The most effective shipping method combines speed, reliability, and cost. But these values are different for different businesses, and for different customers. For example, some customers are willing to pay extra for faster shipping, while others want to save money and wait an extra few days.
Many vendors offer shipping comparisons based on these metrics, but they only survey that vendor’s products. Instead, solid multi carrier shipping software is usually a better choice for businesses, because it allows them to make comparisons across the market as a whole instead of examining only one company.
Overreliance on one shipping firm often leads to higher prices, because the company knows the business is not going away, and substandard service, as the company may take the customer for granted. So, to get started, here is a brief comparison of some popular shipping methods.
If speed is not of the essence and your business ships a lot of packages, USPS Priority Mail may be the way to go. Essentially, this method is like First Class regular mail for items that weigh more than one pound, and we all know about what to expect in terms of First Class mail.
The boxes are free, although they only come in two sizes (very small and very large). Moreover, if the parcels are metered, delivery confirmation is also free. Furthermore, rates are very predictable, as the price for the first pound (currently $5.95) is always the same regardless of destination.
This method is much faster and much more expensive than Priority Mail. The tracking software is quite good as well. As an added bonus, Express Mail service operates on Saturdays and some other days when many other carriers, including UPS, FedEx, and the USPS, are closed.
For shipping very heavy items (above twenty pounds), parcel post is normally the most cost-effective option. However, for anything lighter, it is quite expensive and slow, making Priority Mail a much better option in these situations.
For business-to-business shipping, UPS is usually the best option. For the most part, the UPS delivery driver actually goes into the business and delivers the package to the addressee. In fact, the company does not particularly like shipping to non-businesses, as UPS typically adds a surcharge for deliveries to residential addresses.
UPS does have a very good tracking service that’s much better than the one that the Post Office provides, and in terms of shipment time and cost, it is competitive.
This method is essentially a faster and more expensive UPS; they are about the same in terms of reliability. Some people do not know that FedEx is not one company but several (FedEx Residential Delivery, FedEx Express, and so on), so if there are issues with the shipment, getting answers could be a problem.
These are all domestic shipping methods; the analysis for international shipping may be a little different. But the bottom line is to always do your research and determine what matters most in shipping your goods before ordering a pick-up.