USPS Mailing Standards For Lithium Batteries

March 12th, 2021 Comments off

This article includes updates effective March 12, 2021

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.

Amazon Prime Day Kicks Off 10/13

October 6th, 2020 Comments off

Unprecedented.

If there’s a word that has been used more than any other to describe 2020, that’s quite possibly it. People have changed their routines and habits in everything from work to school to dining out to shopping, and it’s likely that this will continue into Q4. With the 2020 holiday season fast approaching, it’s anybody’s guess how it will go. This is especially true since one of the biggest online shopping events of the year — Amazon Prime Day — has now entered the fray.

As a result of the global pandemic, Amazon Prime Day, which is typically held in July, will be on October 13th and 14th this year. This brings significant — yes, unprecedented — changes to the online retail landscape. Prime Day is now close enough to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and ready to give those long-standing shopping extravaganzas some serious competition.

What Is Prime Day?

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Amazon held its first Prime Day in 2015. For Prime members only, it was a one-day event that saw prices on many items slashed to historic lows. Now in its fifth year, Prime Day is a two-day retail sensation that sees prices drop to levels that often beat out the legendary Black Friday doorbusters.

Is Prime Day really that big? Yes, it is. Global sales hit an estimated $7.16 billion during the 48-hour period in 2019, up a whopping 71% from the previous year. And with more people than ever shopping at home because of COVID-19, that number could exceed all expectations in 2020.

Tips for Sellers

What can online retailers do to capitalize on the popularity and online shopping frenzy surrounding Prime Day? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t try to compete with Amazon. The best-selling products on Prime Day — and the ones that are promoted most heavily on its website — are Amazon’s own, such as Kindle and the Alexa system. And make no mistake, Amazon has enough inventory to last the entire holiday season. Any business that promotes similar devices is going head-to-head against this juggernaut, and that’s just not a good strategy. Instead of competing, it’s better to focus on ancillary products like covers, chargers, stands, screen protectors, and other accessories.
  • Price it right. According to Marketplace Plus, the most successful Prime Day discounts are in the 10%–50% range. This is important for retailers to know, as they don’t have to lose all their margin by cutting prices by more than half. A 30%–50% discount is enough to attract customers, while a 5% or 10% discount will hardly raise an eyebrow.
  • Know what to promote. The most popular Prime Day items in 2019, comprising more than 50% of sales, were in the $25 and under category. Items in the $26–$50 range grabbed a respectable 21%, but the numbers significantly dropped from there. In fact, items over $200 made up only 5% of total sales. The lesson? Prime Day promotions should focus heavily on items in the optimum price range.
  • Don’t promise what can’t be delivered. Carriers are already experiencing delays in shipping times due to COVID-19, and that will certainly get worse as the holidays draw closer. A retailer’s website should clearly inform customers of this and prepare them for delays and longer shipping times. It’s also a good idea to monitor COVID-19 stats in various parts of the country. Local restrictions and lockdowns can be put in place without warning, and that could affect a retailer’s ability to deliver on time. Finally, there should be plenty of inventory on hand, especially for highlighted items.
  • Diversify. This will be the first Prime Day of its kind, and there’s no telling what will happen. But it’s a safe guess that online shopping numbers will hit an all-time high this year in terms of both shoppers and dollars spent. So be ready. No one knows what the best sellers will be, but a broad product line is more likely to tap into this year’s hot items — whatever they may be.
  • Be creative. What sold well last year may not be much more than a blip on the screen in 2020. COVID-19 has changed people’s behaviors and habits, and products that can be marketed as addressing problems stemming from staying at home and lockdowns are likely to be big sellers this year.
  • Optimize listings. Prime Day is a good time to sharpen the proverbial pencil and rewrite old, dull product descriptions. Titles and descriptions can be freshened up with snappy writing that will grab the attention of potential customers. And there’s nothing wrong with checking competitors’ websites to see what keywords and terminology they’re using.
  • Use Amazon’s promotions and deals. When a retailer offers a discount by using an Amazon coupon, a highlighted label draws attention to this. It’s a great way to ride the coattails of Prime Day without having to pay for additional promotions. And it’s a good idea to check Amazon’s terms for coupons several days before Prime Day, since they don’t become active immediately.

Last year, Amazon raked in more sales on Prime Day than on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Yes, it’s that big. With some forethought and planning, sellers can capitalize on what very well could be the biggest shopping event of the holiday season.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

Amazon Accelerate Starts September 1

August 25th, 2020 Comments off

Amazon’s latest virtual conference, Amazon Accelerate, is scheduled for Sept. 1-3 from 9:00 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. Pacific. It’s a great opportunity to meet up with other online retailers and storeowners to learn about how they can adapt to a post-pandemic economy.

What to Expect From the Amazon Accelerate Event

So what’s happening with Amazon Accelerate? Prominent e-commerce experts will be holding speeches, followed by 70 sessions for both new and current sellers to take part in.

New sellers can learn about how to set up shop on Amazon, create attractive product listings, mark up competitive prices, and use the Amazon fulfillment network.

Established sellers will gain a better understanding of the best practices in the industry. Some of these include partnering with sponsors to boost their brand outreach, expanding their product lines overseas, and implementing a brand strategy into their sales funnel. Additionally, sellers will have the option to ask the pros some important questions about running an Amazon store during their FAQ session.

Why Amazon Sellers and E-Commerce Merchants Should Attend

As one of the largest events dedicated to selling on Amazon, it will teach you the tried-and-true methods for growing your business, from promoting your products to navigating a changing market environment. Moreover, there will be key speakers covering topics like branding, consumer trust, customer support, and even Amazon’s outlook on their internal operations.

Amazon Accelerate is the perfect place for you to connect with other merchants. With over 60 sessions, their seminars are sure to touch upon a wide range of topics. It’s also going to have interactive panels, lightning talks, and breakout lessons. 

To get ready for this upcoming event, reserve a spot before Aug. 31 to watch the live session. As an Amazon seller, you can take advantage of these helpful workshops and webinars for small-business owners.

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

USPS Proposes Holiday Shipping Rate Increase Starting Oct. 18

August 17th, 2020 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a temporary, holiday shipping rate increase to start on Sunday, October 18, 2020 and end on Sunday, December 27, 2020.  Subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the proposed USPS holiday rate increase will impact five specific mail classes for shippers using Commercial Base pricing – Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First Class Package Service, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service. There will be no holiday rate increase for customers who purchase postage at the Post Office (retail).

The USPS has stated the temporary price increases are due to higher expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic and increased demand in holiday e-commerce activity.

Listed below are the proposed 2020 USPS holiday rate increases for customers buying postage online:

Priority Mail Express – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase (Commercial Base)

Weight (lbs.)Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
0.5$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
1$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
2$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
3$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
4$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50
5$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50$1.50

Priority Mail Express will see an average increase of 4.4%, with some cells going as high as 6.59% (0.5 lb., zone 1/2).  Lower weights under 4 lbs. traveling to zones 1-4 have larger rate increases by percentage. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail Express will cost $39.55 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020), compared to $38.05 currently.

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rates (Commercial Base)

MailpieceProposedCurrentIncrease
Flat Rate Envelope$24.25$22.75$1.50
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$24.45$22.95$1.50
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$24.75$23.25$1.50

All three options (regular, legal and padded) of Priority Mail Express Flat Rate envelopes are increasing by $1.50 per shipment in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020).

Priority Mail – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase (Commercial Base)

Weight (lbs.)Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
0.5$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
1$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
2$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
3$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
4$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
5$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40

Priority Mail will see an average increase of 4.2%, with some cells going as high as 5.70% (1 lb., zone 1/2). Lower weights under 3 lbs. traveling to zones 1-5 have larger rate increases by percentage.  A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Priority Mail will cost $8.82 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020), compared to $8.42 currently.

Priority Mail Regional Rate – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase (Commercial Base)

Box TypeZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
A$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
B$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40

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 $12.50 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020), compared to $12.10 currently.

Priority Mail Flat Rate- 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase (Commercial Base)

MailpieceProposedCurrentIncrease
Flat Rate Envelope$7.55$7.15$0.40
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$7.85$7.45$0.40
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$8.15$7.75$0.40
Small Flat Rate Box$8.05$7.65$0.40
Medium Flat Rate Box$13.60$13.20$0.40
Large Flat Rate Box$18.70$18.30$0.40
APO/FPO Large Flat Rate Box$17.20$18.00$0.40

All Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes (regular, legal and padded) and boxes (small, medium and large) are increasing by $0.40 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020).

First Class Package Service – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase (Commercial Base)

Mailpiece WeightZones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1 ounce$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
2 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
3 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
4 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
5 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
6 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
7 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
8 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
9 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
10 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
11 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
12 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
13 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
14 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
15 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25
15.999 ounces$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25$0.25

First Class Package Service will see an average increase of 7.0%, with some cells going as high as 9.12% (one ounce, zone 1/2). Lower weights under 4 ounces traveling to zones 1-5 have larger rate increases by percentage. A 15.999 ounce. package going to Zone 8 using First Class Package Service will cost $5.95 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020), compared to $5.70 currently.

Parcel Select Ground – 2020 Holiday Shipping Rate Increase

Weight (lbs.)Zones 1 & 2Zone 3Zone 4Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7Zone 8Zone 9
1$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
2$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
3$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
4$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
5$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
6$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
7$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
8$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
9$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40
10$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40$0.40

Parcel Select Ground will see an average increase of 3.0%, with some cells going as high as 5.78% (1 lb., zone 1/2). Lower weights under 5 lbs. traveling to zones 1-5 have larger rate increases by percentage. A 1 lb. package going to Zone 8 using Parcel Select Ground will cost $8.52 in the 2020 holiday period (October 18 through December 27, 2020), compared to $8.12 currently.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

Stamps.com Waives Monthly Service Fees for Senior Citizens Aged 65+ During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 16th, 2020 Comments off

Stamps.com has launched a new program to provide its online mailing and shipping software to all U.S. senior citizens aged 65 and over without its customary monthly service fee (typically $17.99) during the current COVID-19 crisis.  The company hopes that senior citizens in regions all over the country will benefit from this program allowing them to safely mail and ship all of their letters and packages without leaving their own homes. 

With many counties and states across the U.S. issuing stay-at-home orders to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, citizens are unable to visit their local Post Offices or other retail locations to handle common mailing and shipping needs.  Using the Stamps.com online postage software, customers are able to print postage for any USPS letter or package, domestic or international, using only their computer and any ordinary printer.  Stamps.com customers may then place the mailpiece or package in their mailbox, schedule a convenient package pickup at their own home, or simply leave it for their mail carrier to pick up for free at a safe social distance. 

To sign up for the Stamps.com Helps Seniors program, please visit https://www.stamps.com/seniors/

Stamps.com Helps Seniors Program Detailed Information

· The Stamps.com Helps Seniors program waives all monthly Stamps.com subscription fees, which are typically $17.99 per month, during the COVID-19 crisis

· The program will go through at least July 31, 2020, and may be extended longer depending on the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic at that time

· When the Stamps.com Helps Seniors program ends, no monthly service fees will be charged unless a customer takes further action to register for an account with a monthly service fee

· Customers will be asked to verify their age after sign up 

· Accounts are for personal use only, not for business usage

· Customer must pay for actual USPS postage or UPS costs, and any relevant supplies they may need

Categories: Stamps.com Announcements Tags:

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