1. Overview of USPS Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS Shipping
Whether you are a new ecommerce company only starting out or an established brand with millions of customers all across the globe, chances are you have had to answer two major questions before you started fulfilling orders to your customers.
- How much does shipping orders cost?
- Which carrier should I choose to ship orders?
USPS, FedEx, and UPS are some of the biggest names in the courier, logistics, and supply chain management industry. All three of them are extremely popular throughout the United States. A lot of eCommerce companies as well as individual shippers frequently use USPS, FedEx, and UPS to manage their shipping operations. While USPS is the preferred choice for sending and receiving small parcels and posts, FedEx and UPS are known for their heavier package deliveries. We bring forth this article to discuss and compare the eCommerce shipping rates of USPS, UPS, and FedEx. We will also be taking a look at several parameters and all the shipping services they offer so that you can choose the best carrier for your eCommerce store at the cheapest rates.
2. USPS Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS - Who Gives Better Value on Delivery Times
2.1) Overnight Shipping
All of these carriers offer overnight shipping to customers all throughout the US with - FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M., USPS Priority Mail Express, and UPS Next Day Air. USPS is usually the first choice of ecommerce companies for small package deliveries because of the cheap rates and vast delivery regions it offers. However, FedEx and UPS are better with shipping items of higher volume and high value.
Package Weight and Dimensions - With these carriers you can ship packages up to 150 lbs. each in weight. Packages 119 inches in length or 165 inches in Length + Breadth can also be shipped overnight with USPS, FedEx, and UPS special service.
|FedEx||FedEx First Overnight||Next day delivery between 8 am - 9.30 am.|
|FedEx||FedEx Priority Overnight||Next day delivery to businesses by 10.30 am and residences by 4.30 pm.|
|FedEx||FedEx Standard Overnight||Next day delivery to business addresses by 4.30 pm and to residences by 8 pm.|
|USPS||Priority Mail Express||Next day delivery to 2-day delivery by 6 pm.|
|UPS||UPS Next Day Air Early||Next business day between 8 am - 9.30 am.|
|UPS||UPS Next Day Air||Next business day between 10.30 am - 12 pm.|
|UPS||UPS Next Day Air Saver||Next business day by 3.00 pm.|
2.2) Priority Shipping
Priority shipments need to be delivered on an urgent basis. Luckily, all these carriers - UPS, USPS, and FedEx offer priority shipping services to U.S. businesses as well as residential addresses. The table below gives a proper breakdown of the services offered by these carriers and the time taken for delivery. As always, USPS is the cheapest option of the lot but UPS and FedEx provide faster deliveries. As an eCommerce business, what you value more, time or price, will determine which shipping carrier is right for you.
|FedEx||FedEx 2Day||2 Business days. Delivery by 10.30 A.M.||Monday-Friday. Saturday deliveries are available on some zip codes at an added cost.|
|FedEx||FedEx 2Day A.M.||10.30 A.M. or 4.30 P.M.||Monday-Friday|
|USPS||USPS Priority Mail Express||1 or 2 day delivery by 3 P.M.||All week|
|United Parcel Service (UPS)||UPS Next Day Air Shipping||Next day delivery by 10.30 A.M. and 12 P.M.||Monday - Friday|
3. USPS Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS - Who offers better rates on Small and Heavy Packages
3.1) Small and Medium Packages
All these carriers, USPS, UPS and FedEx offer Flat-Rate Shipping rates on small orders. How much an order should weigh to be considered a small package varies for every carrier. The table below gives a comparison between the shipping rates offered by these carriers on small packages.
|USPS||Small Flat Rate Box||4 pounds||$8.45|
|USPS||Medium Flat Rate Box (top-loading)||Upto 20 pounds||$15.50|
|USPS||Medium Flat Rate Box (2-side loading)||Upto 20 pounds||$15.50|
|FedEx||FedEx Envelope||Upto 50 pounds (Dimensions - 9.5 inch x 12.5 inch)||$8.90|
|FedEx||FedEx Pak||Upto 50 pounds (Dimensions - 10inch x 12 inch or 12inch x 15 inch)||$9.20|
|FedEx||FedEx Small Box||Upto 50 pounds (Dimensions - 10inch x 1.5inch x 12 inch)||$9.95|
|FedEx||FedEx Medium Box||Upto 50 pounds (Dimensions - 11.5inch x 2inch x 13 inch)||$12.95|
|UPS||XS||1 - 100 cubic inches||$8.80|
|UPS||S||101 - 250 cubic inches||$11.50|
|UPS||M||251 - 650 cubic inches||$13.90|
3.2) Heavy Packages
Ecommerce stores that deal in large and heavy items will do much better by opting for FedEx and UPS as their shipping and delivery partners. Even though USPS offers the cheapest shipping rates and covers more delivery zones than either of these 2 carriers, it is not as effective when it comes to delivering heavy packages. Both FedEx and UPS offer several options in package delivery options for orders of varied sizes. Compare their prices below to find the best fit for your online store.
|USPS||Large Flat Rate Box||Upto 70 pounds||$21.90|
|FedEx||FedEx Large Box||12 inch x 3 inch x 17.5inch||$20|
|FedEx||FedEx Extra Large Box||11.5 inch x 10 inch x 11 inch||$32.35|
|UPS||L||651 - 1050 cubic inches||$18.40|
|UPS||XL||1051 - 1728 cubic inches||$22.85|
4. USPS Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS - Which is the Best Carrier for ECommerce Shipping?
4.1) USPS Shipping
USPS is the government-led postal service organisation of the United States and is obligated to deliver mail and packages to every US address. As a result, it has an extensive delivery network and a large chain of post offices across the country leveraging which it delivers orders to even the remotest locations.
Operating Hours - USPS operates 24/7. It also makes deliveries in the holiday season and on Christmas.
Insurance - USPS offers insurance value upto $5000 on packages.
Label Printing - Customers can print their own USPS labels online by logging on to their website. Online companies can print shipping labels with USPS.
Order Tracking - Order tracking is a new feature in the USPS shipping system. Therefore, it’s not as robust as FedEx or UPS. In short, order tracking is not the strongest suit of USPS.
Customs Clearance - USPS manages all customs and duties of international packages till they arrive in the destination country. After that it's the responsibility of the local carrier or the recipient to pay for customs clearance.
4.2) FedEx Shipping
FedEx is the costliest of the three carriers we are discussing here today. But not without reason. FedEx operates across 220+ countries over the globe and manages huge warehouses for faster order fulfillment. It is also the only carrier among the three that is allowed to carry dangerous and flammable goods. It operates the largest temperature-controlled fleet in the world.
Operating Hours - Fedex delivers on all 7 days of the week from 9 am to 8 pm.
Insurance - FedEx provides $100 insurance on all outgoing shipments. For more valuable items, you need to declare the value of your orders.
Label Printing - FedEx provides labels inside every package. Additionally, customers can print their own labels online by visiting the FedEx website. Shipping label printing is included in the shipping cost.
Order Tracking - If order tracking is one of your major concerns then go with FedEx without another thought. Out of these 3 carriers, FedEx has the best order tracking feature with milestone updates. Customers can call up the support team if they have trouble tracking their order.
Customs Clearance - FedEx also offers customs and duties clearance on behalf of customers and ecommerce companies on international shipments.
4.3) UPS Shipping
UPS ranks somewhere between FedEx and USPS in the shipping rates it charges from eCommerce companies. It is best known for the ability to carry precious items of high value. Think, luxury goods, jewellery, designer watches, etc. UPS allows shipments weighing upto a maximum of 150 pounds. It also has a super fast delivery service called, UPS Express Critical, that can deliver orders anywhere in the world within 24 hours.
Operating Hours - UPS delivers from Monday to Friday, starting from 9 am to 7 pm. Weekend deliveries can be requested for special items at an added cost.
Insurance - UPS automatically covers all orders with $100 insurance. If your order value is higher, you can declare it. The maximum insurance coverage offered is $50,000.
Label Printing - Customers can print their labels by visiting the UPS website. Online stores can also customise shipping labels with UPS.
Order Tracking - UPS comes just behind FedEx in terms of order tracking. It has a decent order tracking mechanism that alerts customers and online companies about the order’s whereabouts. It also has a customer support team to address grievances and attend WISMO calls (Where Is My Order?)
Customs Clearance - UPS offers comprehensive customs and duty support services for air, land and sea freights.
Final Thoughts - Which Carrier (FedEx or UPS or USPS) has the Best eCommerce Shipping Better Rates?
As you have seen from the segments above, USPS, UPS and FedEx are all extremely good and reliable carriers for any online store to use. However, the shipping rates they charge and the delivery times and days they offer may make you prefer one over the other. USPS has better connectivity than FedEx or UPS all through the US regions. But it only allows order volumes up to 70 lbs. FedEx has decent connectivity and reaches all through the US and in several parts of the world but its prices can seem a bit high for many ecommerce companies. UPS is a great shipping partner if you want to transport heavier and more valuable items but it doesn’t deliver on Saturdays and charges extra over base charges on some orders.
Therefore, there is no easy way of saying which carrier offers the best shipping rates in 2021. The only answer we can offer is that each of these shipping carriers has its pros and cons. Which carrier would suit an ecommerce company the best depends entirely on the specific needs of that business. We suggest you do a deep dive into where you want to see your company in the long run, which delivery areas are more important to you, when is your peak sale season, how much are you willing to pay for shipping. Answering all of these questions should give you a fairly good idea as to which shipping carrier out of USPS, UPS and FedEx is the best for you.
We hope this article helps you with finding the right shipping carrier for your online business.