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Easy Packaging Tips to Avoid Parcel Damage

All experienced parcel delivery companies and online sellers understand the importance of packaging. This is an elaborate process that involves much more than just popping your item in a box. Correct packaging is extremely important because no one wants to receive a parcel in damaged condition. With proper packaging, it is possible to make sure that your parcel remains safe from many unforeseen events that may take place during the process of shipping. Here are some simple tips that will help you prevent parcel damage and ensure a smooth delivery.

•Choose the right kind of boxes: One of the foremost requirements for a safe delivery of your parcel is using a brand new box. Avoid using boxes that have been used previously because these boxes may not provide adequate protection to your parcel. The best option for you would be to use double-walled, new boxes. These cardboard boxes are made of two corrugated cardboard sheets glued together. As a result, the items inside the parcel remain well protected.

•Always provide sufficient internal packaging: Regardless of the size of the parcel, it is always helpful to provide lots of internal packaging. Depending on the nature and size of the item inside the parcel, foams and bubble wraps can be excellent materials for internal packaging. Each layer of additional packaging provides an extra layer of protection for the parcel. In general, at least ten internal packaging sheets should be used for your parcel. Also, if there is a lot of size difference between the parcel and the item inside it, be sure to fill the box with foams and bubble wraps.

•Purchase your boxes according to the weight of your item: Before purchasing a box for the delivery of your items, determine the weight of the item to be delivered. In order to avoid parcel damage, always opt for boxes that are strong enough to handle the load of your item.

•Avoid using cloth or fabric bags for the packaging of your item: Though these boxes may look better than the standard boxes, they offer minimal protection to the items packed inside the parcel. Therefore, it is certainly a better idea to use sturdy and strong materials that are capable of keeping the item safe throughout the delivery cycle.

•Seal your box using a strong tape: Never use the standard household tapes to seal a parcel because they are not strong enough to withstand the process of transit. Instead, use a strong parcel tape to fasten the parcel. After securing the box, don’t forget to tape the entire box around all its edges. This will strengthen the corners of the parcel and protect it from falling open during transit.

Please remember that putting a ‘handle with care’ or ‘fragile’ label is never a substitute for quality packaging. Often times, your packages are handled by machines that can’t read these labels. Therefore, take no chances and ensure the best possible packaging for your parcel.

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How to Calculate USPS Postage?

Are you ready to mail a present, package, or something you just purchased online for your loved one? Please remember that this entire process involves much more than just purchasing some postage stamps. I am sure you are curious about finding out how much your postage cost will be. Luckily, it is possible to find out the postage charges without having to stand in the queue at your local post office. This is possible simply by visiting the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and carrying out some simple calculations.

Before discussing in detail, please remember that the exact USPS postal rate applicable to your package will depend on the place of delivery, the weight or size of your package, and your desired speed of delivery. It is possible to find out the postage charges both with or without a weight scale.

USPS Postage calculation without a scale:

If you do not have a weighing scale handy with you, please follow the steps as mentioned below.

Visit the homepage of the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and find out a section called “Quick Tools.”You may also access a tool called the “Postage Price Calculator” under the menu. If the destination of your package is within the United States, please click “Select a Destination” and select the option “United States (Domestic Mail).” If you are shipping the package to a foreign country, please scroll down the list to select the same. The next step is to enter the zip code of the recipient. In case you are not aware of the zip code, you may seek help by clicking “Zip Code Look Up” and entering the destination address.  There is a different page for the International Price Calculator, and this calculator doesn’t require the zip code.

Now, try to find out a box titled “Enter Mailing”, and type your preferred date of mailing the package. There is also an option to scroll and select the time.

If you are not sure of the package weight or are not able to weigh it, select your preferred envelope or box under “Flat Rate Service.” Now, you have to decide whether you would like to go for the Priority Mail or Express Mail. As the name suggests, Express Mail is faster and the more expensive of the two. Always remember that the USPS postage rate will depend on the size of your envelope or box, and the delivery speed. Therefore, be prepared to spend a higher postage for larger packages delivered via Express Mail.

By clicking “Continue,” you will receive the pricing at the bottom of the page.

USPS Postage calculation with a scale:

If you have a weighing scale, start by setting the scale accurately to zero. If required, calibrate the scale to ensure 100% accuracy. Now, choose the measurement unit (ounces or pounds) as applicable.

To get the weight of the item along with the package, place the empty box or envelope on the scale, press the tare button, and then put the object to be mailed in the container.  To find out the net weight of the item, press tare for weight zero and put the item on the weighing scale.

Find out the “Calculate a Price” page after visiting the website of the United States Postal Service, and enter the zip code for domestic mails and destination country for international mails.

In this case, instead of choosing the flat rate option, opt for the section “Select Shape” and select the shape of the package. You will get to know the postage charge by entering the exact weight as found earlier in pounds and ounces.

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Returns – Not so “happily ever after”

Not all stories end with “happily ever after”, same goes for online purchases. Sometimes your purchase just DOA or you are just not happy with the color of that shirt, then you have to go through the dreadful experience of “purchase return”. Regardless of how well acquainted you are with online shopping, returning a purchased item can be a terrible experience. Mentioned here are some simple tips to ease your pain while returning a product online.

Immediate contact: Every e-commerce site has its own return and exchange policy stated clearly on their website. As soon as you decide to return an item, be sure to review the policy thoroughly. Try to figure out the company’s specific policy for the reason of your return. In the case of any doubts, do not hesitate to get in touch with the seller or the shopping platform where the purchase was made. Don’t forget that you need to act fast, and therefore, it is always better to make a call instead of sending an email.

Packing slips and receipts: Without adequate documentation, the process of return can become extremely troublesome. This is why it is important for the online shoppers to retain certain important documents such as the packing slip, receipts, order number, invoice number, or other similar documents or information.

As soon as your package arrives, resist the temptation of opening the original packaging in a haste. It is much easier to return any item with its original packaging. Therefore, you must not remove any of the tags and try to keep it within the box. Also, as soon as you decide to return the item, note down all relevant details and put it back in its box if it has been opened.

Return window or cooling-off period: Regardless of what you purchase online and where you purchase it from, almost all sellers offer a cooling-off period or return window for your purchase. Always remember that you are entitled to return your purchased item within this period, even if nothing is wrong with the product. The cooling-off period starts as soon as the package is opened, and continues for two weeks or more. Make use of this facility to cancel your order, in case you want to send an item back without any concrete reason.

Return Shipping: You must be extremely cautious while shipping the product back to the seller. Try your best to send it back just the way you received it. Always attach a copy of your original receipt. Many sellers provide a return authorization number for the returned items. Note and retain this number if it has been given to you.

Most of the large online marketplaces have their own return shipping facilities, generally available free of cost. However, in certain cases, you may have to arrange the return shipping on your own. In those circumstances, try to return the package with a shipping method that can be tracked. This will help you track the entire process rather easily without having to make a series of calls to different places.

Shipping cost: As discussed above, under certain circumstances, you may have to shell out your hard earned money for return shipping. This is why it is important to do some homework before shipping the product back to the seller.

We, at PostageWizard, have been helping consumers compare and choose the most cost-efficient shipping service for their different types of needs. Our shipping rate comparison service will make it effortless for you to minimize your return shipping cost without compromising on the service quality.

We hope and pray that all your online purchases are completed smoothly and you never have to face the ordeal of returning them. However, if anything goes wrong with any of your purchases, follow these simple tips to ensure an unruffled return experience.

Thanks to all of you for visiting us and hope to see you right here for another insightful discussion.

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MISSING: “Dimensional Weight”

You are sending that lovely pillow to your grandma for her birthday gift and you got charged 6 lbs for that pillow, which actual weight is only 2 lbs! The shipping cost alone cost more than the pillow itself! Well, this happen is because you have missed one important factor in calculating shipping charges: “dimensional weight”.

 

Things You Must Know about Dimensional Weight

Dimensional weight, also known as ‘dim weight’, is a common pricing technique utilized by the freight transport service providers. Unlike the age-old concept of actual weight, dimensional weight estimates the weight of a package on the basis of its height, width, and length. In the true sense, the word dimensional weight is a reflection of the package’s density rather than its weight. In relation to the actual package weight, it represents the amount of space occupied by it. Dimensional weight rating now applies to all domestic, import, and export shipments in the United States.

Dimensional weight plays a very important role in determining the billable weight of a package. In the case of international and domestic services, the billable weight is the greater one amongst the package’s actual weight and its dimensional weight.

The dimensional weight system was implemented for the first time in 2007 by UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Initially used only in ground services, this system applied to the packages with a volume of more than 12 cubic inches. The USPS also implemented this system in 2007, but they called it the ‘Shape Based Postage Pricing’ system. This pricing system was designed to ensure higher charges for packages that occupy more space or require manual sorting/ handling in spite or a relatively lower weight. In 2015, both UPS and FedEx started rating all parcels on the basis of dimensional weight regardless of their volume. This has made it extremely important for all to understand the fundamental concept of dimensional weight.

Calculation of dimensional weight:

The process of dimensional weight calculation is based on the package’s height, width, and length. This weight becomes the billable weight whenever it exceeds the actual weight of your package. It is possible to determine the dimensional weight of a package following these simple steps.

  • Calculation of the package’s cubic size in inches: This is done by multiplying the package’s length, width, and height. Always round off each of the measurements to the nearest whole number. The resultant figure represents the cubic size of the package.
  • Find out the actual weight of the package: This is a relatively simple task that can be accomplished with the help of any standard weighing scale. Just like the previous step, all fractional weights must be taken as the nearest whole pound.
  • Determine the dimensional weight: The dimensional weight can be determined by dividing the package’s cubic size in inches by 166 for the shipments to be delivered within America. In case of international shipments and US exports, the cubic size should be divided by 139.
  • Billable weight calculation: Now, compare the actual weight of the package to its dimensional weight. The billable weight of the package is the higher of the two.

 

Let us try to make things simpler with an example. Lets us assume the dimensions of the package to be 24″ x 18″ x 18″, and its actual weight to be 50 lbs. Now, for international shipments, the billable weight in terms of dimensional weight will be as follows

Cubic size= 24 x 18 x 18 = 7,776  cubic inch

Dimensional weight =7,776/139  = 55.9 lbs (To be taken as 60 lbs by rounding off).

Therefore, the billable weight of the package will be 60lbs though its actual weight is only 50lbs.

Now, the relevance of dimensional weight for a consumer depends to some extent on the carrier. Here are some thumb rules to help you figure out the relevance of dimensional weight in the case of your shipment.

  • Dimensional weight is always applicable in the case of air services.
  • In the case of private carriers offering ground service, dimensional weight becomes crucial only when the package has a cubic size equal to or more than 3 cubic feet. If the cubic size is lower, the billable weight is generally equal to the actual weight of the package.
  • Always remember that a package is deemed to be ‘large’ if the sum of its length and girth is more than 130 inches.
  • Additional handling charges may apply for packages with longest sides over the length of forty inches.
  • The postal office does NOT charge dimensional weight on some of their services as long as the package’s dimension is within the service size limit. And for services do charge dimensional weight, the postal office call it “balloon pricing”

We hope this brief discussion will provide you a better insight into the intricacies related to the concept of dimensional weight. Please keep visiting us for more similar discussions.

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Who is the best amongst UPS, FedEx, and USPS?    

Welcome folks! The holiday season for the year is finally over. Hope all the holiday gifts you purchased for your loved ones were delivered on time without any hassles. How many of you remember how much you have spent this year for the shipping of all your online purchases? Well, this discussion inevitably leads us to the ultimate question of who is the best logistics service provider for online purchases amongst UPS, FedEx, and USPS.

The topic our discussion is undoubtedly a million dollar question for anyone that regularly purchases stuffs online. Regardless of the industry, it is never easy to find out the best service provider. Moreover, when it comes to the evaluation of different courier services and their service quality, it is not easy to define the term ‘best.’ This requires several key factors to be taken into account including cost, service level, availability, and reliability. In order to make things easy to read and understand, I have employed a ‘5 star’ evaluation system. This will help you clearly determine the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three leading players and make an informed decision.

UPS: 

Rates: ***
Pro: Recommended for ground and express service, especially for the heavier stuffs
Con: “Dim weight” on “fluffy” package, not the best in terms of international rate

Service: *****
Pro:  Express service is guaranteed
Con: The ground service is not guaranteed

Reliability: *****
Pro: Almost always on time, sometimes even sooner than expected
Con: union strike and holiday season delay

Over the years, the brown trucks of UPS have become synonymous with quality logistics. Those brown trucks are everywhere, aren’t they? In terms of revenue, UPS is the world’s largest logistics company. With a very strong presence in the United States, the company handles around 4.6 billion packages every year. As far as ground service is concerned, their fleet of brown trucks provides a very strong competitive edge to UPS. In simpler words, UPS is undoubtedly your best choice for shipping something heavy without any rush. However, please don’t get me wrong here. There is no denying the fact that UPS also offers top notch express service with over five hundred aircrafts in their fleet. However, the postal service might make more sense to you, in case you are looking to ship something that weighs less than a pound, or some ‘fluffy’ item.  As an example, assume that you are sending a beautiful necklace to your girlfriend. As per the policy of UPS, your item will be treated as a ‘one pound necklace.’ Adding insult to injury, be prepared to pay an additional “remote area surcharge” if your girlfriend resides in a far-off place. In general their service is quite reliable, and most of the packages are delivered on time. However, there can be some exceptions during the holiday shopping season. They also offer a $100 insurance free of charge as a safeguard in the rare instance of something bad happening.

FedEx:

Rates: ***
Pro: Good express as well as international rates
Con: Same as UPS, “Dim Weight”

Service: *****
Pro:  Very experienced in handling international shipment, Saturday delivery to home delivery
Con: The ground service is not guaranteed

Availability: ****
Pro: Everywhere you see UPS, you see FedEx
Con: Same as UPS, doesn’t cover 100% of suburbs

Reliability: *****
Pro: On time, sometimes even sooner than expected
Con: Holidays are still a problem

There was a time when FedEx only used to offer express service. The company earns 40% of its revenue from international business. Therefore, FedEx can be an excellent choice if you want to send something real fast, or out of the country. Their ground service is comparable to that of UPS, with some variations that will surely please you. They have a special ground delivery service for consumers called FedEx home delivery. This service does not have any residential surcharge and offers free delivery on Saturdays. Saturday delivery is also offered by UPS, but for an additional fee. All other service attributes of FedEx are very similar to UPS, including dim weight, free $100 insurance, etc.

USPS:

Rates: *****
Pro: The lowest rate amongst the three for weights less than 20lbs, and no Dim weight
Con: For really heavy stuff, their rate is higher than UPS and FedEx

Service: ***
Pro:  Free pickup and delivery everyday, Free re-direct
Con: Don’t you just hate the long line at the postal office ?

Availability: *****
Pro: Available everywhere, open even on Saturdays
Con: none, the postal office beats everyone on availability

Reliability: ****
Pro: Mail gets delivered most of the time. First Class mail and Priority mail is the best value for your money
Con: The mail lost rate and miss-delivery rate is higher than others

Billions of packages, letters, and junk mails are handled every year by the United States Postal Service, also known as USPS in short. Wherever there is human population, there is a postal office. The postal offices were affected severely by the advent of the internet. Their struggle continued for years with shrinking mail pieces as people almost stopped writing letters and businesses were no longer sending junk mails ( at least not physical  junk mails). In order to survive, the postal office started adapting to the changed circumstances by adding more services for parcels, making the tracking service free, and developing new technology to accommodate new customer demands. However, change is never an easy process for an organization with half a million employees.  At times, mails do get lost in transit or arrive late by several days. However, sometimes, the price and free service make up for these inconveniences. If you want to mail things under a pound, or want things to be delivered in two or three days with a tight budget, the postal office is your best choice. Another advantage is that the postal office only charges the actual weight. Therefore, if you want a pillow to be delivered somewhere on Saturday without paying a lot, go for USPS without any doubt.

We have come to the final part of this brief discussion. I really hope this comparative analysis will provide you a general idea about choosing the most suitable courier service while sending something.  If you still find yourself pulling your hair in confusion, don’t worry. We got you covered. Try out our new service: www.postagewizard.com. We have put our years of industry experience and knowledge in building this platform. It has been designed to take away all the thinking and frustration involved in choosing the most appropriate shipping option. Just enter the zip code, PostageWizard will do the rest for you!!!  Check it out right now!!!

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Shipping Costs Remain a Concern for Consumers All Year Long

Shipping costs are through the roof—per consumers today.  This remains a heavy concern, and one which goes beyond the holidays.  According to the most recent consumer polls, 93% of consumers rank shipping costs as one of the important factors in the shopping experience.  Many shoppers long for easy shipping options that offer discounts and timely delivery of their items.  Honestly, there are very few shipping vendors that offer all the features consumers really want and need.  However, postage wizard is a new, all-in-one shipping service that truly can make a difference for today’s shoppers.

If you’ve longed to find a service that can simplify the shipping process and offer postage savings alongside a great shipping discount—this new digital service does just this!  Until recently, most shipping providers only displayed their own shipping rates to consumers, but postage wizard works differently.  Consumers can visit the site and simply put in some various information about their item, its origin and its destination then immediately receive a listing of shipping prices from the most popular vendors.

If only all shipping vendors offered such a service—right?

The Right Shipping Service Can Improve a Shoppers Overall Shopping Experience

Inexpensive shipping is a desire of practically any shopper, any day of the year.  However, affordable shipping is often easier said than done.  While customers want multiple shipping options, many big retailers fail to offer much.  Most consumers must take their purchase to a shipping location that might be far more expensive than if the retailer offered multiple shipping options.  But, once again, postage wizard is offering more options which are making this far simpler.  While you might think having to use a secondary shipping service would cost more and take more time, it saves you on both!  There is no other service like it!

Consumers never have to worry about overpriced shipping again when they use this unique shipping service provider!  In fact, shoppers have far more flexibility when it comes to their shipping options and the various costs involved.  Consumers just need to input a zip code and postage wizard does all the searching for them.  It’s totally user friendly, so you don’t need any technical skills whatsoever!  This is helpful for more mature consumers who aren’t as up-to-date with technology too.  Based on all the current shopping/shipping trends, most consumers want the following qualities from a shipping vendor:

  • Multiple shipping choices
  • Speedy delivery
  • Safe delivery
  • Great customer service experience
  • Affordability
  • User friendliness
  • Guaranteed customer satisfaction

Once you locate a shipping vendor who can meet these expectations, it is recommended to stick with them.  The good news is Postage wizard holds these qualities and much more!  Nothing makes a consumer happier than when they can secure dependable shipping options at the lowest prices, and which takes all the hard work out of their hands.