UPS SurePost vs FedEx SmartPost – Pros and Cons

Shipping is quite a crucial part of any business. It is important to handle the shipping of items when you are into an eCommerce business. Most of the retailers are expected to ship faster, at a cheaper price and more efficiently, for which popular shipping carriers are used. There is always a competition to strike the balance between the cost of shipping and the speed of delivery to augment customer satisfaction. UPS and FedEx are some of the prime shipping carriers offering their services across locations. So let’s take a leap into the detailed comparison of UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost, which are two prominent shipping services across various areas.

How do UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost Services work?

Both are excellent options to offer delivery to various locations. But then what makes them important to be compared? The last-mile delivery – is the answer to it, where the price varies a lot while shipping a few blocks ahead or even a few hundred more. Most of the time you might observe that the shipping costs are inflated for no visible reasons. SurePost and SmartPost are designed to suit the need for delivering the last mile in a cost-effective manner. In both SurePost and SmartPost services, the posts are delivered to USPS, who are pioneers in delivering to remote and rural locations in the US in a way reducing the cost for shipping.

What is Last-mile Logistics?

The last-leg of shipment transit, wherein the shipment is delivered to the customer is often referred to as the last-mile. The cost is not predictable as the distance varies in many ways. Determining the cost for the last mile is complicated as sometimes it cannot be calculated as such. Sometimes, it might be easy with a bulk of products in a large van, but sometimes it might be that you have to travel to the outskirts or remote areas just to deliver one item. Even though the last mile sounds simpler, it actually matters the most in terms of cost. 

With UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost, you can reduce the cost to an extent and also make use of the proficiency UPS and FedEx have in delivering packages across locations and the extent of delivery of USPS very efficiently. 

UPS SurePost

UPS SurePost vs FedEx SmartPost

UPS SurePost is the residential, economy ground service by UPS. It combines the reliability of UPS and also the final delivery done by the USPS. SurePost drops the package to the nearest USPS regional hub, making the delivery quite faster.

Here are some advantages of UPS SurePost

Cost Saving – when you consider UPS SurePost, the rates are quite cheaper than even the UPS ground post. Moreover, the rates are offered even on the basis of the mail class and not just the dimension.

Saturday Delivery available – With the UPS SurePost, even Saturday (weekend ) delivery is possible and with zero extra cost.

Shipment Tracking-  Using the UPS SurePost, you can track the orders easily using the tracking numbers given by UPS. Even when the last mile is covered by USPS, the tracking number remains the same.

Shipment Drop off – UPS SurePost offers to drop off facility to any staffed office of UPS to take care of the shipments.

Easy delivery to P.O Boxes – Traditionally UPS does not deliver to P.O Boxes, but with a clear partnership with USPS, this becomes easier when you choose to ship with UPS SurePost.

Estimate delivery time for UPS Surepost – By default the estimated delivery for UPS SurePost is 2-7 days. You can enable the estimated delivery dates for your UPS SurePost shipping service, on your WooCommerce store, using WooCommerce EasyPost shipping plugin and display the estimated delivery date to the customers easily.

FedEx Smart Post

UPS SurePost vs FedEx SmartPost

FedEx SmartPost is a cost-effective way to manage residential shipping costs. It is quite an effective way to ship items for retailers, Like UPS SurePost, it also seeks the USPS assistance in the last leg of delivery. Here, the packages are either picked up or even delivered to the FedEx offices for shipping. Then the packages are sorted and then scheduled for delivery. When the package arrives at the destination, the FedEx SmartPost packages are then moved to the USPS office for delivery. And USPS then ships the package to the customer location.

Here are some of the advantages of FedEx SmartPost:

Cost Saving – Since the last-leg delivery is handled by USPS, the additional delivery charges are not incurred and hence both FedEx and the customers are exempted from the additional charges. Being suitable for bulk shipping, SmartPost is widely chosen by businesses for shipping in a cost-effective manner, so overall the cost of shipping will be less. 

Saturday Delivery –  FedEx offers 6-day delivery, hence it is easy to get deliveries on Saturdays too.

Smart Tracking – Using FedEx, it is easy to track the shipments much more efficiently, which curbs the concerns of customers. It is also possible to integrate your store with the FedEx shipment tracking and label generation with a WooCommerce Shipping plugin like EasyPost. Though, when FedEx delivers the package to USPS, it shows that delivery is complete. When the USPS delivery becomes active, a new tracking number is issued and helps the customers to track the information easily.

Easy Drop off available – FedEx shipping allows you to drop off the packages at any of the FedEx office locations.

Delivery at P.O. Boxes –  With USPS delivery linked to FedEx, it is easy to opt for delivery at P.O boxes.

Estimated Delivery Time –Typically FedEx SmartPost requires 2-7 days of time for delivery. With FedEx, you can easily display the estimated delivery date on the cart and checkout page on your store and lessen the customer worry regarding shipping. 

Advantages of UPS SurePost and FedEx Smart Post

Leveraging the USPS services to make the last mile delivery and in a way reducing the cost incurred on the same makes UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost an ideal option for many businesses. Here are some of the major advantages of using these services :

  • Overall Cost Reduction
  • Saturday Delivery
  • No surcharges on residential Delivery
  • P.O. Box Delivery
  • Easy Drop-off
  • Best Tracking options

UPS SurePost vs FedEx SmartPost

Now even though SurePost and SmartPost provide similar services there are few things that they differ in, which makes the comparison easier.

Shipping Charges- Compared to standard charges by UPS and FedEx, you can easily save up to 20% on shipping charges compared to standard UPS and FedEx Shipping. UPS charges are higher than FedEx, and the weight dimension of the package greatly matters in determining the shipping charges.

Dimensions – Both FedEx and UPS have specific dimensions for shipping packaging options.  Basically for FedEx maximum package weight is about 70lbs, with a dimension of 130 inches length and width. On the other hand, UPS has 4 categories :

  • Less than 1lb., it accepts packages weighing up to 450.76 grams with a maximum dimension of 130 inches.
  • 1 lb. or more, it accepts packages weighing up to 70 lbs with a maximum dimension of 130 inches.
  • UPS SurePost Bound Printed Matter accepts packages weighing up to 15 lbs with a maximum dimension of 108 inch
  • UPS SurePost Media accepts a maximum weight of 70 lbs with a maximum dimension of 108 inches.

Drop off locations –  In the case of UPS SurePost, the drop off is the USPS nearest point to the final destination like the post office, etc, which makes the delivery quite easy and faster. In the case of FedEx, the drop off is done at the nearest USPS regional hub.

Last Mile delivery – Both UPS and FedEx takes days to deliver the packages and when it comes to a remote location, it will take more time to complete. FedEx takes around 2-7 days to deliver across locations in the US and UPS takes close to one day less than UPS ground. With UPS, dropping the package to the nearest post office close to the destination of the package, it simplifies the process of shipping to distant locations.

To Conclude

Now to decide which one of them is the best, it depends on where you want to serve and how much the difference is incurred in the cost while shipping. To make it easier to compare, make use of the ELEX WooCommerce EasyPost Shipping plugin which incorporates all these three services USPS, UPS, FedEx apart from Canada Post. With the plugin, you can integrate shipment tracking, label printing, and generate tracking id for all your orders from the store. You can also make use of the plugin to create customized packaging options.


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