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Online Shipping Made Simple!

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If you’re getting ready to sell your children’s clothes, it’s time to dive into the world of online shipping.  Purchasing postage through PayPal and USPS.com can save you both time and money.  When shipping, PayPal shipping should always be your first choice.  Packages under 16 oz can be sent First Class.  It’s very important to know that a shipping weight is always rounded up.  So if your package is 16.1 oz, it has to be sent Priority Mail. First Class Rates now vary by distance, there is more info about that here. When mailing from the Post Office, only packages up to 13 oz are accepted for First Class, you also may be charged additionally for tracking. While there is an upfront investment to ship from home, it quickly pays for itself in the saving. When shipping priority, you should also consider using Pirate Ship as they often offer much lower rates, particularly on smaller, heavier packages. There is more info about Pirate Ship here.

Online shipping is not difficult, but it does take some getting used to.  First, you will need some supplies.  Amazon is a great source for reasonably priced shipping supplies. You can always go to Staples, but you will find that their supplies are significantly more expensive than buying ahead at Amazon.

The Basics:

A scale: A kitchen scale works just fine, but if you do not have one, then you can usually purchase a postal scale for around $20. This is the biggest investment you will make in shipping online.

Polymailers: These are plastic mailers that are used to package your shipment. They are about $8/100, so extremely inexpensive compared to manila envelopes, they also hold up much better than paper when packaging clothing.  The mailers that you receive can vary in quality. Lately, I have been using these patterned mailers because they are sturdier than recent orders I have made of the white mailers.

Shipping Tape: Even if you are going to use labels, you will want to have some of this around to make sure that a package is secure or that there aren’t any loose edges that could catch in sort center machinery.

Optional:

Shipping Labels: Much easier than printing on paper and taping. At around $0.04/label, it’s well worth the extra expense. If you will be selling a ton, a thermal label printer is a great investment. No ink cartridges and the labels are very cheap. I highly recommend the Rollo here.

Clear Bags: Even when using a polymailer, you should always put the contents inside another plastic bag. This helps to prevent damage in the event that the outside mailer is damaged.  You can re-use bags that you get from online clothing orders, but these are a great option if you don’t have any available. More cost effective that ziplock bags from the grocery store.

Printer: You will need a printer! If you don’t already have one, consider one that allows you to print wirelessly from your phone. Again, if you will be selling a ton, a thermal label printer is probably the way to go. No ink cartridges and the labels are very cheap. I highly recommend the Rollo here.

Once you have your supplies and have made a sale, it is really easy to prepare your shipment.  Fully package the items.  Weigh the items (in the shipping packaging) on your scale.  If it is under 15.99 oz, go to PayPal (we will discuss over 16 oz next).  Next to the transaction, you should see a “print label” button. Enter the shipping weight and click the purchase button on the bottom of the screen.  Print the label, affix to the package and you’re all set!  You can leave the package in your mailbox, in a blue box (if under 13 oz) or schedule a pick-up online.  The tracking for your package automatically uploads in PayPal and your buyer is notified of the shipment.

If your shipment is over 16 oz, you have a couple options.  The first thing to do is to ask the buyer what their zip code is. Priority Mail has two different options. First, regular Priority Mail is distance based. So if your buyer lives a state or two away, this is often cheaper than the second option, Cubic Priority through Pirateship.com. Once you have your buyers zip code, weigh the package and put the details into the Pirate Ship online shipping calculator. This will tell you the cheapest way to ship. Regular, distance-based, Priority Mail postage can be purchased on PayPal like a First Class Package. PayPal also supports Padded Flat Rate Envelopes (these can be ordered online or picked up at a Post Office).  If you will be using a Padded Flat Rate Envelope, the postage must be purchased at USPS.com. The rate between a cardboard Flat Rate Envelope and Padded Flat Rate Envelope is different.

If the calculator tells you that Cubic Priority is the lowest rate, you should use Pirate Ship to ship the package. It’s important to know that poly mailers get a lower rate than boxes. If you can squeeze the items into an 8×12 poly mailer, you will be getting the best rate possible.

Those are the basics! Hopefully, it’s enough information to get you going with online shipping!

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