5 Selling Tips For Amazon Prime Day 2021

June 11th, 2021 Comments off

It’s almost here! Amazon Prime Day 2021 will be on June 21–22 with sales for third-party sellers estimated to surpass last year’s $3.5 billion. Post-COVID items like luggage, makeup and apparel will be top sellers as well as items that were in shortage during the pandemic like fitness equipment, home-office essentials, laptops and gaming consoles. Additionally, the competition will be fierce with other big retailers like Walmart and Target participating in their own yearly sales events. It goes without saying, Prime Day 2021 will be huge. Are you prepared? Here are 5 selling tips to help your business have a successful Prime Day 2021.

Tip #1 Optimize Your Product Listings
There are many ways to optimize your product listing to increase traffic and sales:

  • Focus on short, catchy titles with clear descriptions and copy that is optimized for mobile.
  • Use bullet points to organize information and get to know Amazon’s character limits so you can optimize accordingly.
  • Utilize keywords that are significant to Prime Day as well as similar words people search for that are relevant to your product.
  • Take advantage of A+ Content if you’re enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry program.
  • Put emphasis on your product, not the offer.
  • Ensure the product details refer to the product itself—it’s a violation of Amazon’s Terms of Service to mention anything about Prime Day or discounts in the product details.

Your product image also plays an important role in optimizing. Take a look at top-selling products and observe the quality of their images. Your first image should show the product set against a white background while the other images highlight the product’s features. Customers always look at images before text, so make them look appealing.

Tip #2 Don’t Raise Your List Price
Savvy shoppers already use a variety of browser extensions to hunt down deals and track pricing. Raising your list price to show a greater discount not only looks suspicious to customers but can raise a red flag with Amazon, resulting in your account possibly getting suspended. If you can’t provide a discount, it’s better to highlight your product’s superior qualities.

Tip #3 Run Amazon Sponsored Ads
It’s good to have your product fully optimized before creating an Amazon PPC campaign. A PPC ad will increase visibility of your product by showing up when people search for similar items. Automatic campaigns can help you find popular keywords that can be used for your manual campaign with higher bids. To increase the chances of your ad getting seen, avoid bidding on overly popular keywords like “Prime Day.” Make sure to download search term reports and check your maximum bids regularly to ensure your ads are performing.

Tip #4 Run Off-Amazon Promotions
There are many different platforms you can use to drive external traffic to your Amazon Prime Deals:

  • Email blasts
  • Amazon wish lists
  • Blog posts
  • Influencers
  • Affiliates
  • Google Ads
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Organic social media
  • Facebook groups

If you don’t have a Facebook group or audience, Facebook Ads can help you reach potential customers. Something to keep in mind with Facebook Ads is that if you send the user straight to your product listing it can be difficult to track ad progress as well as can potentially undermine your Amazon keyword ranking. Instead, send traffic to a custom landing page that has the ability to capture email addresses.

Tip #5 Take Advantage of the Halo Effect
The halo effect of Prime Day can significantly help your business long after the event ends. Draw attention to your non-Prime Day deals with targeted ads for popular keywords. This can boost your products in the queue. Notice if your item is included in a “frequently purchased together” category and capitalize on the traffic overflow. Consumers are already in shopping mode during this time, so take advantage of it.

In conclusion, Prime Day 2021 has the potential to be the biggest shopping event of the year and with some research and planning it can be highly profitable for your business. So be prepared, stay focused, and follow the tips above to make it your most successful event yet!

Did you know? Stamps.com has a direct integration with Amazon!
Stamps.com allows Amazon.com third party sellers to easily print shipping labels at discounted rates for UPS® and USPS® shipping services. Get more info on Stamps.com’s Amazon Integration.

USPS to Implement Second Postage Rate Increase in 2021

June 4th, 2021 Comments off
August 2021 USPS Price Increase

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a second 2021 postage rate increase for mailing services (letters, postcards) to be implemented on Sunday, August 29, 2021 subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission. This would be the second USPS postage rate increase of 2021, with the first rate increase going into effect on January 24, 2021.

It’s important to note the August 2021 rate increase only impacts “Market Dominant” products, which are mail services such as First Class Mail letters, postcards and mailing services. The USPS DID NOT include package services such as First Class Package Service or Priority Mail, which are known as “Competitive” products. (This could change as additional USPS announcements are expected.)

Listed below are the highlights of the proposed August 2021 USPS rate increase:

  • The rate for a First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) for postage purchased at the Post Office will increase 3 cents to $0.58 from $0.55. Each additional ounce for First Class Mail will cost $0.20, no change from the January through July 2021 period.
  • If you print postage online (via Stamps.com), the Metered Mail rate for a First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) will increase by 2 cents to $0.53 from $0.51.
  • With a 5 cents discount, printing postage online using the Metered Mail rate provides a 9% discount off the Post Office price.

First Class Mail Letter Rates - as of August 29, 2021

INCREASE PER LETTER - Jan 2021 Rates vs. Aug 2021 Rates
Mailpiece WeightJan 2021Aug 2021Increase
Letters - 1 oz.$0.55$0.58$0.03
Letters - Additional Ounces$0.20$0.20No Change
Metered Mail Letters (Stamps.com Rate) - 1 oz.$0.51$0.53$0.02
Metered Mail Letters (Stamps.com Rate) - Additional Ounces$0.20$0.20No Change
Flat/Large Envelope - 1 oz.$1.00$1.16$0.16
Flat/Large Envelope - Additional Ounces$0.20$0.20No Change
Postcards$0.36$0.40$0.04
International Letters - 1 oz. (County Groups 1-9)$1.20$1.30$0.10
International Postcard (County Groups 1-9)$1.20$1.30$0.10
International Flats - 1 oz. (Country Groups 1-9)$2.40$2.60$0.20

Domestic mail services are increase in August 2021. Certified Mail is increasing to $3.75 from $3.60, a $0.15 increase. And Registered Mail is increasing to $13.75 from $12.90, an $0.85 increase.

Domestic Mail Extra Services - as of August 29, 2021

INCREASE PER SERVICE - Jan 2021 Rates vs. Aug 2021 Rates
Mailpiece WeightJan-21Aug-21Increase
Certified Mail$3.60$3.75$0.15
Certified Mail Restricted Delivery$9.15$9.75$0.60
Registered Mail$12.90 and up$13.75 and up$0.85
Signature Confirmation - Mail$3.20$3.45$0.25
Signature Confirmation - Electronic$2.70$2.90$0.20
Return Receipt - Mail$2.85$3.05$0.20
Return Receipt - Electronic$1.75$1.85$0.10
Adult Signature Required$6.90$6.90No Change
Adult Signature Required, Restricted Delivery$7.15$7.15No Change
Package Intercept$15.25$15.25No Change
Pickup on Demand$25.00$25.00No Change
USPS Tracking Plus - Scan RetentionStarts at $2.10Starts at $2.10No Change
USPS Tracking Plus - Scan + Signature RetentionStarts at $4.59Starts at $4.59No Change

Media Mail rates will increase by an average of 10.865% in August 2021. A 1 lb. package traveling to Zone 8 will be $3.19 in August 2021 from $2.89 in January 2021, an increase of 30 cents.

USPS Media Mail Rates - as of August 29, 2021

INCREASE PER PACKAGE - Jan 2021 Rates vs. Aug 2021 Rates
WeightJan-21Aug-21Increase
1 lb.$2.89$3.19$0.30
2 lbs.$3.45$3.82$0.37
3 lbs.$4.01$4.45$0.44
4 lbs.$4.57$5.08$0.51
5 lbs.$5.13$5.71$0.58
6 lbs.$5.69$6.34$0.65
7 lbs.$6.25$6.97$0.72
8 lbs.$6.81$7.60$0.79
9 lbs.$7.37$8.23$0.86
10 lbs.$7.93$8.86$0.93

Stamps.com Will Automatically Update to the New USPS Rates on August 29, 2021

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, August 29, 2021.

If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will AUTOMATICALLY see the 2021 USPS rates in the platform.

USPS To Change Priority Mail Express Delivery Times

April 30th, 2021 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing a delivery time change for Priority Mail Express.

Currently, Priority Mail Express has two guaranteed delivery times within the 1-2 business-day service standards:
Option #1: 12 Noon or 3 p.m. (depending on originating zip code and delivery address)
Option #2: 10:30 a.m. (in select locations, for an extra $5 fee)

The USPS is proposing to eliminate the 10:30 am delivery time and will be adjusting the regular Priority Mail Express delivery from 12 noon/3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the designated delivery day.

If the Postal Regulatory Commission approves the change, starting Sunday, May 23, 2021 all Priority Mail Express packages will be delivered by 6 p.m. regardless of the originating zip code and delivery address.

The shipping price for Priority Mail Express will not change with this delivery time adjustment.

Get more information on Priority Mail Express.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

New GlobalPost Processing Hub Opens in Houston, Texas

April 21st, 2021 Comments off

GlobalPost International Shipping Services

GlobalPost, the industry leader in affordable, innovative international shipping services, today announced the addition of a new processing hub near Houston, Texas. Warehouses, fulfillment centers and online retailers in the Houston metropolitan area will now qualify for consolidation discounts and free package pickups for shippers doing a minimum of 30 shipments per day. GlobalPost customers typically save at least 30% on shipping rates by consolidating their international parcels. They also benefit from exclusive features such as electronic customs forms and free coverage against loss or damage on every shipment.

GlobalPost is available in the most popular shipping software applications including Stamps.com.

About GlobalPost
The GlobalPost delivery network leverages partnerships with international postal operators as well as commercial carriers to offer worldwide delivery. GlobalPost services reach over 200 countries and territories and includes unique features not found in traditional international shipping service.

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

Shipping from the U.S. to UK with 2021 VAT Rules

December 22nd, 2020 Comments off

Starting January 1, 2021, shipping to the UK is becoming more complex due to Brexit.

If you’re an online retailer shipping products from the U.S. to the United Kingdom (UK), you will need to change your fulfillment process starting January 1, 2021.  The UK has left the European Union trading relationship and the country has implemented new rules for goods and services to be imported into the UK.

Brexit Background – UK Exits the European Union Trade Agreement

The UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, a process that is commonly called “Brexit.”  This announcement triggered a “transition period,” where trade would continue as is with no changes to UK Value-Added Tax (VAT) rules, treatment of transactions or filings through December 31, 2020. 

Starting on January 1, 2021, all UK imports and exports will fall under the World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, which requires changes to many fulfillment processes for U.S. e-commerce parcel deliveries to the UK. 

Changes for E-commerce Orders Being Delivered to UK:

Under the World Trade Order terms, there are four important changes occurring for products being shipped to the UK from the U.S. (along with all countries):

#1 Register for VAT and Collect VAT Fees:  As a U.S. online retailer, you will now be required to register for a VAT number and create an online account from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to deliver e-commerce orders into the UK.  Once you have your VAT number, you will be required to collect all VAT fees from your buyers at time of product purchase. This VAT fee was previously being completed when a parcel entered the UK, typically with the buyer having to pay VAT to release the package from Customs.  The new WTO rules pushes that VT tax collection burden to the online retailer in the U.S. who is exporting the product to the UK.

VAT rates for collection depend on the product price:

A)     Most Goods and Services valued UNDER £135 have a 20% VAT Rate

Goods and services shipped to the UK with a value between £0.01 and £135 (between $1 and approximately $180 USD) will incur VAT fee of 20% of the product price (not including shipping fees).  U.S. online retailers selling products to UK buyers are require to collect this 20% VAT fee at the time of sale.  Online retailers will be responsible to pay all VAT collected to HMRC every three months.

B)     VAT for Goods and Services valued OVER £135

All shipments with goods and services valued higher than £135 (approximately $180 USD) will be subject to the current VAT procedures, which state VAT is payable as the parcels are being imported into the UK.  These types of packages are often cleared through customs via parcel consolidators and all applicable duties and VAT will be paid to HMRC directly by the parcel consolidator, who then normally invoices the online retailer.

#2 Make Quarterly VAT Return Payments to HMRC:  Online retailers must report and pay the VAT Return (taxes) collected from their online sales each quarter to HMRC. You can find your actual deadline inside your VAT online account, but in general the deadline for HMRC’s bank to receive payment is one calendar month plus 7 days after the end of the accounting period (annual quarter).  If your VAT Return payment is late, you could be liable for additional late fees.

To submit your VAT Return, you can use HMRC’s free online service or one of the many commercial accounting software platforms that HMRC has partnered with. The approved software list includes many popular solutions such as QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud and SAP. 

Your quarterly VAT Return should include key data points for your UK sales such as:

· Total sales and purchases for your account (only orders delivered to UK)
· The amount of VAT you owe from your UK sales
· The amount of VAT you can reclaim (i.e. order returns, product defects)
· The amount of VAT refund due from HRMC

#3 More Info Required in Customs Documents: All parcel shipments into the UK will be subject to customs clearance and inspections, which could add significant delays for parcels being delivered to the buyer.  U.S. online retailers shipping goods or services into the UK will need to provide import or export declarations to UK Customs.  A customs invoice will be required for each parcel that shows UK VAT along with the product price in order for the parcel to be released out of customs.

#4 Elimination of the Low Value Consignment Relief: In addition to implementing the WTO trade terms, the UK is removing Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) – a rule that allowed good and products from outside the EU that had a value of £15 or less (estimated $20) to be tax exempt.  In 2021, those products will now be subject to the 20% VAT rate.

The UK is taking these actions to ensure that goods and services from outside the UK are treated in the same manner as products within the country, so as UK businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT free imports.

Failure to adhere to these new UK Customs procedures could result in:
· Parcels being refused entry into the UK by customs
· Parcels being returned to sender (including return shipping fees depending on carrier used)
· Parcels and products being destroyed
· Parcels incurring major delays in being delivered to buyer
· Parcels generating additional shipping and/or customs fees, or penalties

Required actions to sell and ship products into the UK in 2021

Starting January 1, 2021, online retailers selling goods or services to UK buyers will be required to register their business with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to obtain a VAT number.  Here are the steps to complete this process:

How to Create UK Government Gateway Account and Register for VAT

1.            Go to the HMRC login in page by clicking the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/log-in-register-hmrc-online-services

2.            Click on the Green “Sign in” button.

3.            Click on “Create sign in details”.

4.            Enter your Email Address and click “Continue”.

5.            The site will email you a “Confirmation code”.  Enter the code and click the Green “Confirm” button to continue.

6.            User ID Issued.

7.            Enter your name.

8.            Create a Password and hit “Continue”.

9.            Set up a Recovery Password and click “Continue”.

10.         You will now receive your Government Gateway User ID which consists of 12 numbers.

11.         You will then need to register for VAT using your Government Gateway User ID and Password.

To register with HMRC for a VAT number, proceed to the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/how-to-register

Do Sellers on eBay, Amazon or another Online Marketplace Have to Collect VAT?

Online marketplaces (OMP) such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and others will be responsible for collecting the VAT from the buyer when the sale occurs on their website as long as the price is £135 or less.  For sales that are over £135, the OMP will not collect the VAT and existing import rules will go into effect (seller pays at port of entry).

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

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