Spring is in the air, and with it comes the sense to tidy up and take care of unfinished business. When it comes to your e-commerce business, one way you can do this is to streamline your shipping strategy. Wondering how to get started? Take a few minutes (or longer) to consider how your online business performed in the last year. What went right? What could you improve? How much did you spend on shipping?
If the answer to that last question comes as a shock, it might be time to take another look at the services, and savings, of the U.S. Postal Service® (USPS®).
Below are just 11 of the many reasons why you should consider USPS for more of your package shipments.
1. Avoid fees and surcharges
Unlike the private carriers, USPS never adds fuel surcharges. FedEx and UPS automatically add fuel surcharges to every package shipped using their services. USPS also does not charge for Saturday delivery, address correction, residential delivery or extended area (rural) delivery. The price you see on the USPS label is the price you pay, period. The private carriers can tack on these extra fees after the fact and you won’t know about them until you get the monthly invoice.
2. Dimensional weight
Both FedEx and UPS use dimensional (DIM) weight to calculate how much you pay for a package. This means that the rate you pay is determined by the size of the box, not its actual weight For instance, if you ship a 6” x 6” x 4” box that weighs 1 pound using one of the private carriers, you will pay the 2 pound rate (that means you pay over $1.00 more per package). And, don’t forget they still tack on fuel surcharges and residential delivery fees on top of the DIM weight pricing. Keep DIM weight pricing in mind when updating your shipping strategy, especially if you ship large, lightweight items.
3. Priority Mail 1-3 day delivery
Regardless of which Priority Mail service you choose, USPS typically delivers your packages within 1-3 days. This is on par with, and sometimes faster than using UPS or FedEx Ground services. To find out how long your package will take to arrive at its destination, USPS offers this handy Priority Mail map: https://www.usps.com/priority-mail/map/
4. Priority Mail Flat Rate
We all remember the slogan “If it fits it ships,” right? Well, this slogan refers to USPS’s Flat Rate service. With Flat Rate, you pay a single rate regardless of distance or weight (up to 70 pounds), as long as the items fit into the Flat Rate packaging. This is a great option for small, heavier items going longer distances.
5. Priority Mail Regional Rate
USPS’s Regional Rate pricing is determined by box size and destination. There are two box-size options for Regional Rate. Box A has a weight limit of 15 pounds and Box B has a weight limit of 20 pounds. The Regional Rate option is great for businesses that are shipping items shorter distances. Check out this full-length article on Regional Rate for more information.
6. Free package pickup
USPS makes package pickup easy and convenient. Since USPS visits every home and business every day, it’s easy to just hand your packages to the mail carrier when he or she delivers your daily mail. But, if you’re not ready when they arrive, you can schedule a package pickup for a time that is convenient for you. This is a free service as long as at least one of the packages they are picking up is using a USPS expedited service like Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express or First-Class Package Service.
7. Delivery to PO Boxes and Military APO/FPO/DPO addresses
The USPS is the only carrier who can deliver to P.O. Boxes and Military APO/FPO/DPO addresses. And, while you will need to provide customs information and follow the destination country’s restriction policies when shipping to a military address, you pay domestic prices. This can be a real money-saver.
8. International delivery choices
The USPS has four international shipping services that deliver to over 180 countries. The one you choose depends on how fast the item needs to reach its destination. USPS international services include
- Global Express guaranteed for delivery in 1-3 business days.
- Priority Mail Express International offers delivery in 3-5 business days.
- Priority Mail International is for less urgent packages where 6-10 business day delivery is acceptable.
- First-Class Package International Service which is great for packages weighing less than 4 pounds and that have a combined length, height and width of no more than 36” (42” for tubes).
9. Great tracking
For a long time, USPS had a reputation for not having a robust tracking system. This is no longer the case. USPS now offers up to 13 scan events per shipment, starting with acceptance at the postal facility. USPS Tracking® is automatically included with most USPS domestic shipping products. With the USPS tracking number, you can check delivery progress online, by phone, and by text. You can also sign up online or on your mobile device to receive tracking notifications via email or text.
10. Free supplies
USPS offers a wide range of free shipping supplies. They have everything from boxes to forms and labels to envelopes. Keep in mind that when using some of the services, such as Priority Mail Flat Rate or Regional Rate, use of specific USPS-branded boxes is required to qualify for those rates.
11. Discounted rates when you use a PC Postage provider
When you go to the Post Office to send a package, or if you use the USPS online service called Click ‘n Ship, you are charged what is called “retail” rates. But, if you use a PC Postage service, like Endicia, you automatically qualify for Commercial Base Rates, with no minimum volume requirements. For packages sent via Priority Mail, these discounted rates can be up to 25 percent lower than retail rates, depending on the weight and destination of the package.
FedEx and UPS both have their advantages in certain areas. For instance, if your parcel needs time-definite delivery, or is very heavy you’ll want to use one of these carriers. But, for small packages weighing under 5 pounds, or for large, lightweight packages, having USPS as a part of your shipping strategy can really pay off.
Endicia is a leading provider of internet-based postage services that make it easier and more affordable to ship parcels through the U.S. Postal Service®. We know that shipping can be complex and our goal is to simplify your shipping operations so you can focus on doing what you do best. Visit us at endicia.com to learn more.