Shipping Policy Best Practices

October 4th, 2016 Comments off

SDC Blog Ecommerce Shipping PoliciesClearly laying out shipping policies on your ecommerce website helps your customers better manage their expectations and helps your position as the seller should there be a dispute. Here are tips to help ensure all shoppers understand your ecommerce store’s shipping methods, options and timelines.

– Start fresh and be clear. Although it may be tempting to cut and paste another store’s policy or direct language from your preferred shipping carrier, it’s important to customize your policies. Keep in mind, also, that although you’ve taken the time to educate yourself about the ins and outs of shipping, your customers usually haven’t. Stay away from industry jargon and work to use language anyone can understand. At the same time, avoid peppering your policies with stern absolutes or language that may feel threatening to shoppers, such as “you must.”

– Resist temptation to inflate shipping costs. Yes, you can account for handling and packaging costs, but shoppers are wary of prices that seem out of line with the competition’s. Building a strong customer base is just as important as adding a few extra dollars to the coffers.

– Consider shipping promotions. Sending out a free shipping code to customers every so often, offering limited-time free or reduced shipping, or throwing in free shipping for large orders helps shoppers develop loyalty to your store.

– Be realistic about timelines. Once you choose your shipping methods, lay out the timelines and costs. If you would like to offer expedited or less expensive options as well as your standard shipping choice, be sure to include those terms too.

– Make your return policy easy to find. Don’t hide this information, because many shopping decisions are dependent on return options. Put a prominent link to your policy on your home page and consider putting the link on banners and product pages, too.

– Explicitly explain returns. Being upfront now will save you hassles down the line. Make sure you take into account any differences in policy due to personalized or seasonal items, the acceptable timeframe for returns, and whether you will offer a refund, replacement or store credit.

– Account for delays. If your product takes extra time to produce (such as custom orders) or properly prepare for shipping, be sure to state that upfront. This goes for potential holiday delays and international shipping, too.

– Be accountable. Obviously, if you ship the wrong product or the customer receives damaged merchandise, promptly make it right—even if you cut into your profit margin to do so.

– Offer tracking. Automated updates are easy to set up with services like, and offer your customers peace of mind. However, if you sell certain high-cost or high-risk items, be aware of a growing criminal movement that redirects these shipments depending on carrier policies. Of course, you will want to communicate with your customers if their transactions fall in this category and explain your actions.

How to Ship Packages to the United Kingdom

April 23rd, 2015 Comments off


Did a customer in Scotland just buy one of your products and you need to ship your merchandise over?  Do you need to send a gift to a relative in London?  Learn how to use to ship packages to the United Kingdom (U.K.)!

How to use for packages headed to the U.K.

Once you are ready to ship your package to the U.K., you will need to enter the mailing address details as well as choose the destination country from the drop down menu in offers many options; however, the easiest and most popular option is to choose United Kingdom (Great Britain) from the country drop down menu.  As long as you choose United Kingdom (Great Britain), your package should reach its destination anywhere within the country without any issues.

A few other options offered by are explained below:

  • If your package is headed to a constituent country of the U.K. (which consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), you can select the individual country names (e.g. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or simply select United Kingdom (Great Britain).
  • Shipping a package to a crown dependency (examples include Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey etc.)?  These destinations fall under the general USPS descriptor of “Great Britain and Northern Island.”  In, these locations are listed individually (e.g. “Jersey”).  You can select these individual listings or just select “United Kingdom (Great Britain).”
  • Using the web version to print postage?  Choose Great Britain from the country drop down menu to ship your packages to the U.K.

Important Note:  Sometimes long country names, such as “Scotland (Great Britain and Northern Ireland)” may cause issues because your label has limited space.  In cases like these or if you are not sure what country to choose from the drop-down menu, always default to United Kingdom (Great Britain). 

Addressing and Shipping Tips for Your Packages

  • The postal code is an important element of the mailing address that is required to ensure smooth and timely delivery.  Make sure to include the accurate postal code for your package headed to the U.K.
  • is designed to include all the essential information on your international label, so if you receive a message about your address being too long, simply abbreviate the county (province) name – for example, Hampshire as “Hamps” or “Worcestershire” as “Worcs.”
  • Customs fees, duties, tariffs and taxes may be charged on your packages being shipped to the U.K.  These fees are based on the value you declare on the customs form and are typically paid by your buyer in the U.K.  However, you can anticipate these by checking the website for the British customs service.
  • Before you ship your package to the U.K., make sure the contents do not fall into the prohibited or restricted categories; otherwise your package could be forfeited or held up at customs. customers can see real-time restrictions within the software or you can get more info here.

6 Tips for Package Shipping to APOs/FPOs

September 24th, 2014 3 comments

The men and women in the military look forward to receiving packages and letters from their friends and family back home.  However, many times it is tough to narrow down their exact shipping address if they are active duty military personnel deployed overseas. Due to this problem, the military has developed APOs and FPOs.military

What is APO or FPO?
APO, which stands for Army Post Office, can take items for people serving abroad in the army or Air Force. Letters sent to an FPO, or Fleet Post Office, can be delivered to people in the Navy and on ship-based missions outside of the United States.

What makes APO/FPO address different from a street address is that part of the delivery is handled by the Department of Defense to get it to areas outside of the continental United States. Unlike mail sent to a street address or post office, APO/FPO addresses have “AA,” “AE” or “AP” listed in the state category. Although other shipping services, such as FedEx and UPS, send packages to other countries where military forces are concentrated, only the USPS is able to send an item to an APO or FPO.

USPS Tips For Mailing To APO or FPO:
Before you prepare your letter or package, there are a few things you will need to know about mailing items to an APO/FPO.

Tip #1  Packages must be less than 70 pounds and smaller than 130 inches in length and girth combined.

Tip #2  Don’t include alcohol, perishables, firearms or any hazardous materials in your package, either.

Tip #3  Some zip codes have additional restrictions, so it pays to research them before mailing your parcel. Contact the Military Postal Service Agency at 1-800-810-6098 for additional restriction details.

Tip #4  Addressing your letter or package properly will ensure its arrival. The Department of Defense requires you to use the service member’s full name, the unit and APO/FPO with a 9-digit zip code and a return address.

Tip #5  If you are just planning to mail a letter that weighs a few ounces, you will not need to fill out a customs form. However, if you are sending a package, you must attach a customs form detailing where your package is going and what is inside.

Tip #6  You must give your APO/FPO parcel to a USPS employee in order to mail it. If you don’t feel like going to the post office, you can schedule an in-person carrier pickup at your home through

Going the extra mile to send a package to someone in the armed forces is an easy gesture that will brighten a soldier’s day. With these rules in mind, your shipping process will be problem-free.

Special Note for Customers:  To send a package to an APO or FPO address, customers need to use the “Packages” tab.  This “Packages” tab is built for domestic postage and does not automatically create a U.S. customs form.  You will need to complete and attach a customs form manually for your package.

Version 8.5: Import Order Data from eBay, Amazon & More

September 24th, 2014 33 comments

Connect Your eBay or Ecommerce Account to
Are you a regular seller on eBay? Do you operate an ecommerce store in Yahoo Stores or use PayPal or Google Checkout as a payment option for product sales?’s latest software – PC Postage Version 8.5 — is loaded with great tools to help online sellers manage their package shipping program in a better, more efficient manner.  Version 8.5 lets you import your sales order data directly from the most popular ecommerce platforms and then use one interface to process and ship all of your packages.   So if a business owner is selling products on eBay and also via their own web site, Version 8.5 will allow them to easily import order data from eBay and their shopping cart, and then use the interface to print all of their shipping labels.


Along with Yahoo Stores, eBay, PayPal and Google Checkout, you’ll also be able to import order data in various other formats including CSV, Excel, Access or XML.  Data can also be imported with SQL database or Oracle® via an ODBC connection.   Once the your order data is imported into, the Postal Analyzer checks to make sure that your shipping instructions and order data match, which eliminates the chance that you’ll send out the wrong product.

Package Tracking Numbers Post-Back to eBay or Amazon Accounts
Once your packages have been shipped, will automatically post-back the shipping details and a tracking number to your eBay or Amazon accounts. This feature will allow your product buyer to track the delivery activity on their new purchase.

Ship Globally with First Class Mail International also saves money for you and your customers. PayPal and USPS’s Click-N-Ship force you to upgrade to Priority Mail International if you are shipping overseas, but will let you print postage for the more economical First Class Mail International. For example, if you had a 2 pound package going from Los Angeles to Paris, France, you would save $12.11 (41% discount) per parcel by using First Class Mail International instead of using Priority Mail International*.

More Shipping Features Added Version 8.5 also features a New and Improved User Interface.  Some of the highlights are:

  • View all your orders and keep a track of how many orders remain to be shipped.
  • Process Domestic and International Shipping from a single interface.
  • Make inline edits and receive real time error feedback when orders are not ready to be printed.
  • Search all your orders by any field.
  • Make changes to orders and save your changes for processing later.

Version 8.5 includes some other important shipping upgrades. In an upcoming post, we’ll discuss the new ODBC connection features and how it can help business owners.   Download Version 8.5 now!

* Price comparison is based on 2 lbs. package mailed from Los Angeles, CA to Paris, France September 19, 2009.   Rate for First Class Mail International was $17.64 and rate for Priority Mail International was $29.75.

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