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5 Tips for Small Business Saturday

November 26th, 2019 Comments off

Everyone knows that the frenetic Christmas shopping season officially kicks off on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Following shortly after Black Friday is Cyber Monday, a retail holiday started in 2005 as retailers sought to capitalize on the growing trend of online shopping. Sandwiched between those two retail extravaganzas, on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving is another shopping holiday known as Small Business Saturday.

What makes Small Business Saturday different from its well-known counterparts? While Black Friday and Cyber Monday attract people to national and big-box retailers as well as online shopping, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick-and-mortar businesses that are small and local.

What can small businesses do to take advantage of this special day that comes at the very start of the busiest shopping season of the year? Read these 5 helpful tips and find out.

Tip #1 – Introduce Customers to the Business

It’s easy for a small business to get lost in the massive world of retail. What can a small business do to rise above the fray and get noticed? Because fewer hands are involved in shipping packages to customers, each shipment can be personalized in some way. A business card that features the business’s physical address, website, and social media accounts can go a long way. A thank you note can be included in the package—bonus points if it’s handwritten and personalized with the customer’s name. Additionally, a social media page that includes photos of the business, owners, and employees will let customers know who the friendly faces are behind the package they received in the mail.

Tip #2 – Spread the Word Throughout the Community

While online promotion can be very effective, a small business can make its presence known offline as well. One of the main reasons people shop at small businesses is to support local businesses and put money back into the community. By engaging your local community, you can effectively boost your holiday sales—especially on Small Business Saturday. The local Chamber of Commerce, local organizations, and locally published newspapers and circulars can be used to get the word out.

Tip #3 – Maintain a Presence on Social Media

Any and every social media account can be used to promote Small Business Saturday. Remember, hashtags can be a business’s best friend; sales and deals can be promoted using #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallShop, #SmallBizSat, and others. The voice on a social media account should match the store’s branding and products. For example, a small business that sells toys and games would present itself a bit differently than one that sells haute couture clothing and accessories.

Tip #4 – Promote Products That Make Great Gifts

After all, the holiday season is all about gift-giving, so businesses should place emphasis on items that would make good gifts. Just like any other seasonal sale, product selection and merchandising are key. Grouping products by intended recipient is a great way to showcase your offerings. Categories like “gifts for mom” or “gifts for grandpa” are always popular.

Tip #5 – Don’t Forget About Loyal Customers

Any business is happy to get a new customer, but Small Business Saturday is also about engaging existing customers. The day can be advertised several weeks ahead of time by posting signs in windows and putting flyers in customers’ bags when they pay at the register to remind them about it. If the business maintains a customer email list, a brief but friendly email can encourage them to stop in and check out the deals on Small Business Saturday.

By following these tips, small businesses can start off the busy holiday shopping season on the right foot!

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

USPS International Weight Limits

November 15th, 2019 Comments off

Are you planning to ship gifts internationally this holiday season? You should know that USPS weight limits vary by mail class and destination country.

To ensure that your holiday packages are mailable check out the table below— you can determine how much your international package or letter can weigh by mail class and destination:

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Finding Profits At Estate Sales Part III: The Office

November 8th, 2019 Comments off

Parts one and two of this multi-part series focused on the kitchen and garage.  Next stop?  The office!  You can pretend you’re a pirate looking for buried treasure as you enter the office of almost any estate sale.

Chairs

The first item you should look for is chairs.  Chairs made by companies like Herman Miller and Stressless are incredibly popular.  Herman Miller makes highly adjustable office chairs that are pricey when purchased new.  Stressless makes recliners that sell for thousands at retail.  (Look for the Stressless logo on the round adjuster knob.)  You can purchase these comfort chairs for $50-$100 at estate sales and sell them for $500-$600 online. 

Note: Since chairs are large and heavy, list them as local pickup only.  People who are interested in these brands will often drive long distances to pick them up.   

Pens

Next, be on the lookout for expensive ballpoint and fountain pens.  Brands such as Cross, Parker, and Montblanc are always in demand.

Vintage Stereo Equipment

Many Americans love listening to music as they work.  Vintage stereo equipment is a common sight in the office area of the typical estate sale.  Recently, a friend purchased a Sansui 9090DB AM/FM receiver for $30.  Since it was valuable, he had it refurbished at the local stereo shop.  He sold it for $950 to a dealer who drove 400 miles to pick it up!  (Ironically, the dealer didn’t care if it was refurbished because he has his employees inspect and improve the items he finds before selling them to his customers in Asia.)

Paperweights

In addition, keep your eyes peeled for signed paperweights.  It is not uncommon to find high-end paperweights in the office area of an estate sale.  Orient and Flume, for example, is a Northern California company that makes pieces that are highly collectible.

Office Supplies

The office is also a great place to stock up on supplies!  Running a business can get expensive, and estate sales are fantastic places to purchase paper, envelopes, labels, and tape for almost nothing.

Stamps

Finally, be on the lookout for stamp collections.  A few years ago, we bought a box full of random stamps for $5.  The stamps weren’t collectibles, but they were worth about $250 at the post office.  We didn’t have to buy stamps for a long time!

So the next time you’re out and about looking for buried treasure at an estate sale, check out the office, mate!  You won’t regret it! 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

USPS International Shipping Rates for 2020

October 23rd, 2019 Comments off

The USPS has proposed new postage rates to be implemented on Sunday, January 26, 2020, subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). In our earlier analysis, we showcased the 2020 postage rate increase for domestic letters and packages. This analysis highlights the 2019 USPS rate increase for INTERNATIONAL shipping services.

First Class Package International Service - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Countries Including:CanadaMexicoAustralia, Japan, ChinaRussia, Turkey, CzechUK, Germany, France
4 lbs.$10.69$4.03$13.78$3.56$0.71
Country Group12345
1 lb.$3.32$0.23$4.03$1.43$0.48
2 lbs.$3.32$0.23$4.03$1.43$0.48
3 lbs.$5.46$0.24$7.60$3.57$1.42
INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Countries Including:India, Taiwan, SingaporeSouth Africa, TanzaniaEgypt, QatarBrazil, Peru, Argentina
Country Group6789
1 lb.$0.95$2.14$2.62$0.95
2 lbs.$0.95$2.14$2.62$0.95
3 lbs.$1.67$3.33$5.47$1.90
4 lbs.$0.24$3.56$7.60$0.71

First-Class Package International Service™ – The overall increase for First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS) prices will be 9.9%.

  • Delivery to Canada (Country Group 1) is seeing a large rate increase.  A FCPIS 1 lb. package to Canada is increasing by $3.32 to $19.71 from $16.39 in 2019. A FCPIS 3 lb. package to Canada is increasing by $5.46 to $30.40 from $24.94 in 2019.
  • Delivery to Australia/Asia (Country Group 3) will also see a large rate increase. A 1 lb. package to Australia/Asia is increasing by $4.03 to 26.36 from 22.33 in 2019. A 3 lb. package to Australia/Asia is increasing by $7.60, to $40.85 from $33.25 in 2019.

Priority Mail International CANADA - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
1 lb.$34.53$32.59$1.94
2 lbs.$37.34$35.20$2.14
3 lbs.$40.09$37.81$2.28
4 lbs.$42.85$40.42$2.43
5 lbs.$45.60$43.04$2.56

Priority Mail International UK - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
1 lb.$53.34$49.97$3.37
2 lbs.$58.09$54.39$3.70
3 lbs.$62.80$58.81$3.99
4 lbs.$67.55$63.22$4.33
5 lbs.$72.30$67.64$4.66

Priority Mail International AUSTRALIA - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
5 lbs.$70.30$66.12$4.18
1 lb.$51.40$48.07$3.33
2 lbs.$56.15$52.58$3.57
3 lbs.$60.85$57.10$3.75
4 lbs.$65.60$61.61$3.99
  • Priority Mail International rates will be increasing by an average of 6.0% in 2019.
  • The average increase of a Priority Mail International 1 lb. package will be $2.85.
  • Priority Mail International packages to Canada are seeing an increase of 5.6% for a 1 lb. package, to $35.53 from $33.54 (Zone 1.3) in 2019.
  • Priority Mail International packages to the UK are seeing a 6.3% increase for 1 lb. package, to $53.34 from $49.97 in 2019.   
  • Priority Mail International packages to Australia are seeing a 6.5% increase for a 1 lb. package, to $51.40 from $48.07 in 2019.

Priority Mail Express International CANADA

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
1 lb.$46.82$45.90$0.92
2 lbs.$51.81$50.78$1.03
3 lbs.$56.80$55.67$1.13
4 lbs.$61.79$60.57$1.22
5 lbs.$66.78$65.46$1.32

Priority Mail Express International UK

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
1 lb.$65.31$64.07$1.24
2 lbs.$69.68$68.37$1.31
3 lbs.$74.06$72.66$1.40
4 lbs.$78.45$76.97$1.48
5 lbs.$82.83$81.27$1.56

Priority Mail Express International AUSTRALIA

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight Not Over (lbs.)20202019Increase
1 lb.$68.83$67.53$1.30
2 lbs.$75.12$73.70$1.42
3 lbs.$81.42$79.88$1.54
4 lbs.$87.72$86.06$1.66
5 lbs.$94.00$92.23$1.77
  • Priority Mail Express International rates will be increasing by an average of 2.0% in 2019
  • The average increase of a Priority Mail Express International 1 lb. package is increasing by $2.48.
  • Priority Mail International packages to Canada are seeing an increase of 2.0% for a 1 lb. package, to $46.82 from $45.90 in 2019.
  • Priority Mail International packages to the UK are seeing an increase of 1.9% for a 1 lb. package, to $65.31 from $64.07 in 2019.
  • Priority Mail International packages to Australia are seeing an increase of 1.9% for a 1 lb. package, to $68.83 from $67.53 in 2019.

USPS Announces 2020 Postage Rate Increase

October 15th, 2019 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed new postage rates to be implemented on Sunday, January 26, 2020, subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Listed below are the highlights of the proposed 2020 USPS rate increase for customers buying postage online for DOMESTIC letters and packages:

First Class Mail Letters - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER LETTER - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Mailpiece Weight20202019Increase
Letters - 1 oz.$0.55$0.55$0.00
Letters - Additional Ounces$0.15$0.15$0.00
Metered Mail Letters (Stamps.com Rate) - 1 oz.$0.50$0.50$0.00
Metered Mail Letters (Stamps.com Rate) - Additional Ounces$0.15$0.15$0.00
Flat/Large Envelope - 1 oz.$1.00$1.00$0.00
Flat/Large Envelope - Additional Ounces$0.15$0.15$0.00
Postcards$0.35$0.35$0.00
International Letters - 1 oz. (County Groups 1-9)$1.15$1.15$0.00
International Postcard (County Groups 1-9)$1.15$1.15$0.00

The rate for a First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) for postage purchased at the Post Office is NOT INCREASING in 2020, remaining at $0.55. If you print postage online (via Stamps.com), the Metered Mail rate will also NOT BE INCREASING, with rates remaining at $0.50 in 2020, a 5 cent discount off the Post Office price. Each additional ounce will cost $0.15 (no change from 2019).

The rate for a First Class Mail Flats/Large Envelope is NOT INCREASING in 2020 with the price remaining at $1.00 (1 oz.). Postcards are also not increasing, remaining at $0.35 in 2020.

Priority Mail Express - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight (lbs.)Zones 1/2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
0.5$0.07$0.57$0.56$0.79$0.87$0.95$1.37$2.28
1$0.26$1.43$-1.21$-0.91$0.36$0.28$1.53$2.50
2$0.47$1.63$-0.40$0.94$2.51$2.48$3.44$5.18
3$0.67$2.30$-0.96$0.42$2.18$2.04$3.10$4.75
4$0.88$2.35$0.08$-0.16$2.15$1.84$2.79$4.40
5$0.09$0.76$0.99$1.49$1.64$1.79$2.56$4.18

Overall, prices for Priority Mail Express will increase by 2.2%. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail Express will cost $38.05 in 2020 compared to $36.52 currently.

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Mailpiece20202019Increase
Flat Rate Envelope$22.75$22.68$0.07
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$22.95$22.80$0.15
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$23.25$23.18$0.07

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes will also see a rate increase in 2020. The increases vary depending on the type of envelope, ranging from $0.07 to $0.15 per envelope.

Priority Mail - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight (lbs.)Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1$0.07$0.07$0.07$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$1.49
2$0.22$0.23$0.24$0.26$0.29$0.31$0.33$2.28
3$0.23$0.24$0.25$0.28$0.35$0.39$0.46$3.09
4$0.23$0.25$0.26$0.30$0.41$0.47$0.53$3.72
5$0.23$0.25$0.27$0.31$0.47$0.54$0.61$4.33

Priority Mail will see an average increase of 2.8%. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail will cost $8.42 in 2020 compared to $8.25 currently.

For 1 and 2 lb. packages, the Priority Mail rate increases are modest with a maximum increase of $0.17 for 1 lb. Zone 8, costing $8.42 (increase of 2.0%) and an increase of $0.33 for 2 lb. Zone 8 to $11.19 (increase of 2.9%). For packages weighing 4 lbs. or more, the rate increase are much more significant with increases of at least $0.53 per package.

Priority Mail Flat Rate - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Mailpiece20202019Increase
Flat Rate Envelope$7.15$6.95$0.20
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$7.45$7.25$0.20
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$7.75$7.55$0.20
Small Flat Rate Box$7.65$7.50$0.15
Medium Flat Rate Box$13.20$12.80$0.40
Large Flat Rate Box$18.30$17.60$0.70
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box$16.80$16.10$0.70

Postage rates for Priority Mail Flat Rate products will increase in 2020. The popular Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope will cost $7.75 in 2020 compared to $7.55 currently, a $0.20 increase. Rates for the Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box will increase 40 cents, to $13.20 from $12.80 currently. Rates for the Large Flat Rate Box will increase 70 cents, to $18.30 from $17.60 currently.

Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 rates vs. 2019 rates
Box TypeZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
A$0.03$0.07$0.09$0.16$0.42$0.58$0.90$3.05
B$0.02$0.01$0.02$0.88$0.57$0.74$0.86$4.65

Rates for Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes will be increasing for all shipping zones in 2020. A 5 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Regional Rate Box A will increase by $0.90 to $12.10 in 2020 compared to $11.20 currently.

Regional Rate Box A packages traveling shorter distances (up to Zone 5) are seeing a modest increase of up to 16 cents. Packages traveling to farther shipping zones are increasing much more – Zone 6 is seeing a 42 cents increase, Zone 7 is seeing a 58 cents increase and Zone 8 is seeing a 90 cents increase.

First Class Package Service - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Mailpiece WeightZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1 ounce$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.09$0.09$0.09$0.09
2 ounces$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.09$0.09$0.09$0.09
3 ounces$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.09$0.09$0.09$0.09
4 ounces$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.08$0.09$0.09$0.09$0.09
5 ounces$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.04$0.04
6 ounces$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.04$0.04
7 ounces$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.04$0.04
8 ounces$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.03$0.04$0.04
9 ounces$0.11$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.13$0.13$0.13
10 ounces$0.11$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.13$0.13$0.13
11 ounces$0.11$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.13$0.13$0.13
12 ounces$0.11$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.12$0.13$0.13$0.13
13 ounces$0.10$0.10$0.10$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$0.17
14 ounces$0.10$0.10$0.10$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$0.17
15 ounces$0.10$0.10$0.10$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$0.17
15.999 ounces$0.10$0.10$0.10$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$0.17

Overall rates for First Class Package Service will increase by 2.2%. A 15.999 ounce package for First Class Package Service traveling to zone 8 will increase $0.17 to $5.70 in 2020 from $5.53 currently.

Packages that weigh 9 to 15.999 ounces are all seeing increases of 10 cents or more. A package weighing 15.999 ounces traveling to Zone 8 is seeing an increase of 17 cents (3.0%) to $5.70 in 2020 from $5.53 in 2019.

Parcel Select Ground - 2020 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing)

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight
(lbs.)
Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1$0.07$0.07$0.07$0.15$0.16$0.16$0.17$0.17
2$0.22$0.23$0.24$0.26$0.29$0.31$0.33$0.33
3$0.23$0.24$0.25$0.28$0.35$0.39$0.46$0.46
4$0.23$0.25$0.26$0.30$0.41$0.47$0.53$0.53
5$0.23$0.25$0.27$0.31$0.47$0.54$0.61$0.61
6$0.24$0.25$0.28$0.41$0.54$0.62$0.71$0.71
7$0.24$0.28$0.28$0.46$0.60$0.70$0.80$0.80
8$0.25$0.30$0.33$0.51$0.65$0.78$0.90$0.90
9$0.27$0.31$0.35$0.54$0.71$0.84$1.00$1.00
10$0.38$0.43$0.47$0.79$1.03$1.24$1.46$1.46

Overall rates for Parcel Select Ground will increase by 2.5% in 2020. A 2 lb. package going to Zone 8 will increase $0.33 to $10.89 in 2020 from $10.56 currently.

NEW: Parcel Select Ground rates are now cheaper than Priority Mail for all weights and shipping zones. For a 2 lb. package traveling to Zone 8, Parcel Select is cheaper by 30 cents ($10.89) compared to Priority Mail ($11.19).

Media Mail - 2020 Rates

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - 2020 Rates vs. 2019 Rates
Weight
(lbs.)
20202019Increase
1$2.80$2.75$0.05
2$3.33$3.27$0.06
3$3.86$3.79$0.07
4$4.39$4.31$0.08
5$4.92$4.83$0.09
6$5.45$5.35$0.10
7$5.98$5.87$0.11
8$6.52$6.39$0.13
9$7.06$6.91$0.15
10$7.60$7.43$0.17

Media Mail rates will increase by 1.9% in 2020. A 1 lb. package traveling to Zone 8 will increase 5 cents, to $2.80 in 2020 compared to $2.75 currently.

Stamps.com Will Automatically Update to the New USPS Rates on January 26, 2020
Once the rates are approved by the PRC, Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, January 26, 2020. If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will AUTOMATICALLY see the 2020 USPS rates in the platform.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.