If you are an owner of an eCommerce store, you already know the hassle of finding convenient and affordable shipping solutions. In today's fast-paced world, consumers want to place their orders and expect to receive them in less time with free shipping. That is why eCommerce businesses opt for USPS flat rate shipping. It allows the eCommerce store owners to ship their products efficiently and affordably. If you plan to leverage this shipping option, complete details about it are essential.
This post will provide you with a comprehensive idea of flat rate shipping, its benefits, how it works, and other essential details.
What is Flat Rate Shipping?
USPS Flat Rate shipping is just that — USPS branded packaging with flat postage rates, no matter how heavy the package is. If you're shipping heavy, small items, USPS Flat Rate can be one of the cheapest ways to ship, since the shipping cost remains the same regardless of the package weight or shipping distance. Keeping a supply of these boxes on hand for your fulfillment operations can cut your shipping costs by 50% annually.
USPS offers a variety of flat rate packaging options, including six sizes of envelopes and four types of boxes, to fit your unique shipping needs. All supplies are free of charge and can be picked up at your local Postal Office or mailed to you directly through USPS's website. Most shipping software supports flat rate packaging; you have to make sure you chose it when you're creating the label.
The Pros and Cons of Flat Rate Shipping
USPS flat rate shipping comes with various pros and cons. The most significant benefits and drawbacks are listed below.
Pros of Flat Rate Shipping
You Know The Exact Shipping Cost Upfront
With flat rate shipping, you will know the exact cost of shipping your product before you even ship it. This gives you the ability to budget for shipping costs and avoid any surprises down the road.
Flat Rate Shipping Is Often Cheaper Than Traditional Shipping Methods
When done right, flat rate shipping can be cheaper than traditional shipping methods like first class or ground shipping. This is because flat rate shipping offers a discounted rate for bulkier shipments.
Flat Rate Shipping Is Fast And Convenient
Flat rate shipping is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to ship your products. Your customers will appreciate the speedy delivery and you’ll be able to get your products to them faster and with less hassle.
USPS Offers Flat Rate Boxes In A Variety Of Sizes
The United States Postal Service offers flat rate boxes in a variety of sizes to fit your shipping needs. Whether you’re shipping a few small items or a large item, there’s a flat rate box that will fit your shipment.
You Can Ship Flat Rate Domestically And Internationally
USPS flat rate shipping applies to both domestic and international shipments. This makes it a great option for businesses that ship products both within the US and to other countries.
Cons of Flat Rate Shipping
There Is A Risk Of Overpaying For Shipping
If you’re not careful, you can end up overpaying for shipping by using flat rate shipping. This is because you’re paying a flat rate for the shipment, regardless of the actual weight or size of the shipment.
Flat Rate Shipping Is Not Always The Cheapest Option
While flat rate shipping can be cheaper than traditional shipping methods, it’s not always the cheapest option. This is because flat rate shipping only offers discounts for bulkier shipments. If you’re shipping a small item, flat rate shipping may not be the best option.
You Must Use A Flat Rate Box
When using flat rate shipping, you must use a flat rate box provided by the USPS. This can be limiting if you need to ship an item that doesn’t fit in one of these boxes.
There Are Weight And Size Restrictions
There are weight and size restrictions for flat rate shipments. This means that you may not be able to ship certain items using flat rate shipping.
Flat Rate Shipping Is Only Available Through The USPS
While flat rate shipping is a great option, it’s only available through the United States Postal Service. This can be limiting for businesses that need to use other shipping carriers.
Why Should I Use Flat-Rate Shipping for My eCommerce Store?
Flat rate shipping can create huge savings when it comes to shipping by having a lower, predictable cost. It doesn't make sense for every eCommerce business but is used most often by small business owners that pack boxes themselves and run to the post office to ship orders.
You can package anything up to 70 pounds
You don't have to worry about weighing and calculating shipping costs for each package. As long as the package is under the 70 lb. limit, then you can ship it with flat rate shipping all for the same cost.
It's automatically insured up to $50 by USPS
Instead of you having to purchase shipping insurance separately, it's already taken care of. Every flat rate package is automatically insured up to $50. If the contents are worth $50 or less, your costs will be covered if lost. You have to file a claim with USPS.
You can drop it off at any USPS store
When your package is ready to go, you can drop it off at any US Post Office to be shipped out. You can also schedule a pick up online if you have a lot of packages.
USPS tracking is included
You'll need this to send to your customer so they can track their package, and you can confirm delivery. You can enter the package number into USPS's tracker, and you can follow its progress until it's delivered.
USPS Priority Mail Restrictions
You don't have to worry about weight with flat rate shipping, but that doesn't mean you can send anything. The following items are forbidden from being shipped through USPS:
- Firearm ammunition
- And more
How To Ship Products Through Flat Rate Shipping?
In flat rate shipping, the shipping price is not related to the shape, size, or weight of the item to be shipped. Instead, it is based on the things you can add in the flat rate boxes. Here are the essential steps you need to follow to ship the product through flat rate shipping.
Step 1: Get a Flat Rate Box
The very first step is to get the USPS boxes flat rate. To ship your items at a flat rate, you need to make use of the branded boxes. There are mainly two ways to get the packages. You can either directly collect the boxes from the local Post Office or order them online.
When it comes to ordering the flat rate box sizes, you have a variety of options to choose from. You can choose between a small flat rate box, USPS medium flat rate box, and a large flat rate box. A point to note here is that the bigger your parcel size, the more the shipping price will be. The maximum weight that is allowed to be shipped is 70 lbs.
Step 2: Pack the Items
Once the small or medium flat rate box gets delivered, you must pack the items to be shipped next. You need to pack the items in flat rate shipping boxes.
Step 3: Add the Delivery Address
Next, the proper address of the package is to be added to the box. Make sure to add the address very carefully to avoid any chances of error in the shipment process. It is always better to follow the best practices of the shipping label. Add the address of your customer in an obvious manner. The label needs to be added to the box to be easily accessible. eCommerce store owners must also consider adding a return address if the package fails to arrive at the intended address.
Step 4: Ship the Items
After packing the items in the flat rate boxes and adding the correct address, the final step is to get the items shipped. For shipping, you will have to take the flat rate box to the USPS office and send it through Priority Mail.
USPS Flat Rate Boxes and Prices
The USPS provides several flat rate shipping options to eCommerce business owners. Here are the most common types of services you can get and the prices of each service.
Situations to Use Flat Rate Shipping
Now that you know the small and medium flat rate box prices, you must know when to use flat rate shipping. Flat rate shipping is a great option for many different types of shipments. If you are shipping items that are all the same size and weight, flat rate shipping can save you a lot of money. Here are some other situations when flat rate shipping may be the best option:
- You are shipping items that are not very fragile and can withstand being packed tightly together.
- You are shipping items to a location that is not very far away.
- You need your items to arrive quickly and flat rate shipping offers faster delivery times than standard shipping options.
- Your eCommerce business deals with the shipping of a lot of small and heavy items.
- Your eCommerce business fulfills the orders in-house.
- Your eCommerce business makes use of a centralized fulfillment strategy.
So, what are you waiting for? If you're an eCommerce business owner who ships products to your customers, it's time to start using USPS flat rate boxes. Not only will you save money on shipping costs, but you'll also be able to ship your products more efficiently and effectively. Need help fulfilling orders? Get in touch with Simpl Fulfillment today. We would be happy to assist you!