Use USPS to Ship Perfumes or Colognes
Perfumes and liquid fragrances are lightweight items that can fit into smaller packages. Therefore, your best option for shipping items like these is to ship with the US Postal Service. USPS will give you the best mix of affordable rates and fast delivery times. In fact, USPS specializes in delivering smaller, lightweight packages such as boxes containing fragrances. FedEx is generally best for overnight shipping and sending perishable items like frozen food, while UPS focuses on delivering large, heavy parcels.
Save Money on Shipping Fragrances with Shipping Software
As it the case with shipping anything else, you’ll save the most money when you use shipping software to buy postage online for your packages containing fragrances. The best shipping software options allow you to access the deepest level of USPS discounts, known as Commercial Pricing. These savings can be as high as 90% off what you would pay for shipping at the Post Office. Plus, who wants to wait in line at the Post Office, anyway?
Which USPS Mail Class Should I Use?
When shipping perfumes or other liquid fragrances, USPS restricts shippers to ground transportation only. Therefore, you will need to use the mail class Parcel Select Ground (the similar service at the Post Office is Retail Ground, and it’s more expensive than Parcel Select). That being said, you may be eligible to ship perfumes via air services such as First Class Package or Priority Mail, if you meet the following exceptions:
- When you meet all the criteria to mail under the Excepted Quantity provision (see Pub 52, 337 and Packaging Instruction 10B)
- When you obtain a written authorization to mail under an air-eligible ethanol authorization (see Pub 52, 343.27 and Packaging Instruction 3D)
Following the Necessary Steps
Since USPS considers perfumes and fragrances to be a type of hazardous material, we’ve listed out some guidelines for you to follow in order to ship them properly:
- For surface transportation, affix a Limited Quantity Label onto your package
- You’ll need to obtain written authorization from USPS to ship First Class Package, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express
- Shippers must submit a letter of request to USPS’ manager of Product Classification. The request must include a list of each specific product to be mailed under the authorization, an MSDS for each product, the office of mailing, and expected frequency and quantity of mailings.
- Send your letter to:
- MANAGER, PRODUCT CLASSIFICATION, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
- 475 L’ENFANT PLAZA SW RM 4446
- WASHINGTON DC 20260-5015
- If USPS approves you to ship via air transportation, they will give you specific instructions on how to label your package and which stickers/markings to add
Pro Tip: You’ll notice that shipping perfume with an air transportation service such as Priority Mail is a huge headache! Therefore, we suggest playing it safe and sticking to Parcel Select Ground or Retail Ground.
You Can’t Ship Perfume or Cologne Internationally
Even though you can ship perfumes and colognes anywhere in the United States without any problems, the same doesn’t go for international destinations. Since they are considered flammable hazardous materials, USPS strictly prohibits the international shipment of liquid fragrances.
Packaging Perfumes and Other Liquid Fragrances
More often than not, perfumes and colognes come inside of glass bottles. Glass helps a fragrance retain its aromas, while plastic would absorb some of the scent molecules, making the fragrance smell different over time. That being said, glass is one of the most fragile items you can ship. Therefore, properly packaging your fragrance bottle is essential to make sure it doesn’t incur damage during transit.
We highly suggest that you use custom-branded packaging to encase your fragrances bottles. This will add another layer of protection around your bottle, and it will also reinforce your brand. It’s a win-win situation! You can place your fragrance bottle inside your custom-branded box, and then place that box inside either a larger corrugated box or poly mailer.
Even if you use custom packaging, there will still be a lot of room for your perfume bottle to move around inside your package. So, if you want to play it extra safe, we recommend that you add extra packing material to help fill the void inside your package. Bubble wrap is a great kind of packing material. If you want to be super professional about it, you can even spring for custom-molded package inserts.
Don’t Forget to Include Insurance (If You Don’t Already Have It)
When you buy postage online with shipping software, some USPS mail classes such as Priority Mail come with $100 of built in insurance. However, other services such as First Class Package and Parcel Select Ground/Retail Ground don’t! Therefore, if you’re shipping either First Class Package or Parcel Select Ground, it’s always a good idea to protect your packages with shipping insurance.
Remember: most perfume and fragrance bottles are fragile. Shipping insurance only costs a dollar or so on top of your cost of postage. It’s well worth it in case your package disappears, or if your perfume bottles undergo damage during transit. You can thank us later.