This post was published in anticipation of the pending changes for Click-N-Ship in early 2016. The changes have been live for a year, and to recap, they did more than just increase rates by switching to retail, but users also stopped being able to print First Class Mail in any form (see image below).
Knowing these changes will continue to be in place for 2017, 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 made some big changes in 2016. Until now, Click-N-Ship featured Commercial Base Pricing when printing postage. However, as part of the USPS rate increases, Click-N-Ship increased its rates to Retail Pricing – similar to walking into the physical post office.
The pricing that Click-N-Ship previously used was 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 more expensive to use.
To go into 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, mostly 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 the USPS postage at a discounted rate. (2019 update: Commercial Base pricing is now the same as Commercial Plus Pricing, which we go into below.)
Commercial Plus Pricing: Commercial Plus Pricing has 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 sellers on any of ShippingEasy’s paid plans. To see how much you can potentially save, click on the button below to calculate your savings.
Click-N-Ship used to offer Commercial Base Pricing, but switched over to Retail Pricing January 27th, 2016.
Why This Matters
While price increases are inevitable in the shipping world, the Click-N-Ship rate switch effectively acted as a double price increase– once for the general price increase, 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, the double rate increase will cut into your margins, and even potentially cause you to lose money on a sale. The good news is, there are 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 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 7-cents 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, Endicia, or ShippingEasy.
Price: $15.95/mo and up (plus applicable taxes, if any)
Downloaded shipping software like Endicia and Stamps offers you the ability to print USPS postage from home at Commercial Base Prices and come at a cost of $15.95 per month. ShippingEasy offers a SaaS solution (nothing to download!) that starts at $29/month, plus applicable taxes, if any, with access Commercial Plus Pricing.
Option 3: Another great 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, so beyond that, you will need to sign up for our Basic plan (which comes with many extended benefits like Commercial Plus Pricing access, more shipments, and our world-class support team).
Which Option is Best?
There’s no downside to shipping using the ShippingEasy Starter plan, and there are great options once you start to tip the 50 shipments per month limit that can contribute to your business’s growth.
Click-N-Ship is a staple for many online sellers new and old alike, so the price increase came as a shock to many who used it for years. If you found this post, know there are plenty of options out there that let you continue to receive Online Prices and give some options we suggested, especially our favorite, a try.
For Current Rate Change information, download The E-commerce Seller’s Guide to 2018 Rate Changes from ShippingEasy: