Anyone here use First-Class mail to ship FBM orders?

Offering this up for anyone who is FBM and frequently ships by first-class mail.

Understanding how Buy Shipping chooses the mailing options to offer, and setting up shipping templates to ensure it always offers first-class mail falls in my wheelhouse.

@Image, if you think this might be useful to handmade sellers, perhaps you could crosslink this post in that thread?

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I used to before Hazmat requirements changed at the DOT level a few years ago, so my knowledge is a little out of date

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Yes - I ship everything under 1 lb. via First Class. Occasionally I’ll have a bad address that forces UPS, but I try to stick to FC if I can.

I have my Transit Times set to 2-3 days in-state, 2-4 days rest of mainland US, 5-8 days HI, AK & PR.

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I have my Transit Times set to 2-3 days in-state

You’re handmade, right? Sorry I don’t know you… don’t recognize the name, although the dog looks familiar. :smile:

The 2-3 day in-state thing will eliminate FC mail being offered many times, unless you have a longer than usual handling time, due to being handmade?

It doesn’t sound like you have any trouble with in-state orders trying to force priority mail, or UPS. That would be good. Amazon messes up lots of people with in-state FC not being available. You’re fortunate if you haven’t run into it.

I also ship nearly everything by FC mail.

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Done, though only about 12 of us so far…

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Haha - yes, Handmade. My old Avatar was the same dog, just as a puppy - I tried to use one close to it for familiarity!

I have my handling time set to 2 days, and typically ship same-day. They keep sending me messages that I should change it. Not falling for THAT trick, thank you.

Appreciate the input and I will definitely keep an eye on it - if I start to see in-state being an issue I will bump it up, but haven’t had any problems so far (since handmade started).

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Nor have I but we live in a very small state. Could have something to do with the problem.

Could have something to do with the problem.

The problem has always been that Buy Shipping is programmed (at least for Oregon) to think FC delivery will take 5 days to deliver to your own state. When Amazon decided to shorten people’s ‘same state’ shipping times, it often left only 4 days.

I’m not sure if this is the same for all states, or not. Would you or @LR72 be willing to check? Next time you get an in-state order, before you click to buy the label, count the number of days from “today” (the shipping date) to the date Buy Shipping shows for delivery.

For instance -

image

The above is 5 days. Start with the ship date (Thursday), and count (do not count Sun or holidays) -
Fri, Sat, Mon, Tue, Wed

This order is going from Portland, OR to San Francisco CA, which is generally 2 days by FC, but Amazon has it programmed in Buy Shipping as 5 days. They also have Oregon to Oregon orders programmed as 5 days, which is why the shorter delivery window doesn’t work for in-state orders.

I’ve always assumed that Buy Shipping was programmed to take 5 days for all same state orders, but I’d be interested in having that confirmed.

Not handmade, but I ship FC all the time.

Our shortest handling time is 2 days, and I had a huge argument with my boss and coworkers about it a few years ago. They wanted to make everything 1 day, and I just wasn’t having it.

At one point, one coworker decided to just set stuff at one day behind my back, and in less than a week our account was in trouble, and our shipping costs on everything that used to be FC went through the roof because most of it needed to go UPS or Priority. Some even required Express. My boss was convinced it was an Amazon glitch and didn’t believe when I told him it wasn’t until I showed him the logs of who changed the settings and when. I think that coworker got a raise for initiative and innovative thinking. I just got high blood pressure.

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It keep throwing these in at random, no rhyme no reason. The other week I had 2 out of 6 orders demanding UPS, most days I have none. I did figure out that if the address is not recognized by USPS as it’s been entered, it goes to UPS shipping. I canceled an order the other day because it just pissed me off that the dude didn’t know his own address…

Sometimes the address is correct though, and USPS will still deliver there. Wasn’t Amazon using an old or incomplete database from USPS to determine addresses? It was bad for a while but the address issue has mostly settled down…

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It keep throwing these in at random, no rhyme no reason.

My experience is there’s no random about it. I know exactly which shipping options I’ll be presented with for nearly every order, something I had to learn during my days doing SFP, as we were forced to buy our shipping labels through Amazon.

Of course, there’s nothing you can do about those ‘No USPS, you must use UPS’ orders, but for all the rest, it’s a highly predictable algorithm.

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Sometimes the address is correct though, and USPS will still deliver there. Wasn’t Amazon using an old or incomplete database from USPS to determine addresses?

If only they’d disclose where they pull their data from. I’ve had arguments/discussions with people who were convinced that Buy Shipping’s options are based on some actual historical transit times, but nope. NOPE. No way, no how.

Generally, I find if an address forces UPS, it’s because it’s a really small town without residential mail service. A quick Google search for the population of the delivery town can confirm it. When it’s a Podunk address, I just ship through PirateShip with USPS, knowing from having lived in a Podunk town in the past, that the PO staff will put the mail in the correct mail box, even with a UPS-only street address on it.

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Oh, definitely not.

Since I sell on Walmart and Ebay as well as Amazon, I have all my shipping options tied into my inventory management software and I ship everything through there. When Amazon won’t offer First Class because of the time or distance, which is very uncommon since I have 2 day handling time and sensible shipping templates that this racing-roxy-something person helped me set up years ago when I was fighting with SFP, I can still get FC through the other non-Amazon services without having to leave that API. Then I noticed that it works pretty well for streets Amazon claims the Post Office can’t find too, which means it’s just Amazon that thinks the Post Office can’t find it. Stamps or whatever is perfectly happy to validate the address and the stuff always gets there.

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Oh, definitely not.

The craziest thing to me is how many people seem to think Buy Shipping actually ‘knows’ how long services will take to deliver instead of being based on (for USPS) completely arbitrary numbers.

You could probably generalize that to say it continually surprises me how many people trust that Amazon knows what it’s doing.

People believe that shipping automation will improve their sales, or that they need to shorten their delivery time because that stupid graph Amazon sends out says they deliver 6.4 days early. Doesn’t anyone ever look at what Amazon says and think - That’s interesting, I wonder if it’s true, let me check for myself.

You’re aware that Buy Shipping now uses 3 different transit times for FC mail now, right? It used to be a flat 5-days across the board, now some destinations are 3 days, some are 4, and some are 5. So you can offer shorter delivery times to some regions if desired.

Interestingly, San Francisco used to be in my 3-day region, then not long ago, Amazon stupidly changed it to 5. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

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Yes. Then they end up in this forum.

Amazon does know what it’s doing. But what they are doing is not running a seller’s business. They are running their business, and that does not include caring if a seller is mislead by cherry-picked and misconstrued statistics shown out of context to think that Amazon’s shipping automation is a good idea when it is incredibly not. Sellers need to understand that Amazon is doing what businesses tend to do, which is look out for themselves, and not other businesses. Once they get that through their heads, they may then be more appropriately skeptical of the idea that Amazon is out to make them more successful with no risks or downsides.

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Like @LR72, I am Handmade and ship everything FC, and have a 2 day production/handling time. I have no problems except for the occasion where USPS cannot verify the address and then I usually ship pirate ship no problem except for the loss of potential A-Z claim protection. I always ship same or next day but since I’m PNW, I have my transit set for 3-5 days for lower 48. The 2 day production time also adds more A-Z protection for me because most often my arrival scan does not happen until the next day it arrives in Seattle DC.

It may be a coincidence but it seems most of my issues with carrier choice seem to happen when I use single shipping instead of bulk so I use bulk even if I’m only printing one label.

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I use Endicia/Dazzle as a back-up shipping option and many of the addresses Amazon can’t validate are validated by Endicia (which I think is now part of Stamps).

I assumed DeJoy’s announcement that all first class will be 3-5 days, even in state, was a factor in Amazon’s predictions. I used to be able to mail to the next town in a day and now it takes 3.

Hey, cool! I’m in the PNW too. Portland. Would I know you by another name on the forums?

You should never have to worry about FC disappearing whenever there are at least 5 days (excluding Sun and holidays) between the date you ship and the latest promised delivery date to the buyer. So with 2-day handling, and 3-5 day transit, you should always be fine.

but since I’m PNW, I have my transit set for 3-5 days for lower 48.

If you wanted to, you could use 3-day transit times for California (except San Francisco which has to be 5), NV, AZ, and CO, and 4-day for IL, WI, and I think, MN.

Not suggesting you do so, just saying those areas as programmed as taking less transit days in Buy Shipping so you could offer a shorter delivery time and still have FC mail as an option.

That’s an interesting point. I never use bulk shipping and always do my labels 1 by 1.

I don’t think so, because even before DeJoy, Buy Shipping was programmed that FC mail took 5 days - regardless of where it was headed.