Earlier this year, two major USPS updates went into effect. The first was its 2018 rate changes, and the second involved its First Class Mail International (FCMI) service.
As of January 21, 2018, the only items USPS customers can ship in a Large Envelope/Flat with FCMI are documents. Any other items must be shipped in a package.
Unfortunately, this new rule can increase shipping costs by $7.00 or more for packages under 1lb. But don’t worry, there’s good news. You can still totally afford to ship internationally, thanks to ShipStation and our Global Advantage Program (GAP).
Tell Me More About This Global Advantage Program!
GAP enables users to continue shipping items other than documents using large envelopes/flats via FCMI. When a shipment meets the GAP criteria, the ShipStation software generates a special shipping label.
This label includes both the recipient’s international address as well as the domestic address of the nearest international sorting facility. When the package arrives at the sorting facility, it’s relabeled with an international shipping label and sent on to its final destination.
The Global Advantage Program offers merchants a few great benefits:
- Up to 65% off USPS First Class Mail International package rates
- Electronically-submitted customs forms — no printing required
- Better visibility with additional tracking events and address verification
Here’s an infographic with a quick overview of the Global Advantage Program.
How Do I Enable GAP in ShipStation?
Every ShipStation user with a Stamps.com account is automatically enrolled in GAP. This means you don’t have to worry about manually making any changes to your workflow. It’ll just be business as usual.
To trigger the creation of a GAP label, a shipment must have the following options selected:
- Service = USPS First Class Mail Intl
- Package = Large Envelope or Flat
- Package Contents = Any selection other than “Documents”
You can see in the screenshot below where the Package Contents, Service, and Package menus are.
You can learn more about how the Global Advantage Program works in ShipStation.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let the 2018 USPS rate change and updates to First Class Mail International service stop you from shipping overseas. Just take advantage of the benefits (especially the discounts) your Stamps.com account provides. Feel free to browse our Support articles for more information!