Shipping rate cost increase of 2017
With 2017 comes a number of changes in shipping rates, which means that you must take some time to review your current cost and if needed make changes to your sales strategy. All three major carriers, FedEx, UPS and USPS, have changed their shipping prices. USPS has made significant changes on the prices of all their services and FedEx and UPS have made changes in the manner in which they calculate dimensional weight which in the end will affect you!
Impact of dimensional weight pricing from FedEx
FedEx has made a major change in their dimensional weight calculations. Dimensional weight reflects a package’s density, which is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. For each shipment, your charge is based off the dimensional weight or actual weight of the package — whichever is greater. It is best to place the dimensions of your package on FedEx’s weight calculator which can be found on the FedEx website to calculate the actual weight. FedEx’s dimensional weight applies to both FedEx Express and FedEx Ground packages. When it comes to dimensional weight pricing, you have three options: accept the new rating method and pass the cost on to customers, reduce package size where possible without damaging merchandise, or explore an alternative shipping carrier. For example, the US Postal Service does not factor in dimensional weight into shipping cost.
USPS takes liberty to increase cost in less than one lb.
It’s important to remember that USPS talks about a one to two cost percentage increase, but this is only an average number. Based on the type of mail service you use, the cost could be higher or lower from the average increase. You need to look at the class, weight, zone, density, and special services required to see the true impact. USPS has a complete monopoly in the less than one pound market and they have taken the liberty to increase the cost from 0.4% to as much as 17.8%
We at Acutrack make it a priority to educate you about the changes and give you a comparative cost analysis so you know the current cost and also the best carrier for your shipping needs. You may check the latest price on Acutrack’s shipping calculator or speak to Acutrack’s support team who can assist you with your product fulfillment needs
The Importance of Finding the Right Fulfillment Partner
When running a crowdfunding campaign you need a long term, fulfillment partner. You need someone who can fulfill rewards to your backers and also be your partner to warehouse and support your future fulfillment needs. Having the right fulfillment partner increases efficiency, flexibility to allocate your resources, and brings outside expertise to help save you money. Consider Looking For A Fulfillment Partner Early In The Planning Process Of Your Campaign
- The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Help You Make Accurate Cost Projections. There are many costs issues to consider including reward procurement and shipping. When you set a value for each reward make sure that it is at least break even to the cost of procuring and fulfilling the reward. If the procurement and fulfillment costs are higher than the reward level your crowdfunding project will have serious negative financial implications. A good fulfillment partner will assess the cost of fulfillment and the cost of shipping both domestic and international. Depending on the nature of your reward the right fulfillment partner will be able to guide you by suggesting the right shipping method.
- The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Help You Improve Quality and Efficiency. When you run a crowdfunding campaign you know you will wear many hats. And it can be tough because each aspect requires time and skill to handle the various levels of your campaign. The right fulfillment partner can bring their expertise in package design, help you showcase your brand, choose a cost effective shipping carrier and work behind the scene to give your campaign needed quality and efficiency. A good partner gives you the flexibility to pick and choose the services or support that you need. They can give you the quality and efficiency to save your time and let you and your team to focus on everything else.
- The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Keep Your Project On Schedule. Your backers want you to stay on schedule. Crowdfunding campaigns are notorious for delays and difficulties during manufacturing and order fulfillment, but many of those issues can be solved or at least they can be partially prevented through proper planning. Collaborating and working with your partners can help to keep everyone on the same schedule and allows for efficient assembly and shipment of whatever you’re delivering to your backers. Compare this to trying to do everything internally only to stretch your resources too thin and risk the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.
- The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Be A Trusted Partner That Can Grow With Your Business. Your crowdfunding campaign is the starting point of your business. Hopefully, you have raised money that can take you from ground floor to top floor. You need a fulfillment partner who can scale and expand as your operation grows. It is easier and less risky to test the skill and flexibility of a fulfillment partner from the ground floor. Establish the relationship early and as your business needs grow you will already have a trusted partner.
There are many benefits of outsourcing your fulfillment needs. The most important aspect is finding a fulfillment partner who saves you time, brings efficiency, flexibility and a long-term partnership. In all these areas Acutrack is a trusted partner who has a proven track record of being able to expand to meet their customers needs as their business grows, making them your ideal fulfillment partner for your business needs.
USPS Media Mail - A Smart Way to Fulfill Your Books or DVDs
It is common to ship a package with USPS First Class mail. It is mostly understood that USPS First Class mail is the most cost-effective way to ship small packages within the USA. This is true except most people do not realize that there is a cheaper method to ship educational materials such as books or DVDs and this class of service is Media Mail. Media Mail is a cost-effective option for those who send books, recorded music, and other media materials in bulk through the U.S. Postal Service. This service is ideally suited when you are selling Direct-to-Consumer or when Kickstarter creators ship books to fulfill their rewards.
Comparing Media Mail to First Class Mail: While Media Mail takes a little longer than First-Class Mail to arrive at its destination, it is offered at a much lower rate – making it a very attractive option. Based on today's rates (updated 07/10/2016); it costs $2.72 for the 1st lb. and $0.50 for each additional pound. These prices are very low compared to any other parcel shipping from USPS or any other shipping carrier.
USPS Audits to Make Sure Media Mail is Not Misuse: However, because the prices are so low, the Postal Service has instituted strict restrictions on what does and does not qualify as Media Mail. Keep in mind that the U.S. Postal Service has the right to inspect all items that are sent through the Media Mail classification. Anyone who sends a non-approved item through Media Mail runs the risk of being charged with mail fraud!
What qualifies as Media Mail?: Media Mail consists of the following:
- Bound books containing at least 8 pages and NO advertising
- Printed educational material used for testing
- Printed educational reference charts designed to instruct or train individuals Printed sheet music – either bound or in sheet form
- Computer readable media including DVDs, CDs, videotapes
- Medical information to be distributed to doctors, hospitals, medical schools and medical students (can be loose-leaf pages and in binders)
What is NOT considered Media Mail?:
- Periodicals such as magazines and newspapers
- Photographs, photo albums, and pictures
- Computer readable media including portable hard drives, thumb drives, flash drives, jump drives, and USB drives
- Films and film catalogs sent to or from commercial theaters
- Trading cards of any type (i.e.: baseball cards)
Media Mail is a U.S. Domestic Mail Class: It costs the same amount to ship a package anywhere in the USA. It also allows you to ship internationally only to "Armed Force" destinations or US territories. These are special addresses set up for people serving in the U.S. military. These addresses will usually include name, rank, unit or ship information and special "City, State" codes, as follows: City options APO (Army/Air Force Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office) and State options such as AA (Armed Forces Americas), AP (Armed Forces Pacific) or AE (Armed Forces OTHER (Africa, Canada, Europe, Middle East).
Also, you can send Domestic mail (including Media Mail) to and from the U.S. Territories and Possessions listed below:
- American Samoa
- Baker Island
- Canton Island
- Caroline Island
- Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
- Howland Island
- Jarvis Island
- Johnston Island
- Kingman Reef
- Marshall Islands
- Midway Islands
- Navassa Island
- Palau Island
- Palmyra Island
- Puerto Rico
- Virgin Islands
- Wake Island
To sum things up, Media Mail is a cost-effective mail option to ship educational items commonly used for books and DVDs within the domestic USA or US territories or Armed force locations. If both the origin and destination address are not U.S. Domestic as stated, then this is International mail
Secure Your Intellectual Property with a Copy-Protected USB
Now, you can protect your Intellectual Property from illegal copying or duplication with a simple solution: Acutrack’s USB flash drive copy protection services. This copy protection innovation allows you to share your digital Intellectual Property data without any risk of Internet theft. Now you can have peace of mind when it comes to publishing and distributing your reports, documents, articles and videos, allowing others to access your content but preventing them from copying or distributing it further.
Key Features of Acutrack’s USB Copy Protection Services:
- Our DRM (Digital Rights Management) security offers the following key features:
- The content can be viewed, but it cannot be copied or shared.
- Data and files cannot be deleted or formatted from the USB drive.
- Copy-protected files formatted in PDF, html and text cannot be printed without permission, which means their dissemination is up to you.
- Users cannot select content from one document and copy and paste it into another; this prevents users from performing a “select all” copy and paste from within a PDF.
- Users cannot take screen grabs on Mac computers or perform print screens on Windows devices.
- Files can be set to expire at a specific date and time, which is ideal for subscription-based applications
- This solution is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers.
- There is no software to install on the host computer because the protected content runs 100% from the flash drive.
- Administrator rights are not required because nothing is installed on the host computer; this is ideal for large corporations and government agencies.
We Make It Easy
You provide us your content and requirements, and we deliver copy-protected USBs. You don’t have to buy any software or pay any licensing fees. There is no password protection or unlocking. We make it easy.
Fully Branded & Customized Packaging
Each USB flash drive is fully customized with your logo or product details, featuring full color printing on both sides of the flash drive. USBs are printed with superior quality UV print technology, which makes the print fade- and scratch-resistant. We offer two elegant packaging choices: a Clear Clam shell package and Tin case packaging.
Distribute Textbooks as Protected PDF Documents
Now you can electronically distribute your textbooks, flashcards or training documents via USB. Our USB copy protection solution is the only option to safeguard your intellectual data, produced as PDF files, from copying or distribution. We offer flexible options to make your data PDF-printable if needed and provide full security of your documents against copy and paste or screen prints.
Distribute Video Files as Protected MP3 Files
Deliver your training videos on a single USB flash drive, depending on file size. This not only helps save on mailing costs but also helps users to navigate all files from a single drive. If you have multiple video clips, we can also help create an interactive catalog with menu so users can select the video chapters from the menu and avoid navigating the USB flash drive. All MP3 files are fully safeguarded once the copy protection is in place.
Acutrack allows you to distribute your content on a fully secured USB flash drive. If you are distributing content, such as textbooks, training documents in PDF or training videos as MP3s, you have no control over digital distribution or via DVD. Most copy protection offered on DVD to protect PDF or MP3 files can be easily hacked, or users may find files too cumbersome when it comes to navigation and usability. Acutrack’s copy-protected USB is essentially the only solution to protect your Intellectual Property from theft and provides ease of use for your data’s end-users.
Paying Custom Duties and Taxes when Shipping Products from US
Goods shipped may incur Duty and VAT when shipped to international destinations. Customs Duty is a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders. The purpose of Customs Duty is to protect each country's economy, residents, jobs, environment, etc., by controlling the flow of goods. VAT is (similar to Sales tax in US) a consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. This national/local tax applies more or less to all goods and services that are bought and sold for use or consumption in the Community. Total amount of Duty and VAT varies based on the destination country, nature of the product (Harmonized Code), country of manufacture and value of the product. There is no way to predict this value ahead of time.
- eCommerce retailers must bring clarity: Most eCommerce retailers clarifies in their terms and conditions that the person receiving a shipment is obliged to pay Duty and VAT. In some cases, the shipped can choose a private carrier (FedEx, UPS or DHL) and send a shipment to cover the cost of duties and VAT. In such situation, the shipper gets billed later once the Duty and VAT gets calculated and product delivered. The sender does not have any option to pay Duty and VAT when shipping smaller consumer related items via USPS. Duty and VAT, if applicable, must then be covered by the person receiving the shipment. Individuals buying products from US should be careful about these extra charges and must read the supplier’s website on the responsibilities for covering these charges.
- Calculating duties/taxes: Customs officials use a shipment's declared value (the value the shipper declares on the goods being shipped), along with the description of the goods, to determine duties and taxes. It is important to ensure that the declared value claimed is accurate. Inaccurate declared value is one of the most prevalent reasons for duty and tax disputes. A shipment's declared value represents the selling price or fair market value of the contents of the shipment, even if not sold. The first step in determining duty and tax information is to identify the product classification number, i.e. Harmonized System or Schedule B number for your product. More importantly, your goods won’t ship without this number on key shipping documents. A Schedule B number is a 10-digit number used in the United States to classify physical goods for export to another country. The Schedule B is based on the international Harmonized System (HS) of 6-digit commodity classification codes. There is a Schedule B number for every physical product, from paperclips to airplanes. The Census Bureau sponsors a free online tool called the Schedule B Search Engine. Each country’s government that list tariff (duty) rates by each product’s harmonized System code. you may visit export.gov to get the latest publication and details. It is best to check with your shipper or fulfillment service provider to assist you with this research.
- Can we ship any product?: Generally speaking, there is no restriction and most items are permitted to be shipped internationally. The items which can be shipped falls in category of Clothing, DVDs, electronic, magazine, books etc. However, certain items are prohibited such as biological materials, bacteria or virus samples, firearms or their parts, flammable products, hazardous waste material, lottery tickets or other gambling items, money or other forms of money or cash equivalents. We also cannot ship alcohol.
- Products manufactured in US has advantage: Some countries have very high duties and taxes; some have relatively low duties and taxes. If your product is primarily made in the U.S. of U.S. originating components it may qualify for duty-free entry into countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement. US currently have free trade agreements with more than 20 countries including Canada and Mexico. Targeting “Free trade agreement” countries is a good market entry strategy because buyers pay less tariff for goods made in the U.S. compared with similar goods from countries without “Free trade agreement”. Country of manufacture, therefore, must be stated when preparing “bill of lading”. Products manufactured in China or India but shipped from US do not qualify any advantage of “Free trade agreement”.