In this article, we explain what postal services are, as well as address the pros and cons of using these services as an e-commerce merchant.
What is a Postal Service?
Postal services in shipping transit through government facilitated networks. As these companies are usually government-operated (and subsidized), postal shipments can be purchased at low price points, setting the competitive standard for the rest of the industry. Such services are a favorite for domestic shippers, as there are few services that compare in terms of pricing, especially for lighter items. However, the cheaper pricing is accompanied by negatives such as poor tracking, slow transit times, little to no support during transit, and subpar 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 large 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 will not be charged a return fee if the parcel cannot be delivered, though postal returns can take months to complete, a return fee isn't typically billed to your account. This does not apply to all postal solutions; e.g. HK Post - Air Parcel will still require a return fee.
Poor tracking: Depending on the service that you select, there can be limited to no tracking. As the parcel is transiting through government networks with millions of other packages, it is rare that a scan is completed throughout its journey. This can result in customer frustration depending on the value of the product.
Slow transit times: Like most things in shipping, price is directly linked to the speed at which it is delivered. Though a reasonable timeframe can be advertised by the service, it is possible that the shipment will be delayed. 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 limited in how effective we can be when it comes to certain carriers, namely postal solutions, as they typically do not provide a high level of customer service. In most cases, contact with a representative is difficult to achieve and even if we are successful in connecting, usually they cannot provide us with any more information than what is already displayed on the tracking page.
As a result of this, 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 a decision based on your customers' expectations. If a customer is purchasing an expensive item, they will typically expect an express service and from a merchant's perspective, shipping an expensive item via a postal solution can be a risk for the reasons listed above.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.