I wrote this post on December 9th anticipating the changes for Click-N-Ship. Now that they’re live, they’ve done more than just increase rates by switching to retail, but many users are reporting they cannot print First Class Mail in any form. On my Click-N-Ship account, I don’t have the option to print First Class Postage as well:
Knowing this, my suggestions for finding an alternative to Click-N-Ship still stands, and makes the ShippingEasy Free Starter plan that much more appealing.
Click-N-Ship, The United States Postal Service’s popular postage printing online service is going to have some big changes coming in 2016. Until now, Click-N-Ship has featured Commercial Base Pricing when printing postage. However, as part of the USPS rate increases, slated to go into effect January 17th, Click-N-Ship will increase its rates to Retail Pricing – similar to walking into the physical post office.
The pricing that Click-N-Ship currently uses is a rate tier for postage called Commercial Base Pricing. This is known by some as “Online Prices” because they are commonly compared to “Retail Prices” for postage (what you pay at a physical post office). To put it simply: Click-N-Ship is going to get more expensive to use.
To go into a bit more detail: There are 3 main pricing tiers for buying USPS postage: Retail Pricing, Commercial Base Pricing, and Commercial Plus Pricing.
Retail Pricing: This is the most expensive form of postage, mainly due to the fact that you buy it from a USPS employee at a retail location.
Commercial Base Pricing, aka Online Pricing: When you purchase postage online, you aren’t having employees assist you, and there’s no retail location that needs to be sustained, so you can purchase all USPS postage at a discounted rate.
Commercial Plus Pricing: Commercial Plus Pricing is discounts on postage even steeper than Commercial Base for businesses that ship in excess of 50,000 packages per year and negotiate rates with USPS, or it’s for any sellers on any of ShippingEasy’s paid plans.
Click-N-Ship currently offers Commercial Base Pricing, but will switch over to Retail Pricing January 27th, 2016.
Why This Matters
While a price increase is eventually inevitable in the shipping world, the Click-N-Ship rate switch effectively acts as a double price increase, once for the general price increases coming, and again by switching to a more expensive rate tier.
What You Can Do About It
If you ship with Click-N-Ship to send a package to family members 3 times per year, the rate increase might not mean much to you. If you run a business and ship products to customers daily, this double rate increase will cut into your margins, and even potentially cause you to lose money on a sale.
That can be unsustainable for some, but there’s other options.
Option 1: Use whatever label printing method is provided where you sell your products.
Price: Variable per-label fee + usual cost of your account (if applicable)
If you sell products online, usually the platform or marketplace you’re selling on provides some type of label printing option to fulfill your orders. These systems tend to be fairly simple and primarily for label printing but they typically offer Commercial Base Pricing on postage. Be mindful of any per-label fee on each label you print. For example, Amazon charges an additional 7cents per label. These fees can really add up and wipe out any savings derived from better postage rates.
Option 2: Buy shipping software like stamps.com or Endicia.
Downloaded shipping software like Endicia and Stamps offers you the ability to print USPS postage from home at Commercial Base Prices, but comes at a cost of $15.95 per month. That price point may not be worth it to some, and the software doesn’t offer many benefits over Click-N-Ship to justify paying a monthly fee.
Option 3: My favorite option, the ShippingEasy Starter Plan!
Price: Free! No per-label fee.
ShippingEasy gives you the best of all worlds: No monthly fee, access to Commercial Base Pricing, no per-label fee, and it comes with powerful shipping software that none of the other options offer. The only limitation is you can ship a maximum of 50 orders per month on the free plan, beyond that you would need to sign up for our Basic plan (which comes with many extended benefits like Commercial Plus Pricing access and, more shipments, and our world-class support team).
Which Option is Best
To me, the answer is a no-brainer. There’s no downside to shipping using the Starter plan, and there are great options once you start to tip the 50 month limit that can contribute to your business’s growth.
If you know any other options that are great for shipping low volume, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can include it in the Options listed above.
Click-N-Ship is a staple to many online sellers new and old alike, this price increase will come as a shock to many who have used it for years and never considered any alternative. If you found this post, know that there’s plenty of options out there that let you continue receiving Online Prices and give some options I suggested, especially my favorite, a try.
Want to know more on upcoming rate changes in 2016? Download the eCommerce Seller’s Guide to 2016 Rate Changes
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