It’s That Time of Year Again – Prepare for Increased Shipping Rates for the 2022 Holiday Season

The picture depicting the delivering of valuable asset using a trailer truck without protection

As the Holiday season grows ever closer, it’s time to start thinking about the impact of increased shipping costs. This is not the first-time shipping companies have increased prices for a holiday season and it certainly won’t be the last. The price increases for the past three holiday seasons by the United States Postal Service (USPS) have been to build financial sustainability for the USPS and is part of a 10-year plan.

On August 9th the USPS filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for their planned holiday price increases and it was approved later that day by the Governors of the Postal Service. This price increase is to go into effect October 2nd at 12AM Central time and will continue until January 22nd 2023.

These changes will increase shipping costs from anywhere between $.25 and $6.00 per package.

The planned price changes include:

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express:

Commercial:
$0.75 increase for PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes.
$0.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
$0.80 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
$0.75 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-25 lbs.
$2.80 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-25 lbs.
$3.00 increase for Zones 1-4, 26-70 lbs.
$6.50 increase for Zones 5-9, 26-70 lbs.

Retail:
$0.95 increase for PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes.
$0.30 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
$1.00 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
$0.95 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-25 lbs.
$3.20 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-25 lbs.
$3.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 26-70 lbs.
$6.45 increase for Zones 5-9, 26-70 lbs.

First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground, and USPS Retail Ground:

Commercial:
$0.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
$0.40 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
$0.75 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-25 lbs.
$1.60 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-25 lbs.
$3.00 increase for Zones 1-4, 26-70 lbs.
$5.50 increase for Zones 5-9, 26-70 lbs.

Retail:
$0.30 increase for Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.
$0.60 increase for Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs.
$0.95 increase for Zones 1-4, 11-25 lbs.
$2.70 increase for Zones 5-9, 11-25 lbs.
$3.25 increase for Zones 1-4, 26-70 lbs.
$5.85 increase for Zones 5-9, 26-70 lbs.

The Competition

Just like in previous years we would expect to see USPS competitors such as FedEx and UPS increase their costs as well. We have checked and nothing is posted on their websites yet, but we would expect to see price increases posted in late September to early October.

Here’s what happened last year and was published on our blog last October.

Leave the Shipping Logistics to Us!

When it comes to high volume order fulfillment leave it to us. We have years or experience navigating the intricacies of fulfillment services. Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics has a service plan that fits your budget and takes the guesswork out of running your business. We take care of the logistical side of things so you can focus on selling your products and services.

Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics today and get a free rate quote. Let us take care of you so you can take care of your customers.

Finding the Value in Your Fulfillment Partner – Does Yours Measure Up?

Young woman comparing with two things.

With the school year over and summer in full swing, this is a perfect time to ask yourself: what grade would you give the performance of your fulfillment warehouse? Do they get a passing grade or below average? Use this scorecard to determine whether your fulfillment partner is making the grade or flunking out.

Pass or Fail: Performance Metrics

No matter what you sell, from accordions to zippers, your customers have many sources to choose from. Elite customer service is what will set you apart from the competition. Your fulfillment partner has a responsibility to uphold the commitments you make to customers regarding delivery time, presentation, accuracy, and other measurable factors.

Service level agreements, or SLAs, are a standard way to document what you expect from your fulfillment partner.

Use these metrics to answer key questions such as:

* Are same-day, next-day and two-day delivery windows met consistently?

* Are you processing a high number of returns because of damages or product quality?

* Are customers receiving the correct items in the correct quantities?

* Is inventory updated at least once a day? Are discrepancies addressed promptly?

Pass or Fail: Open Channels of Communication

We all know (and have experienced) the horror stories of being stuck in voicemail limbo when contacting a company’s customer service department. But when it comes to your fulfillment warehouse, you are more than simply a customer. You are partners, with both of you invested in the same goals. If you have concerns about your fulfillment partner’s performance, do you get passed off to an account executive? Even worse, do they simply ignore you?

A dependable fulfillment partner will offer full transparency in their business relationships. If you do not have access to contact their leadership team for open and honest discussions, that is a red flag. But keep in mind that just talking to leadership is not enough. They should also be responsive to your concerns and create acceptable solutions in a timely manner.

Pass or Fail: Up-to-Date Technology

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, you cannot afford to be left behind due to outdated technology. A web-based portal allows you to access your information 24/7 without the need to contact your fulfillment warehouse. Make sure they use encryption or other appropriate measures for data security.

Even the most sophisticated technology is bound to hit a snag now and then. Ask about support protocols and whether upgrades are performed on a regular basis.

Pass or Fail: Initiative-taking Improvements

Do you sit back and let your e-commerce business roll along, content with the status quo? Of course not, and neither should your fulfillment warehouse. A good partner understands that improvements benefit both of you. Ideally, they are constantly seeking out ways to boost productivity and decrease costs. If your fulfillment warehouse is not presenting you with ideas to improve efficiency, that is a sign they are not as committed to your success as they should be.

We are glad to offer a free review of your service with us for recommendations or review your current fulfillment provider and let you know what we can do better. Just ask us!

Pass or Fail: Safety Precautions

Accidents and disasters can result in problems ranging from returns of damaged products to complete loss of inventory. What measures does your fulfillment partner implement for protection from fire or theft? At minimum, they should have a 360-degree monitoring system with no dead ends.

Safety does not stop with the products themselves. A high rate of workplace injuries can seriously compromise productivity. The warehouse should have an efficient layout and the company should have an established set of protocols to enhance employee safety.

Medallion Fulfillment and Logistics is a Fulfillment Warehouse that Scores High on the Satisfaction Scale

Find out why clients from coast-to-coast have chosen Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to be their partner in success. Contact us to learn more about how our services can enhance your business and why we are the fulfillment warehouse choice for a wide variety of businesses around the nation.

Tips to Build Ecommerce Sales in April

Logistics and supply chain management for online shopping concept : Fork-lift moves a box with a red shopping cart logo, 2 cartons on a laptop computer. The image depicting delivering goods or products in a store.

When it comes to ecommerce sales opportunities, April may seem to stretch out like a vast wasteland. The lucrative holiday season is a fading image in the rearview mirror, and people are scrambling to pay their income tax bills.

But this doesn’t mean you should simply coast along and hope for the best. April is the perfect time to try some creative strategies for boosting sales. Use these expert tips to keep your fulfillment warehouse pumping out orders through the month.

  1. Fine-Tune Your Email Marketing Strategy

Does your website make it easy for visitors to join your email list? Pop-ups, floating banners, and opt-in check boxes are all dynamic ways of encouraging customers to provide their email address. Be sure to use vibrant calls to action, such as “Get Started,” rather than the generic “Sign Up.”

Don’t treat your email list as a one-size-fits-all program. Ask customers questions, such as what type of promotions they like or how they heard about your shop. Use the information to segment your email list for personalized marketing that will build loyalty and repeat sales.

  1. Leverage the Power of “Scarcity”

There’s even an acronym for it these days: FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” No one likes to feel left out of something that they believe everyone else is enjoying. According to credit reporting company Experian, creating a sense of urgency in promotional emails doubles the transaction rate of regular marketing emails.

Limited time offers, flash sales and countdown timers are all ways to generate excitement. But don’t stop there. Direct the momentum by providing clear, easy-to-follow instructions on what steps customers should take to capitalize on the offers.

  1. Build Brand Awareness

How often do you monitor Facebook, Instagram and your other social media platforms? Do you use Google Alerts and other tools to follow your mentions? Your brand is your identity. Make sure people are receiving the image you want to project. If you find any discrepancies, use the information to tweak your marketing methods.

  1. Review Data Analysis

When your goals are vague and unfocused, it’s difficult to create a plan of action. Goals should always be measurable so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Reviewing data on a regular basis lets you see where you stand and make any necessary course corrections.

  1. Know Your Audience

Who is your target audience? No matter how carefully crafted your marketing program is, it won’t matter if it’s focused in the wrong direction. Google and Facebook have useful tools that reveal information about your website traffic, such as how people are finding your site and where they’re located.

Buyer personas offer a detailed picture of your target customers. Put yourself in their shoes. What are their pain points? What motivates them? Where do they congregate online? The more specific you can make these personas, the better equipped you are to find and reach your audience.

  1. Improve Customer Service

With the sales journey taking place digitally, customer service becomes even more important than ever. Software company Zendesk conducted a survey that revealed 84 percent of respondents use customer service as a deciding factor on whether or not to buy.

Customer service can be the element that sets you apart from your competitors. Give your customers plenty of options to contact you and then provide prompt follow-up.

Is Your Fulfillment Warehouse Helping or Hurting You?

Don’t let supply chain and logistics issues distract you from growing your sales. Contact Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics to learn about our cost-effective, scalable fulfillment warehouse services.

New 2022 Rates for USPS, UPS, and FedEX

USPS Vehicle in New York City

Shipping in 2022 just got a tad more expensive starting as early as January 9, 2022. The United States Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service (UPS), and FedEX have all announced new rates for 2022. We’ve summarized the highlights below and have linked to the various websites and announcements if you want to do a deep dive into package sizes and time sensitive shipping updates.

United States Postal Service (USPS)

Still awaiting final price approval, but scheduled to take effect on January 9, 2022, the USPS expects to raise prices about 3.1% for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. See all the details at the USPS website.

Shipping for domestic Priority Mail Flat Rate packages will be also higher. See the summary table with the expected updates below.

Product Current Changed
Small Flat-Rate Box $8.45 $9.45
Medium Flat-Rate Box $15.50 $16.10
Large Flat-Rate Box $21.90 $16.10
APO/FPO Large Flat-Rate Box $20.40 $20.00
Regular Flat-Rate Envelope $7.95 $8.95
Legal Flat-Rate Envelope $8.25 $9.25
Padded Flat-Rate Envelope $8.55 $9.65

Although USPS published increase is an average of 3.1%, Shipware.com predicts that most shippers instead will see a rate increase of 5 to 8%.

“The announced average price change for Priority Mail is 3.1%, however, most shippers will realize a 4.9% increase (1-5 lbs), while ecommerce prices will increase an average of 6-8%.” Read the full article to check your impact.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

Bucking the trend UPS’ price rate increase takes effect just after the Christmas holiday on December 26, 2021. The rate increase will be one of the largest in UPS’ history. Expect a 5.9% average rate increase plus a hefty Fuel Surcharge.

Large package shippers will get hit again with a higher than average rate increase. Shipware.com say, “The large package surcharge will increase within a range of 8% to 16.7% and the additional handling charge for weight and dimensions will increase from 5.2% to 13.9% depending on zone.” Read the full article to check your impact.

For regular shippers the Fuel Surcharge is added to your weekly shipping statement. UPS describes the surcharge:

“UPS uses an index-based surcharge that is adjusted weekly. Changes to the surcharge will be effective on Monday of each week. The surcharge will be based on the National U.S. Average On Highway Diesel Fuel Price as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the week that is two weeks prior to the adjustment, rounded to the nearest cent.”

The posted sample grid show a surcharge of 9.2% to 12.75% on the UPS website page for reference Your shipping may also be affected by Peak Surcharges for shipping into the US from overseas. View the table. Visit the Shipware.com website for a good summary of all the rate increases for UPS to get a high level overview.

FedEX

FedEx will increase shipping prices on January 3, 2022. A whopping 5.9% average increase is expected. with Fuel Surcharge increases to be factored in as well. This is the largest increase for FedEx in eight years. Most shippers will feel more than a 5.9% impact.

Additional information from the FedEx website show additional increases that will impact shipping costs in January.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, FedEx Freight will introduce a No Shipment Tendered surcharge that applies when a pickup is performed and no shipment is tendered to the carrier.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, the International Out-of-Delivery-Area Surcharge and International Out-of-Pickup-Area Surcharge rates will be determined based on the corresponding tier of the ZIP code, postal code, or city of the shipment’s origin and/or destination location for International Express Freight and Parcel services.

• Effective Jan. 17, 2022, a Delivery and Returns Surcharge will be assessed on packages that are delivered or returned using FedEx Ground Economy services.

• Effective Jan. 24, 2022, the Additional Handling Surcharge and Oversize Charge rates for U.S. Express Package Services and U.S. Ground Services will be determined based on the shipment’s zone”

You can read the full rate change notice on FedEx for more information. Or preview the rates now in a PDF from the FedEx website.

Shipware.com says this about the FedEx rate increase: “This is the first time since 2013 that the average parcel increase is greater than 4.9%.” For a high level summary of the new FedEX rates read the full article.

Rates May Change, But Medallion’s Customer-Focused Service Does Not

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics knows that increases in shipping costs squeeze your bottom-line. You want to get value from the services you receive and keep your customers happy and loyal. Medallion understands this as your 3PL service provider.

Rest assured we do all we can do to keep our costs low and our prices affordable to boost your bottom-line.

Creating Your Own eCommerce Empire Means Expanding Beyond Amazon

Man Thinking About Expanding Beyond Amazon

As an eCommerce vendor, it may seem like it’s Amazon’s world and we just live in it. But you didn’t become an entrepreneur just to play by someone else’s rules. Use your relationship with Amazon as a springboard to building your own eCommerce empire.

Rented vs. Owned Platforms

Just as with brick-and-mortar businesses, online vendors have the choice of rented or owned storefronts. Rented platforms include Amazon, Facebook, and other third-party options, while owned platforms are created and operated exclusively by the vendor. An owned platform would be your own ecommerce website.

Of course, both types have their pros and cons. Let’s look at the different elements of eCommerce platforms and how they apply to your business.

Range

This one is a no-brainer. Amazon has a built-in user base that’s second to none. New eCommerce retailers can quickly jump-start their business by tapping into Amazon’s ready-made customer base.

But as your business grows, this benefit can become a drawback. With Amazon controlling all communication between you and the buyers, you have no opportunity to nurture the customer relationships that are key to building sales and developing customer loyalty.

Cost

Again, for a start-up, there’s a financial advantage to using Amazon’s platform. You can bypass the expense of designing and maintaining a digital storefront and invest your funds in product, marketing or other areas that may need it.

If time is money, Amazon’s platform also provides savings in labor. There’s no need to divide your energies between operating your storefront and handling other business activities.

Eventually, these savings become offset by the increased fees you pay as your sales go up. Loss of repeat business is an indirect cost, but one that can ultimately add up even more.

Competition

This is one of the bigger disadvantages of Amazon’s size. Their doors are open to just about anyone, so you’ll often find yourself going up against multiple retailers offering similar or even the same products.

vAmazon does have tools to help you promote your products, but they’re not easy. Prime positioning in the Buy Box or Merchant Offers List is awarded by rankings based on pricing, merchant history, customer reviews and other factors. In essence, it’s a catch-22: to gain one of these spots, you must beat the competition you’re trying to overcome in the first place.

When you’re operating from an owned platform, your products have the spotlight all to themselves. When you get visitors to your website or mobile app, you know they’ve come because they’re interested buyers.

Shipping

Once your product has been sold, Fulfillment by Amazon handles the shipping end of the transaction. You send your products to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers, where orders are shipped out to customers.

A time-saver? Absolutely. But one that comes with a lot of strings attached. For example, merchants sometimes find a discrepancy between the actual cost of shipping an order and the amount reimbursed by Amazon.

In addition, Fulfillment by Amazon has stringent requirements for the procedures used to package and ship products to their centers. Failure to comply can result in penalties ranging from additional charges to refusal of inventory. Plus, Amazon may limit your warehouse space or even change what is available to use in peak seasons.

When you operate on an owned platform, you’re free to work with an independent fulfillment center that offers the flexibility to scale along with your business. You can still work with Amazon, confident in the knowledge that your fulfillment center will comply with Amazon’s rules.

With the unique Fulfillment by Medallion program, we warehouse your Amazon stock and then ship to the Amazon warehouse when you need a stock refill. Allowing you to fulfill orders from your own website AND Amazon stores or the Amazon warehouse from our company’s two locations – L.A. or Boston.

Fulfillment Services to Fit Every Need

Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics started out in our family garage, so we understand what it takes to grow a business. Contact us to learn more about our full-service fulfillment solutions, including our Amazon replenishment warehousing program.