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Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive – May 11, 2019

May 8th, 2019 Comments off

On Saturday, May 11, USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) are hosting the 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The USPS and NALC are asking communities across America to come together and tackle one of the nation’s biggest problems—hunger. This year the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive hopes to surpass last year’s total of 71.6 million pounds of food collected. Food donations are distributed to food banks, pantries, shelters, and those in need all across America.

 

How to Participate in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

To participate in the 27th Stamp Out Hunger food drive, residents are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal next to their mailbox before regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 11. Letter carriers will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to their local food bank or pantry, including many affiliated with Feeding America. Please note that expired products or products in glass containers will not be accepted.

 

What to Donate

Most-wanted foods include:

  • Canned meats and fish (tuna, chicken)
  • Canned and boxed meals (macaroni and cheese, soup, chili)
  • Pasta
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Cooking oil
  • Canned or dried beans and peas (black, pinto, lentils)
  • Boxed cooking mixes
  • Fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
Categories: USPS News Tags:

USPS Mailing Standards For Lithium Batteries

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

Shipping Regulations
When shipping lithium batteries, businesses must comply with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) standards for preparing shipments that contain lithium batteries.  The standards are in place to ensure the safe transportation of shipments that include these batteries and cells.  Shippers are responsible to comply with these regulations or risk fines.

Luckily the USPS shipping regulations align with DOT and PHMSA regulations—so as long as your shipment follows USPS regulations, you are in the clear.

USPS Standards for Domestic Shipments Containing Lithium Batteries

  • Each cell cannot contain more than 1 gram of lithium
  • Each battery cannot contain more than 2 grams of lithium
  • All packages must contain a complete return address
  • For non-installed batteries, your package must have a DOT-approved lithium battery mark (UN3090)

Standards for Shipping Installed Batteries

  • Installed batteries must be protected from short circuit
  • Devices with batteries must have protection to prevent accidentally being powered-on
  • Equipment must be cushioned

Shipping Lithium Batteries to International Destinations?

Lithium batteries can only be shipped internationally if they are installed in the equipment they operate.  Shipping carriers are not allowed to ship packages containing only lithium batteries or cells to international locations – they must be included inside a product.  No markings or documentation are allowed on these international mailpieces.  This rule applies to all international as well as APO/FPO/DPO destinations.

More info on the U.S. Postal Service’s Lithium Battery mailing standards is available on the USPS.com site.

How Social Media Can Boost Your SEO

April 23rd, 2019 Comments off

It’s no secret that SEO is essential to business success today. With so much competition on the internet, effective SEO is how you ensure that your business isn’t overlooked. There are many strategies that you can use to boost your SEO, but one factor that too many businesses aren’t taking advantage of is social media.

While social media may have started as a way to stay connected with friends and family, it has evolved into an essential asset for any SEO strategy. Here are three ways social media can boost your business’s SEO.

Content Promotion and Higher SERP rankings

Through effective content promotion and creating backlinks, social media can indirectly help your business achieve higher search engine result page (SERP) rankings.

Your business might be producing great content, but sometimes that content doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That’s where social media steps in. With over three billion people using social media every month, social platforms allow you to share content over multiple channels and to a large and often fresh audience, so you amplify the number of eyes on your content.

Social media content links might not be as effective for SERP rankings as backlinks from reputable sites, but they can still impact your bounce rates and time-on-site engagement. If the content you’re sharing through social media is compelling, and people stay to consume it, that will translate as useful information to search engines and help increase your SERP rankings and site traffic.

Enhanced Brand Awareness

By sharing high-quality content and increasing engagement on social media, you can enhance your online brand awareness and recognition, and establish relationships with your target audience.

With increased brand awareness, your business will have more branded searches on Google, which will also lead to better rankings in non-branded searches. Plus, according to a recent marketing report, 82% of consumers will select a brand they’re already familiar with in the search results. So as your audience becomes more familiar with your brand through social media, they’ll be more likely to choose you over your competition.

Link Building

The more diverse external links there are to your content, the more value search engines assign to your website. Links are so important that they’re one of the top three ranking signals used by Google, and social media is an excellent tool for encouraging external links to your site. The catch here is that you need to be sharing high quality and useful content.

Social media is also useful for SEO link building because of all the people who use it. With so many influencers and big brands using social media today, when you use the same platforms as them, you enhance the chances that they see and share your content through their blogs and websites.

Skyrocket Your SEO With Social Media

If you’re not already on popular social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s time to get started. If you already have accounts, then it’s time to put some focus on your social media strategy and start boosting your SEO today.

Categories: Social Media Tags:

USPS International Shipping Restrictions

April 15th, 2019 Comments off

Seasoned e-commerce shippers are typically familiar with USPS restrictions for domestic items, but many are unaware of the additional restrictions for international items. Every country has restrictions as to what goods are allowed into their borders. Often times these restrictions are based on cultural or religious beliefs for the local community.  Other times, the restrictions are enacted to protect local industry. In this article, we will look at USPS international shipping restrictions on common goods, as well as some odd prohibitions you might not have thought of.

 

Common Prohibited International Items  

  • Aerosols
  • Air Bags
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Ammunition
  • Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco*
  • Dry Ice (even for refrigeration)
  • Flammable Paint
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • Gasoline
  • Nail Polish
  • Perfumes containing alcohol
  • Poison

*Cigars may be shipped internationally unless prohibited by the destination country

 

Odd Prohibited Items from Select Countries

Canada

Wine, pens valued over $5

China

Used clothing

Germany

Playing cards

Ireland

Straw hats

Italy

Clocks, shoes, non-wood toys

Mexico

Jewelry

Norway

Pharmaceutical products of any kind

Peru

Used Tires

Turkey

Cosmetic products

 

Shipping Internationally with Stamps.com

Stamps.com makes international shipping easy. In addition to automated customs forms and discounts to all international mail classes, Stamps.com simplifies shipping restrictions with real-time restrictions on the “International” tab for all countries the USPS delivers to.

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

Easy Guidelines To Follow For Effective USPS Shipping

April 4th, 2019 Comments off

A smooth shipping process not only helps streamline your operations as an e-commerce seller, but also ensures your products reach your customers without undue delays.  Moreover, you can focus your efforts on growing your business instead of dealing with customer complaints and questions around package delivery status or postage due at the time of delivery.

What can you do to ensure a seamless shipping experience from the time your package leaves your hands and reaches your customer?  Follow these five easy USPS shipping guidelines!

Pay Attention To Your Package

Guideline #1 – Round up on Weights:  Did you know that the USPS rounds up package weights to the nearest ounce or pound depending on the mail class used?  To avoid underpaying for postage or even worse having your customer pay postage at the time of delivery, always round up your package weight.  As an example, if your package weighs 10 lbs. and 5 oz., you should use the shipping rate for an 11 lb. package.

Guideline #2 – Check the Dimensions:  Your package size can make a difference in how much you pay shipping!  Dimensional (DIM) weight may apply to a USPS package that is larger than 1 cubic foot (12″ x 12″ x 12″).  Pay attention to the dimensions of your package and avoid unnecessary empty space to lower shipping costs.

Does Your Shipping Label Match Your Package?

Guideline #3 – Verify the Mail Class:  What mail class should you use to ship your package?  This depends on the weight of your package, how soon you need it to be at its destination and also how much you want to pay for shipping.  Remember, each mail class allows packages up to a certain weight limit only.  Choose First Class Package Service for packages weighing up to 13 ounces and Priority Mail for packages over that weight limit!

Guideline #4 – Double check the Shipping Zone:  USPS Shipping Zones are calculated based on the distance between the origin and destination addresses.  Stamps.com customers should verify that the origin zip code (the zip code for where you ship your packages from) is set up correctly.

Guideline #5 – Match the Label to the Packaging:  Your shipping label should match your package!  For example, based on the package weight, size and shipping zone of your package, if you have decided to use a Flat Rate Priority Mail Box for your package, make sure to choose the corresponding mail class while printing your label.  Also, your Flat Rate label must only be used on a Flat Rate box.

USPS Shipping Made Easy With Stamps.com

When you ship with Stamps.com, you don’t need to worry about underpaying for postage.  Use your Stamps.com digital scale to accurately weigh your package and the software will automatically use the rounded up weight and charge you the appropriate shipping rate.  Next, enter the package dimensions so Stamps.com can determine whether or not DIM weight applies to your package.  Select the correct package type or enter the dimensions of your package.  Also, make sure to set up your origin zip code correctly. When you enter the destination address, Stamps.com automatically calculates the correct shipping zone for your package.  Finally, choose your mail class and Stamps.com will print the appropriate USPS shipping label for your package.

 

 

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