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...