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Dimensional Shipping Coming to USPS

In January, USPS implemented price rate hikes it had announced last year, the most important ones we highlighted here.

What this means – your free shipping may now be charged. However, one potentially significant change in how dimensional weight (DIM Weight) is calculated was postponed until June 23, 2019.

But it now is getting closer to the June 23 deadline and while most shipping processors are ready for the switch, many small online businesses offering free shipping who use USPS Priority Mail services on bulkier items could be in for a surprise.

With a little under a month to go, two key points online retailers need to evaluate to make sure they are ready.

  • If a parcel is over 1 cubic foot (1728 cubic inches), USPS will no longer exempt shipments in Zones 1-4 from DIM pricing. After June 23, all shipments to all zones will be subject to DIM pricing if the parcel exceeds 1 cubic foot.
  • The formula to calculate DIM pricing will change from a volumetric divisor of 194 to 166. DIM weight is calculated by multiplying a package’s length, width, and height and applying the volumetric divisor. Starting June 23, USPS will use the new formula for Dim weight which is (Length) X (Width) X (Height) / 166.

Tips To Get Ready

For merchants that ship a lot of small items, this is a good time to look at packaging to avoid paying more in shipping.

  • USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes – When going to a post office to get packaging supplies, most locations only carry a small selection of flat rate boxes. There are a lot more flat rate boxes available to order for free USPS that could solve rising shipping costs.
  • One Cubic Foot Boxes – Since USPS is keeping the DIM exemption for small parcels under one cubic foot, now is a great time to evaluate if shipping boxes in your inventory are just over this threshold. Remember, (Length) X (Width) X (Height) must be 1728 or less to be considered one cubic foot.

One final note, actual weight will apply before DIM weight if the package’s actual weight is more than the DIM weight.

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