When selling trading cards and other collectibles online through TCGplayer, it’s important to keep some shipping best practices in mind to keep your business costs down. Here are some tips to ensure you’re paying the lowest prices for shipping while avoiding postage due. These tips are applicable whether you’re sending orders directly to customers or you’re a TCGplayer Direct seller sending us a Reimbursement Invoice (RI).

Pick the Right Envelope or Box for Your Shipment

If you’re shipping only a few cards, it’s best to use a First-Class Mail® letter. However, if using an irregularly shaped envelope (see USPS Physical Standards), you may have to pay a non-machinable surcharge. If your letter is heavier than 3.5 oz. or you’re shipping items other than trading cards, you should consider using a First Class Package/Thick Envelope. For your orders needing larger packaging or weighing over 13 oz., consider Priority Mail or a Priority Mail Flat Rate® envelope or box.

Take Advantage of Commercial Discounts

There are different prices for retail vs. commercial shipping through the USPS, so make sure to take advantage of commercial shipping rates when possible. Third-party shipping platforms, such as Stamps.com and Endicia, typically offer reduced shipping rates for high-volume businesses as well. Keep in mind that if you walk into your local post office, you’ll pay the retail rate for postage and shipping materials.

Review the USPS Postage Rates Regularly

Always have the current USPS price list handy as a reference. That way you can ensure you’re taking advantage of the most affordable shipping options while staying up-to-date on any changes in shipping rates. The USPS even has guidelines to help you calculate postage correctly, so you can avoid having postage due after you ship your customer order or RI. Ensuring you’re calculating your costs correctly will ensure your orders and RIs arrive promptly and without penalty so you get paid on time.

Select the Correct Mail Class to Avoid Postage Due

If you send envelopes that are too thick (letter size must be <0.25"), you may need to send them using a package class. This is because they may not fit through the USPS equipment and therefore could be considered non-machinable. For any non-machinable envelopes, including irregularly shaped envelopes, you’ll need to pay at least an additional $0.21 on top of your standard postage. When using a Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate® Envelope, be sure to purchase the correct postage as the postage amount is higher than a standard cardboard Priority Mail Flat Rate® Envelope. When using a third-party shipping service, make sure you remember to correctly select the mail class that matches your shipment to avoid processing delays and late payments.

Minimize Lost and Damaged Mail

In addition to proper packaging and postage, using protective items like sleeves, top loaders and team bags can greatly reduce product damage in the mail. When mailing in an envelope, be sure to minimize product movement by securing the cards. For example, taping the top loader to the invoice will help keep it from sliding around. In the event that there is an issue with the package, having the order or RI packing slip within the shipment can lead to a quicker recovery.

Refer to our Shipping Guidelines for Cards and Shipping FAQ for more info.  If you need additional guidance on shipping your RIs for TCGplayer Direct, refer to our Best Practices for Shipping TCGplayer Direct Reimbursement Invoices. For what to do in the event of things like missing packages and other customer disputes, refer to our Marketplace Seller Agreement.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!