As you've probably heard, USPS rates have gone up significantly as of January 27th, 2013. With each of these yearly rate increases, I hold my breath and cringe, afraid to see exactly how much postage prices have risen in conjunction with the times. Yes, I understand that the post office, in the name of patriotism and efficacy, needs to stay in business. People need their jobs. And believe me, I understand the importance of USPS in the maintenance of small online businesses via quick and efficient deliveries. However, what I don't understand is how much the rates have gone up--what was once an affordable way to ship internationally is now mind-bogglingly expensive.
International buyers bear the brunt and burden of this executive decision--with the new rates, the First-Class International option is no longer affordable.
Through this online gizmo, I can figure out how much it will cost to ship a package of a certain weight (with specific USPS services, i.e.: First-Class, Priority, etc.) to almost anywhere in the world:
For example, a 3-ounce package shipped First-Class with Registered Mail (package insurance) to Australia will now cost me, and the buyer, $22.40. Last year, this package of the same weight/mail options would have cost me under $17. You may say that I am making a huge deal out of the $5 difference, but when compared to the price of EmeraldCut shop items--which I strive to keep affordable--paying over $20 for shipping is excessive, to say the least.
This issue leaves me in a conundrum, a moral dilemma of sorts? Should I charge my buyers the new shipping prices, or should I keep with my old ones and swallow my tears when I have to fork out an extra $4-$7 to ship international orders? (FYI: The January price hikes affect all international pricing--even Non-Registered, plain old First-Class Mail packages to Australia have gone up $4.) Not every shop on Etsy can afford this, nor can all buyers. Realistically speaking, people may even think twice about purchasing from non-domestic shops in order to avoid the price hike.
Call me an alarmist, if you will, but I did not buy into this plan when I opened my shop in fall 2010. Then I remind myself: life can be unfair at times, but at least I have my wit and humor intact--vital attributes in order to the brave the variable storm.