If you are an Amazon seller, chances are you are familiar with DIM Weight, due to working with carriers such as UPS and FedEx. For those of you who are not, DIM Weight Pricing is calculated by taking length by width by height and then dividing by a predetermined number depending on the carrier, which would be called the volumetric divisor. UPS uses 166 for example. Your rate is no longer calculated by weight and zone, but rather by how much space is being taken up. As a result, a 1 lb. 12” x 12” x 12” box could be billed at the 11-lb. rate.
To increase accuracy when DIM Weighing packages, the USPS has now started using an automated package verification system (APV) to verify every package when it gets to their facility. The APV fundamentally changes the way the USPS handles and delivers barcoded domestic packages, and the USPS is requiring all PC Postage providers to participate. The APV checks weight, dimensions, packaging, and mail class among other items immediately. If an incorrect amount of postage is discovered, either too little or too much, the USPS will issue an adjustment, either a debit or credit, to your postal account balance through your pc postage provider.
As an Amazon seller, this new APV system solves several historical problems with shipping using PC Postage. Before APV, a package with insufficient postage was returned to the sender, or worse, delivered with postage due, a terrible customer experience. If too much postage was paid for, tough luck, the USPS kept the money. With APV, packages with insufficient postage will be delivered, and the postage due will be deducted from your account. This is a much better system as no more delays in getting customer orders delivered will occur.
However, as a merchant fulfilled seller, this means you must now make sure your dimensions are correct and accounted for before sending your packages off, or you risk over-paying on postage. For shippers that do rate shopping, this could create a shock when they check their postage balance. The USPS could rate cheaper than another service; but really be billed on the back end, a much higher dollar amount that completely eats your profit margin. The only option for sellers is to make sure you have a shipping solution in place that makes capturing dimensions before shipping automated and easy. Lucky for you, here are three simple solutions to this problem.
For the shipper whose products ship with their own containers, product dimensions can be stored and populated automatically at the time of processing. This cuts back on the stress of entering DIM’s on a one-to-one basis while shipping.
Another option is to print packing slips for all orders and pick your products from your facility. Once the items have been packed, you can select the size of that box you are packing in. The right shipping solution will automate the processes of using these dimensions to rate shop between your carrier accounts and provide a label for the best service.
Finally, you have the option to purchase a dimensioner. This is a machine that uses infrared technology to gather the dimensions of the package. It then automatically populates the DIM weight for shipping. Though this machine can be expensive, for the shipper in need of capturing real-time DIM’s, this should result in the most accurate rating.
The shipping industry is one that is always changing. Use these simple solutions to stay ahead of the game, and never worry about over-paying on postage again.
DesktopShipper is an eCommerce shipping software that does all the rate-shopping between a wide selection of partnered carriers for you. Our mission is to deliver high quality, flexible shipping software solutions to today’s online retailers and fulfillment companies that provide maximum efficiency, reliability, seamless integration and long-term savings. You can streamline the shipping process by automatically importing your orders, applying your business rules and printing your shipping labels. www.DesktopShipper.com
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