Shipping Options for PO Boxes
Shipping is a crucial part of any business. Most merchants and fulfilers are expected to ship faster, at a cheaper price, and more efficiently, for which popular shipping carriers are used. There is always a competition to strike the balance between the cost of shipping and the speed of delivery to augment customer satisfaction.
UPS and FedEx are two of the prime shipping carriers offering their services across locations. However, UPS and FedEx are not able to deliver to (place mail-in) a PO Box. Only the United States Postal Service is permitted to deliver mail to (place mail-in) a PO Box. For mailing purposes, PO Boxes are considered a physical location. UPS SurePost and FedEx Smart Post are the two postal options to deliver to a PO box address. So, let’s take a look at a comparison of UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost.
*Note: standard P.O. boxes can only receive mail that’s delivered through the USPS.
What is UPS SurePost?
UPS SurePost Is a shipping service that utilizes UPS’s ground networks to cover most of the distance a parcel needs to travel but relies on the U.S. Postal Service for the final leg of the shipment. It’s a cheaper option that, according to UPS, provides just about the same level of service as standard ground shipping.UPS SurePost is an economy, residential, ground service.
This service combines the consistency and reliability of the ground network with final delivery typically provided by the U.S. Postal Service.
What is FedEx SmartPost?
FedEx SmartPost is an efficient and cost-effective way of shipping light-weight packages to the entirety of the United States territories.By utilizing the United States Post Office (USPS) to strategically finish the delivery of some packages, FedEx is able to get your lightweight shipments to their destination much more efficiently. This type of service is particularly ideal for smaller or more cost-conscious companies such as online fulfillers and direct marketers.
How do UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost Services work?
Both are excellent options to offer delivery to various locations, but what makes them different? The last-mile delivery: where the price varies a lot while shipping a few blocks ahead or even a few hundred more. Most of the time you might observe that the shipping costs are inflated for no visible reasons. SurePost and SmartPost are designed to suit the need for delivering the last mile in a cost-effective manner. In both SurePost and SmartPost services, the posts are delivered to USPS, who are pioneers in delivering to remote and rural locations in the US.
Advantages of UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost
Leveraging the USPS services to make the last mile delivery and in a way reducing the cost incurred on the same makes UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost an ideal option for many businesses. Here are some of the major advantages of using these services:
- Overall Cost Reduction
- Saturday Delivery
- No surcharges on residential Delivery
- P.O. Box Delivery
- Easy Drop-off
- Best Tracking options
UPS SurePost vs FedEx SmartPost:
Even though SurePost and SmartPost provide similar services, there are few way in which they differ:
Shipping Charges - Compared to standard charges by UPS and FedEx, you can easily save up to 20% on shipping charges compared to standard UPS and FedEx Shipping. UPS charges are higher than FedEx, and the weight dimension of the package greatly matters in determining the shipping charges.
Dimensions - Both FedEx and UPS have specific dimensions for shipping packaging options. Basically, for FedEx maximum package weight is about 70 lbs, with a dimension of 130 inches length and width. On the other hand, UPS has 4 categories:
- Less than 1lb., it accepts packages weighing up to 450.76 grams with a maximum dimension of 130 inches.
- 1 lb. or more, it accepts packages weighing up to 70 lbs with a maximum dimension of 130 inches.
- UPS SurePost Bound Printed Matter accepts packages weighing up to 15 lbs with a maximum dimension of 108 inch
- UPS SurePost Media accepts a maximum weight of 70 lbs with a maximum dimension of 108 inches.
Drop off locations - In the case of UPS SurePost, the drop off is the USPS nearest point to the final destination like the post office, etc, which makes the delivery quite easy and faster. In the case of FedEx, the drop off is done at the nearest USPS regional hub.
Last Mile delivery - Both UPS and FedEx take days to deliver the packages, and when it comes to a remote location, it will take more time to complete. FedEx takes 2-7 days to deliver across locations in the US, and UPS takes close to one day less than UPS ground. With UPS, dropping the package at the nearest post office close to the destination of the package, it simplifies the process of shipping to distant locations.
Track packages on the UPS and FedEx websites
While the shipping labels will actually contain two tracking numbers, one for the ground carrier and another for USPS, you only have to provide the UPS or FedEx tracking number to your customer. With this tracking number, the customer will be able to see the progress of the shipment, regardless of the fact that the package is in the possession of the ground carrier or USPS.
A little more to know...
Shift packages to SurePost and SmartPost that cannot be shipped via USPS First Class Mail or in a USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail envelope. These USPS services are a tremendous value when you consider their low costs and fast delivery times. The general rule is the shipment must weigh between 2 and 10 pounds, and it must not fit into a USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail envelope. And just so you know, the 11-pound mark ground services become the better value. Your experience may vary, however, so calculate your own breakpoint in this regard.
Now to decide which one of them is the best, it depends on where you want to serve and how much the difference is incurred in the cost while shipping.UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost can provide significant shipping savings over traditional ground services by eliminating hefty delivery area, residential, and Saturday delivery surcharges. While these services are not the answer to shipping every package, they are a compelling option for a customer who is price sensitive. What you could do when implementing any one of these services to your own business, is to add it as the lowest cost delivery option at a flat rate cost. So, the good news here is that promoting a flat shipping rate at the time of checkout will decrease the chances of cart abandonment.