For entrepreneurs who happen to be an Amazon, Ebay, Etsy seller or any other sort of an e-retailer, Shipping carriers are their backbone. When it comes down to the accuracy, delivery time, price and reliability of shipping carriers, most of these entrepreneurs end up narrowing down their choices to the big three, namely USPS, UPS and FedEx.

Each of these shipping carriers has its own pros and cons. The satisfaction of the customers, who are waiting to receive their package/parcel, depends on choosing the best possible carrier, so below is a comparison of the big three.


Not too long ago, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had finally entered into the modern age, becoming friendlier to small businesses and enhancing their customer service.


USPS is the ideal choice for lightweight shipping. In comparison to FedEx and UPS, USPS is the most cost-effective for international shipments. As far as price and service are concerned, USPS is unparalleled for lightweight shipments, i.e. less than 2 pounds or so. For shipments less than 2 pounds, first class and priority mail can also be used. Within the U.S., it takes no more than 2 to 3 days for the shipment to be delivered for just a few dollars. FedEx and UPS cannot compete with this since they are not subsidized by a taxpayer base. Even larger packages can be shipped overseas through USPS for anywhere between $10 and $15.


USPS is definitely not the best choice for very heavy and large shipments. Tracking down a package being shipped through USPS can be a hassle and since they hand over packages to the local Postal Service of the foreign country, there is always a risk of losing packages. Among these three providers USPS has the lowest accuracy level, according to the research from 2014.


Approximately three quarters of those in the ecommerce world are currently shipping through UPS, or are considering it. Within the continental U.S., UPS ground is the cheapest shipping method, but the delivery of packages may take up to 5 business days. Also UPS and Fedex both are large private carrier, so discussion of UPS vs Fedex is an interesting one.


Call tags and efficient tracking are some of the technological innovations that UPS currently utilizes. The call tags can even be printed out. For quicker delivery, UPS routes are designed and their trucks are programmed such that mostly right turns are taken. At UPS, everything is tracked vigilantly, from when a truck’s engine is started to how long a driver is out of the truck. UPS even offers an “express critical” option for same day package delivery.

When compared to USPS, UPS is more open for negotiating better pricing. One of the reasons that the shipping rates with both FedEx and UPS seem expensive is because they are always willing to offer a discount up to 25% or even more. It is all about negotiating. The more and more frequently an entrepreneur sends with UPS,  higher the discount they offer.


For light packages and lighter shipments that are oversized, UPS can be rather expensive. Furthermore, the UPS website is not very user-friendly, so it can be tricky to create and print shipping labels, and schedule services. Perhaps the website’s the biggest redeeming aspect is its tracking feature that allows the precise location of the package to be tracked at any time.


FedEx exceeds expectations and surpasses its two biggest competitors in terms of the quickest delivery. Anyone running a small ecommerce business will find their website very user-friendly and has a specific section that offers the option to choose the precise time when the package should arrive.


For many ecommerce businesses, being able to select a precise delivery time can make all the difference. Whether they want a package to be delivered in the morning or the afternoon, today, tomorrow, or the day after, FedEx makes it possible to choose a precise time and punctually delivers the shipment on that exact time. Packages being shipped through FedEx can be easily tracked using the code that is provided upon shipping confirmation.

Small business owners will even be able to find a balance between cost and timeliness by using the interactive map that FedEx offers. Special privileges are also available to those who have a FedEx account, which include free shipping supplies, pick-up scheduled, lower shipping rates, and more.


Perhaps the only pitfall of shipping through FedEx is that their shipping rates are relatively the highest when compared to those of USPS and UPS.

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