While our next issue will include a detailed review of all the changes coming with the January 22nd price change, I thought I’d take some time and give you some early highlights of important changes and, specifically, improvements to shipping services.
The U.S. Postal Service® is expanding their line of Regional Rate™ boxes which saved our customers a lot of money last year. The new Priority Mail® Regional Rate Box C is larger than Box B at 15″x12″x12″ and can hold a maximum weight of 25 lbs. Regional Rate packaging and pricing was introduced last year as a variation on the simple Flat Rate™ pricing model. These packages offer a simplified pricing structure that, while being zone-based, still offers impressive savings particularly with heavier items going short distances. This new box will enable shippers to take advantage of this new product with even larger items.
Continuing the expansion of the Postal Service’s Flat Rate products and pricing, a new Express Mail® Flat Rate Box will be added to the current envelope. The new box will be the same size as the current medium Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. With the addition of the new Express Mail Flat Rate Box, customers have the ability to send true packages (as opposed to items that will fit in a flat rate envelope) with Express Mail 1-2 day delivery standards at easy to use and calculate Flat Rate prices. With postal’s success with Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, it makes sense that they are extending this option to Express Mail.
Last year marked the introduction of the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpb). This was a key step in creating a true tracking system for packages as they are accepted, in transit, and delivered. In 2012, the Postal Service is “upgrading” their IMpb service so all competitive products with this new barcode will be tracked and can get Delivery Confirmation (DC) service for free. DYMO Endicia has supported the IMpb since last year’s price change and we are excited about extending the free service benefit to packages shipped via First Class Package Services and Parcel Select. For our customers who use USPS to fulfill product, DC is critical in showing customers that their order has been accepted by the USPS, where their order is, and providing confirmation that a product has actually reached the customer. We have many examples of packages getting 7 to 11 scans along the way.
For higher volume shippers, the Postal Service has lowered minimums from 250,000 units to 150,000 units per calendar year to qualify for Priority Mail cubic pricing. More customers will have access to this unique, money-saving product. With cubic, you pay for how much space your package takes up in a truck/airplane, and not by how much it weighs. It encourages and rewards shippers who pack efficiently (i.e. smaller boxes). Shippers who have denser products (such as batteries) especially benefit from cubic pricing because weight doesn’t matter. However, we’ve had customers implement cubic pricing on a wide range of products for significant savings. I would definitely recommend looking into adding this to your shipping mix next year, especially if you’re near that minimum threshold, or could be with some changes.
Speaking of cubic, the new rules allowing soft pack items to be shipped via cubic pricing will also help out higher volume customers. Not every package sent is rectangular. USPS has recognized this and has altered the rules to allow for soft pack packaging.
I’ll see you soon with the complete details of the price change. Until then, have a great and profitable shipping season!
For more news and tips, check out our FedEx vs. UPS vs. USPS shipping rates comparison page.