The United States Postal Service is a popular shipping solution for American e-commerce companies. It compares well with other carriers in several situations.
The USPS may be particularly effective when you need to ship (a) small, heavy items, (b) light and bulky items, or (c) shipments to PO Box addresses, including APOs. (Army Post Office), Fleet Post Office (FPO), or when associated pickup costs affect profits.
Small heavy objects
The USPS was the pioneer of package transportation. "If it's okay, it's shipped."
While other carriers have added fixed-rate options, the USPS flat-rate mailboxes remain one of the best solutions for companies that send small but heavy products.
Imagine that you wanted to buy a set of Captains of Crush clips to improve your grip strength. The set of three grippers is relatively heavy – about four pounds. But will register inside a small, 2-day Priority Mail USPS fixed rate box.
The ecommerce store that sells your grip set could save more than $ 3 on delivery charges if it used a small USPS Priority Mailbox, based on shipping rates published on the 3rd October 2017. Here is an example, shipped from 83607 (Caldwell, Idaho) to 21205 (Baltimore, Maryland).
|Captains of Crush Gripper Set from 83607 to 21205|
|USPS Priority Mail Low-Cost Mailbox||$ 7.15||2 Days|
|FedEx Express Saver One Reduced Price||$ 10.75||3 Days|
|UPS on the ground||CA $ 16.60||4 days|
While a store could compare a number of other services, the example shows how USPS flat rate would save money on shipping.
The key to the example is that these clamps are relatively heavy at about four pounds, but they do not take up much space, which is the case when flat-rate shipping works best.
The calculation of volumetric weight has been in existence for some years, but its operation may not be clear for all ecommerce shippers.
Essentially, the calculation of volumetric weight means that the sender will be charged for the actual weight of a parcel or for the average weight of a parcel of similar size, whichever is greater .
While all major carriers in the United States have some form of pricing, the USPS only applies them to packages of more than one cubic foot and goes to zones five to nine.
What is more, the USPS uses a different volumetric divider (typically 194 for the USPS versus 166 for other carriers), which may be advantageous for shippers.
If a company ships very light products, the volumetric weight can dramatically increase shipping costs among all carriers. But the USPS may be cheaper.
Mailboxes; Military addresses
The USPS is the primary means of shipping parcels to military or diplomatic addresses or shipping them to a post office box.
Other carriers may "ship" to these APO, FPO or PO Box addresses using a last mile service. For example, you can ship via FedEx SmartPost. FedEx will pick up the package at the USPS and let it deliver to the military address or post office box.
You can compare rates to find out if a last mile service makes sense. But know that one way or another, the USPS will be involved.
Small e-commerce operations with a low volume of parcels shipped can save $ 670 or more per year in daily pickup fees with the USPS.
At the time of writing this document, the USPS conducts regular and free pick-ups at virtually every address in the United States, six days a week, although it charges pickups upon request.
Even if you operate an ecommerce business from your garage, you can place parcels in an oversized mailbox and wait for free pickups.
Other carriers may charge weekly or daily pickup fees to small shippers. For example, UPS charges $ 12.90 per week for daily pickup if your company spends more than $ 75 per week for shipping. Fedex charges $ 13 for a similar service.
Selection of the carrier
In 2016, the USPS processed about $ 17 billion worth of parcel deliveries, carrying about 5.1 billion parcels, according to its 2016 annual report.
Handling more than 16.5 million packages a day, Monday to Saturday, certainly puts the USPS among the largest carriers. But this is not the only carrier.
There are many shipping options and many shipping services to consider. When choosing a carrier for your ecommerce business, consider the size and weight of the packages you ship and the places you ship the most. Next, compare the carriers to identify the best combination of price, value and service for your business.
It may also seem logical to consider shipping rates more generally rather than on each order, as there is often an advantage to increasing the volume of shipping with a single carrier. .