This article explains what postal services are and the pros and cons of using these services as an e-commerce merchant.
What is a Postal Service?
Postal services will transit through government-facilitated networks. Usually government-operated (and subsidized), postal shipments can be purchased at low prices, setting the competitive standard for the rest of the industry. Such services are a favorite for domestic shippers, as few services compare in pricing, especially for lighter items. However, there are negatives such as poor tracking, slow transit times, little-to-no support during transit, and poor handling.
Examples of Postal Services
Below are some examples of postal solutions sold on Easyship.
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
- Royal Mail (RM)
- Hong Kong Post (HKpost)
- Singapore Post (Singpost)
- Australia Post (Auspost)
- Canada Post
Economic: Postal solutions are the cheapest way to ship products domestically and internationally. When customers purchase items at a low price point and do not want to pay a hefty amount for shipping, most customers and merchants prefer a postal solution.
Convenience: As a shipper, it is easy to book pick-ups or drop off a shipment at a postal facility as there are multiple depots in almost every city/town.
Free returns: For the most part, you won't get charged a return fee if the parcel is undelivered, though postal returns can take months to complete. Free returns don't apply to all postal solutions, e.g., HK Post - Air Parcel.
Poor tracking: Depending on the service you select, there can be limited to no tracking. As the parcel transits through government networks with millions of other packages, a scan rarely occurs throughout its journey. Lack of tracking events can result in customer frustration depending on the product's value.
Slow transit times: Like most things in shipping, price correlates with speed. Though the service can advertise a reasonable timeframe, postal shipments are susceptible to delay. Delays in transit are much more common than express solutions.
Customer service: At Easyship, we speak to couriers directly on your behalf. However, we are restricted with certain carriers, namely postal solutions, as they typically don't provide customer service. In most cases, contact with a representative is difficult to achieve. Even upon successful connection, they provide limited information.
As a result, our Customer Service team cannot follow up on cases with postal solutions on your behalf. Requests such as returns mid-transit and address changes are not accepted.
Liability: If insurance is not purchased when creating the shipment, the postal service will not compensate for potential damage or loss, and as they accept no liability, we are powerless at Easyship to process any claim on your behalf.
Choosing between a postal solution or a more reliable carrier should be based on your customers' expectations. Suppose a customer is purchasing an expensive item. In that case, they will typically expect an express service. From a merchant's perspective, shipping a costly item via a postal solution can be a risk for the reasons listed above.