USPS Fulfillment Services and WooCommerce ShippingBinod Kumar Anand
Adding USPS services to your online store makes it possible to have real-time shipping rates, postage paid shipping labels and an automatic tracking of shipments. WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label is an easy way to do so. The plugin fetches the real-time rates, prints postage-paid shipping labels and helps you send an automated tracking info to all your customers from within WooCommerce. Most importantly, the plugin lists three packing algorithms that automate the packaging process. Alternatively, a lot of businesses are using Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce and EasyPost Shipping Method Plugin for WooCommerce as services like Stamps.com and EasyPost provides discounted prices and easier access to services.
Here is a detailed study of USPS as a fulfillment unit.
USPS and USPS Postage Rates
USPS provides services that start with providing free packing supplies. You can collect these packing supplies from a nearby USPS Post Office™ or order them online. USPS delivers these packages to your address when ordered online. Then it helps you with the packing algorithm through its online API. These algorithms are created based on different product types and are optimized for minimum use of volume and thus save extra expenses. Further, you can print postage-paid shipping labels online or buy postages from your nearest Post Offices™.
Once you are finished putting labels to the packages, you can schedule a pickup for your packages. If you have printed the labels online USPS carries out the necessary weighing and scanning before collecting the parcels from your warehouse. Once scanned, the shipping charges are deducted from your USPS account. USPS customers now need to have a PostalOne! account to print postage-paid labels using the online API.
Now let’s have a look at the prices and additional services offered by USPS.
Post Office™ Rates
These are retail rates and are applicable when you buy postages from the Post Offices™. These are also referred to as the offline rates. Post Offices™ are slightly higher compared to online rates. If you are running a business that requires the shipping of products multiple times a week, visiting Post Offices™ can kill your valuable time and money.
Consider Tom’s situation, who owns a multi-brand shoe store. He ships an average of 5 pairs of shoes per day and uses offline postage on the packages. He prints no-postage shipping labels manually and pastes them on the packages. Finally, he collects all his parcels and moves to his nearest Post Office™ to stand in a long queue. Also, he makes all payments in cash at the counters.
And then there is Jerry, an online fashion store owner, who ships around 50 parcels per day via USPS. But he uses his WooCommerce admin panel to print USPS postage-paid labels in bulk and schedules a pickup for the parcels on all working days. His parcels are received by USPS carriers from his warehouse and he pays for the postage online from his USPS.com™ account.
So, Jerry gets a whole lot of convenience and still pays lesser than Tom just by using a USPS integration for WooCommerce.
You get access to commercial rates by getting a USPS account. These rates are slightly lesser than the offline rates as USPS doesn’t spend on the printing infrastructure and the human resource required for issuing the offline postages. So you can print labels online and pay the commercial pricing. When it comes to printing labels with USPS online API, users need to have the PostalOne! account.
There are two levels of commercial pricing.
- USPS.com Shipping/Click-N-Ship®: 1-50 parcel and pay for postage and print shipping labels online with your USPS.com® account.
- Click-N-Ship® Business Pro™: If you are shipping more than 50 pieces at a time or a combined weight of 50 pounds or more, you can use desktop software ‘Click-N-Ship® Business Pro™’ and manage your fulfillment from a personal computer. In the case of WooCommerce, WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label remains one of the most used USPS desktop software for USPS integration.
You can find the complete Price List and countries in different Price Zones.
What do you get with WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label?
USPS facilitates its fulfillment services in WooCommerce through its online API. Apart from few services (available at Post Offices™ or USPS.com only), you get the complete shipping solution by USPS from within USPS. With the help of WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label, you can execute the following activities without heading to Post Office™ or even USPS website.
- USPS Real-Time Rates
- Packing Algorithms
- Printing of USPS Postage Paid Labels
- Tracking Services
USPS Real-Time Rates
The plugin fetches the real-time rate for both Domestic and International shipping. These shipping rates are based on the product details like dimensions and weight and other factors like origin and destination or the post office used to ship the package. So if there is a service available, USPS will show rates for the packages. The plugin also lets you choose between the commercial rates or the offline rates to be shown to your customers. You can enable and select USPS Flat Rate boxes in the plugin too. You also get to:
- Handpick services you want to offer by clicking checkboxes,
- Make additional adjustments on real-time rates in $ or % of returned real-time rate,
- Set a Fallback fee,
- Set an additional Flat Rate Fee,
- Offer the cheapest rates or all returned rates to your customers.
The way USPS help you minimize the shipping costs is the different parcel packing algorithms. The plugin contains 4 types of packing algorithms. These are included for an economical packing process for all type of products in your inventory. The packing algorithms are:
- Individual Packing- allows you to pack all items in individual boxes and fetch rates accordingly.
- Box Packing- has the option to create custom boxes with weight and dimensions and get real-time rates for them.
- Packing Items smaller than 12 inches together- based on Dimensional Weight concept, this packs products smaller than 12″ in size in separate boxes automatically. For products larger than 12″ you can get a separate quote, leave them unpacked or use the fallback price.
- Weight-Based- add a minimum weight each of your boxes will have. For instance, you want to pack a certain bulk order in boxes that can have a maximum weight of 3 lbs. So the plugin fetches shipping rate for each 3 kg box irrespective of dimensions of the box or the product. This is helpful in case you already know the dimensional weight per package.
Printing USPS Postage Paid Labels
With WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label, you are three clicks away from printing postage-paid shipping labels certified by USPS. You can find the option to print shipping labels in the Label Generation tab in the plugin. The process involves:
- Selecting an order
- Generating Package
- Generate Shipment Label with automatic tracking messages
- Print Labels
You get the following options with printing labels.
- Enable or Disable the option of ‘Shipping Label’ printing
- Set a default service for printing all your labels
- Select the format and size of labels
- Enter any sender’s address
If you want to create bulk shipments, you can select a default service for that for both domestic and international shipping.
Tracking is also a part of the online USPS API. The tracking number is generated with each shipment created through the plugin. This enables you to send tracking ids with the order confirmation emails. You can also send these tracking numbers to your customers manually.
USPS Provides tracking updates that include the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery.
Additional Services and Charges
Almost all the important features like real-time rates, printing labels, and tracking are included in the online API feature list from USPS. But, there are few services that are not included in the list. As a result, you don’t get these features available on WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label. Although, these are available at Post Offices™ or you can get these services at USPS.com.
USPS covers packages sent through Priority Mail Express (up to $100) and through Priority Mail (up to $50). Still, if a lost or damaged package was priced higher, you can request for additional coverage. Additionally, you can buy insurance for packages valued up to $5000 sIn the case of Registered Mail, the limit of insurance cover is $50,000 items can be insured for up to $50,000 at your Post Office™ and rates starts at $11.90 per package.
USPS Signature Services include Signature Confirmation, Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery, Adult Signature Required, and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery, given that there aren’t any stated restriction related to the product, the location or the type of service chosen for delivery.
You can purchase ‘Signature Confirmation’ online or at your Post Office depending on the chosen mail class. The service has limited availability to APO/FPO/DPO locations and some Freely Associated States. You can’t use this service if you are willing to go with USPS Marketing Mail™ or if you are using Adult Signature Services. The offline rates for this service are $3.00 at a Post Office and $2.55 when paid online.
Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery
If you want the product to be delivered to any specific person, you can use this service. USPS receives a signature from the nominated person to confirm delivery. This service is supposed to be purchased with other services like COD, shipments with insurance up to $500, Registered Mail, or Signature Confirmation. Its cost starts at $5.05 and goes up to $8.55, depending on the service you use from nearby Post Office.
Adult Signature Required
If you want the signature of an adult (someone 21 years of age or older) at the recipient’s address, this service is for you. Once bought, you get the delivery details and the recipient’s signature and name. Available only for online purchases, it costs you $6.10.
Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
You can use this service if you want to deliver products only to a specific addressee or person who is 21 years of age or older. You should note the fact that if the specific individual is not 21 years of age or older, the mailpiece is returned back to the sender. This service is available online and costs you $6.35.
USPS also provides the option of Cash On Delivery. So you can simply send a package and let your customer pay for the merchandise and shipping after they receive it. The service comes with an insurance cover of up to $1000 on the declared value of the package. You can purchase a COD delivery option from the Post Office and you receive a mailing receipt in return. This service is not available for international shipments, some Freely Associated States, etc. Charges start at $7.50 per package.
WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label makes fulfillment easy to manage for store owners in WooCommerce. From ‘Free Packing’ supplies to ‘Return Receipt’ from the receiver, USPS does it all for you. And being able to manage all of these from the edit order page is really convenient.
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- Compatibility with the latest version of WooCommerce
- 1-year subscription to Premium updates and support
- Support & Updates can be extended after 1 year at 50% discount
- A 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, if you find the plugin not helping you