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Mar
18

USPS's Standard Post service has been in significant transition in recent months. As many of our sellers have had questions and concerns that relate to this service, a summary of these changes may be helpful:

January 2013: Service name changed from Parcel Post to Standard Post

Jan 26 2014: As part of their annual rate increase, Standard Post rates increased for 2014 to match Priority Mail rates for Zones 1 - 4 (ship origin and destination within 600 miles).  Because the rates are now identical, Standard Post is no longer available for zones 1-4. 

March 7 2014: USPS re-enables Standard Post for zones 1-4 for oversized packages.

AuctionInc has been managing these changes for you as they have occurred. We have also taken the opportunity to also review other aspects of our handling of this service in light of our discussions with our sellers.

Standard Post is unique among the non-specialized domestic package services in that it is not eligible for Commercial Base rates and online postage is not available. Postage must be purchased at a USPS Post Office.  Most of our sellers, however, still prefer to offer this service even if they have configured their account to quote commercial base rates for other services, and AuctionInc has included Standard Post, with a retail rate, for sellers who have configured to quote Commercial Base rates.

However, some sellers prefer to only print labels online. To accomodate this, we have added a new "Entry Point" for USPS that will not return any USPS service for which online postage is not available: "Commercial Base Only".

Our three configuration settings for USPS Entry Point are now:

  • Retail Rates
  • Commercial Base (when available):   
  • Commercial Base Only

IF you are quoting Commercial Base and prefer to include Standard Post, you need do nothing; this is the default for all existing Commercial Base accounts. But if you prefer to exclude all services where online postage is not available, change your Entry Point (Carrier Settings page/USPS tab) to "Commercial Base Only".

The specialized services of Media Mail (books & tapes) and Library Mail  (non-profits) are also affected, as these services also are not available for online postage. If you have either enabled, they are also included for Commercial Base (when available) and excluded for Commercial Base Only.

 

 

 


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Jan
26
2014 USPS Rates LIve
Posted on 26 Jan 14 06:37 PM

USPS's annual rate hike goes into effect today, and of course all AuctionInc USPS rates reflect this change. The overall price hike this year averages 2.4%, modest in comparison to UPS and FedEx. Some rates -- such as some of the most popular flat rate box sizes, including small and medium-- are staying the same, and a few rates are even dropping a little (such as commercial base rates for Priority International). First Class International rates are also staying put. Domestic First Class Package service, on the other hand, goes from a starting retail rate of $2.07 up to $2.32.

Standard Post rates now exactly match Priority Mail for zones 1-4, and so is no longer available for these zones. It will continue to be quoted for zones 5-9.

Here are some additional details from stamps.com.


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Jan
21
Amazon Payments Released for ShopCart
Posted on 21 Jan 14 12:51 AM

AuctionInc is pleased to announce that Amazon Payments is now supported as an additional checkout option for our ShopCart.  

The fastest growing payment processor for ecommerce, Amazon Payments offers a fast, reliable, and secure payment method for the many millions of online shoppers with existing Amazon accounts, and can help add new customers, increase sales, and reduce fraud costs.  

Amazon commission fees are essentially identical to PayPal, offering volume-based pricing starting at 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, and decreasing at higher volumes. There are no setup, monthly, or add-on fees.

You may offer Amazon in addition to your current PayPal checkout. The customer experience is similar to our PayPal integration, with shipping and taxes calculated in our cart, and customers completing the payment process after being directed to the Amazon site.  There are some differences:

  • Payments are not immediately processed; instead, Amazon completes the charge once you indicate that the order has shipped.

  • Amazon sends out to customers both an order confirmation and a "shipped" confirmation; you may include a tracking number, if you have one, in the ship confirm.

  • Customers are "locked down" to selecting a shipping address in their Amazon account that matches the country/postal code entered in the cart to calculate shipping, guaranteeing that you will be shipping to the same address for which the ship rate was calculated.

  •  You may configure promotions both on the AuctionInc side and on the Amazon side.  Amazon offers a substantial array of configuration options for setting up promotions.

To offer Amazon, you will need to establish an Amazon business account and complete the configuration settings on our Checkout Settings page.  Detailed instructions are here or in our Help popup on our Checkout Settings page.

Read more about Amazon Payments/Checkout By Amazon here.

 


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Jan
7
2014 FedEx Rates Live
Posted on 07 Jan 14 02:56 AM

As of today FedEx is live with its annual rate increases, and AuctionInc has in turn modified our FedEx API and rate engine to reflect all the rate, fee and other changes necessary to generate accurate rates. Exactly as UPS,  FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery rates are increasing an average of 4.9%.  Their Express services are increasing only by an average of 3.9%, though!

If you are interested in reading some of the details, here are two articles analyzing these FedEx hikes:

What the 2014 FedEx Express rate increase means for shippers

2014 FedEx Express Rate Increases

Rates generated in AuctionInc will of course accurately reflect all these carrier rate changes, as well as any other accessorial or other fees and other changes involved in rate generation.


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Dec
30
2014 UPS Rates Live
Posted on 30 Dec 13 11:42 AM

As of today UPS is live with its annual rate increases, and AuctionInc has in turn modified our UPS rate engine to reflect all the rate, fee and other changes necessary to generate accurate rates. This year, the bad news is that UPS Ground, Air and International rates will increase an average of 4.9%.

If you are interested in reading some of the details, here are two articles analyzing these UPS hikes:

UPS rolls out 2014 rates for Ground, Air and International, and Air Freight

Assessment of 2014 UPS Rate & Accessorial Increases

Regarding our other supported carriers:

- DHL International will be raising its rates on January 2, reflecting an average increase of 3.9% across its international delivery services.

- Fedex's rate increase is due to go live on February 6, and will also result in a cumulative average increase of 3.9 percent.

- USPS, not to be left behind, will also be increasing its rates on January 26.

Rates generated in AuctionInc will of course accurately reflect all these carrier rate changes, as well as any other accessorial or other fees and other changes involved in rate generation.


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Jul
29
USPS Service Changes & Custom Labels
Posted on 29 Jul 13 05:45 PM

USPS Service Changes

On Sunday July 28, USPS put into production a number of changes to their services, some of which directly affect AuctionInc.

  • Express Mail has been renamed "Priority Express".

  • Both Priority Mail and Priority Express now include in their service name the estimated Delivery Days, i.e., "Priority Mail 2 Day". The estimate is determined dynamically based on the shipping origin and destination.
    • Priority Mail will show as either 1, 2 or 3 -Day;
    • Priority Express will show as either 1 or 2 -Day;
    • For military zips, the Delivery Days is replaced by "military, i.e. "Priority Mail Military". 
    • Delivery Days is non-guaranteed for Priority Mail, and continues to be guaranteed for Priority Express.

  • Priority Mail is now providing $50 of free insurance for retail and commercial base deliveries.

  • There are some additional changes that dont directly affect Auctioninc, such as better tracking. You can read about these changes here.

 

AuctionInc Service Labels

In conjunction with these changes, Auctioninc now offers an enhancement that allows you to set custom service names for your enabled services ( Carrier Settings page). Whie most of the time you will want to show the standard carrier service names to your customers, there may be exceptions. While most sellers will view the new Delivery Days for Priority and Priority Express as a nice improvement-- it allows your customers to compare the two services and see if Priority Express is worth the additional cost -- some may prefer not to include them. Our custom labels allows you to eliminate the Delivery Days if that is your preference.

Another use might be if you wish to use a handful of generic labels, such as "Standard", "Expedited", etc, aka Amazon, each of which is linked to the real-time rate of a particular service, but which would allow you to decide which carrier to use to ship the order.


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