Things You Can Fit Into USPS Padded Flat Rate Envelope

6 Things You Can Ship with USPS Padded Envelopes to Save Money

13 min read

Shipping costs are one of the main reasons shoppers leave an online store without completing a purchase. But, as an ecommerce merchant or shopper, you probably already knew that. In that case, you probably also know that sellers are not usually able to change shipping rates. What a shame!

But! What if I told you that you might be able to ship your products for less money? What if you didn’t follow standard packaging practices, but went your own way instead? After all, the main requirement for packaging an item to ship is ensuring the product’s safety and the package’s integrity on its journey. But being creative with recommendations and rates can help you escape the tyranny of high shipping rates, and make postage work better for your brand.

Read on to determine how you can use free USPS (the most popular post service in the U.S. as of 2019) shipping supplies to maximize profits and customer satisfaction.

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USPS Flat Rates are Awesome

A flat rate is a fixed level of payment that stays the same no matter what you’re shipping. You may have heard that famous USPS ad campaign “if it fits, it ships.” Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Let’s explain:

If you ship anything via the post office, your shipping cost typically depends on the parcel’s weight. But you can choose to pay a flat rate to send your item, as long as it fits into a pre-set package. Your payment will depend only on the type of package you choose: an envelope or box in a number of different sizes.

This is a convenient option if you can’t predict if shipping by weight will cost more or less than a quick estimation, or if you don’t have a home scale to measure parcel weight.

USPS flat rates can be appealing for U.S. ecommerce merchants shipping domestically, because they are often lower than rates based on weight.

usps-flat-rates-and-weight-rates-domestic-usa


The maximum you could save shipping by weight is $1 (for 1 lb parcels only), and that only applies to certain specific situations. Source

The Magic of USPS Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope

USPS offers a wide array of flat rate packages — from small envelopes to large boxes. But there’s one option that we think is especially magical:

Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope is an envelope of 9.5in (L) by 12.5in (W), lined with bubble padding for extra protection. It’s flexible, bendable, and thick enough to protect your item from the bumps and tumbles of postal transit.

Now, combine these physical capabilities of this mailer with a simple flat rate, and you get a light-bulb moment: anything that fits in this envelope will cost the same price to deliver anywhere in the United States. The weight doesn’t matter. The destination (domestically speaking, that is) doesn’t matter. USPS even brands their envelopes with this promise: “One Rate Any Weight”!

usps padded envelope flat rate


Everything you can squeeze in a 9.5in (L) x 12.5 in (W) envelope will cost $8.55 to ship. From Chicago to Florida, from San Francisco to New York — it doesn’t matter!

How to Get USPS Padded Envelopes

You can find these handy bubble envelopes at USPS online stores, your local post office, and other shipping supplies locations (Mailboxes Etc, anyone?). In some locations, you don’t even have to pay for the mailers: order them for free, and the postman will drop them off at your residence during their next mail delivery.

The padded envelopes are sold and delivered in packs of 10 and 15. You can order 10 packs of 10 at once, in most locations.

7 Products You Can Ship for 8 Bucks Across The US

Okay, now that we’ve given you the scoop on flat-rate shipping—it’s time to chat about what products can fit these magical padded envelopes! Basically, anything big but soft, or small but heavy. We’ll give you some of our top picks, below:

1. Hoodie/sweater

Hoodies and sweatshirts can be thick and heavy. However, folded properly, they can fit into a USPS padded envelope and reduce your overall shipping cost. Hello, cheaper merch for your most loyal customers!

Not a folding expert? Check out this video to help you out:

Hoodies might strike you as seasonal, but our research shows that demand doesn’t wane over the rest of the year. Look!

hoodies in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

2. Pillow

Pillows shrink down well because the insides are mostly air! Of course, stuffing your oversized body pillow into a flat rate envelope probably won’t cut it. But how about a decorative pillow for the living room sofa?

You’ll be amazed how compact your pillows can become with a simple vacuum technique. All you need is a vacuum cleaner and thin plastic bags. Here’s an example of how to pack a pillow:

 

pillows in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

3. Jeans

It’s not surprising that jeans can be stuffed into a small shipping envelope. However, we felt like alerting your attention to the shippability of jeans for a specific reason: presentability.

Yes, many of us expect to see jeans packed snuggly and arrive unharmed, but also we expect them to look nice upon arrival. Here’s some advice from a guy who knows how to package jeans.

In case you didn’t know, if you sell jeans, you’re right on trend. Jeans have been a wardrobe staple and popular ecommerce buy for a long time!

jeans in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

4. Metal art pieces

Okay, okay. We know that not every piece of art made from metal can physically fit into a USPS flat rate envelope, so size is critical here. Plus, some art, although made of metal, can be fragile—too fragile for a simple padded envelope. In these cases, you might use a bigger envelope or consider a flat rate box, which is a bit more expensive but will keep your product safer.

But metal figures are on this list because they are heavy—especially scrap metal figures (which are quite popular these days!). If your figures are heavier than 1 lb, but still small, envelopes can be an appealing money saver.

Plus, metal is a solid material and often fairly durable. In other words, many metal pieces can easily withstand transportation without a thick box. However, wrapping your metal figures pre-shipment will add an extra layer of protection. Depending on the art figure size, you can ship 2-3 items in one envelope; just make sure they’re wrapped individually.

Here’s a simple guide to packing metal figures. Don’t mind the box. That thing could easily fit into a flat rate envelope.

Art pieces made from metal are popular presents and collectibles Metal figures are visually appealing and durable. Which means they make great gifts that have the potential to last for generations.

metal art in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

5. Books

It seems like these padded envelopes were made to ship books. Again, the size matters, but the hard-cover version of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien will fit right in, and you’ll even have extra space for a second layer of bubble wrap to protect the book. Want to ship the 576-page long monster “The Institute” by Stephen King? Go ahead, it’s only eight bucks to ship it across the United States with Ecwid.

And don’t forget about special touches! Beneath the outer bubble wrap mailer packaging, limitless possibilIties exist for internal packaging to make your customer’s experience of unpacking their new book as exciting as reading it.

Here’s a simple yet interesting idea on how you can wrap your books to make them look like gifts. A great suggestion for selling around the holiday season, or anytime.

Books are timeless, so we hardly need to articulate why they are a good vertical to be in. But in case you’re interested:

books in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

6. Wooden cutting board

What’s something heavier and more rectangular than a book? Yep, a cutting board! Big, boxy, and made of wood to boot: aka the perfect candidate for a flat-rate bubble mailer.

Obviously, wood isn’t the only material cutting boards can be made from. Stylish boards also come in stone and plastic, for example. But when it comes to transportation, stone is fragile, and plastic is very lightweight. So you risk losing the benefits of using the USPS envelope.

When it comes to wood, we feel like this is the perfect candidate for flat-rate shipping: it’s solid and won’t split if you hit it, so you’re not taking a risk shipping it with a USPS padded envelope.

Unfortunately, our exhaustive internet search didn’t pull up any insightful videos about packing a cutting board into an envelope, but we’ll keep an eye out for future finds. If you find one in the meantime, leave a link in the comments, and we can add it to the post—with a credit to you.

Believe it or not, wooden cutting boards are trending! They are expected to blast the market in the near future if we are to believe the oracle of Google.

wooden cutting board in demand google trend


Source: Google Trends

Reduced Flat Rate with Ecwid Labels

Before we get to the part where we tell you about all the amazing things you can fit into these envelopes, let’s chat about another shipping trick — discounted shipping labels with Ecwid.

Yes, thanks to Ecwid’s USPS partnership, you can get a flat-rate discount, allowing you to ship your products in USPS flat-rate envelopes for as low as $8.00 (instead of the already low $8.55). Print your shipping label right from the Ecwid control panel (in order details). Stick it to the envelope, package it up, and you’re good to go!

If you prefer to use Ecwid Store Management Mobile App for iOS to manage your online store, you can purchase discounted shipping labels right in the app and print them on from your nearest cloud printer.

The discount and printing are available only for USPS United States domestic deliveries. But we’re working on adding more shipping services to this offer, so international sellers, check back soon!

usps flat rate poly envelope discount with ecwid


Send anything you want, from your best-selling product to 10 lbs of pancake mix to the White House—for just eight bucks! The real challenge is fitting them in…

In Closing

USPS Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelopes are excellent for shipping big and soft or small and heavy products. It cost only $8.55 to ship anything across the US, no matter the weight (Remember, “if it fits, it ships.”)

And if you purchase shipping labels with Ecwid (in your order details, on desktop or mobile), you’ll score an even lower rate!

Do you have a great idea for a product that can fit into the USPS envelope? Share your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll add them to the main list!

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About the author

Max is a Content Marketing Manager at Ecwid. He’s been in the e-commerce industry for the last four years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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