Reusing Boxes – 5 Tips To Help You Stay Out of Trouble

May 21st, 2019 Comments off

Reusing boxes can make you feel good.  You’re saving the environment!  You’re reducing waste!   You’re saving money!  But are you making a mistake?  Well, that depends.

Cover Unfamiliar Markings

First of all, it is extremely important to cover all markings and symbols with which you’re not familiar.  When I first started selling on eBay, I sent a pair of shoes in a box marked “ORM-D.”  Packages bearing this mark contain hazardous materials. The package didn’t get far.  It was held hostage in a city 45 minutes away.  The Postal Service wanted me to pick it up.  I drove to the agreed upon location—an out-of-the-way USPS warehouse. I was shipping shoes, I tell you. Shoes! What a nightmare.

Hide or Remove Old Address Labels

In addition, be sure to cover or remove any old address labels.  As an eBay newbie, I had several boxes returned to me because the USPS only saw the original address label which showed the destination address as being my own!

Avoid Alcohol Containers

Sending items via the USPS in boxes that once contained alcohol can also be a problem.  I would avoid using them.  According to the USPS website, beer, wine, and liquor may not be sent through the mail. If you want to reuse a box for shipping that has alcoholic beverage labels on it, remove all logos and labels, so your package will pass through the mail system.

Check the Stability of the Box

If you plan to reuse a box, make sure it hasn’t lost its strength.  For example, a box that has endured the process of traveling across the United States is often not strong enough to protect the products you are shipping.  If you’re sending a stuffed animal, you might be OK.  But don’t expect Grandma’s dishes to arrive safely if you‘re shipping them in a box that has already seen the other side of the country.

Make a Good Impression

Finally, think about the impression you are making on your customer.  If you are planning to recycle boxes, reuse those boxes that are clean and professional looking.  I belong to quite a few eBay-related Facebook groups.  Every once in a while someone will post a picture of a box they received from an eBay seller that originally contained adult diapers. Not good!

Reusing boxes is a good idea, as long as you’re smart about it.  Stick to professional-looking, clean, sturdy boxes, and you’ll stay out of trouble.  Follow these tips, and your shipping journey will be smooth sailing!

Don’t forget – the USPS provides sellers free boxes for products being shipped via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.  And they’ll ship these free shipping supplies to your work or home for free.

 

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.

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

USPS Mailing Standards For Lithium Batteries

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

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.

Easy Guidelines To Follow For Effective USPS Shipping

April 4th, 2019 Comments off

A smooth shipping process not only helps streamline your operations as an e-commerce seller, but also ensures your products reach your customers without undue delays.  Moreover, you can focus your efforts on growing your business instead of dealing with customer complaints and questions around package delivery status or postage due at the time of delivery.

What can you do to ensure a seamless shipping experience from the time your package leaves your hands and reaches your customer?  Follow these five easy USPS shipping guidelines!

Pay Attention To Your Package

Guideline #1 – Round up on Weights:  Did you know that the USPS rounds up package weights to the nearest ounce or pound depending on the mail class used?  To avoid underpaying for postage or even worse having your customer pay postage at the time of delivery, always round up your package weight.  As an example, if your package weighs 10 lbs. and 5 oz., you should use the shipping rate for an 11 lb. package.

Guideline #2 – Check the Dimensions:  Your package size can make a difference in how much you pay shipping!  Dimensional (DIM) weight may apply to a USPS package that is larger than 1 cubic foot (12″ x 12″ x 12″).  Pay attention to the dimensions of your package and avoid unnecessary empty space to lower shipping costs.

Does Your Shipping Label Match Your Package?

Guideline #3 – Verify the Mail Class:  What mail class should you use to ship your package?  This depends on the weight of your package, how soon you need it to be at its destination and also how much you want to pay for shipping.  Remember, each mail class allows packages up to a certain weight limit only.  Choose First Class Package Service for packages weighing up to 13 ounces and Priority Mail for packages over that weight limit!

Guideline #4 – Double check the Shipping Zone:  USPS Shipping Zones are calculated based on the distance between the origin and destination addresses.  Stamps.com customers should verify that the origin zip code (the zip code for where you ship your packages from) is set up correctly.

Guideline #5 – Match the Label to the Packaging:  Your shipping label should match your package!  For example, based on the package weight, size and shipping zone of your package, if you have decided to use a Flat Rate Priority Mail Box for your package, make sure to choose the corresponding mail class while printing your label.  Also, your Flat Rate label must only be used on a Flat Rate box.

USPS Shipping Made Easy With Stamps.com

When you ship with Stamps.com, you don’t need to worry about underpaying for postage.  Use your Stamps.com digital scale to accurately weigh your package and the software will automatically use the rounded up weight and charge you the appropriate shipping rate.  Next, enter the package dimensions so Stamps.com can determine whether or not DIM weight applies to your package.  Select the correct package type or enter the dimensions of your package.  Also, make sure to set up your origin zip code correctly. When you enter the destination address, Stamps.com automatically calculates the correct shipping zone for your package.  Finally, choose your mail class and Stamps.com will print the appropriate USPS shipping label for your package.

 

 

Saving with USPS Metered Mail – 2019 Rates

February 19th, 2019 Comments off

Since its introduction in 2014, Metered Mail rates have offered businesses of all sizes a way to save using Online Postage. Metered Mail rates apply to First-Class Mail® Letter postage printed through USPS licensed software (such as Stamps.com) or using a postage meter. Online Postage costs the USPS significantly less than traditional postage stamps, and the savings are passed on to customers through Metered Mail rates.

 

Metered Mail Savings Are Bigger Than Ever – Save 5 Cents on Every Letter!

With the recent 2019 USPS Postage Rate changes that started on January 27, 2019, single-piece letter senders can save even more using Meter Mail as opposed to retail (or Post Office) rates. The Metered Mail rate for one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters has increased from $0.47 to $0.50, while the retail rate has increased from $0.50 to $0.55. These new rates mean businesses save $0.05, or nine percent, on one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters when using Online Postage. 2019 marks the first time ever that the Metered Mail savings have exceeded $0.03. For businesses looking to reduce postage cost, there has never been a better time to switch to Online Postage.

 

Additional Ounce Rates Have Decreased

In addition to the changes to the base price of First Class Mail, the rate of each additional ounce has also changed. Whether you purchase First Class postage at the post office or with at the Metered Mail rate you will pay $0.15 per additional ounce, a $0.06 decrease from 2018. The new additional ounce rate means that while 1 oz. rate for First Class Mail has increased since last year, the 2 oz. and 3 oz. rates have decreased.

 

USPS First Class Mail Rate Change – Post Office
Weight 2019 2018
1 oz. $0.55 $0.50
2 oz. $0.70 $0.71
3 oz. $0.85 $0.92

 

USPS First Class Mail Rate Change – Metered Mail
Weight 2019 2018
1 oz. $0.50 $0.47
2 oz. $0.65 $0.68
3 oz. $0.80 $0.89

 

New Metered Mail Rates Are Built Into Stamps.com

Stamps.com customers automatically receive the new discounted Metered Mail rate. When printing Online Postage for First-Class Mail® Letters, customers can select the Metered Mail rate or manually enter a stamp amount. In addition to Metered Mail, Stamps.com has also been updated with every USPS Postage Rate for 2019.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Using Two-Step Verification to Keep Your eBay Account Secure

November 15th, 2018 Comments off

A few months ago, I woke up to thousands of dollars of eBay sales.  I couldn’t believe how many iPhones I’d sold!  Unfortunately, I don’t sell iPhones.  Last weekend, the same thing happened to one of my former eBay students.  When she logged onto the site, she noticed that someone had used her account to list five PlayStation gaming consoles and a number of Samsung Galaxy Notes.  She changed her password over and over again, but that wasn’t enough to stop the attack.  Panic time!

 

The problem?  Our eBay accounts were hacked!  In both cases, eBay was alerted immediately, and customer service reps took care of the problem quickly.  Rumor has it that hackers prefer preying on seasoned eBay sellers who have accounts in good standing.  My former student has been buying on eBay for years and is now a successful seller.  And it was pretty obvious why I’d been hacked. I have a feedback score of almost 20,000, I’ve been on eBay since 2005, and I’d recently changed my password to one I’d used for years on numerous other accounts.  But that password change gave hackers the change to move in.  Bad move, Miriam.

 

Blocking hackers from your eBay account – installing two-step verification

Needless to say, I changed my eBay password again and followed the advice of a friend who supports his entire family selling estate sale items on eBay.  My friend cannot afford to have anything happen to his account, so his eBay account is set up for two-step verification.

What is two-step verification?
Basically, in order to log onto eBay, a person has to go through a two-step process.  The first step is inputting your eBay password.    Then, eBay will send you  a security code via text which must be entered as well.  If any of the two steps is not inputted correctly, the person will be blocked from logging in to eBay.

I set up two-step verification on both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and I haven’t had a problem since.

 

How to set up two-step verification in eBay

  1. Click on the “My eBay” link in the upper right-hand corner of the home page
  2. Go to the “Account” tab
  3. Click on the “Personal Information” or “Business Information” link on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Security Information” section
  5. Under this heading you will see “Two-Step Verification”
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Follow eBay’s instructions on screen to complete the process.

 

How to set up two-step verification on PayPal
If you’d like to set up this feature on PayPal and you have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the summary page, click on “Profile”
  3. Choose “Profile and Settings”
  4. On the left-hand side of the page, click on “My Settings”
  5. Then scroll down and find the “Security Key” section
  6. Click on the link to the right of this section
  7. Click on “Register a New Mobile Device Number”
  8. Follow PayPal’s instructions on screen to confirm the process.

 

If you do not have a business account, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the summary page
  3. Click the “Security” tab on the left-hand side of the page
  4. Go to the “Security Key” section
  5. Click on the link to the right of this section and follow PayPal’s instructions on screen

 

Setting up two-step verification may take a few minutes, but it’s well worth the security it provides.  This extra level of protection will give you peace of mind and will save you time in the future.

 

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.

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

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