Choosing the best scale for eCommerce shipping
In the shipping industry weight matters. Typically, the heavier a package the more expensive it is to ship. Therefore, getting accurate weight measurements for your packages is essential if you don’t want to get overcharged for the items you’re shipping—or worse, have your carrier reject your package for an incorrect weight reading. For these reasons, a postal scale is a fundamental tool for any person or business that ships daily.
Why you should choose a USB postal shipping scale
- While many types of scales are available for purchase, the best scale for eCommerce shipping is a USB (universal serial bus) digital postal shipping scale. Calibrated for accuracy—and specifically for package and parcel shipping—a USB digital postal scale holds multiple benefits over other scales for eCommerce shipping:
- USB connectivity allows you, when you’re weighing a package, to directly connect to industry specific programs and software (e.g., a shipping platform) to eliminate the extra steps of reading and entering into your computer weight outputs from your scale. The result: faster, easier, more accurate weight measurements.
- By allowing you to bypass manually typing in the weight of the package, USB digital postal scales help you avoid errors; the scale’s USB connection to your computer and a shipping solution polls the scale 5-10 times per second and updates the order weight based on the scale weight.
- USB digital postal scales are purpose-built so they usually feature a fairly wide, flat surface for package placement and a potentially more accurate reading.
- USB digital postal scales typically measure packages in the ounces and pounds to account for shipping services whose rates are based on small increment weight changes (First Class Mail rates, for example, are based on ounce-to-ounce changes).
Evaluating which USB digital postal scale to purchase
- In general, scale prices rise with the weight thresholds they support, so consider your average and maximum package weights when evaluating your scale options. For USB digital postal scales, consider the following evaluation criteria:
- Order volume: If you are weighing less than 500 orders per month, a consumer grade scale is a good option. Otherwise, an industrial scale is the better investment.
- Unit of measure: At a minimum the scale should measure in ounces and pounds. The smallest unit will ensure you aren’t overpaying for postage due to the scale rounding up a package’s weight.
- Power: Make sure the scale runs on an A/C adapter. Some smaller scales run on batteries, which will add unnecessary cost and hassle in the long-term.
- Brand reputation: Given the importance of weight to postage cost, it is worth investing in a reputable brand or narrowing your options to only those with exceptionally positive reviews. Even a single ounce can cost you hundreds of dollars per month once you have reasonable shipping volume.
Using your USB digital postal scale
- Using a USB digital postal scale is fairly straightforward: You turn it on and place the package to be weighed on top of the scale, then the USB connection works with your computer’s software to read and automatically enter the package weight outputs.