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January 24, 2013

Wargames Bizwatch: USPS Raises Shipping Up 50%?!!

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New Year, new shipping rates. USPS has decided to make some VERY aggressive moves on International Shipping Rates, because on average they seemed to have raised most overseas rates by 50%!

And it doesn't stop there either, domestic shipping is seeing some large rate hikes as well!

According to Endica (the online postage printing service for the USPS), overall USPS rates increased by about 2-3%, which is less that Fed Ex and UPS, but for international shipments and zone based US Priority Mail shipments (the vast majority of smaller gaming orders) they went up very notably.

Keep in mind these price changes go into effect THIS Monday 1/27!!!

Brief Highlights: Domestic US
You can no longer ship "Parcel Post" (now postal select) without going up to the retail counter, and processing packages there.  Which will hurt a lot of economy bulk online sellers I'd imagine.

First Class Mail is now "First Class Package Service" for packages weighing 13 oz or less, and will see an increase of 3% which is not to bad IMHO.

Priority Mail is now an expected delivery time of 2-3 days (not guaranteed), and will see an average increase for zone based shipping of $4.53 per package at the counter, and about $1.32 for online shipping. Flat Rate box shipping increased from 3% to 12.3 % as well, depending on the type.

Media Mail (for things like books i.e Codices and Rulebooks) is increasing by 6.3 % as well, but is still a great deal for heavy media items!

Brief Highlights: International Shipping

First Class Mail International Parcel, is now "First Class Package International Service, and is moving to the "competitive market category" (to compete worldwide with other carriers).

FCPIS will see an average increase of 66% per package at the retail counter, or about an extra $6.25 for a package weighing seven ounces or less on average.

So that means what you used to pay for shipping on a like a normal box set, or order of bits from any retailer is about to double in cost if you live outside the US.

Priority Mail International, will be increasing an average of 8.8% at the counter, which comes out to like an extra $5.68 a package on average (which is like say $60-$62 for a 5lb package to Australia for example, up from ~$55-ish).

Unfortunately this is the only way to ship packages over five pounds out of the United States, and really directly affects hardcover rulebooks, army sized orders and large starter sets etc..

Now of course I didn't touch on Express mail, because I think majority-wise, no one really uses it in the gaming community to ship things (except for HUGE orders overseas that require signature confirmation of course- see my eBay fraud alert article). As you can imagine, that is going up as well.

Why Do You Care?
Overall, expect to see some BIG changes to the rates all online retailers will be charging, not just gaming e-retailers, but even the big guys like Amazon, Wal Mart etc.

Basically, this is going to affect all businesses who use USPS for shipping, so look for increased shipping rates from all retailers across the US.  So be sure to take advantage the old shipping rates from your favoite e-retailers now, cause come Monday, things are sure to change!  -MBG
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