How Does Stamps.com Work?
Stamps.com is currently running a promotion for new merchants who sign up. Use the code STAMPS 100 to get $40 in postage coupons (to be used in increments of $10 over four months) and a free supplies kit. You’ll get all this in addition to Stamps.com’s usual offerings, which include $5 in free postage, a free digital postage scale, and a free trial period (read more about the conditions of the free trial period in our “How Do I Get Started” section below). View Stamps.com’s promotion for more details.
Shipping is one of the great challenges of eCommerce, and smaller businesses are especially prone to struggle. Without the benefits of a full warehouse and fulfillment team, the mechanics of shipping can quickly get in the way of more important business endeavors, and shipping expenses can pile up. And with so many variables affecting shipping rates, it is often difficult to know which option is the most cost-effective.
In order to simplify their shipping processes, merchants turn to a variety of alternative methods (in fact, we’ve written a whole blog series on those shipping methods). You can, for example, integrate shipping software with your current eCommerce platform or even invest in a third-party fulfillment service.
Here at Merchant Maverick, we love complex shipping software, but we also recognize that for some small business owners, more advanced shipping solutions may be overkill. If you’re used to loading up all of your shipments and driving them to the nearest package drop-off, you may simply be looking for a way to print out your postage and send your merchandise without making a trip to the post office. For you, and merchants like you, Stamps.com may be the way to go.
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What Is Stamps.com?
Stamps.com is software that integrates with the USPS (United States Postal Service) to let you purchase postage and shipping labels directly from your work computer. You can print out that postage on any regular printer and then schedule a pickup time with USPS. In essence, you can get your shipments in the mail without ever leaving your place of business.
The software is available in both an online version and a downloadable version for PC. Although Stamps.com is similar to many shipping software options, it is a bit less functional than the average program. Most notably, Stamps.com only allows you to purchase postage from the USPS, while other shipping solutions give you a wider range of postage options. In addition, Stamps.com only includes the most basic of shipping features. You can purchase postage, schedule pickups, email return shipping labels, and that’s essentially it.
Stamps.com is priced at a flat rate of $19.99/month (in addition to the cost of postage, of course). Every Stamps.com subscription comes with a free shipping scale when you pay shipping and handling.
How Does Stamps.com Work?
Although Stamps.com has limited features compared to many shipping solutions, the software still performs well within its limitations. Here are a few of the features Stamps.com offers:
- Bulk Printing Options: Print shipping labels for all of your orders at once (available only with the downloadable PC version).
- Print Packing Slips: You can only add custom graphics (like a logo) if you’re using the downloadable PC version of the software.
- Print Postage: You can print shipping labels and stamps. You can also print addresses and postage directly onto envelopes.
- Send Return Shipping Labels: If your customers request to return a product, you can create a return shipping label and send it via email.
- Schedule USPS Pickups: Schedule pickup times directly from Stamps.com’s admin panel.
- Purchase Shipping Insurance: Select this option when you go to purchase postage. Insure shipments up to $10,000 in value.
- Send Notification Emails: Let customers know when their orders have shipped.
- View Reports: Establish “Cost Codes” to track your purchases and more.
- Print From Any Printer: You don’t need to buy a fancy printer to print postage.
- SCAN Forms: Include multiple shipments in one barcode.
- Thermal Printers: Stamps.com supports the leading brands of thermal printers.
- Hide Postage Cost: Send labels that do not display postage costs.
- Advanced Services Available: Sign up (free!) for Stamps.com’s Global Advantage Program which gives you access to services for flats and large envelops, automated customs forms, instant shipping refunds, and better shipment tracking.
- Support: Contact support representatives with email, live chat, and unlimited telephone support.
Benefits Of Stamps.com
With all this talk of “limited features,” why would you choose to sign up for Stamps.com? In truth, Stamps.com may not be right for many online sellers. Larger businesses (which often need to purchase postage from multiple shipping carriers) likely require more features than Stamps.com can offer. However, for smaller merchants, Stamps.com might fill a need perfectly.
The first benefit of using Stamps.com is the price. At $19.99/month, Stamps.com is cheaper than most other shipping software solutions, especially if you’re shipping between 50 and 500 orders a month. In addition, a subscription with Stamps.com gives you access to discounted shipping rates from USPS.
What’s more, Stamps.com is simple to learn. Because it is a bare-bones tool, there isn’t a whole lot to figure out in order to get shipping. What’s more, Stamps.com support is reportedly good, and the company does a great job with their support documentation. You’ll be able to find answers to many of your questions with a quick search.
Downsides Of Stamps.com
Stamps.com is far from a perfect solution. I’ve seen multiple reports online that blame Stamps.com for charging them a monthly fee during their trial period. These merchants claimed that it was difficult to have that amount refunded to them. You should note that if you go one day beyond Stamps.com’s 30-day trial period, you will be charged for both the trial period and your second month with the service.
Other users called Stamps.com a “scam” because the company continued to bill them after they had stopped using the software. It seems that it can be difficult to cancel Stamps.com once you’ve opened an account. Some merchants had to wait on hold a long time to do so. Other merchants had simply forgotten to cancel their accounts, and with that Stamps had been proactive about notifying them of continued monthly payments.
I have also seen reports of glitches, crashes, and clumsy updates. In particular, merchants complain that Stamps.com Online is limited in its features, and if you’re using a Mac, it can be a real pain.
Who Should Use Stamps.com?
Stamps.com best fits smaller sellers who ship between 50 and 500 orders per month. It’s also best for merchants who were previously using USPS exclusively for their shipments.
Merchants who ship fewer than 50 orders per month would be better off signing up for a free plan with a shipping software like ShipStation (read our review) or ShippingEasy (read our review). Those who ship over 500 orders per month would also benefit from the advanced features of these software solutions, even though plans cost slightly more.
How Do I Get Started With Stamps.com?
To begin using Stamps.com, you must first sign up for a 30-day trial. Provide your name, address, and credit card information. Then, you’ll be able to create a login and password.
Note: This trial is free for your first 30 days, but if you stay with Stamps.com for one more day, you will be billed for both the trial period and the next month.
Next, you can integrate your online store and any marketplaces you use (take a look at Stamps.com’s list of integrations to see if your shopping cart is already connected). This will let you quickly import your orders directly into your Stamps.com admin.
When I tested Stamps.com, I first synced my Shopify store with the shipping software. I was pleased to see that my Shopify orders transferred over automatically and immediately.
Processing orders is simple. Just select the shipping method and packaging you choose to use with your shipment and purchase the postage.
As I’ve said, support materials are available online. Make sure you sign up for a free 30-day trial to test out the software before you commit to monthly payments.
Is Stamps.com For Me?
Is Stamps.com worth it? The answer depends entirely on whether it fits with your business model. If so, I highly recommend that you sign up for a free trial with the platform. Keep in mind that you’re providing Stamps.com with your credit card information in order to create this trial. If you forget to cancel the service after those initial 30 days, you will be charged the monthly fee.
Make sure you vet Stamps.com thoroughly during your trial period. Try using the software to process all of your orders for a week so you’re certain it will fit into your workflow. Test out more advanced features, like return label creation and postage refunds, and dive into the support resources with any questions you may have. Stamps.com may just be what your business needs!
Click below to sign up for a trial of Stamps.com or check out our shipping software reviews to see your other options.