USPS To Increase Shipping Rates For Holiday Peak Starting October 3

August 16th, 2021 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service has announced their peak holiday shipping rate increase to start on Sunday, October 3, 2021 through Sunday, December 26, 2021. The USPS introduced the peak holiday shipping rate increase in 2020, after UPS and FedEx introduced peak period increases in 2019. All three carriers noted the peak rate increase was due to higher expenses related to the increased demand in holiday e-commerce activity.

The USPS peak holiday rate increase will impact five specific mail classes for shippers using Commercial Base pricing (printing labels online) – Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First Class Package Service, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service. New for 2021, the Peak holiday rate increase will also include Post Office (retail) shipping rates. International shipping products will not be impacted.

Listed below are the 2021 USPS holiday rate increases for customers buying postage online (Commercial Base pricing):

First Class Package Service - 2021 Holiday/Peak Increase Per Package
Mailpiece WeightZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1 ounce$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
2 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
3 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
4 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
5 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
6 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
7 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
8 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
9 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
10 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
11 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
12 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
13 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
14 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
15 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30
15.999 ounces$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30$0.30

First Class Package Service will see an average rate increase of 8.0%. A 15.999 ounce package going to Zone 8 using First Class Package Service will cost $6.28 in the 2021 peak holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $5.98 currently.

Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express & Parcel Select Ground - 2021 Holiday/Peak Increase Per Package

Weight (lbs.)Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
0-10 lbs.$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75
11-20 lbs.$1.50$1.50$1.50$3.00$3.00$3.00$3.00$3.00
21-70 lbs.$2.50$2.50$2.50$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00$5.00

Priority Mail will see an average rate increase of 6.3%. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail will cost $9.55 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $8.80 currently.

Priority Mail Express will see an average rate increase of 2.2%. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail Express will cost $40.60 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $39.85 currently.

Parcel Select Ground will see an average rate increase of 6.2%. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Parcel Select Ground will cost $8.90 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $8.15 currently.

Priority Mail Regional Rate - 2021 Holiday/Peak Increase Per Package

Box TypeZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
Box A$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75
Box B$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.75

Priority Mail Regional Rate prices are increasing by $0.40 per shipment. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A will cost $13.39 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $12.64 currently.

Priority Mail Flat Rate - 2021 Holiday/Peak Increase Per Package

MailpieceCurrentPeak 2021Increase
Flat Rate Envelope$7.40$8.15$0.75
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$7.70$8.45$0.75
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$8.00$8.75$0.75
Small Flat Rate Box$7.90$8.65$0.75
Medium Flat Rate Box$13.75$14.50$0.75
Large Flat Rate Box$19.30$20.05$0.75
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box$17.80$18.55$0.75

Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes are increasing by $0.75 per shipment. A Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate package going to Zone 8 will cost $14.50 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $13.75 currently.

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate - 2021 Holiday/Peak Increase Per Envelope

MailpieceCurrentPeak 2021Increase
Flat Rate Envelope$22.75$23.50$0.75
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$22.95$23.70$0.75
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$23.25$24.00$0.75

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate envelopes are increasing by $0.75 per shipment. A Priority Mail Express Padded Flat Rate Envelope going to Zone 8 will cost $24.00 in the 2021 holiday period (October 3 through December 26, 2021), compared to $23.25 currently.

Get more info on the USPS holiday peak shipping rate increase.

USPS To Slow Delivery for First Class Package Service

August 1st, 2021 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service will be changing delivery times for First Class Package Service in the coming months. The proposed changes are expected to create longer delivery times for parcels traveling to farther distances (Shipping Zones 6, 7 and 8).

First Class Package Service is an ounce-based shipping service with the maximum weight of 15.999 ounces. The service, which is hugely popular with apparel, jewelry and cosmetics retailers, provides package delivery nationwide within 1 to 4 days including tracking for a maximum price of $5.98.

The suggested service change will remove air transport for First Class Package Service delivery to help lower costs and find transportation efficiencies. Currently, approximately 31% of First Class Package Service is transported via air carriers.

In fiscal year 2020, the USPS shipped 1.8 billion packages via First Class Package Service. Of that volume, the proposal would impact:

• 32% of the total First Class Package Service parcels shipped in FY 2020 (primarily Zones 6, 7 and 8) would see additional delivery time, moving from a three-day service standard to a four or five-day standard.
• 64% of the total First Class Package Service volume would not be impacted at all.
• 4% of the total First Class Package Service volume would see a service upgrade from three-day to two-day service.

First Class Package Service delivery volume has increased in recent years due to its low cost and faster delivery times being very appealing to online retailers:

First Class Package Service Delivery Volume:

PeriodPackages ShippedYOY Change
FY 20181,279,000,000
FY 20191,398,000,0009% increase
FY 20201,848,000,00032% increase

3 Live Chat Extensions for Your WooCommerce Store

July 29th, 2021 Comments off

If you’ve added WooCommerce to your WordPress website, you now have a fully functional e-commerce website.

Want to up your game even more? Improve customer experience and increase sales by adding live chat.

Benefits of Adding Live Chat to Your WooCommerce Store

Although online shopping is extremely convenient, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate. A live chat extension makes things easier by allowing customers to message a live chat agent directly for help. They simply need to click a window whenever they need assistance.

This immediate, real-time feedback is crucial to getting customers the information they need to make a purchase. As the site owner, if you don’t create a seamless purchasing process, the potential customer may just click away, go to your competitor’s site, and buy the item there. Live chat keeps them on your site and greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you.

According to the American Marketing Association, Live Chat on your B2B website will increase conversions by 20% on average!

What Live Chat Extensions Can You Add?

Here are three chat extensions you can add to your WooCommerce store.

#1 LiveChat

This extension is fully customizable, so you can choose a theme, pick a color, add your company logo, and more. The chat widget is attractive and user-friendly. Optional tracking settings allow you to see your customers’ cart details during a chat, including product information, quantity, and previous orders. You can send time-based invitations to hesitant shoppers, as well as motivational messages to those whose carts have reached a certain dollar value.

You can also hold multiple chats simultaneously, send prepared responses to FAQs, tag your chats, and send files through the chat widget. The monthly rate for LiveChat starts at $16.

#2 WhatsApp

With upwards of 2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the world’s most widely used messenger app. Visitors to your site can use the WhatsApp extension to ask questions, and you can enable the WhatsApp Cart feature so customers can add items to the WhatsApp cart and even place orders on WhatsApp. It doesn’t replace your standard cart system; it simply provides customers with another option.

This extension allows you to customize backgrounds and label colors, choose which products and categories show the WhatsApp add-to-cart button, hide prices and the standard add-to-cart button, keep a record of all WhatsApp orders, and more. WhatsApp costs $49 per year.

#3 Woo Bot

This is a simple chatbot that helps visitors search for products. You can configure the welcome message and respond to all unanswered questions. You can also set offers and coupons in the welcome message, enticing visitors to look at products they wouldn’t otherwise consider.

Woo Bot’s features include product search, product thumbnails with a link to the product page, customizable themes and backgrounds, prepared responses to FAQs, email notifications for new questions, chat logs, and more. Woo Bot costs $29 per year.

Improve your website, enhance customer experience, and increase sales with a live chat extension on your WooCommerce store!

Stamps.com connects directly to WooCommerce!

Connect Stamps.com to WooCommerce and easily import, manage, and ship your E-Commerce orders. Here are great features to simplify your WooCommerce Shipping:

  • Import order data directly from WooCommerce
  • Print USPS and UPS shipping labels in one step
  • Automatically send tracking info to your customers
  • Automatically post back order and tracking info to your store
Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

Value-Added Tax (VAT) Rates By EU Country

July 14th, 2021 Comments off

Only July 1, 2021, the European Union (EU) introduced new Value-Added Tax (VAT) requirements for all parcels entering EU-member countries. One big change is that products valued at 22 euros (approximately $26) or less now have VAT applied in order for the buyer to take receipt of the product.

What is VAT?
VAT is a consumer tax that European governments use to collect revenue on all goods and services consumed by their residents, including products that were made outside of the EU. VAT is used somewhat to even the playing field for European manufacturers as well as increase tax revenues. Generally speaking, VAT is paid by the buyer to the seller and then the seller gives either all the fees, or a large portion of the fees collected to the EU government where the product was imported.

EU countries are responsible for creating their own VAT rate, but they need to have a standard VAT of at least 15%.

Listed below are the current EU standard rates as of July 1, 2021:

EU Country (as of July 1, 2021)Standard VAT on Taxable goods and services
Austria20%
Belgium21%
Bulgaria21%
Croatia25%
Cyprus19%
Czech Republic21%
Denmark25%
Estonia20%
Finland24%
France20%
Germany19%
Greece24%
Hungary27%
Ireland23%
Italy22%
Latvia21%
Lithuania21%
Luxembourg17%
Malta18%
Netherlands21%
Poland23%
Portugal23%
Romania19%
Slovakia20%
Slovenia22%
Spain21%
Sweden25%

Shipping to EU? New VAT Rules Starting July 1, 2021

June 21st, 2021 Comments off
EU VAT changes starting July 1, 2021

The European Union (EU), a group of 27 countries including Germany and France, will be implementing new trade rules for U.S. sellers beginning July 1, 2021. The EU has modified the Value-Added Tax (VAT) – a tax on goods and services bought and delivered to the EU countries. Sellers in the U.S. will need to understand how to comply with these new laws and prepare for the changes. 

What changes to the EU VAT will take place on July 1, 2021?
Prior to July 1, 2021, no VAT fees were required for commercial goods valued up to 22 euros (approximately $26).  Goods valued at 22 euros or less were able to be shipped into EU countries with no additional fees required for buyers.

After July 1, 2021, all goods imported to the EU valued at up to 150 euros (approximately $178) will be subject to VAT and items valued at more than 150 euros will be subject to VAT and duties. VAT rates are different for each EU country based on the service and type of product being delivered, with most VAT fees ranging around 20% of the total cost (sales price plus shipping).  

Product PriceUntil June 30, 2021Starting July 1, 2021
€0 – €22Exempt – No VAT requiredVAT applied (with IOSS for B2C, or upon import for B2C/B2B)
€23 – €150VAT applied upon importVAT applied (with IOSS for B2C, or upon import for B2C/B2B)
Above €150VAT applied upon importVAT applied with duties (Upon import, Standard VAT Payment)

What are my options for collecting VAT for EU countries?
The new rules give sellers two options:

#1 Preferred Method: Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS): The EU member countries have created a new electronic portal for B2C transactions, known as the IOSS, which makes it easier for online retailers to comply with the new VAT rules. This program is intended to help expedite the Customs and VAT collection process and allow the EU buyer to see the full landed cost including the VAT fees at the point of sale (i.e. inside the shopping cart). Businesses will need to register on the IOSS portal, provide an IOSS tax identification number during Customs creation and provide the recipient’s email and/or phone number along with a Harmonized System (HS) Code for the product being shipped. Online retailers only need to be registered with a single EU member country via the IOSS system to access trading within all 27 EU countries.

Additionally, retailers will need to establish an “intermediary,” a representative located in any one of the 27 EU countries who, representing the online retailer, will submit the VAT payments each quarter as well as process any returns.

Important Note: The IOSS portal is NOT required for U.S. sellers. It is an optional program intended to expedite e-commerce order delivery to EU countries, while collecting VAT efficiently. U.S. sellers who do not register for IOSS will have their packages delivered Delivery Duty Unpaid, meaning the buyer must pay VAT and potential additional customs clearance fees before the shipping carrier will release their package.

#2 Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU): This option only requires the recipient’s email or phone number, an accurate product description and a HS Code. The downsides to shipping orders using DDU are that if the VAT is not paid at the shopping cart, the buyer in the EU country becomes responsible for paying the fees before they can receive their product. Buyers could get “buyer’s remorse” due to high extra fees required to receive their product and abandon the order, asking for a full refund. 

Additionally, not using the IOSS system can cause items to be held up in customs for lengthy periods of time until the VAT is paid. Overall, this option will lead to a poor customer experience and reflect badly on your business.

Selling to International Buyers using a Marketplace?
Online retailers using marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy will have a separate set of VAT rules.  Marketplaces are considered to be involved in the sale and supply of goods, and thus the EU is requiring the marketplace to be liable for collecting and paying the VAT fees. Starting July 1, 2021, Marketplaces will collect VAT from the buyer based on the country of delivery and remit it to the responsible tax authorities. Note: VAT will be collected on the full value of the transaction including shipping costs, as the shipping costs are considered part of the total purchase.

What about Customs Forms?
Your formal customs declaration will now require more information about the items you are sending. Pro forma and commercial invoices must provide clear and accurate data including a description of goods, the quantity of items, itemized values and custom tariff codes.  It is also recommended that you provide an accurate product description and HS Code.  GlobalPost Logistics has a free tool that generates HS codes for any product using the World Customs Organization schedule.

What steps should I take now?
Merchants need to register with the IOSS portal before July 1, as well as find a VAT intermediary like Hellotax, Simply VAT, Taxually or Avalara. Next you will need to make sure your shopping cart has the capabilities to collect VAT at the point of purchase. Most shopping cart vendors are preparing for the July 1, 2021 deadline and have set up special tax rules inside the cart settings page. If you use Shopify, check out the information under “Setting up EU taxes” in the help center section on their website.

Final thoughts.
Registering with the IOSS portal and selecting an intermediary can help your business generate brand loyalty and customer retention by creating a hassle-free VAT collection. July 1 is right around the corner, so make sure you set yourself up for success by complying with these new tax rules.

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