Is there anyone out there who really, really loves the process of shipping products out to buyers? The answer is no, of course. A resounding no. Shipping is expensive, it’s time-consuming, and it distracts you from more important tasks, like growing your business. And yet shipping is a necessary part of doing business. You can’t escape it, at least if you expect to run a successful company.
Is there any way to make shipping easier, cheaper, and faster? What if you could print shipping labels from your own printer, add optional services like signature requirements, and send packages out with your own letter carrier? You can, thanks to a USPS shipping service called Click-N-Ship.
Read on for more details and to see if Click-N-Ship is right for your business.
What Is Click-N-Ship?
Click-N-Ship is an all-in-one postage service offered by the United States Postal Service; it allows you to ship packages without ever leaving your business or home office. When you sign up for the program by creating a free USPS.com account, you can print labels and pay for shipping, compare shipping options and prices, schedule pickup at your location, and more. Here are some of the things the program lets you do:
Print Labels From Your Computer Or Mobile Device
It doesn’t get any easier than this. From your USPS account dashboard, select Click-N-Ship and you’ll be able to enter address and package information, then choose a service â Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express. (International shipping is also available.) Once you’ve entered your credit card information, you can print your label. That’s it!
Order Free Supplies Online
If you’re shipping packages via Priority Mail, you can order boxes and envelopes online. Flat-rate service is available for packages weighing up to 70 pounds, for domestic mail. The USPS slogan is, “If it fits, it ships,” so you may be able to pack quite a lot into each box for one flat-rate fee per package.
Build Your Address Book
You can add customers’ addresses to an online address book, saving you time and reducing the possibility of errors when you make repeat shipments to the same people or businesses.
Compare Services & Prices
There’s a tool that lets you view available service options and prices to make sure you’re choosing the shipping method that makes the most sense for each package. Once you enter all the required information, you’ll see a table that lays out your options for shipping services, including delivery date and price.
Save Time By Batching Orders
If you’re shipping multiple identical packages, use the Batch Order option to print labels for up to 20 different addresses at a time.
Add Optional Services
USPS tracking and up to $50 insurance is included with every Ship-N-Click shipment, at no charge to you. You can pay to add additional insurance for the package’s true value, up to $5,000, or signature confirmation upon delivery, including restricted delivery for products that minors should not access.
Print Customs Forms
If you’re shipping internationally or to a military destination, you can print customs forms online.
Set Automatic Notifications
If you like, the system can email package recipients to let them know their items are on the way. They’ll receive the label number and your shipping date. You can even add a message to them, thanking them for their business or giving them important additional information about their purchase.
There’s also a box you can check to enable tracking notifications for you, the sender. You can choose email updates, text messages, or both, and you can choose the notifications you want from a drop-down menu that includes in-transit and delivery updates.
Schedule Free Pickup
You won’t have to leave your desk or lug packages to the post office anymore. When you use Click-N-Ship, you can schedule free pickup from your regular postal carrier, when you receive your mail delivery. There’s no additional charge for pickup.
Earn Credit With The USPS Loyalty Program
Click-N-Ship users automatically earn credits from the USPS that can be applied toward future shipping costs.
How Does Click-N-Ship Work?
Click-N-Ship is a fairly seamless process with almost everything handled automatically. After you enter a package’s destination and weight (or choose flat-rate shipping), you choose your shipping method and add-ons, then pack the box yourself. From there, the USPS does most of the work. All you have to do is choose the shipping date, then print your shipping label and wait for your regularly scheduled postal delivery person to appear, while you get back to business.
How Much Does Click-N-Ship Cost?
When you use Click-N-Ship, you can choose the type of shipping service you’ll use. Your choice will determine the price you pay. Shipping charges also are influenced by the package weight, unless you choose flat-rate shipping and use USPS-provided packaging. Of course, you don’t have to choose flat-rate shipping; you can enter your package weight, and you can also ship large packages and get a customized price for shipping your unique packages.
For demonstration and comparison purposes, let’s suppose we are shipping a flat-rate package in a small envelope (12.5″ x 9.5″), with no additional services requested, somewhere in the U.S. This allows us to ship anything that fits into the flat-rate box, as long as its total weight is 70 pounds or less. Here’s what you can expect to pay, and what your choices will get you. These prices are consistent, whether you’re shipping across your state or across the nation.
- 1-day delivery
- $7.75 total shipping cost
Priority Mail Express:
- 2-day delivery
- $26.35 total shipping cost
The USPS website lets you enter exact information for any particular package (dimensions and weight) and see valid shipping costs and delivery times based on the options you choose. So you can gain real information to help you make the best choice.
Pros & Cons of Click-N-Ship
- Free to use
- Easy to print labels and ship from your home or business
- Pricing available upfront, so you see what you’ll pay
- No special equipment needed
- Mobile friendly
- No volume discount available
- No low-rate shipping options available
- Once-a-day pickup
There’s a lot to like about using Click-N-Ship. Here are some of the best elements of the program:
1) It’s Free To Use
You won’t need to pay any fees to join or use Click-N-Ship.
2) It’s Easy
There’s no trick to using the online system to print labels and schedule pickup. And you don’t need any special equipment, just a computer or mobile device, an internet connection, and a printer.
3) It Puts You In Control
You get to choose delivery speed, shipping costs, and pickup date.
Of course, Click-N-Ship has a few areas for improvement too. Users may wish they could sign up for a business account that offered them discounts based on how much they ship. And if you’re looking to save on shipping costs by using media mail or book rates, you won’t find them with Click-N-Ship — although you can use your USPS.com account to access those rates. In fact, with Click-N-Ship, you pay the same rates as you would if you walked your packages into the post office and asked a postal clerk to help you. Finally, although most businesses can work around once-a-day mail pickups, if your business requires you to ship more than once a day, you may need to look for an alternative to Click-N-Ship.
Who Should Use Click-N-Ship?
Given the pros and cons of using Click-N-Ship, you may be wondering if it’s right for your business. Generally, it’s a good option for users who value convenience and reliability over bottom-line costs or for those who can take advantage of flat-rate shipping. And of course, if you regularly ship to P.O. boxes, using USPS is almost your only option.
With the ability to ship anything up to 70 pounds that will fit into one of USPS’s flat-rate boxes, you can ship anywhere in the U.S. with guaranteed one- or two-day delivery, for one flat rate, no matter what’s in the box. On the other hand, if shipping costs are eating up your budget and you need to bring costs under control, you probably should keep searching for a less expensive shipping alternative.
Top Click-N-Ship Alternatives For Businesses
If Click-N-Ship sounds right for you, visit USPS.com and get started! If you’re still on the fence, here are a few of the many other shipping options you should consider:
UPS is another major player in the shipping game, known especially for its reliability and comprehensive package tracking system. It’s often one of the most affordable options for heavy or oversize shipments, but it can be a more expensive choice. USPS offers discounted rates to select users who have a regularly scheduled UPS pickup and an agreement that includes those rates. Expect to pay a flat rate if you want UPS to pick up packages from your location vs. you dropping them off at a shipment facility.
If you’re interested in comparing costs, UPS makes available a shipping calculator that can help you determine what you’ll pay for a typical package — as well as how long you can expect delivery to take, based on your shipping choices. Keep in mind that UPS shipping varies depending not only on weight and dimensions but also on how many miles your shipment will travel.
FedEx offers services that are fairly similar to what UPS has to offer. FedEx shipping can be expensive, but you automatically qualify for discounts once you sign up for an account. Sign up for a business account, and you’ll become eligible for the FedEx rewards program too, meaning you potentially have two ways of saving money. FedEx also excels at package tracking, and Saturday delivery is available at no extra cost if you ship via FedEx Home Delivery. Like UPS, FedEx does not offer free package pickup services although you can access that option for a fee.
The price of FedEx shipping varies greatly depending upon shipping distance, package dimensions, and weight. For a basic comparison, take a look at the FedEx rates and transit times calculator.
Maybe the best solution for your small business is to stick with the good old USPS â but with an improved interface. That’s where Stamps.com comes in. It’s a shipping solution based on software that integrates with the USPS, allowing you to purchase postage and print out shipping labels wherever you do your work from. You can also use the software to schedule a pickup time with USPS, so you don’t have to interrupt your day with a drive to your local post office.
Unlike Click-N-Ship, Stamps.com is a service you’ll pay for. Plans run from $17.99 to $24.99 per month, in addition to postage costs. You can sign up for a free four-week trial. When you do, you receive $5 free postage to use during your trial, a supply kit with address and postage labels, a digital scale, and coupons you can use for postage after your trial. The best thing you’ll receive, though, is the ongoing discounts. You’ll get up to 16% off Priority Mail Express shipments, up to 40% off Priority Mail shipments, and up to 7% off international shipments, for example.
How To Choose The Best Shipping Option
Shipping may seem like a basic service, necessary to facilitating eCommerce of any kind. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution because every business has different shipping needs, products, and priorities. We have given you some tools and information you can use to understand the differences between a few readily available shipping providers that are easy to partner with. Spend a little time researching top shipping providers, sign up for free trials or programs where they’re available, and test out a couple until you find the one that delivers what you’re really after: a well-priced shipping solution and satisfied customers.
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