Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shipping Choices are Part of Your Marketing Plan

99%  of the vintage jewelry I sell weighs between 3oz and 9oz. So the best choices are all from the USPS: first class mail, priority mail, and first class international. You need a tracking number (delivery comfirmation)and  you need insurance.You can go to the post office and pay but that is time consuming and you don't have a paper trail. You can get your labels off of paypal which is a great option for everything except first class international which doesn't offer insurance.https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/ship/center-outside

US Mail Assistant allows you to print First Class International Labels and customs forms (but no insurnace) http://www.usps.com/shippingassistant/  and you can get first class international insurance from Shipsurance
http://www.shipsurance.com/ which I hear has the best service and prices. Another alternative insurer for first class international mail is listed under the esty apps http://www.etsy.com/apps/25219144/shipsaver-insurance .No insurance is offered for all countries so I only sell to the countries I can get the insurance. I don't mail international without insurance.

I use Stamps.com which offers the ability to print any label (including first class mail and media mail) and offers first class international insurance for a very good price. They have a free 4-week trial. You receive a free 5lb digital scale ($50 value), $25 in free postage and a free supplies kit ($5 value). To continue I recommend you use the Stamps.com Pro at $15.99 per month. The scale plugs right into your computer and captures the weight right on the label. Very cool. The cost of the service is a wash for me, with savings on insurance and opening the world market to me for eBay and Paypal .http://www.stamps.com/legal/trial/

Note about Customs Forms: always be honest and never send an item as a gift, if the customer requests it. Warn in your policies that they are response for customs duties. Also, for safety sake, I describe my jewelry as used fashion accessories to deter theft.

I charge flat prices for mailing $3 for US and $7 for all international which includes insurance. If a US buyer purchases something over $35 then I upgrade to priority mail, as a thank you. This upgrade is $4.80 if you use the two flat rate options that I use: flat rate mailing envelope and small flat rate box. This packaging is free via post office or order on line. I don't offer free shipping , it never has worked as a marketing device for me, but the upgrade to priority is a welcome surprise to my customers.https://www.prioritymail.com/home.asp?purl=

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Severe Weather,, War, Strikes....find out how this effects your shipping plans...


AingeelZ said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is very informative, as I have been searching for a standard method in which to ship international orders. I recently had a bad experience in which the customer refused to pay the duty. This information is a life saver!!!!


nancy said...

Great summary of "how to" ship with the least amount of worry!
Nancy PastSplendors.etsy.com

Tom said...

Shipsurance is fine, but something you need to keep in mind. They require you to wait 45 days after you ship the package to file a claim, and that does not work well with paypal's policy that you have to provide delivery statue within 30 days, so a potential problem is always there if the package does not make it in 30 days.

Genevieve said...

Nice article for low weight shipping.