On April 10, 2016, the U.S. Postal Service will reduce postage rates for regular mail — for the first time in 97 years.
Small businesses have become conditioned to hearing about postage rates going up. But, in a move called “historic” certain postage rates are being reduced.
The biggest news is that First-class mail will go down by two cents. The postage rate reductions affect letters, large envelopes or flats, and postcards. The reductions amount to more than four percent and are a result of removing the 2014 Exigent Surcharge.
How Much Will a Postage Stamp Cost?
Postage rate reductions include:
- First-class stamps — 47 cents (old rate, 49 cents)
- Each additional ounce for letters — 21 cents (old rate, 22 cents)
- First-class metered mail (first ounce) — 46.5 cents (old rate, 48.5 cents)
- Postcards – 34 cents (old rate, 35 cents)
- Certified mail — $3.30 (old rate, $3.45)
- Media mail (1-pound piece) — $2.61 (old rate, $2.72)
For more detail about the postage rate reductions, including other categories of postage rates being reduced, see the USPS Excel spreadsheet. Pitney Bowes also has created a concise rate chart you can view at a glance.
Implications of the Postage Rate Reduction
For small businesses that send direct mail pieces, invoices and other mail in large quantities, the postage rate reduction can add up to significant savings.
Of course, if you thought to save money by investing in “Forever Stamps,” the stamps that the Post Office has been selling since 2007, you just lost out. Still, in this world of spiraling prices, any postage rate reduction is welcome.
Despite the growth of cloud communications, USPS mail continues to be an important marketing channel as well as a delivery channel for small businesses.
“In this omni-channel world, mail remains a critical channel for businesses to reach existing customers and to engage prospects,” said Patrick Brand, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global SMB Products and Business Strategy, Pitney Bowes.
Brand went on to point out the importance of small business people educating themselves on new technologies that are “reinventing mail.”
“Businesses can now enhance physical mail pieces with digital experiences, create more interactive and targeted direct mail, and sequence communications across multiple channels to boost impact. Businesses of all sizes should take advantage of the savings by investing in new technology and services that optimize their mailing and shipping operations,” said Brand.
Brand added that businesses doing volume mailing can shave off even more savings by using a postage meter. Metered mail gets the advantage of a half-cent lower price.
Priority Mail Users – No Relief for You
Unfortunately, shipping rates for packages and Priority Mail are not being reduced at this time.
Many shipping rates were increased back in January 2016, sparking outrage from small business owners. Some of the comments received on our earlier article about shipping rate increases are quite outspoken about the negative impact on small businesses. One business owner, “Monica”, said in a comment on our earlier article, “International bubble mailer that cost 6.39 now costs 13.75! This will most likely kill our overseas customers buying from us.”