Your Carrier Matters

As an eCommerce merchant, choosing the right shipping carrier is a crucial decision. Not only does it directly impact customer satisfaction, but also overall business success. That’s why it is important to learn about carriers, what they offer, and how their services might work with your business. No two carriers are the same. Today we’ll dive into the waters and see how UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx stack up against one another.

So, we’ve created a guide to help you decide which carrier might best suit your business needs. In this blog, we will compare the 3 top carriers (UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx), highlight their pros and cons, and provide useful tips to help you make the most of their services. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of each carrier, and a good overview to make an informed decision regarding carriers. From there, you will be able to help empower your eCommerce venture to thrive.


The Top 3 Carriers

To start, the three major shipping carriers in the United States – USPS, UPS, and FedEx – offer various services and features to fit different businesses. 


United States Postal Service (USPS)

A USPS truck is shown in black and white in the foreground. A Yellow circle is shown behind the truck, then behind the circle is a city scape in black and white.

Since its establishment in 1775, the USPS has been an important component of the United States mail and package delivery system. Most importantly, it has an extensive network of post offices and carriers spread throughout the country. Therefore, it can reach nearly every corner of the U.S., including remote areas. Moreover, the USPS provides numerous shipping options for both businesses and individuals.

In summary, the USPS plays a vital role in connecting people, businesses, and communities, fostering communication, commerce, and national unity.

So, what are its pros and cons in the battle of UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx?



  • Cost-Effectiveness: USPS offers competitive pricing, especially for lightweight packages and flat-rate shipping options. Therefore, it is a  budget-friendly choice for small businesses and startups.
  • Extensive Coverage: With an extensive network of post offices and mail carriers, USPS can reach virtually every address in the United States, including rural areas.
  • Reliable for P.O. Boxes: USPS is the go-to choice for delivering to P.O. Boxes, which can be essential for certain customers.



  • Slower Delivery Speeds: While USPS offers economical options, it may not be the best choice for time-sensitive deliveries, as its delivery speeds are generally slower than UPS and FedEx.
  • Limited Tracking Features: USPS tracking can be less detailed compared to UPS and FedEx, which might make it challenging to provide real-time updates to your customers.


Tips for USPS

Now that you know the pros and cons, there are two main standout factors to consider when using USPS. Here’s what you should do:

  • Utilize Flat Rate Shipping: Take advantage of USPS Flat Rate boxes for cost-effective shipping of small, heavy items.
  • Leverage USPS Priority Mail: For time-sensitive deliveries, consider using USPS Priority Mail, which offers faster delivery times at reasonable rates.


Overall, the USPS is beneficial because it is cost-effective, covers a lot of ground, and delivers to P.O. boxes well. However, it does have slower speeds for delivery and not as great of tracking mechanisms. If you want to make the most of it, its best features include its flat-rate shipping and priority mail.

Now, let’s move on to UPS. 


United Parcel Service (UPS)

Since 1907, UPS has grown into a leading global logistics provider. It serves millions of customers each day with a large network of distribution centers, delivery trucks, and airplanes. Using this vast network, UPS ensures packages reach domestic and international destinations on time and safely. 

Moreover, UPS is known for its efficient tracking system and expedited shipping options. Therefore, UPS is often a good choice for time-sensitive packages. Whether it’s a small parcel or a large shipment, UPS remains committed to delivering with excellence, earning its reputation as a dependable ally in the modern world of shipping and logistics.

But, what does it offer in terms of pros and cons? Let’s take a look.



  • Reliable Time-Definite Delivery: UPS is known for timely delivery. These options are ideal for businesses that need precise delivery commitments.


  • Enhanced Tracking: UPS has robust tracking features. These features help you and your customers to monitor shipments in real time. Plus, they improve transparency.


  • Flexible Pickup Options: UPS offers various pickup options, including drop-off locations, scheduled pickups, and even access to UPS Store locations. Therefore, they can work with your schedule and needs to help streamline your operations.  



  • Higher Costs: UPS tends to be pricier compared to USPS. This is especially true for small, lightweight packages and long-distance shipments.


  • Additional Fees: Be mindful of additional surcharges and fees that UPS might apply based on package dimensions, weight, and delivery locations.


Tips for UPS:

When deciding whether to go with UPS, here are some other features to look at:


  • Use UPS Ground for Reliable Delivery: UPS Ground is a go-to option for cost-effective and reliable shipping. Especially, for non-urgent orders that require consistent delivery times.


  • Consider UPS Express Services: For expedited shipments, UPS offers reliable express services like UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air.


To summarize, the main advantages of using UPS include its timeliness in delivery, its advanced tracking features, and its multiple pickup options. However, some of its problems mainly have to do with higher prices and fees on top of original costs. Some of the best UPS features to consider include UPS Ground and UPS Express. You can read more about UPS vs. USPS in our blog.

Let’s move on to the final carrier.

A FedEx truck is shown in the foreground in black and white. Behind the truck is a street with low, old buildings. A stylized yellow sun rises in the background.


Since its establishment in 1971, FedEx (Federal Express) has emerged as a significant player in the transportation and logistics industry, operating in over 220 countries and territories worldwide. Their overnight and express shipping services cater to urgent delivery needs, making them a popular choice for time-critical shipments. Additionally, FedEx offers advanced tracking features, allowing customers to monitor their packages in real-time.

With a strong emphasis on reliability and efficiency, FedEx continues to play a crucial role in connecting people and businesses globally, earning trust as a premier shipping and logistics partner.

With that introduction in mind, let’s look at its pros and cons and see where it stands in the battle of UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx.


  • Diverse Service Options: FedEx offers a wide range of services These include FedEx Express for time-sensitive shipments, and FedEx Ground for cost-effective deliveries.
  • Excellent Customer Service: FedEx is well-regarded for its customer service. It provides quality assistance and support to merchants and their customers.
  • International Reach: If your eCommerce business involves international shipping, FedEx’s global network makes it a strong contender.



  • Higher Rates: FedEx’s rates can be higher than USPS, especially for certain package sizes and delivery distances.
  • Limited Saturday Delivery: FedEx Ground does not offer regular Saturday delivery, which might be a concern for some businesses.


Tips for FedEx:

Additionally, if you are trying to decide whether FedEx suits your business needs, there is one notable feature to try out:

  • Use FedEx SmartPost for Residential Deliveries: FedEx SmartPost is an economical option for residential deliveries, especially for lightweight packages.

All in all, FedEx can give you a wide variety of services, has great customer service, and has international shipping. However, it tends to have higher rates than the other carriers, as well as non-regular Saturday delivery. Additionally, a standout option in FedEx is SmartPost, which may be worth trying out if you deliver lighter packages.


Wrapping Things Up

In summary, choosing the right shipping carrier for your eCommerce business is all about your specific needs, budget, and customer expectations. Each carrier has different strengths:


Carrier  Best For
USPS Cost-effective shipping and delivery to P.O. Boxes
UPS providing reliable time-definite delivery and enhanced tracking features 
FedEx Businesses with global shipping requirements.


By understanding the pros and cons of each carrier and leveraging their respective “pros” and special features, you can optimize your shipping strategy. You can also provide a seamless experience for your customers, and enhance your eCommerce business’s overall success. 


Final Tips

Remember, in order to maximize your shipping efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it is important to keep track of carrier promotions and negotiate rates. If you struggle with rate visibility or want a way to see multiple rates and carriers at once, try out eHub’s shipping calculator today. Happy shipping!

If you would like help finding a fulfillment partner/3PL that specializes in HAZMAT reach out to our Fulfillment Consultants and we can place you with a vetted fulfillment partner.


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