2019 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide – Free Download

January 11th, 2019 Comments off

New 2019 U.S. Postal Service rates go into effect on Sunday, January 27, 2019. Stamps.com has compiled all you need to know about 2019 USPS rates in the new 2019 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide. This guide will help you better understand the new USPS rates and how they may affect your business.

 

 

This guide details the changes for the following domestic and international mail classes:

  • First Class Mail
  • Priority Mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • First Class Package Service
  • Parcel Select Ground
  • USPS Retail Ground
  • Media Mail
  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Priority Mail International
  • Priority Mail Express International
  • First Class Package International Service

Each mail class is presented with side-by-side comparisons between the current postage rates and the new 2019 postage rates, both for customers who buy postage at the Post Office and for customers who print postage online (using Stamps.com), taking advantage of discounted shipping rates.

The guide also includes changes to Special Services including Certified Mail, Registered Mail, USPS Tracking, and Signature Confirmation.

Download the Postage Rate Increase Guide

Categories: Free Guides Tags:

New Year, New You: Creating the Ideal About Us Page

December 27th, 2018 Comments off

When it comes to your online e-commerce business presence, creating your “About Us” page requires careful consideration and attention to detail. When customers visit your website they often want to learn more about your company such as who is behind it, how long has the company been in business, and what is the company’s mission statement. The following will help guide you to the creation of an optimum “About Us” page using this handy checklist.

Use a Modern and Fun Tone

The ‘About Us’ page doesn’t have to be dull and straight to the point. Get creative and have fun with this page by using a modern and fun tone that is inviting to your visitors. One example could be with the use of a conversational tone that makes the customer feel invited and valued. Be upbeat and enthusiastic in your writing and this will come across as a company that is both modern and fun!

Showcase Your Company Interest and Culture

Giving your readers specific detailed information about who you are, where your company got its start, and the essence behind you and your products/services helps customers better understand where your passion lies and why they should be giving their business to you. Does your company give a proceed of sales to charity? Be sure to include this because customers enjoy shopping for a good cause!

Give Attention to Perception

In continuing with the idea of giving your customers an inside look at who you are and what your company’s mission is, don’t forget to give attention to customer perception. You want to be sure that your tone and message doesn’t come off as vain. While showcasing all your company’s achievements seems relevant on this page, consider how to feature them without giving the impression that you are bragging in any way. Instead, the perception you want to give to your customers should be one that is friendly, caring, and attentive to their needs. One way this could be done effectively is by adding a few of your customer’s personal reviews of your products so that customers can see for themselves why they should shop with you.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

4 Techniques to Improve Mobile Checkout

December 13th, 2018 Comments off

The average cart abandonment rate is 69.89%. Of the number of people that make it all the way to checkout, 25% will leave without completing their purchase.

Whichever way look at it, that’s a sizeable number of lost customers and revenue. What’s more, the situation is even worse on mobile. Overall ecommerce conversion rates usually lag around two percentage points behind desktop.

So how can you go about recouping some of those sales?

Top companies have cut down their checkout abandonment rate to around 13%. And the simple truth is there’s nothing particularly complex about the tactics they’ve used.

By avoiding a handful of common mistakes, and making a few minor tweaks, you should be able to bring your own rate to a similar level.

1. Slash the Number of Steps to Complete a Transaction

If you look at Crutchfield’s checkout process, you’ll see that customers only need to move through three stages to make an order. It’s worth attempting to achieve the same number of steps (or even less) with your own checkout process.

Crutchfield’s checkout process is made up of only three steps.

 

There is one caveat, however. On mobile devices, it’s better to fit all information into one screen-sized page. If that means more than three pages, then it’s a trade-off that’s usually worth making.  Making customers scroll up and down can add unnecessary friction to the buyer journey.

2. Minimize Unnecessary Page Elements

During the checkout process, you have one aim – to close the deal. Checkout pages are not the place to promote your upsells and cross-sells. What’s more, unnecessary page elements, that might cause a customer to click through to another area of your site, should be minimized.

This is especially the case on mobile, where space is at a premium and it’s easy to accidentally tap the wrong button.

Simply Hike removes all unnecessary elements including the menu and footer. It just leaves the logo, performance indicator and phone support.

Some online retailers, like Zappos, have gotten rid of everything! If you want to go down that route, however, testing is a must!

If you need to include extra information, do so in the form of toplayers (top-of-the-page pop-ups) that will open a new window when clicked.

3. Make the Most Important CTAs Easy to Click

Or, even better, place them strategically while making them easy to click.

Scott Hurff created a “Thumb Zone” map that shows the spots to avoid when deciding where to place your crucial elements. Ensure you avoid the hard-to-click areas.

Use Scott Hurff’s “thumb map” when designing your pages.

 

What’s more, remember that visitors use their left hand to operate their mobile devices 30% of the time. Also, keep in mind that left-handers constitute around 10% of the population.

So don’t put everything on the right-hand side of the screen!

Which hand do you use for your smartphone when you drink a coffee or eat a donut?

So how do you put these points into practice? We recommend you follow three tips:

  1. Avoid placing elements you want users to tap in the upper part of the screen. Follow the “thumb map” above”
  2. Make all tappable elements, like buttons or form fields, screen-wide.
  3. Make sure your CTA buttons are colorful and stand out.
  4. Don’t force users to tap precisely on checkboxes when subscribing to a newsletter or agreeing to the terms and conditions — make the whole line tappable (if they tap on the instruction, for example).

4. Offer Guest Checkout First

Enable guest checkout and place the CTA strategically. Unless 90% of your users are returning shoppers, the guest checkout button should be one of the first options during the checkout.

At Asos.com you can choose whether to register or simply continue to checkout.

 

Here’s a pro tip. Copy Spring and ask for an email address before letting a user proceed. This way, you can reach potential customers if they do abandon their cart during checkout.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s the simple maxim that “less is more” when it comes to customer checkout.

You want users to undertake one (and only one) action – and that’s to complete the purchase! Anything that prevents them from doing this should be dropped!

And, as always, don’t forget to test the results of all the tweaks you make. While these tips will set you in the right direction, consistent testing will enable you to find your own winning mix!

Are you looking for more ideas to grow your ecommerce conversion rate? I bet you do! If I bet right, you should get our Ultimate 115-point Ecommerce Optimization Checklist which we use with our clients to dramatically increase their conversion rates and sales.

About the author:

Pawel Ogonowski

The Ecommerce Optimization Guy who helps 7 & 8-figure online retailers get guaranteed revenue uplifts in a dev-free way. To get more of Pawel’s content subscribe to Growcode’s Ecommerce Optimization Blog and Bite-size Ecommerce Optimization on YouTube. Connect with Pawel on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

USPS Proposes Changes to Liquid Shipping Guidelines

July 31st, 2018 Comments off

Currently, the USPS has specific guidelines for shipping liquids, creams and pastes. In addition to the existing guidelines the USPS has proposed additional requirements that aim to reduce the amount of damage caused by leaking or ruptured liquid containers. The Postal Service anticipates that, if passed, the proposed revision will decrease the amount of time spent on spill response, mail decontamination, and site cleanup, along with providing an improved customer experience. After all, no one wants to receive a package drenched in someone else’s leaking water.

 

Current Guidelines for Shipping Liquids

  • Liquids must be nonhazardous
  • Any item that is the source of an obnoxious odor is nonbailable
  • Containers with friction top containers are not mailable by themselves
  • Glass with more than 4 fluid ounces must be cushioned with a sealed waterproof bag and packed within sealed outer packaging
  • Containers over 32 fluid ounces must be cushioned with a sealed waterproof bag and packed within sealed outer packaging

 

Proposed Changes to Guidelines

The new proposed guidelines would require all liquids in nonmetal containers, regardless of volume, to be triple packed. Packing must include cushioning materials capable of absorbing all liquid, a sealed, waterproof secondary packaging, and a strong, sealed outer mailing container. Additionally, these changes would also apply to metal containers with friction-top closures (push-down tops).

There is currently no timetable for when these guidelines would go into effect if passed. We will continue to keep you updated as news develops.

 

Shipping Liquids with Stamps.com

Stamps.com can even be configured to add order tags based on the products in your orders so you can flag any orders that contain liquids and be sure to package them correctly. In addition to automatic order tags, Stamps.com features domestic address cleansing so you can be sure that your liquids are shipped to a valid address. From automation features to package insurance, Stamps.com offers customers everything they need to ship liquids and more.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

How to Use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

If you’re just starting out with AdWords for your online business—or are curious about digital marketing in general—it can be very confusing to figure out how to deal with keywords. Fortunately, Google has long included a keyword planning tool as part of the AdWords platform that handles advertising campaigns within its search engine network.

Even if you’ve worked with the keyword planner before, you may need a refresher since Google recently redesigned the entire AdWords portal, including the planner.

Here’s how to use to Google’s AdWords keyword planner to figure out which keywords you want to include in your search marketing campaigns.

Evaluating Keywords With Google AdWords

To get started, first navigate to Google AdWords and create an account, if you haven’t already.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be presented with the AdWords home page and are ready to begin.

1. Click on the wrench icon in the upper-right toolbar, then select “Keyword Planner” from the “Planning” column.

2. Enter a specific keyword or key phrase related to your site, or simply enter the link to the website itself. The Planner uses this information to display suggestions for related keywords.

3. The next page is the main section of the Keyword Planner, “Keyword ideas.” This screen displays a variety of related keywords and key phrases, and gives you several options for organizing and analyzing the results.

4. If you want to narrow down the results by location or language, use the drop-down menus at the top left of the screen.

5. To only see keyword ranks for specific times of the year, adjust the date range in the calendar drop down at the top right of the screen.

6. To see which related keywords and phrases are searched for most often, click the “Avg. monthly searches” button at the top of the related column to re-sort the results.

7. Sorting the “Competition” column tells you how difficult it would be to “break into” the search results for those keywords or phrases. High competition keywords already have other ads that dominate those search results, while low competition words are easy to increase ranking.

8. If you plan to use these keywords to develop an advertising campaign, use the “Top of page bid” columns to see how much you’d need to spend to have your ads rank highly.

Whether you just want ideas for new keywords or projecting marketing budgets, AdWords Keyword Planner is a valuable tool. Search engine marketing is all about getting a leg up on the competition, and mastering AdWords Keyword Planner can give you just the competitive advantage you need.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

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