When it comes to buying postage online, the benefits are pretty straightforward: you save time, and you save money. This article is all about how to buy postage online, and how you can save the most money doing it. Wake up, E-commerce business owners—that last part is for YOU!
How Can I Get Started?
Let’s build this house from the ground up. You’ll need a few key elements to start, which we’ve listed below:
- A computer
- Internet connection
- A printer
- A regular printer will do just fine, but if you’re shipping a lot of packages, we recommend that you print labels with a direct thermal label printer.
- A way to weigh your package*
- You can make like MacGyver and use a bathroom scale, but if you want to ship like a true pro, we suggest that you use a postage scale.
- A way to measure your package*
- You’ll need to measure the height, length, and width of your package. A ruler or tape measurer should do the trick.
*It’s crucial to accurately measure your package dimensions and determine how much it weighs. You’ll always be prompted to fill out that information, as it determines the price of your postage.
Once you’ve rounded up everything we listed, you’re good to go!
Where Can I Buy Postage Online?
There are two primary options for how to buy postage online: going through the United States Postal Service (USPS), or going through third-party postage providers. Let’s talk a little bit about both.
Going Through USPS
We’ve all been to the friendly neighborhood Post Office—and waited in line for what feels like longer than a rerun of Titanic. The average everyday customer will typically visit the Post Office and buy postage for their package in person. However, buying postage online at USPS.com is a great way to save yourself the trip. It’s super convenient to be able to skip those notorious lines and drop your package off at the counter (or schedule a free USPS pickup). Snagging postage on the USPS website is a nice way to do just that. Trust us: nobody wants to wait in that line. We get the willies just thinking about it!
All that being said, the retail postage rate is EXACTLY THE SAME on USPS.com as it is at the Post Office. Therefore, while buying postage off the USPS website might save you time, it won’t save you any money.
Going Through Third-Party Postage Providers
If you want to save money on buying postage online, your best bet is to go through a third-party postage provider. One of the reasons postage is cheaper on these websites is because retail location overhead doesn’t factor into the price (like it does with the Post Office). Another reason is that these shipping software platforms were designed to cater to the unique needs of various types of E-commerce businesses that USPS as an organization just can’t handle on their own. These small businesses need access to rates that allow them to compete with the big guys!
Here’s the bottom line: buying postage through a third-party provider will ALWAYS be one of the cheapest ways to ship with USPS. We’ve laid out a list of several third-party postage providers below, just in case you’d like to browse.
- Pirate Ship (the only truly free option)
Why Should I Use a Third-Party Postage Provider to Buy Postage Online?
The real question here is: why shouldn’t you? By going through a third-party postage provider you save yourself time and money. Most importantly, you can even access special USPS discounts like Commercial Pricing. If you’re running an E-commerce business, taking advantage of those discounts can be the difference between succeeding or failing! Postage tends to be one of the biggest expenses E-commerce businesses incur other than cost of goods sold, so it’s crucial to keep those costs as low as possible.
What’s Commercial Pricing?
In case you didn’t know, Commercial Pricing is the most deeply-discounted pricing tier USPS offers. Typically, this level of USPS discounts is only reserved for shippers that send out over 50,000 packages a year. However, going through a third-party postage provider can often help you access postage at Commercial Pricing rates! Needless to say, getting access to those discounts can end up saving you a TON of money.
Looking for the right shipping software for you?
To get the deepest discounts on all USPS shipping labels, check out our guide: