Is UPS SurePost® Right For Your Small Package Shipping?

Small parcels might be compact, but they bring big logistic challenges. For carriers, these challenges come mostly in the last mile. Weaving a truck through tight city streets or across long rural routes for doorstep delivery creates surcharges and fees that make shippers cringe. And with the recent boom in e-commerce shipping, which shows no signs of slowing, small package challenges will continue to grow.

If last-mile delivery for these orders is costly and consumers expect free or low-cost shipping, how can small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) – who don’t have the same resources as big-box retailers – compete? To address this problem, UPS® created UPS SurePost®. The shipping network and services offered by this program helps SMBs stay competitive with their small parcel services and streamline parcel shipping operations overall.

Getting the most value out of SurePost comes down to fit – having the right operations, customers and order profiles. Here, we explain how this UPS program may benefit your business and open doors.

What is UPS SurePost?

SurePost is an economy, residential-bound ground service designed for small, lightweight business-to-consumer (B2C) parcels. This delivery network combines UPS ground trucks and hubs with the local delivery infrastructure of the United States Postal Service (USPS) for last-mile logistics. Built for daily, local deliveries, USPS brings hundreds of years of service that make it an ideal UPS partner for residential deliveries.

What is the ideal SurePost package profile?

B2C shippers fulfilling at least 10 small package shipments per day could benefit greatly from this lower-cost ground service – as long as their packages fit the parameters. Shipments need to be lightweight with a small footprint so they fit comfortably in a mail truck. These parcels should:

  • Weigh less than 10 lbs.
  • Measure under one cubic foot
  • Head to residential deliveries
  • Be for business-to-consumer transactions
  • Have a value less than $100 and require limited liability coverage

How does SurePost work?

SurePost packages follow the UPS ground network and workflows until they’re ready for final delivery. UPS picks up parcels and routes them to the UPS center closest to the delivery address. From there, two things can happen:

  • UPS transfers the package to USPS for final delivery
  • UPS keeps the package in its network and combines it with other volume heading toward the final destination

In total, USPS handles final delivery for about two-thirds of SurePost packages, which take 1-2 extra days to reach doorsteps (compared to UPS® Ground). These parcels follow the typical UPS tracking experience – receiving delivery and exception scans that are updated daily – even after USPS takes them for the home stretch. Shipments can be easily tracked through, UPS online shipping tools or the Worldwide Express transportation management system (TMS), SpeedShip®.

Benefits of SurePost Shipping

The last thing you need is a trip to the post office when work piles up. Because USPS takes the last mile pressure off UPS, SurePost opens logistic opportunities for SMB shippers. UPS collects SurePost packages with other parcels – saving shippers time while keeping shipping managers close to the action at the office. Using UPS for all parcels big and small also spares shippers the hassle of managing disparate systems to track packages. No more remembering if it shipped with USPS or UPS. Tracking information is all in one place. And because USPS handles the last mile, shippers can send orders to PO boxes – which is something you can’t do with other ground services.

Beyond simplified logistics, SurePost’s lower UPS shipping rates generally help SMBs find room in the budget for value-add shipping services customers care about. Why does that matter? We know that customers care about shipping – be it cheap, free or fast. In fact, 63% of consumers say they abandon online shopping carts because of shipping costs, while 36% are bothered most by longer delivery times . Behind SurePost’s low-cost parcel shipping could be opportunities to beat the competition on ground costs or offset the financial hit for two-day shipping.

Is UPS SurePost Shipping right for you?

SurePost could be the missing link for B2C-based SMBs – offering cost-reductions and reliable residential fulfillment that help them keep up with increasingly demanding shipping standards.

Curious about the possibilities? As a UPS Authorized Reseller, Worldwide Express can offer a SurePost evaluation to determine fit with your operations. Get started today!

1Primary reason for digital shoppers in the United States to abandon their carts as of November 2018, Statista J. Clement, 2019