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Save on mailing and shipping costs: 3 easy solutions

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Now that the busiest shipping season is over, take time to evaluate your mailing methods. You may be overlooking some relatively easy ways to save money. Here are three specific yet simple cost-savers:

1. Compare savings by using USPS Priority Mail. Other shipping prices and delivery guarantees may appear more attractive, but the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail can save you up to 50 percent over the competition for two-to-three day delivery. What's more, for packages weighing up to 5 pounds, you'll face no zone rates and substantial savings over other two-to-three day delivery alternatives.

You can also save on 2-pound packet-size mailers that are included free when you order a kit of 10 for the cost of postage. Plus, Priority Mail delivers to every address in the country and doesn't charge extra for Saturday deliveries.

2. Lighten your packaging. Explore new, lighter packaging alternatives that are probably better than your current materials.

Best example: Sealed Air Corp.'s ( inflatable packaging solutions for product protection can replace heavier, more expensive corrugated inserts. Its packaging uses plastic inflated bags that go easy on merchandise—and postage. Its "Instapak" lightweight foam packaging cushions products at lower cost than traditional methods.

3. Deliver your catalog via the Web. If you don't do so already, make your product information available online with your own Web catalog. Instead of relying on printed catalogs and product listings that must be mailed to customers and prospects, give them the option of accessing the information online.

Some tips: Keep the site navigation and layout in tune with the way your customers think. Put a date on each product Web page, and keep it short enough to print out as one page. Use consistent templates for all company product information.

Here are some Web and template providers:

• FreeMerchant,

• Yahoo! Small Business Merchant Solutions,

• DellHost,


• Verio,

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