General Question

DrewJ's avatar

What's the best shipping option for an online store?

Asked by DrewJ (368 points ) February 4th, 2012

Hi there. I am in the early stages of starting my own online store. Shipping is obviously a big part of it. For someone who will be shipping out a lot of things, I’m wondering if anyone can help me with their thoughts on what carrier is best for my situation. My most commonly shipped box will be a 20×20x10 inch box weighing about 9lbs. It is fragile but not “Glass Fragile” more like “If you drop it on the cement sidewalk it will crack” fragile. – It will need fragile stickers if that even matters.

The shipping calculators on the carriers websites tell me that USPS Parcel post is the cheapest but I really have my doubts about USPS. FedEx Ground is just a little bit more but gets there in half the time. How much can you trust these calculators.

If anybody runs an online store I’m really interested in hearing what they use for their shipping solutions.

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9 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Ya know, they all have their drawbacks, namely, rough housing the packages. UPS is probably the best, but, as always, it depends on the drivers. A lot of mishandling occurs. Go for the insurance.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Shipping via USPS can sometimes cause packages to grow legs. UPS is a bit pricer, but delivery is pretty much assured, and in good condition.

auhsojsa's avatar

I second @CaptainHarley UPS for the win!

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t run an online store, but I do sell books now and then through Amazon Marketplace and make quite frequent trips to the post office, usually late in the afternoon. Just about every time I go, I see people with stacks and shopping-basket loads of parcels to mail, often a heap of identical boxes or tubes. I always assume that these are cottage entrepreneurs filling their orders. Obviously USPS works for them.

In my opinion the postal service is unjustly maligned and deserves a great deal of appreciation. Hearing it called “snail mail” was funny once in about 1975 and has been nothing but annoying to me ever since. I have had maybe one or two packages go astray or get delayed in decades; everything else from tiny to huge has arrived in good shape, quickly and reliably.

I have received antique Limoges china by USPS, sent by shippers who surely ought to have known the best way. My son mailed me my share of my late mother’s early-1900’s American Brilliant cut glass collection all in one big box; I was nervous, but everything was fine. When he moved across the country, he explored all options and then used USPS to mail himself his household goods in 21 large boxes. Even though his stuff was not too well packed and the boxes took a beating, the contents were all intact, and everything was delivered promptly.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

I have used FedEx ground more lately. In some cases depending on weight or size they were actually less than USPS or UPS, and they are fast fast, and have never lost or seriously delayed one of my packages. Plus they have a storefront near me open on Sunday. Customers love getting packages delivered by FedEx.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I can answer the question as someone who has bought a lot of things online and received the goods almost exclusively through USPS. In my view, it’s the tops. They deliver on time and to my door. I love the USPS.

Of course, a lot of the reason I like them has to do with where I live. Everything gets here by air, and USPS is by far the least expensive.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Someone at one of the USPS locations it had to go through obviously absconded with a small package I had ordered acouple of months ago. This was not the first time. Fortunately the company made good on it.

For a mercifullly brief period before my parachuting accident, I worked for the USPS Bulk Mail Center in Greensboro, NC. When I say that there are multiple problems with the USPS’ package mailing system, it’s based on solid experience.

Jeruba's avatar

@CaptainHarley, are those problems unique to the USPS, or could the same things happen with UPS, FedEx, and the other services?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jeruba

Not having worked for the UPS, I can’t say with any degee of certainty, but at least the UPS has never “misplaced” any of my orders.

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