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:

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.

 

 

Stamps.com Trade Shows Q2 2019

March 19th, 2019 Comments off

Trade shows are a great opportunity to get out and meet customers and partners, establish new relationships, and to share Stamps.com with ecommerce shippers just like you!

Check out the table below to learn more about where we’ll be, and when. We’ll post more details on social media as these events get closer.

 

Conference Dates Location Venue
National Postal Forum May 5-8 Indianapolis, IN Indiana Convention Center
Seller Cloud User Conference May 9 Lakewood, NJ Lake Terrace
WMX Europe June 27-29 Dublin, Ireland Croke Park
IRCE June 25-28 Chicago, IL McCormick Place South
Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2018

October 22nd, 2018 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service recently announced their 2018 shipping deadlines to ensure delivery by December 25th.  Be sure to mail by these deadlines if you are planning to use the USPS to send any mail or packages this Holiday season.

If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, note that your shipping deadlines may be different than those for the contiguous United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping, Shipping, USPS News Tags:

Shipping to Canada: Taxes, Duties & Tariffs

September 14th, 2018 Comments off

 

Selling internationally doesn’t come without its challenges. Like any other country, Canada has duties, taxes and tariffs you will need to be aware of. If you haven’t gone through the process to become a Non-Resident Importer your Canadian buyer is responsible for duties, taxes, and tariffs that are imposed on imported goods.  It is important you communicate these additional fees to your customers at checkout so as to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of package delivery.

 

Duties and Taxes

There are 3 kinds of duties and taxes for items being imported into Canada:

  1. Goods and Services Tax (GST): This is a 5% federal tax that applies to items being sold to Canadian customers for domestic consumption.
  2. Harmonized Tax (HST): A handful of Canadian provinces have opted to harmonize their provincial sales tax with the general sales tax and the total rate is known as Harmonized Tax.
  3. Provincial Sales Tax (PST): Provinces that do not participate in the HST collection process impose their own taxes at the local level. The tax rate varies by province and can range from 5% to 9.75%.

 

Tariffs

Along with duties and taxes, your Canadian customer may also need to pay tariffs. Tariffs depend on the country of manufacture, not the country from where the product is purchased.  NAFTA eliminates tariffs on all goods that are manufactured in the U.S. and shipped to Canada.  However, if your product includes components that were manufactured outside the U.S., then your Canadian customer will need to pay tariffs on those components.

 

Shipping to Canada

Over one-third of Canadian e-commerce sales are currently coming from U.S.-based websites. That’s nearly $50 billion dollars flowing in from north of the border. With annual growth predicted at over 12% for the next three years, now is the time to open your business to eager Canadian buyers. If you are looking to sell in Canada be sure to check out the Stamps.com Guide: How to Ship to Canada.

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