Webretailer News Digest for August 12, 2022

For the third year in a row, the USPS is increasing its rates for the holiday shopping season. 

Beginning October 2nd, online sellers could pay up to $6.50 extra per package — based on their zone — for flat-rate Priority Mail. And they could pay up to $5.50 per package for USPS retail, Parcel Select Ground, and First-Class Package Service based on zone and weight. The increase is up $1.50 over last year for flat rate shipping and adds a large price jump for the other services year-over-year as well.

Here are a couple of examples of how that plays out:

  • A Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box increases from $14.25 to $15.00
  • Shipping a one-pound package via Priority Mail at the commercial rate to Zone 9 jumps from $16.39 to $17.19 — or $0.80 total.

The rate hikes are contingent upon approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. But they approved the holiday rate hikes for the past two years, and there’s no reason to expect they won’t. 

The announcement also states the rates will stand until January 23rd of next year. However, back in the Fall of 2021, the USPS said they would begin a Market Dominate price adjustment schedule — more price increases on the regular — beginning in January 2023. 

Overall, it looks like online sellers won’t be getting any inflation relief from the USPS soon. To review all the holiday changes, visit the USPS Time Limited Price Change List Notice 123.

Forrester projects US eCommerce sales to reach $1.6 trillion by 2027

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Renowned market research firm Forrester released its 2022 Online Retail Forecast for the US last week. Fortunately, the report revealed some promising news for eCommerce retailers over the next five years. 

The marketing research firm projects that online sales will continue their growth trajectory and reach $1.6 billion by 2027. In addition, nearly 30% of all retail sales in the US will go through online channels. That’s an overall 10% compound annual growth rate for the industry. 

However, the wholly positive news had some negatives in the short term. The report stated that there will be short-term hardships for online retailers because of inflation and supply chain issues.

Regardless, we’d like to focus on the positive here. An author of the report and VP Principal Analyst at Forrester, Sucharita Kodali, stated, “We expect eCommerce to take share from physical retail in the years ahead.” Also, the report mentioned that eCommerce growth rates will revert to 2019 growth levels. 

In a post-pandemic world, that’s great news for online sellers across the world. 

This week, Amazon announced a new promotion opportunity for sellers registered as Brand Owners with the Amazon Brand Registry. The retail giant is calling its new promotion ‘Premium A+ content’ which allows Brand Owners to add “new and larger module types” within their product description sections on their product detail pages.

The modules include:

  • Image carousels
  • Interactive hotspots
  • Video

To qualify a Brand Owner must have published an A+ brand story across their ASIN catalog and “have had at least 15 A+ content projects approved in the past 12 months, for each Amazon store.”

The promotion listing page claims that implementing “Premium A+ content” can increase sales by as much as twenty percent. However, sellers should err on the side of caution before taking advantage of the promotion. The word “free” doesn’t appear anywhere on the announcement, so Amazon can start charging at any moment without notice.

Online music retailer Sweetwater adds used musical instrument marketplace

If you’re not musically inclined, no worries. But eCommerce retailers can take note of one online marketplace launch strategy that could pay off. Sweetwater is launching its Gear Exchange marketplace where sellers can offload their used musical instruments and equipment.

It may not seem interesting, but in fact, the new online marketplace is actually a “growth initiative” for the main retail site according to VP of Gear Exchange Andy Rossi. That’s because the company is allowing Gear Exchange sellers to avoid seller fees if they accept the payment as a Sweetwater gift card. That includes all fees associated with the sale. 

Obviously, if you’re a musician, you can take full advantage of the concept. And if you’re not so musically inclined but pay attention to online marketing, take note. This tactic could be useful for your business.

Bonanza adds twenty-five-cent transaction fee on all sales

Online marketplace Bonanza has been making waves for a while now and has held off increasing its fees since 2016. But with inflation hitting most online sellers, the company announced it’s adding a $0.25 transaction fee on every sale beginning at the end of the month. 

The company cited operational costs amid the current economic market for the change. However, the fee will only apply to completed sales, so it’s still free to list items on the site. And sellers can also use their rewards tokens to cover the fees if they choose. 

Bonanza sellers can avoid the fee with a Bonanza membership subscription.

Whatever your thoughts on cryptocurrency, it looks like Bitcoin is here to stay. And with that comes opportunities for online sellers to accept more ways for buyers to pay for their goods.

In the spirit of that philosophy, eCommerce SaaS platform Launch Cart announced this week they’re launching an integration with Bitcoin payment processor OpenNode. With the integration, Launch Cart users can accept Bitcoin payments that instantly convert to their local currency. 

The integration is a big jump for a company looking to compete with big names like Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, and WooCommerce. None of the other platforms currently have a native acceptance of cryptocurrency, much less an integration that also allows for upselling and down selling. 

Launch Cart CEO Greg Writer stated about the integration, “We are super excited to give our customers the ability to accept Bitcoin using OpenNode and the Lighting Network. This will help Launch Cart grow globally and become the leader with our On-Demand platform and Source & Sell Marketplace. We feel we are a great partner for OpenNode to help them with their mission to empower and connect the world with Bitcoin.”

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