So, about a week or so ago, I signed up for a free trial of Endicia. What is it, you ask? It's a service that enables you to perform just about any and all mail services from your home/business...from printing postage to ordering supplies. The reason I was attracted to it is because it allows you to print postage for First Class International directly from your home (customs forms and all!), which saves me a trip to the Post Office. Given that I've had a recent influx of international orders, I decided to give it a try. Here's a summary of what I've learned so far:
- Once you learn to use it, it's quite easy; however, it's definitely not an intuitive program. You have to muddle your way through how to set up a label; once you learn it, it becomes second nature. I like how you can copy/paste an address directly from Etsy, without having to enter items in separate fields like you do with PayPal. In case you're considering giving it a try, here's the general steps I follow:
- Create a new address
- Choose the layout (you can skip this step once you create your first label of the session [and you don't switch to international mail])
- Print postage
- Print customs forms (if international)
- Apparently not compatible with Vista (which is what I [unfortunately] have). I have not witnessed these incompatibilities yet; however, one thing that irked me was that you don't know about them until after you sign up. Given that I'm fairly astute at doing my own research in troubleshooting compatibility issues, this didn't bother me so much. However, someone who is not very tech-savvy may have problems. Also, since Vista has been around for at least a year now, I think it's bad form for software companies and services to ignore the fact that they need to perform an upgrade. That's just my opinion. I'm dealing with it, though. Take it for what it's worth.
- The management of previous orders is a plus. Endicia saves a postage log for you, which I like. If someone needs to know where their order is, or you need to track something for yourself, all orders are available within the postage log. If you included Delivery Confirmation, that information is available as well.
- First Class International is a time-saver. I love not having to go to the Post Office. This is by far my favorite feature, and is probably the main reason why I'll stick with Endicia and pay the monthly access fee.
So there you have it. I'm not going to start a Forum thread claiming "I Love Endicia!" or put their banner on my blog, but for now I appreciate the convenience and availability of Endicia's services. Who knows? Maybe sometime in the near future, they'll make the software Vista-friendly, and incorporate the use of "wizards" (to us Instructional Design nerds -- "Electronic Performance Support") to guide us through the process of making labels. Until something better comes along, I think I'll stick with it for a while. If nothing else, I assure you that I'm saving fuel costs.