If you are using a USPS Shipping plugin for WooCommerce, you must be aware of USPS eliminating ‘No Postage’ label options through the Web Tools APIs. USPS recently eliminated this feature, which means that you won’t be able to print labels with your USPS Shipping Plugin anymore. USPS also introduced e-VS (Electronic Verification System), which is meant for high volume users of USPS postage.
In this article, we’ll see how this change is going to impact label printing and also find out alternatives for printing USPS labels. But first…
Why USPS Eliminated No Postage Label Option Through Web Tools API?
No Postage Labels were accepted by USPS prior to February 23rd, 2018. And to add postage to those labels, users had to get it metered or buy postage from the post office itself. It asked for extra efforts from both the user and USPS. But now, things have gone easier. Users with high volume usage of postage can print Postage Paid labels from within WooCommerce through their USPS Plugins. They can also pay for the postage online. Further, it seems that No Postage Label was not generating encouraging revenues for USPS. This became one of the reasons for the elimination.
As per USPS, they have constantly come up with ways to enhance their product offerings and services while securing their revenue. They have updated the process so that customers can have the best API offerings. USPS aims to provide a better label printing service for domestic and international shipping services without affecting user convenience and assuring USPS’s revenue simultaneously. Now since users will find better convenience, USPS is also supposed to get high returns on postage due to the inclusion of a minimum mandatory consumption. Overall, this elimination is focused on reducing physical efforts and gaining higher revenue.
Services Affected by this Elimination
Since you won’t be able to print labels without Postage now, any service which offered the printing of No Postage is going to be affected. As per the official press release, these are the services which are going to show an error if you try printing a label from your current plugin.
- Delivery and Signature Confirmation for Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Retail Ground, Media Mail, Library Mail
- Priority Mail Express Label
- Hold For Pickup Priority Mail Express
- Hold For Pickup First Class Mail and Priority Mail
- Open Distribute Priority
- Priority Mail Express International
- First Class Mail International
- Priority Mail International
- Global Express Guaranteed Get Label
- Customs CN22 and Customs CP72
Although, your current USPS Shipping Plugin is updated accordingly, and it includes the newly introduced feature of e-VS. To access the service you need to register for it as registration goes live.
What is e-VS?
Electronic Verification System, or e-VS, is the new feature introduced for printing labels with postage. This feature allows businesses with a high-volume package and package consolidators to generate and pay for postage electronically. USPS has also introduced a service fee, that will be charged in addition to the postage consumption. This somehow is similar to the model of Stamps.com where the user pays a monthly charge apart form postage.
With e-VS, all data files related to your postage consumption and account details are sent to the Postal Service database electronically. So you don’t need to be physically present for any such formality. This service is basically designed for bulk mailers. The most special feature of e-VS is that the postage charge is captured only when the package reaches the USPS destination entry facilities. With this, you get a waiver of the postage charge. What happens is the closer you take the parcel to its destination, the lesser you pay. Thus making the origin post office somehow less significant.
- You print Postage Paid Labels with USPS Shipping Plugin
- Pay postage charges, only from the post office, you ship it, to the destination
- You are not charged until your package reaches a post office.
e-VS is going to bring about a few welcome changes to shipping with USPS through its web tools. This service has possibilities to attract bulk mailers from other platforms. Meanwhile, mailers with less volume of postage usage might start looking for alternatives like Stamps.com Shipping Plugin or EasyPost Shipping Plugins, which still allows low volume mailers to print USPS postage paid labels. These service providers also facilitate profile based charging, which means pay for how much you use.
Let’s see what e-VS brings to bulk mailers:
- With e-VS, you have the control over your package, before you deposit it to the entry Post Office.
- Now you don’t have to schedule your mailing as per the origin Post Office timing.
- Since the process has been paperless, postage statements and other worksheets have gone digital. Your postal usage cost will be automatically deducted from your USPS account, now called PostalOne!.
- As an e-VS customer, you can review and monitor you postage quality and usage. This will help you reduce any discrepancy.
Usefulness of e-VS?
With e-VS you can:
- Pay for postage and special services on domestic Package Service and USPS Marketing Mail machinable packages.
- Included Irregular USPS Marketing Mail parcels in destination delivery unit mailings.
With e-VS you can’t:
- Include Letter-and flat-size mailpieces.
As a user of the e-VS services, you need to meet a minimum number of entries through your account for maintaining the ongoing services. USPS helps you find the required volume to be a part of the e-VS program.
The New ELEX USPS Shipping Plugin For WooCommerce
The new version of USPS has the two important changes:
- Elimination of No Postage Label Printing Option from Web Tools
- Introduction of e-VS
- The inclusion of Destination Entry Rates
Some Other New Features of the Plugin
- Settings Page is now divided into 6 tabs, making it easier to use
- Now with the e-VS account, you can pay for your postage usage online
- Printing of Labels with e-VS postages for both Domestic and International Shipments (Sample below)
Options for Low Volume Mailers
Now as we can see that, data maintenance and documentation of postage related information in USPS has gone digital, it has also become hard for small businesses to use USPS e-VS services. It is because e-VS requires a minimum volume of postage consumption. Failing to meet that may lead to discontinuation of services. So, the services by USPS is getting more convenient but is expected to go out of reach of a certain category of its mailers.
Fewer volume mailers, using USPS Shipping Plugin need to look for other methods for printing Label with Postage. This is because any parcel without such labels or without postage will not be accepted by USPS. As we have written earlier about Stamps.com being the Need of the Hour, store owners with less usage of postage can still use our Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage.
Stamps.com Shipping Plugin With USPS Shipping Plugin For WooCommerce
ELEX Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce provides Live USPS Shipping rates to your customers. The integration API provided by Stamps.com is the basis of this multi-purpose shipping plugin for WooCommerce. Different features of this plugin are:
- Providing Live USPS Rates for Both Domestic and International Shipping
- Enable/Disable and Adjust Shipping Rates by USPS
- Discounted Rates of Postages
- Print Labels with Postage
- Automatic Tracking of Packages
- Smart Packing Services according to your needs
- Custom Boxes
- Stamps.com Account to Add and Manage Funds
- Supports WPML
- Highly Customizable
- Premium Support from both Stamps.com and ELEX Customer Support Team
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Stamps.com is itself a vendor of online postage and buys postage from USPS in bulk and sells it to its customers at discounted rates. Get the plugin from the Product Page. Or test it on our Demo Site.
One more option to deal with USPS Postage in your mailing packages is EasyPosy Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce. This plugin can provide Shipping Rates for carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx and, CanadaPost. And Labels are printed using online postage services from Endicia. Here is a sample of Postage Paid Shipping Label printed using EasyPost Shipping Plugin.
There are few more advantages of EasyPost shipping Plugin over other USPS Postage Provides. EasyPost takes all responsibilities for postage and packing of your parcels. As a user of Postage Paid Labels, you don’t actually pay for postage to Endicia, but you pay it to EasyPost. This facilitates a few advantages for the mailers. Here are some of the advantages of using EasyPost Services for printing Postage Paid Labels:
- Live Shipping Rates from different Carriers
- Printing of Postage Paid Labels
- Automatic Shipment tracking for all carriers
- Inbuilt box packer of Packing Efficiency
- USPS Flat Rate Boxes
- Pay as much as you use
- Cancelling Shipment Once Created
Shipping services in WooCommerce have been really dynamic. With the introduction of e-VS, low volume mailers of USPS Shipping services are now looking for alternative options for printing labels. On the other hand, high volume mailers may find USPS services the ‘best ever’. Shipping service providers like Stamps.com and Endicia emerge as the ‘very best’ alternatives for low volume mailers. Stamps.com is a vendor of online postage itself and EasyPost Shipping Plugin uses RESTful API for shipping rates and a third party online postage provider eg. Endicia for postage.
So, if you have enough amount of Postage Usage, you can Register for your PostalOne account and continue using the USPS Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce. And if you are not sure of reaching the required volume of postage, for e-VS registration, you can use options like Stamps.com and EasyPost Shipping Plugins. These alternatives come with a lot of useful features, as we have seen earlier in the article.
Check out the product documentation section for more related articles.
You can also check out other WooCommerce and WordPress plugins in ELEX.