Macy’s (NYSE:M) today announces the return of “Yes, Virginia The Musical,” which will hit local stages throughout the holiday season. Now in its fourth year as part of Macy’s annual holiday “Believe” campaign, the play’s script and score will be available royalty free, in addition to $1,000 grants awarded to the first 100 eligible schools and organizations that apply, now through September 18. For the first time ever, the grant program will be open to high school groups and non-profit community organizations, as well as past grant recipients who have put on the show in previous years. A comprehensive digital toolkit will be available to all interested schools at yesvirginiamusical.com, complete with helpful videos, an interactive script and production reference materials to help groups stage their magical performances. “We have heard incredible feedback from participating schools across the country over the past three seasons,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “This year, we look forward to extending the grant program to include high schools and non-profit community organizations, which will continue to bring the uplifting story of Virginia O’Hanlon to life.”
A recent United States Postal Service rate hike that went into effect on Jan. 17 is affecting some online merchants, especially those who rely on specialty shipping options like flat-rate priority mail services, retailers and experts say.
On average, rates increased 9.5%, according to the U.S. Postal Service. This is the first time in three years the government carrier has raised prices on commercial Priority Mail.
Online retailer ScanMyPhotos.com, which relies almost exclusively on the Postal Service’s priority mail flat-rate boxes, saw its bill go up 9.8% starting on Monday, says founder Mitch Goldstone.
Shipping costs are a major concern for the merchant because its business requires three shipments per order instead of one, like most e-retailers, and it prides itself on offering consumers free shipping on all purchases.
“Our crazy low prices and free shipping are huge for us,” says founder Mitch Goldstone. “I really didn’t want to change that.”
ScanMyPhotos.com, which generated about $5 million in sales last year, converts photographic prints into digital format, so when a customer places an order to have photos scanned, the retailer first ships a flat-rate box to the consumer’s home. The consumer then fills that box with photographs and ships it to the retailer. Upon completion of the scanning process, the retailer sends those photos back to the consumer, along with a CD-ROM or thumb drive with the digital prints.
Each way, shipping costs the merchant $11.88 as of Monday, $3 more than before the rate hike. Still, Goldstone acknowledges the U.S. Postal Service rates on these types of shipments are far cheaper than anything other commercial carriers could offer.
“On average, our boxes weigh about 17 pounds,” Goldstone says. “That would cost about $40 without the flat-rate box.”
One shipping expert echoes that sentiment, acknowledging that small merchants are likely to be impacted the most by the hikes, as they don’t have the buying power that larger players do to negotiate discounted pricing contracts with the carrier. But still, the government-backed carrier will still be cheaper than other carriers for many shipping options.
more at: https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/01/22/how-10-usps-rate-hike-affects-online-retailers