4 Tips to Soften Holiday Shipping Carrier Surcharges

November 14th, 2022 Comments off

With ongoing inflation and supply chain issues, keeping your shipping budget on track will be challenging this holiday season; this includes budgeting for peak holiday surcharges from carriers. How can you offset higher shipping costs during the busiest shipping season of the entire year? Also, our study with Retail Economics found that 30.3% of customers think the delivery cost is the most important factor when trying to decide whether or not to purchase from a business. So, raising your shipping costs needs to be a last resort to better align with your customers’ expectations. We’re going to summarize some of these surcharges for you as well as give you the gift of four tips to help keep your holiday shipping budget intact. 

Summary of 2022 carrier holiday surcharges

Holiday surcharges are additional and/or increased fees that are applied to certain carrier services throughout the holiday shipping season. These surcharges typically include increases in the amount you pay for a service when using it to ship or increases in adjustments you can receive year-round for things like incorrect shipment measurements or using incorrect packaging. Holiday surcharges usually begin in early to mid-fall and stay in effect through the holiday season and into the new year. We’ve highlighted some of the biggest holiday surcharges for each carrier below. 

USPS*: Midnight (12:00 AM) on October 22, 2022 – Midnight (12:00 AM) on January 22, 2023 

  • $.25 – $6.50 increase for Priority Mail®  and Priority Mail Express® services with USPS Commercial Rates 
  • $.25 – $5.50 increase for First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select® Ground, and USPS Retail Ground®  services with USPS Commercial Rates 

*All USPS Holiday surcharges can be found on our blog

FedEx: September 5, 2022 – January 15, 2023

FedEx is basing holiday surcharges on shippers’ specific parcel volume. These charges will vary from $1.25 – $7, depending on the volume. We recommend visiting FedEx’s website directly for more information. 

4 tips to lower the impact of carrier holiday surcharges

Order free packaging

Carriers like USPS offer free packaging for services like Priority Mail, so you don’t have to worry about finding boxes on your own. You can even order some of these supplies directly from your Stamps.com account. Free USPS supplies usually arrive in 5-7 business days, so you can plan your supply orders accordingly throughout the holiday season. Also, when you order free USPS supplies through Stamps.com, some of these supplies can be automatically shipped after a specific timeframe, so you can just sit back and sip your hot chocolate. 

Carefully measure and weigh your shipments 

With peak holiday surcharges increasing costs, measuring your boxes correctly is more important than ever. Don’t be afraid to measure and weigh your boxes multiple times so your calculations are as accurate as possible. This way, you’ll cut down on the likelihood of receiving adjustment fees and charges, some of which increase during the holiday season.  

It’s also the perfect time to familiarize yourself with Dimensional, or DIM, weight. DIM weight is based on the measurements of your package as opposed to the number you see when you place your package on the scale. For USPS and UPS Shipping, you’ll start by finding your shipment’s volume (length x width x height). If this number is smaller than 1728, your shipping cost will be calculated based on your shipment’s actual weight. If this number is larger than 1728, you’ll divide this number by 166 to find your shipment’s DIM weight.*

*Note: If you’re shipping to Canada, you’ll divide this number by 139. 

Introduce product bundles to increase AOV

The holiday season is a great time to create product bundles because it can help increase your average order value or AOV. For example, if your store sells electronics, you could offer customers a new phone case and charging cable whenever they buy a new iPhone. These product bundles can even be promoted on your store’s website or in your customer communications to highlight deals and increase your AOV. A higher AOV means more money back to your store, so you can help offset the cost of holiday surcharges. 

Offer promotions to increase sales 

Offering free shipping or free shipping over a certain threshold are two of the best ways to earn more sales during the holidays. If a customer is close to the free shipping threshold, they’re more likely to grab an additional item or two. You can even showcase smaller items as recommended products to help your customers remember things they might have forgotten while shopping. Sending your repeat customers exclusive holiday discounts will also help to not only boost your sales but show your customers you care. 

Conclusion

Ongoing financial and availability strains are going to be prominent throughout this holiday season, so peak holiday surcharges are significant to budget for. The increases for these services are unavoidable, so finding ways to save on your shipping costs is key. Utilizing free USPS supplies, offering your customers promotions, creating product bundles, and measuring/weighing your shipments before buying postage are all easy ways to offset those surcharge costs. Taking the time to incorporate these tips into your holiday shipping routine will help you increase your sales and cut back on your shipping costs while setting you up for year-round success. 


Keep your holiday shipping merry and bright by signing up for a free trial with Stamps.com.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

UPS’s Fastest Ground Ever

February 19th, 2021 Comments off

Customers Express Need for Speed, UPS Invests to Deliver

E-Commerce sales are going through the roof. With this increase, there has also been a jump in customer expectations of how fast their purchases will get to them. 62% of U.S. online shoppers reported that fast shipping speed is the most important factor in a positive retail experience according to a 2019 survey from Avionos. UPS® Ground shipments are now faster than ever thanks to new strategic initiatives. Our Fastest Ground Ever allows U.S. customers to save an entire day on shipments to businesses and residences. Think about what a difference a day can make!

Routes to cities across the U.S. are faster than ever before. Now you can save at least one day on shipments to businesses and residential destinations. UPS is investing in innovative solutions that provide greater accuracy and speed for all our customers, from pickup to final mile. A few notable enhancements include:

• Network Planning Tools*(NPT) allows UPS to optimize the flow of up to 60 million packages with advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

• Enhanced Dynamic Global Execution* (EDGE) uses real-time data to enhance strategic decision making.

• On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) determines the most efficient delivery route to reduce our carbon foot print.

• Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) integrates AI to enable drivers to meet customers’ expectations.

• Convenient and secure UPS Access Point® locations have also helped UPS streamline. More than 12,000 UPS Access Point® locations have been added where customers can easily arrange to receive deliveries or accept returns, including CVS, Michaels, and Advance Auto Parts.

*NPT & EDGE will be fully deployed in 2020 Crush Deadlines and Bottom Lines

Speed and Reliability:

By the end of 2022, UPS will add more than 10 million pounds of additional air cargo capacity as 44 new aircrafts will join our fleet. This is the largest air capacity expansion in recent history.

In 2020, UPS has added even more capacity and network enhancements including:

· Five new regional “super hubs” in Atlanta, DFW-Arlington, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. These facilities will help improve time in transit, reliability, & flexibility across our network.

· UPS® Smart Logistics Network, which continually evolves to incorporate real-time data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technological advancements.

· These significant investments will enable us to drive operational and sustainable improvements for our business, and provide greater accuracy& speed among our global network.

Our Fastest Ground Ever not only buys you time, it also provides peace of mind. The most recently available information from ShipMatrix shows UPS leading the industry in on-time deliveries too:

With UPS’s Fastest Ground Ever, merchants can crush both deadlines and bottom lines for their customers. Try out the new and improved system enhancements and rest easy knowing that your package is in the UPS network.

Categories: Shipping, UPS Shipping Tags:

5 Tips For Handling Holiday Returns

December 15th, 2020 Comments off

Whether we like it or not, customer returns will always be a part of running a business as an e-commerce retailer—and customers demand a streamlined returns process now more than ever. In fact, in a 2019 survey conducted by UPS, 73% of e-commerce customers expressed that their decision to return to a web retailer depended on their return experience. As the holiday return season approaches, it’s important to remember thar every return is an opportunity to learn and demonstrate your commitment to improving the customer’s experience. Here are some tips to help with e-commerce returns and help your customers have a happy holiday shopping season.

1. Illustrate your Returns Process

Creating a well-designed policy page for returns can smooth out the process for your customers. Adding graphic icons or images can help illustrate certain aspects of your return policy will help customers understand how the return process works. Return policy pages that are solely text-based can overwhelm customers, and in some cases drive them away. A well-designed page that is easy to understand and informative can improve the perception of your online store and increase chances of gaining a loyal customer.

2. Collect your Customer’s Reasons for Returns

Your return page should allow customers to explain why they are making a return; this will provide valuable insight that you can use to improve your business. With these responses in hand you can identify potential issues in your online business. For example, if many customers are responding that the product does not fit as expected, you may need to adjust the product’s description and photo. If customers are often reporting a delivery is late, you may consider using a different mail class or delivery service.

Common set responses on a return page include:

Fulfillment/Carrier Problems:

  • Item received is not what the customer ordered.
  • Delivery of the item was too late.
  • The item was never received.
  • The product was damaged or defective.
  • An incorrect product was sent.

Description/Photo Problems:

  • Incorrect product or size ordered.
  • Product fit is smaller or larger than described.
  • Product does not match the description or expectation.
  • Product is not as pictured.

Misc.:

  • Product is no longer needed.
  • Purchased the wrong product.

3. Always Offer Encourage Returns

As an online retailer, you put time and effort into marketing and fulfilling your product—that’s why returns are not only a hustle, but potentially a net loss. When a return comes in, it’s imperative to always offer, and encourage an exchange. Providing exchanges are almost always a better solution than a return resulting in no final sale. By working with the customer to complete and exchange, you not only recoup some of your marketing and fulfillment cost, but you also give the customer a better experience than an outright return. Going the extra mile on exchanges is a great way to gain a repeat customer. Online shoppers have more confidence purchasing from retailers who offer a streamlined exchange process—and confidant customers often become loyal customers.

4. Provide Incentives for Quick Returns

It’s best to create a policy that provides customers with a clear timeframe for return eligibility and incentivizes them to return as quickly as possible. After all, the longer a customer holds on to their purchase before returning, the longer it will take for you to resell the product. Additionally, the longer a product is in the hands of a customer before a return, the more likely it will have to be discounted for its second sale. Offering free return within the first 15 days of a 30-day policy is a great way to incentivize a customer to return the product quickly.

5. Let Customers Know Where They Can Return

Dropping off returns can be an involved process when you don’t know where to go, especially around the holiday season. By providing locations and information on where to drop off the packages in your return policy, you help customers determine the best course of action for their returns. If you ship with UPS, there are over 4,000 UPS stores in the United States, along with their UPS Access Point Network in stores like CVS, Michaels, and Advance Auto Parts where customers can drop off packages. If you offer USPS shipping, customers can give their return to their mail carrier or drop it off at any Post Office.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Can I Mail Prescription Drugs with USPS?

July 23rd, 2020 Comments off

If you need to mail prescription drugs, you’ll want to get to know federal and state laws about shipping these items before trying to ship them with the USPS. Here are the basics of mailing drugs via the USPS. You will need to be familiar with what is permitted, and what isn’t, to avoid any legal issues.

Prescription Drugs

As the name implies, prescription drugs are not available except with a written order from a licensed medical provider. You are only permitted to mail prescription drugs via the USPS if you are a pharmacist or medical provider mailing such drugs to the patient they have been prescribed to. This means that without proper medical licensing you can receive prescription drugs, but you cannot, under any circumstance, mail them.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

Prescription drugs are only permitted to be sent via USPS under specific circumstances—but what about over-the-counter drugs?

Any drug that is available for retail without a prescription is considered an over-the-counter drug. Common examples of such drugs are mild pain-relief medicines and skin creams. Anyone can mail such drugs with the USPS as long as they comply with federal and state laws such as the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 and the Consumer Protection Safety Commission Requirements.

Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are drugs in which the federal government tightly controls. These substances are placed into five categories, or schedules, each with varying regulations and mailability. Some controlled substances are treated as prescription drugs—they can be mailed by medical professionals with the proper documentation. Other controlled substances are not mailable under any circumstances. The USPS takes the shipment of narcotics very seriously, and the Postal Inspection Service Prohibited Mail Narcotics program investigates shipments of illegal drugs through the mail and works closely with state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies to combat this illicit trade.

You cannot mail a controlled substance unless:

  • You and the person you are mailing the drugs to are registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency or are exempt from the registration requirement. (Law enforcement, civil defense workers, and members of the military do not need to register with the DEA).
  • You are participating in a federal mail-back program to dispose of such drugs and follow the mailing regulations for participation in the program.
  • You are a drug manufacturer or pharmacy owner who is filling a prescription containing narcotics.
  • You should be aware that anything used to take narcotics, such as pipes or syringes, cannot be mailed under current federal guidelines.

Rules for Packaging Drugs

Controlled substances must have inner packaging that is marked and sealed in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act in addition to providing information on the inner packaging about the prescription, such as the prescription number and the name and address of the pharmacy dispensing the drug. The outer wrapping of such packages must be plain and cannot contain any information identifying the package’s contents.

Other drugs must be placed inside a plain wrapper or package.

Promotional samples of non-prescription drugs may have a brief description of the product on the outside of the package along with the words SAMPLES ENCLOSED.

It is important to follow all of these rules because mailing drugs in a non-allowed manner is considered a breach of federal law and can result in serious legal consequences. If a USPS inspector finds non-mailable drugs in a package presented for delivery, that worker is required to report it as well as reject the item for delivery.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

USMCA Starts July 1, 2020

July 1st, 2020 Comments off

Starting on July 1, 2020, the U.S., Canada and Mexico will start a new trade agreement called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which will be replacing what was formerly known as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The purpose of the agreement is to encourage trade between the three countries, ensure fair labor practices are followed and provide incentives for manufacturing in North America.

For online retailers, one of the key changes within this new agreement is the de minimis threshold values for express shipments (and via customs brokers) into Canada and Mexico from the U.S.

De minimis is a price threshold which countries use to determine if duties and taxes will be applied on shipments.  The de minimis threshold is different for each country, and is determined by the total value of your shipped goods, including shipping fees.  Online retailers like high de minimis thresholds for each country, since a higher threshold keeps duties and taxes from being added to the product cost for a buyer.  As an example, if the de minimis for Australia is $1000 USD, then we can ship items up to $1000 (including shipping cost) without incurring additional duties and taxes.  If the product cost plus shipping is over $1000 USD, then the buyer is going to have to pay additional costs (duties and taxes) to receive the product.

IMPORTANT!  Changes for de minimis starting on July 1, 2020 only applies to express shippers and custom brokers.  Shipments handled by the Postal Service are not changing!

Shipments Entering Canada

Postal Shipments de minimis (USPS delivery to Canada Post)

•  Goods valued over $20 CAD will have tax applicable (Unchanged)

Express Shipments/Custom Brokers de minimis

•   Goods valued over $40 CAD will have tax applicable (New with USMCA)

•   Goods valued over $150 CAD will have both duty and tax applicable (New with USMCA)

Shipments Entering Mexico

Postal Shipments de minimis (USPS delivery to Correos de México)

•   Goods valued over $300 USD will have tax applicable (Unchanged)

Express Shipments/Custom Brokers de minimis

• Goods valued over $50 USD will have tax applicable (Unchanged)

•  Goods valued over $117 USD will have both duty and tax applicable (New with USMCA)

Interested in lowering your international parcel shipments?  Contact GlobalPost and take advantage of free coverage, an easy claims process, no hassle of printing customs forms and more.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055

Monday–Friday, 6am–6pm Pacific Time