The cost of shipping has gone up across the board, and retailers who depend on internet purchases should take note.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) -- currently operating at a loss of more than $15 billion for fiscal year 2012 -- raised the prices of 15 shipping services yesterday, including Express Mail and Priority Mail. On average, the cost of Priority Mail has increased by 6.3 percent and Express Mail by 5.8 percent. Parcel Select prices have gone up even more, by 9 percent. Packaging and shipping costs quickly add up for ecommerce businesses, with online consumers expected to spend $226 billion this year, according to advisory firm Forrester Research. The USPS rate increases followed recent price hikes by FedEx and the United Parcel Service (UPS).
Although shippers can't do anything about the price increases, they should do their homework to figure out the most cost-effective shipping solutions for their businesses, says Harry Whitehouse, chief technology officer of Palo Alto, Calif.-based mailing services company DYMO Endicia. As an example, he says, USPS offers the best value for packages under five pounds. Items weighing less than 13 ounces, including many beauty products, can also be shipped most cheaply with USPS, in this case its First Class Package Service. But depending on a single carrier for all your needs is rarely the best solution.
The infographics below serve as a handy reference for shipping options, comparing the offerings of USPS, UPS and Fedex so that you can get the best deal.