The new USPS rates go into effect on Sunday, January 17th. Here’s how it impacts your mailings. Here’s the good, the bad, and the… actually not ugly:

The good: First Class Mail® is staying the same! This goes for the price of the stamp ($0.49) and the price of metered mail (half a cent cheaper). Standard Mail and Periodicals will remain the same.

Tuesday, at the first Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) meeting of the year, Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced that the exigency rate surcharge is scheduled to be rolled back the first week of April. A 45-day notice will be issued in February. This will actually lead to what feels like a postage decrease for the back half of 2016 if all goes as planned.

The bad: For package delivery- Priority Mail looks to increase by 9.8% overall, and retail prices will increase an average of 8.6%. Parcel Select will increase by 3.1% and Parcel Select Lightweight will increase by 23.5% on average. Parcel Select Ground (formerly Parcel Select Nonpresort) will increase by 1.9%. First-Class Package Service pricing will increase 12.8%. Retail Ground (formerly Standard Post) will increase 10%. First-Class Package Service rates will see an average increase of 12.8% in 2016. The maximum weight for First-Class Package Service Commercial Base pricing will be increased from up to 13 ounces to up to 16 ounces. First-Class Package Service Commercial Plus pricing will no longer exist in 2016.

Online retailers will likely feel the biggest impact of these rate changes, since most of the proposed rate hikes in 2016 will relate to packages. Rates for stamps, letters and postcards are not slated to increase with this price hike. The prices of stamps actually stand to be reduced in 2016, per the USPS agreement to end the exigency increase. We are not yet sure what the price will roll back to, but since the higher exigency rates are set to be redacted, overall postal prices for letters, postcards and flats should see a reduction.

International shipping products will also see an increase in price Global Express Guaranteed increases by1 percent; Priority Mail International increases by 2 percent; Priority Mail Express International increases by 6 percent; and First-Class Package International Services increases by 6 percent.

Even with these increases, most of the USPS shipping instructions remains the same.

The not-so-ugly: The USPS has been testing Real Mail Notifications. This used to be called “Informed Delivery” and will allow people to sign up for email notifications when certain mail pieces will arrive in their mailbox. Statistics show a 37% increase in response rate over the average marketing campaign when email & direct mail are used together. This service will send subscribers emails at 8:00 AM with pictures of that day’s mail pieces. This program is currently testing in New York City & Long Island.

Delivery times have been a real challenge for the USPS, but they are slowly getting back to normal. Recent statistics show 95% on time delivery for First-Class Mail & 91% for Standard Mail. The USPS plan to expedite delivery is to maximize their fleet of trucks, and deliver packages from 6:00 AM – 10:00 AM and regular mail from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.