When most people think of eCommerce, they think of things like subscription boxes, or ordering clothes off Amazon. However, we can’t forget about the kids and collectors of the world! Toy figurines and collectibles are some of the most popular items sold on eCommerce websites such as eBay and Mercari. Tons of online retailers sell dolls, stuffed animals like Beanie Babies, and other figurines all the time. That said, just because there’s a lot of sellers out there doesn’t mean they know how to ship these kinds of items cheaply and effectively. This guide is all about the cheapest way to ship toys and dolls, so you can focus on delivering joy without breaking the piggy bank. As Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story famously says, “To infinity, and beyond!”
USPS is the Cheapest Carrier for Shipping Dolls and Toys
If you’re deciding which major shipping carrier to choose from, look no further than the US Postal Service. USPS is the premier carrier for eCommerce shipments, and offers the best mix of affordable rates and quick delivery. In fact, USPS specializes in handling smaller shipments like packages containing toys and dolls. So, you’ll get the best rates with them as opposed to with any other carrier on the market.
Pro Tip: Even though USPS most often wins out, keep in mind that there are situations where other carriers like FedEx and UPS will be the best bet for oversized, heavy shipments, as well as for emergency delivery. FedEx, on the other hand, specializes in business deliveries, as well as niche shipments like sending pre-packaged frozen food.
First Class Package or Weight-Based Priority Mail Will Be the Cheapest Services
In the majority of cases, either First Class Package or weight-based Priority Mail will be the cheapest service for you. Of course, which of these two services you use depends on the weight of your shipment. We’ve outlined a little bit about each one below.
Ship First Class Package For Packages Under 16 Ounces
If your shipments are lightweight and less than 16 ounces (1 lb), then your cheapest available option is USPS First Class Package Service. First Class Package (or FCP, for short) will only cost anywhere in the range of under $3 to $5 per shipment. It also features full door-to-door tracking, as well as an estimated delivery timeframe of 1-3 business days.
Pro Tip: First Class Package doesn’t include any built-in USPS insurance. So, you may want to think about adding insurance to these shipments (which we’ll talk about later). You’ll also need to use your own packaging, since USPS doesn’t provide any free boxes or envelopes for First Class Package. Lucky for you, it’s easy to order these poly mailers on Amazon, and you can look for some smaller boxes on ULINE.
Ship Weight-Based Priority Mail For Packages Over 16 Ounces
For those packages over 16 ounces (1 lb), the next cheapest service will likely be Priority Mail (or Priority Mail Cubic, which is a specially-discounted service with prices based on a box’s dimensions instead of its weight). Similar to First Class Package, Priority Mail comes with door-to-door tracking, and delivery occurs within the same timeframe of 1-3 business days.
Unlike First Class Package, however, Priority Mail comes with built-in USPS insurance, which you can claim if the package gets damaged or lost. At the Post Office, all Priority Mail packages include $50 of insurance. That insurance amount doubles up to $100 when you buy your label with online shipping software, though. If you’ve never heard of shipping software before, don’t worry. You’re about to learn all about it in a moment or two.
If you want to save money on packaging, you can also order free boxes for Priority Mail on the USPS website! After you place your order, USPS will deliver these boxes right to you door, free of charge.
Pro Tip: If your toys are small enough, you may even be able to fit them inside the Priority Mail Small Flat Rate box…which will give you some of the cheapest prices you’ll find anywhere.
Use Online Shipping Software to Capture the Deepest USPS Discounts and Ship From Home
Here’s the key to saving the most money when shipping toys or dolls: you have to use online shipping software to buy shipping labels. Online shipping software doesn’t just give you the ability to buy and print postage from the comfort of your own home. These companies also let you access the deepest level of USPS discounts available, known as Commercial Pricing…and the best ones give you these savings for free. That means that you’ll be able to ship your toys out for the cheapest possible prices, and all of those extra savings go directly back into your pocket.
In fact, when you use shipping software, you can save up to 59% off what you’d pay at the Post Office for First Class Package. For Priority Mail shipments, you can save as high as 90% off. If that’s not a win/win situation, we’re not sure what is!
Are Your Dolls or Toy Shipments Fragile? Package Them Properly, and Protect Yourself With Insurance
Some toys and collectibles are fragile, such as ceramic dolls or rare wooden puppets. If this is the case for you, then it’s important that you pack them with all the right kinds of packing material, and use a strong, corrugated cardboard box. For fragile items, we suggest wrapping them with several layers of bubble wrap, and filling out the empty space inside your package with either air pillows or packing peanuts. This will keep your contents safely in place, while also protecting them from any shocks or sudden forces that may occur during transit.
As we mentioned earlier, it also may pay off to protect your packages with shipping insurance…especially if you’re shipping via First Class Package. There’s nothing worse than a shipment arriving with the contents broken, but when you have insurance, at least you’ll be able to file a claim for the full declared value. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
On the hunt for the right shipping software?
To explore the cheapest, easiest options, check out our guide: