Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

USPS online postage

We are starting to get back into ebay. One pain in doing ebay is mailing the items. We ship most of our items via Priority Mail.

The United States Postal Service has come a long way with their online printing. If you go to www.usps.com you can set up an online account that will allow you to purchase and print priority and express mail postage online.

Tha account is easy to set up. Once you are set up, you can then enter the data and print your labels. You can also do something similar through paypal, however, it appears that you get a bit of a discount when you go directly to the USPS.com site. You will have to copy and paste each address. So, if you are doing a smaller volume, it might be worth the effort to get the discount. You can either pocket the difference or pass the savings along to your customers.

Here are a couple of random thoughts on the process.

  • We are printing to plain paper, not labels. The postage uses a full page which can get a little expensive if you are using full page labels. When you tape the label on, be sure not to tape over the barcodes
  • With Priority Mail, you get free online tracking. You can set it up to send you an email when the item is delivered. However, that is redundant because you can log onto your account and then check the tracking status of all shipments (and download the data if you’d like)
  • You can add insurance when you purchase the postage.
  • If you add the customer’s email address, you can have emails sent to them regarding tracking status. I began to think about this and decided to put something in my listing templates similar to “Unless otherwise directed, we will have the USPS send tracking information to your email address of record. If you do not want these notifications, please let us know when you win the bid and before payment” -or- “For USPS Priority Mail shipments, we will provide your email address for the postage so that you will receive emails notifying you of the status of your delivery”. I don’t think that getting the emails is a problem for most people but you can always get the one person who makes a stink about it.
  • We are printing the labels on our laser printer. I’m a little paranoid about using the ink jet as some of the inks are water soluble. In other words, if the package gets wet, the lable could be rendered illegible.

The nice thing about the USPS online postage is that you can print the postage and then simply drop the packages at the mailbox at the post office. You can also indicate that you would like your carrier to pick up the packages.

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