Five Things You Need To Know About USPS Price Change 2014
The U.S. Postal Service’s yearly price change has arrived! These postage rate changes affect all business owners – but especially ecommerce businesses. That’s why the team at Endicia has highlighted the most critical updates to ensure an effortless transition – so you can focus on the bottom line.
Dramatically Improve Package Visibility
USPS continues to “up it's game” in the area of package visibility. As you've seen in the current USPS TV ads, as well as your own experiences, it's not uncommon to have 10+ tracking events for domestic shipments as they move from your operations to your customer's home or business.
Refunding Unused Labels Just Got Easier!
One lingering problem with the USPS shipping model is that labels have a dollar value the instant they are printed. With other carriers, the labels have no value until they enter the carrier's operational stream. So, as you know full well, you need to explicitly request refunds for any labels you aren't going to use.
A Brief History of the SCAN Form
Since I mentioned this in “Refunding Unused Labels Just Got Easier”, let me expand a bit on the SCAN form. We invented this process nearly a decade ago to solve a big problem you merchants/shippers were encountering. Back in the day, USPS had only a delivery event -- a carrier scan when the package was physically given to the recipient. There were no operational "in-transit" scans and that's why the USPS didn't use the term "tracking" back then.
International Address Verification
You've asked for this for a long time and we now have rolled out a beta system with the help of Google's geo-location API. You will find this currently in our DAZzle and Endicia Professional Windows clients. Below is a screen shot of the verification screen in DAZzle. Note there is a link to display the address in Google Maps -- you may find that convenient.
Making Your Packages “More Visible” in the Improved USPS Tracking System
The USPS has made tremendous strides in package tracking over the past three years. Now, it’s not uncommon to see 7 or 8 tracking events on USPS.COM as packages go from their origin to destination. And USPS has plans to add even more events in the near future. Some of these events are based on human interaction with your package – others are done automatically as packages move through USPS sorting equipment.
Quick Guide to Harmonization Codes: Helping your shipments move through customs
the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) or Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes. These codes were created by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to help countries identify all items that are shipped into and out of their borders. The six digit codes classify products and commodities, and are used by virtually all countries in the world for customs and tariff purposes. Countries can add more digits to classify items in more details. However, the first six digits are the same across all participating countries. This standardizes the categorization of products which in turn, streamlines the customs process.
Introducing Global Express Guaranteed<sup>®</sup> – Option for Fast, Guaranteed International Delivery
If you need a package to arrive quickly or by a certain date in a foreign country, you should consider using Global Express Guaranteed (GXG®), the U.S. Postal Service’s premium international mail service. GXG is a joint venture between the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx® Corporation to offer guaranteed, time-definite service to international destinations. Since delivery in the foreign country is done by the FedEx network, the service can be ideal for shipment to countries that have unreliable postal infrastructures. There can also be fewer chances of delays with customs clearance being handled directly by a local FedEx branch.
6x4" Label Formats for APO/FPO/DPO and International Parcels
Endicia pioneered integrated shipping and customs form documents for international, APO/FPO/DPO, and US Territory shipments. Life just got even easier for shippers who use the popular DYMO or Zebra four inch label printers.
USPS Tracking Barcode and Label Changes
With the January 2, 2011 release of our Endicia software, we began using a new USPS barcode protocol called Intelligent Mail Parcel Barcode or IMpb, for short. If you had been using Delivery Confirmation in the past, the new barcodes look pretty much like the old ones, but the data payload has changed. For domestic Priority Express Mail users, you will notice that the IMpb tracking number looks identical to the Delivery Confirmation barcode seen on other mail classes. Gone is the old alphanumeric "EO123456789US" Express Mail format—so that is a very noticeable change.
Precise ZIP+4 Match -- but Address Doesn't Exist!
The DAZzle address validation technology may sometimes return a seemingly inconsistent message. Look at the address below - it returns a ZIP+4, and carrier route (C001) and says "precise match." But then we go on to say that the address does NOT exist!
How to Print Several Addresses at Once (Batch Printing) from DAZzle
Users of Endicia Standard and Endicia Premium often ask if it is possible to print more than one address at a time. You can perform batch printing in a number of ways.
How to Print Two Labels per 8-1/2" x 11" Page from DAZzle
One popular label medium is a 8-1/2" x 11" sheet with two labels - one comprising the top half of the sheet and the other comprising the bottom of the sheet. Label stock of this size feeds reliably through most printers, and two large label formats give you plenty of room to design a great looking label which stands out! Since this label configuration has essentially only 1 column and 2 rows, it is less prone to printing errors when compared to a sheet of labels with 2 columns.
Minimizing Postage Losses Due to Misprints
Endicia has pioneered a number of refund protocols which keep you from losing money for unused or misprinted postage. But there are still some categories of mail (e.g., untracked international) which do pose a risk to you if a misprint occurs and you don’t have a physical specimen to mail into us for refund.
Using Endicia Parcel Insurance in DAZzle
Endicia Parcel Insurance is one of three insurance options offered in the DAZzle software and is by far the easiest to use. You don’t need any additional sign-up—just an active Endicia postage account. Claims are handled by the USPS-sanctioned U-PIC insurance agency.
Using Endicia Software to Insure Your Packages with U-PIC as a Third-Party Insurer
Using U-PIC as third-party insurance with Endicia software is as simple as entering the package valuation and description in the Print dialog box (see figure below). This information flows into the Postage Log and can be transmitted in summary form to U-PIC at the end of each month. If you don't want to insure a given package, simply leave the valuation as $0.00.
Endicia Professional Batch Printing (or “Print Staging”) Program
This program can be used by folks who have batch address/order information in either a comma delimited or tab delimited file format. Services such as Yahoo Store, Amazon.com and Marketworks provide comma delimited files containing order information, and those are just three standard file types that can be imported into Endicia Professional. The program will import generic delimited files or can be customized to suit your specific shipping environment.
Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice (SCAN) for packages
Endicia was the first PC Postage provider to offer the low-cost “electronic” USPS Delivery Confirmation (E/DC) feature to the shipping community. E/DC was envisioned by USPS as a low-cost product that would record the date and time of package delivery at the destination site. The product is free for some mail classes, like Priority Mail, Parcel Select and First-Class Package Service. The cost to add E/DC to other mail classes via PC Postage is, as of January 2012, just $0.19. The retail version of Delivery Confirmation—purchased at the Post Office retail counter—is considerably more expensive.
Creating Merchandise Return Labels with DAZzle
Endicia Premium service or higher allows you to create Prepaid Return Labels (PRL's) with the DAZzle software client. The PRL can be sent to a customer who needs to send something back to you. It is completely prepaid.
Looking for a way to easily print USPS labels with postage by simply typing or scanning an order number? Endicia Professional can communicate with your database to streamline your USPS shipping.
Verify Any Domestic Address You Enter
One of the most powerful features in Endicia’s DAZzle software is its ability to verify any domestic address you enter. This means that you can avoid packages with incomplete addresses being returned to you.
Configuring DAZzle for Envelopes
Single-piece shipping labels, sheets of shipping labels and flyers are easy to setup in DYMO Endicia software. But envelopes can be somewhat tricky. This is because printers feed envelopes in a myraid of ways; some feed the envelopes up the center of the paper path, others feed it to one side or the other. Some printers want the envelope fed with flap down, others with flap up. You will see that there are actually 48 feed permutations!
Understanding FIM (Facing Identification Marks) on Envelopes
The Facing Identification Mark (or FIM) is used by the USPS to assist in the processing of letter mail. This small pattern of vertical bars plays an important role in speeding your envelope mail through the USPS system.
The Wonderful World of the Postage Log
The DAZzle postage log is an often overlooked feature of the PC Postage experience. But I personally think it is one of the most powerful features of DYMO Endicia software - you have a complete log of every letter and package you mail. Plus you have a complete cost accounting of all your postage. Try doing that with conventional stamps or a postage meter!