On January 17, 2016, U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) will be raising shipping rates for the first time in 3 years. However, the rate adjustments are only part of the story.
Although the word “Mail” is used in most of their products, the USPS categories Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express as shipping services. That means they are considered competitive products and not subject to the same pricing constraints as First Class Mail, Standard Mail and Periodicals.
The domestic rate increases are:
The most significant changes that will impact shippers are:
- Click ‘n Ship (USPS.com online labels) customers will no longer be eligible for Commercial Based Pricing discounts. That means their costs for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express may increase almost 20%. To get the discounts, shippers will need to move to meters on online postage services.
- Priority Mail Express Flat Rate boxes – and rates – are discontinued. This will cause substantial rate increases for shipping multiple weight packages to further zones.
- Standard Post has been rebranded as Retail Ground.
- First Class Packages under 8 ounces have a flat rate of only $2.60. And maximum weights have increased from 12.99 ounces to 15.99 ounces Note: most USPS scales measure out to 3 digits, so be cautious with packages close to 1 pound.
Even with the rate increases and the product changes, the USPS remains a good bargain for shippers – especially smaller companies and home-based businesses. Shippers should review their packaging, weights and practices to select the best methods for fulfilling their customers’ orders.