USPS Shipping Options: What They Mean to Your Jewelry Business
Do you dread dropping off a shipment of jewelry because you fear that your package of valuables could be lost, damaged, or stolen?
Maybe that fear stems from the confusion about the options available when shipping a package. After all, there are numerous carriers to choose from and even one of the most widely accessible — The United States Postal Service® (USPS) — has many services with different options.
Having an abundance of options for shipping your valuables can be stressful, but don't just cross your fingers and resort to an "out of sight, out of mind" thinking pattern.
If you decide to use USPS to ship jewelry, get informed about the different types of service and protection they provide.
A glance at the USPS's comparison page of insurance and extra services shows a wealth of details. That may be overwhelming, so let's simply take a look at a few options jewelry businesses are advised to use when deciding among USPS shipping options.
The difference between Priority Mail®, First-Class Mail® & Registered Mail™
Priority Mail and First-Class Mail are products that are determined by service standards based on their time in transit. Priority Mail is a non-guaranteed 1-3 day service, while a First-Class Mail package is a non-guaranteed 1-5 day service.
Registered Mail on the other hand is an additional service that offers protection for your package, including the option to purchase up to $50,000 of insurance. However, the extra security slows the delivery and USPS does not provide a time frame if Registered Mail is added.
While it’s the safest option, Registered Mail is not always a practical USPS shipping option for jewelry businesses (we’ll discuss insurance and loss prevention tips later).
First-Class Mail is similar to Priority Mail in terms of the options for protection and extra services, but it is only intended for envelopes and lightweight low-value packages of 13 ounces or less if purchased at a post office.
However, you can send packages up to 15.99 ounces if you purchase the label with JM™ Shipping Solution on the Zing® platform.
Priority Mail and First Class Mail packages are priced the same by size, weight, shape, and distance traveled, but Priority Mail has additional options with flat rate packaging with corresponding packaging materials.
Pricing is calculated based on the package dimensions, weight and service level. USPS has a Postage Price Calculator to help you get a better idea of what it may cost.
Image Courtesy: USPS
Priority Mail Express®
Sometimes the delivery of Priority Mail may not be fast enough.
If your shipment needs to be expedited, using Priority Mail Express might be a better option. It includes some of the same features of Priority Mail, but it can reach the intended destination on an overnight basis — sometimes even delivering on Sundays, though extra fees may apply.
There is one other missing feature that you need to be aware of as well:
- While it is available when requested, a signature confirmation from the recipient is not guaranteed.
- If you do opt for Priority Mail Express, remember to explicitly request a signature and opt for the Adult Signature options if it’s available for shipments of relatively high value.
Image Courtesy: USPS
Tips on Insurance For Shipping Jewelry
- Don't be confused by the "Insured Mail" option that could be offered in place of Registered Mail.
Insured Mail through USPS is not necessarily related to your regular insurance policy — it's a designation given by the post office that offers coverage against loss or damage up to $5,000 (remember, Registered Mail offers up to $50,000).
- If you have shipping coverage on a jewelers block policy with Jewelers Mutual Group, check your limits so you know the right amount of additional coverage to purchase.
- We recommend using JM Shipping Solution for shipping jewelry and for insuring your shipments, regardless of your core jewelers block policy.
Buying insurance for packages directly through the Zing platform can could save you up to 50% of coverage costs compared to jewelers block policies — plus, there are many other benefits that help save time and money!
Final Lessons on Shipping Jewelry
As mentioned earlier, these are the loss prevention tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. Choose your shipping option wisely
Ask yourself, "How quickly do I need this delivered?" This will help you determine if you need to utilize Priority Mail Express. Given that the shipping delays of 2020 are continuing in 2021 (and likely beyond), we recommend using the quickest possible option. Instead of a few extra days, other options are taking up to three weeks.
Lastly, knowing where you’re shipping to will aid in your decision and the type of packaging option you choose will help protect your package.
2. Confirm the receipt from the post office.
Make sure all the services and extra features you are expecting are documented on your copy of the receipt — including the amount that the package is insured for. This is done automatically with JM Shipping Solution
This will help you to avoid any possible breakdown in communication.
Take your time, document everything, and have a solid understanding of the protection provided by USPS shipping options, as well as any additional coverage that may be offered through the policy you have with your insurance company or shipping software.
3. Request a signature when using Priority Mail Express.
It may be optional through the post office, but your insurance policy could still require it.
Compare USPS with other options
Try JM Shipping Solution to compare shipping options side-by-side, access incentive programs, intelligently insure your packages and much more.
*This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.