I’m a big fan of anything that saves me time, and that goes double if I also avoid waiting in line. (I tend to end up behind the little old lady checking out the latest flower stamp designs at the post office.) I’ve been testing out Stamps.com for the past few months, and it’s quite handy for printing stamps, and impressive for doing more.
After downloading the desktop software I started using the service to print regular stamps as I needed them. As the postage in my account gets depleted, it’s just a button click to add more with a credit card. You can print single stamps or full sheets of them on a regular printer and the special stamp labels. Avery also now offers Stamps.com compatible labels, so you can even get them from your usual office supply retailer.
However, simply printing out stamps is not the exciting part of the service. While photo or logo stamps (available by custom order) are cute, it’s the heavier duty shipping features that make Stamps.com an appealing alternative to a traditional office postage setup for small businesses.
Calculate the right postage
I’ve been guilty of just sticking a ton of stamps on a large envelope, knowing it’s too much postage but wanting to avoid a trip to the P.O. All you need is a postage scale (a coupon for a free one comes with your starter kit) and the Stamps.com interface does the rest with a few clicks.
Integration with contacts
Postage can also be printed directly on a single envelope or in batches as part of a mail merge. The software can pull contact information directly from your contact management system – Outlook, ACT, and others – and will also print from within other applications. For example if you’re in QuickBooks and need to mail an invoice, you can print the envelope with address and postage on it from within QuickBooks.
Package shipping & ecommerce
Stamps.com lets users print shipping labels for packages on plain sheets of paper, which eliminates the need for special labels altogether. A very cool feature is integration with popular ecommerce platforms including eBay, Yahoo, Amazon.com, Google Checkout and PayPal Shops. The software will retrieve order data from these systems to print the labels and postage, and then post the shipping details back to the system so customers know the details of their shipments.
The “regular” stuff
Beyond the special shipping features, it seems that Stamps.com has all of the usual shipping options covered: Express and Priority mail, international shipping, COD, certified, registered, and insurance. You can even order official USPS supplies like Express Mail Envelopes through the software, and schedule pickups of Express and Priority packages.
If anyone from your small business makes trips to the post office, I think it’s definitely worth giving Stamps.com a try. And like a lot of small businesses, this virtual post office is open way past 5pm.
Laura Leites, Managing Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com