Help Holiday Stress

November 30th, 2017 Comments off

Wishing you could give yourself the gift of more time this busy holiday season? If you’re working long hours and trying to figure out when you’ll have a moment to pop over to the Post Office to ship all those holiday packages, don’t stress. Most cities have a Post Office that stays open beyond the standard 5 p.m. closing time, with Post Offices in some cities remaining open well into the night.

With that in mind, here is a list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the information for at least one Post Office with after-hours closing time. This way you can give yourself a break and stop stressing about finding time to drop off holiday packages.

Use the USPS Find Location tool to search for local Post Office locations and hours. Just input your ZIP Code to find a Post Office in your area:

Categories: USPS News Tags:

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