How to Buy Postage Online to Ship Your eBay Merchandise
With your new eBay business up and running, it’s likely you don’t have time to run to the post office. In 1999, the United States Postal Service announced a new service: information-based indicia (IBI) postage that you can print on envelopes and labels right from your PC. There are two main Internet postage vendors:
You can buy postage and print your labels directly from eBay. If you have plans to sell on other platforms or your website, it may be best to have your own software on your computer.
The online postage arena — while providing helpful tools that make running your eBay business easier — is fraught with bargains, deals, and introductory offers. Read these offers carefully so you know what you’re getting yourself into: Evaluate how much it will cost you to start and to maintain an ongoing relationship with the company.
Although you may initially get some free hardware and pay a low introductory rate, the fine print might tell you that you’ve also agreed to pay unreasonably high monthly prices six months down the line.
Endicia has all the features of PayPal shipping and more:
Buy your postage online: With a click of your mouse, you can purchase your postage instantly using your credit card or by direct debit from your checking account. You can register your preferences when you sign up with Endicia, and you get a Price Advisor.
Print postage for all classes of mail, including international: From Anniston, Alabama, to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the DAZzle software not only prints postage but also lists all your shipping options and applicable rates. For international mailing, it also advises you as to any prohibitions (for example, no prison-made goods can be mailed to Botswana), restrictions, necessary customs forms, and areas served within the country.
Print customs forms: You no longer have to go to the post office with your international packages. Just print the customs form from the DAZzle software and give the package to your letter carrier.
Free tracking numbers on Priority Mail, First Class, and Standard Post: Delivery confirmations may be printed also for Media Mail for only $.20.
Mailpiece design: Endicia Internet postage is based on DAZzle, an award-winning mailpiece design tool that lets you design envelopes, postcards, and labels with color graphics, logos, pictures, text messages, and rubber stamps. You can print your mailing label with postage and delivery confirmation on anything from plain paper to fancy 4 x 6 labels in a label printer from an extensive list of label templates.
Integration with insurance: If you’ve saving time and money using U-PIC or Endicia’s own insurance, you can send your monthly insurance logs electronically at the end of the month — a service integrated into the DAZzle software. There’s no need to print a hard copy and mail in this information.
No cut-and-paste necessary: Endicia software integrates with most common software programs. With the DAZzle software open on your computer, highlight the buyer’s address from an e-mail or the PayPal site and then press Ctrl+C. The address automatically appears in the DAZzle postage software. No pasting needed.
Endicia offers two levels of service. All the features just listed come with the standard plan. Their premium plan adds customizable e-mail, enhanced online transaction reports and statistics, business reply mail, return shipping labels (prepaid so your customer won’t have to pay for the return), and stealth indicias.
The stealth indicia can be an awesome tool for the eBay seller. By using this feature, your customer will not see the exact amount of postage you paid. This permits some of your trade secrets to remain…um, secret.
With all these features, you’d think that Endicia’s service would be expensive, but it’s not. The standard plan is $9.95 a month, and the premium plan is $15.95 a month. Try it with a free 60-day trial.
Stamps.com purchased 31 Internet postage patents from e-stamp, making its services a combination of the best of both sites. Many eBay sellers moved their postage business over to Stamps.com.
Stamps.com works with software that you probably use every day, such as Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Office; Corel WordPerfect; and Intuit. Here are some features you might enjoy:
Use your printer to print postage. If your printer allows it, you can even print your envelopes along with bar-coded addresses, your return address, and postage. This saves quite a bit in label costs.
The Stamps.com Envelope Wizard permits you to design your own envelopes, including a logo or graphics. You can purchase a box of 500 #10 envelopes for as little as $4.99 at an office supply store.
Have Stamps.com check that your addresses are valid. Before printing any postage, the Stamps.com software contacts the USPS database of every valid mailing address in the United States. This Address Matching System (AMS) is updated monthly.
Have Stamps.com add the extra four digits to your addressee’s ZIP code. This nifty feature helps ensure swift delivery while freeing you of the hassle of having to look up the information.
Purchasing postage is as easy as going to the Stamps.com website and clicking your mouse. Your credit card information is kept secure on its site. With Stamps.com, you don’t need any extra fancy equipment, although most introductory deals come with a free 5-pound-maximum postal scale. The scale also functions on its own. Serious users should get a better-quality postage scale from a seller on eBay or through Office Depot.
Because Office Depot delivers any order more than $50 free the next day, it’s a great place to get paper and labels. Better buys on scales, though, can be found on eBay, especially if you search postage scale.
Stamps.com charges a flat rate of $15.99 per month. The site regularly offers sign-up bonuses that include as much as $20.00 free postage or a free 5-pound-maximum digital postage scale. Always check the Stamps.com deal of the month.