The 2021 USPS Rate Increases That Affect Your Business

With every new year come new shipping prices. While there are occasional bright spots — such as additional cubic pricing service — there generally isn’t much good news to report on USPS rate increases. Even though the price of flat-rate packaging will increase slightly each year, in addition, there are new charges and limitations that apply to bundles. This season is no different. ShipStation has shared the USPS’s Commercial Base® pricing arrangement upgrades that went into effect on January 24th, 2021.

Why Does the USPS Boost Rates Every Year?

Contrary to popular belief, the USPS receives no immediate tax-payer funding. It’s financed purely by postage earnings. With declines in First-Class Mail® letters over the last couple of decades and steady growth in little parcel deliveries, the USPS has needed to reshape the way that it receives, sorts and delivers its own parcels. In actuality, it’s quite common for the USPS to use FedEx or USPS air services to provide lots of its Priority Mail Express® packages. Mix all this with increased requirements for e-commerce throughout the COVID-19, and you get a fairly hefty increase in package volume. There is also the very expensive retirement programs that keep pulling the USPS further and further into the red annually.

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail packages saw the steepest rate increase of this year. Prices across the board are increasing by an average of 6 percent. The speed increase ranges from $0.11 to $0.31. First-Class Mail still remains a substantially cheaper way to send parcels weighing under a pound, however.

New $100 Surcharge

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express parcels are usually under about ten pounds. When you start getting in that weight range, UPS or FedEx will normally have a less expensive shipping rate. This is now particularly true of shipments over 70 lbs.

The USPS is applying a $100 surcharge to some package exceeding the USPS’s maximum size and weight limitations. This applies to any parcel exceeding 70 pounds or the USPS’s maximum length of 130 inches or maximum girth of 108 inches.

Priority Mail Package

Priority Mail rates rose by an average of 3% to 4%. This is consistent with several increases in prior years. But additional cubic and state rates are also influenced in this year’s upgrades.

Priority Mail Package Cubic

Cubic rates work somewhat differently than regular Priority Mail packages. While weight is the most common threshold for a shipping rate, it’s not the last decider. Cubic rates apply to heavy and small packages that weigh less than 20 lbs. Basically, why should someone sending a can of beans cover just like someone sending a mailbox if they are the exact same weight but one is much smaller?

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Cubic prices are determined by the following formula:

Length x Width x Height / 1728 = Cubic Feet

If the value falls at or below 0.5, cubic rates will apply to a parcel weighing over 20 lbs. If the resulting value is greater than”0.5,” the standard rate fee will apply.

Cubic rates are usually negotiated by high-volume sellers. But, Stamps.com provides cubic rates to ShipStation clients. Below are the cubic prices for 2021.

Priority Mail Express

While Priority Mail Express saw a speed increase this year, it was fairly modest. Express services just saw a 1 percent to1.5% average increase in prices in 2021 — lower than increases in the last couple of years!

A Better Way for Brands to Handle Retail Content, Part 4: Choosing a Retail Content Management Solution for your Brand

Let’s face it: it is a complicated task to streamline product information across retailers as a first-party (1P) seller. But that does not mean you must prepare all of it in painstaking detail or employ more staff just to deal with product content mapping and optimization. And you shouldn’t need to hold back on selling goods simply because it is too time-consuming to keep.

With automated multichannel content management, you do not need to. You may use an e-commerce provider to make, map and improve product data to satisfy the individual requirements of every electronic merchandising destination — without needing to spend a good deal of resources or time on the procedure. By leveraging a platform, your information can be optimized with retailer-specifical rules to satisfy the special requirements of each individual destination, whether that includes the content upload tool, or the merchant API integrations.

The Benefits of Retail Content Management Tools

Many successful brands happen to be using a retail content management tool to guarantee accuracy across retailers and reduce workloads. In addition to reducing errors, this technology can:

  • Reduce workload and save time: Managing product information can be a complicated and time-consuming undertaking. Rather than compiling data feeds from separate systems, manually creating lookups and compiling checks, you can automate tasks to free up internal resources to handle other projects.
  • Ensure compliance. With optimized content management that is continually upgraded, you can be certain that your product data will be mapped according to the specific requirements of each station.
  • Time to market. Many brands have the ability to expand their business and reach more retailers quicker by relying on a strong platform to maximize their product information.
  • Boost product visibility. Since content is optimized with retailer-specifical rules for each station, the odds of showing up in the merchant’s site search results grow appreciably. Many retailers benefit sellers optimized and improved content by providing the products added visibility.
  • Protect your brand equity. By offering compliant and precise data for each merchant, you are ensuring a consistent and precise brand experience for customers across any channel.
  • Reduce mistakes: By having accurate, centralized product information, you are able to prevent any impact to your performance by quickly identifying and fixing mistakes in product information.

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Assessing Your Options

You know the advantages of having a retail content management tool, but you’ve got to be confident you are choosing the proper platform for your company. Some things to ask yourself if you are considering a retail content management supplier are:

  • Can you automate your data transformation? You would like to be confident you could change, manipulate and optimize your product data to the particular requirements of retailers. If you’re able to perform this transformation at scale, you may save yourself a whole lot of time. What is more, if the platform lets you map your data, every time a product is added and tagged, it’ll be optimized and updated. The end result is that you make sure product content precision across your merchants by changing your content into native retail templates.
  • Can my information sit ? If your product data sits in separate systems and documents, you can not get as customized or have insight into what closing data output will look like. You want your information to be available centrally so that you don’t need to pool multiple product file resources together every time you need to send product information.
  • Can you streamline the origin? Greater efficiencies can be achieved by having a single source of truth to your product content This will save you time by not having to manually change the material to match the special requirements of each station. You also accelerate the time to market and enhance the product data delivery lead time.
  • How do you syndicate out? Each merchant includes its own product information requirements in addition to a prefered method of receiving this information. For merchant files, you can map and optimise data to the merchant’s requirement and send in the original format (email, merchant’s portal etc). Moreover, you may look for supported APIs that have direct integrations (such as Amazon Vendor Central, Houzz, Overstock, Walmart).

What service/expertise is available? Some retail content management tools provide support through discussion or ticketing systems. But working with an e-commerce platform takes this farther. By way of instance, ChannelAdvisor has e-commerce advisers who understand the larger picture of this business from a brands’ view. This means that your optimization strategy, compliance and data improvements, error resolution and quality assurance could be outsourced to a group of business specialists who act as an extension of your team.

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