Shipping 101, part 2: The Shipping Carriers

In Part 1 of this shipping 101 series we covered 5 questions you should ask to determine what carrier is best for your business.

When people first start selling things online and shipping, they usually think there are only three companies to choose from – USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Believe it or not, that’s just the beginning, and it’s important to know about all of your options so that you save money.

Let’s get started!

United States Postal Service

The USPS is one of the most commonly used shipping providers. They offer their customers great benefits like free shipping supplies (Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express), free pickup, and has direct partnerships with many online retail sites like eBay.

USPS has numerous different services to fit customers needs, and most people are familiar with many of these services. However, most people new to ecommerce shipping aren’t aware that they also have four different rates: Retail, Commercial Base (CBP), Commercial Plus (CPP) and Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA).

If you take your package to the post office, you’ll pay retail rates. But you can also qualify for commercial and negotiated level pricing that will give you a discount on postage.

How can you get these rates? USPS has several approved partners that are authorized to provide Internet based USPS postage: Endica and  When you purchase through these providers, you get Commercial Base Pricing Rates, which is a discount from the rate you would get if you dropped off your package at the Post Office.

Another USPS partner is Express 1, and they’re specifically for Priority Mail Express and USPS Priority Mail. They also provide substantial postal discounts, regardless of the shipping volume and without signing a contract guaranteeing a specific annual shipping volume. If you’re a ShipWorks customer, you can start using Express 1 right away and start seeing discounts.

Since Express 1 specializes in USPS Priority Mail Express and USPS Priority Mail, they’ve partnered with Endicia and to offer First Class, Parcel Select and Media Mail. 

Federal Express

FedEx is a great option for packages that need to get to their destination quickly, and of course, they have numerous different delivery services too.

Two of the most popular FedEx services with ShipWorks customers are FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery. One thing we want to point out is that these are two separate services, so don’t get confused! FedEx Ground delivers to both commercial and residential address. FedEx Home Delivery does just what the name says – delivers to residential addresses. It delivers on Tuesday through Saturday.

New ecommerce shippers are often surprised to learn that you can negotiate rates with FedEx based on your shipping volume. And, customers that sign up for a FedEx account via ShipWorks are automatically able to receive a FedEx discount of 16%. Gotta love that!


UPS is who most people think about when they want to ship larger packages, especially those that need timely delivery or international. UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company and ship to over 200 countries.

UPS also offers numerous delivery services – from next day delivery to ground delivery. They also have lots of valuable, optional services like Saturday delivery. 

If you ship a lot and you don’t need Next Day delivery, UPS offers Mail Innovations that will streamline your domestic shipping. UPS Mail Innovations inducts your mail piece into the U.S. Postal Service within 48 hours of processing. The U.S.P.S. then delivers the mail piece within three to five days, on average.

So, we’ve just covered USPS, FedEx, and UPS. And along the way, we talked about Endicia, Express 1, and Mail Innovations.

In our next Shipping 101 post, we’ll cover regional carriers and international shipping.

Helpful Links:

Don’t miss part 3 of our Shipping 101 series or download our free eBook: An Essential Guide to eCommerce Shipping