The USPS is the ideal shipping carrier for many small businesses. They offer affordable rates, plenty of delivery options, and convenient pickup and label purchasing for commercial organizations.
But, does USPS deliver on the weekends? Making customers wait an extra day or two to receive their orders can leave them frustrated. Not something you want after working hard to earn a sale.
In this post, we’ll look at the weekend delivery options offered by USPS and how they can compare to other shipping carriers.
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What is USPS?
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent agency of the United States government designed to provide a reliable mailing service to all the country’s citizens. The USPS has exclusive access to mailboxes and is the only service allowed to deliver letters to residents across the country.
The organization was first formed in 1792 with the signing of the Postal Service Act. In 1872 the organization became part of the executive cabinet along with the rest of the Post Office Department. This status lasted nearly a century until the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 which abolished the previous Post Office Department and reclassified the USPS as an independent entity.
Today, USPS has grown from its original purpose as a domestic mail carrier to become a full-scale logistics service. Beyond fast shipping to local residents, the agency now offers international sellers affordable deliveries to more than 180 countries.
Why Is USPS Important for Ecommerce Sellers?
USPS may be the default solution for delivering regular mail but the service has to compete with other logistics providers for package delivery. According to Statista, USPS had a 19% market share among local delivery providers in the United States in 2020. This is third behind UPS and FedEx which accounted for 35% and 34% of the market respectively. In that time, the market has only become more competitive as Amazon’s logistics service continues to account for more and more package deliveries.
So, if you run an ecommerce business you have plenty of options for delivering your goods. While USPS may not be the biggest (by package volume) or the newest carrier, it has some important qualities that make it a key resource for all sellers.
To start, USPS has the distinct advantage of being able to reach every single mailing address in the USPS. If you need an affordable shipping option that can reach every home regardless of location, USPS is the ideal solution.
While other services continually expand their coverage, they simply don’t have this capability. In fact, many carriers have partnered with USPS to cover last-mile deliveries for areas they can’t reach.
Here are some other reasons why USPS is a key delivery provider for ecommerce sellers.
Fast and affordable shipping
USPS has fast delivery options. Orders sent via Priority Mail usually arrive in 1 to 3 days. These deliveries are often faster than similar services from UPS or FedEx. Plus, they’re on par with the speedy 2-day deliveries made famous by Amazon Prime.
In addition to speed, USPS also boasts affordable shipping rates. Pricing for Priority Mail shipments starts as low as $7.62 for business users. These rates are typically lower than similar services from UPS or FedEx, especially for shipping smaller packages.
Free package pickup
When you’re looking to scale your business, you won’t have the time or the capacity to drive to the post office to drop off your shipments. Fortunately, USPS makes package pickup a quick and convenient process, allowing you to spend your time on more valuable tasks.
Because USPS stops by businesses and homes every day (except Sunday), all you need to do is meet your carrier when they arrive to deliver your mail. You also have the option to schedule a package pickup at a time that works better for you. This can be done for free provided at least one of the packages will use an expedited service such as Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, or First Class Package Service.
Shipment tracking is an essential part of ecommerce deliveries. It improves the customer experience by enabling buyers to know where their goods are and when they’ll arrive.
USPS has a robust tracking system that can scan and report on up to 13 events per shipment. This includes the moment the parcel is accepted by the postal facility up until it is delivered to the customer’s address. USPS Tracking is included with most domestic shipping methods.
With the tracking number, customers can easily monitor the progress of their delivery online. To do so, they simply need to enter the number into the USPS tracker.
What Are USPS Delivery Types?
USPS has a wide variety of delivery options. Below are the most popular USPS mail types for ecommerce sellers:
#1 Priority Mail Express
Priority Mail Express is the fastest USPS shipping service. Packages have next-day or 2-day shipping times. The service runs 365 days a year, with the exception of a few holidays. Most shipments are insured up to $100 and there is a money-back guarantee for shipments that do not arrive by the promised delivery time
With Priority Mail Express, you can send shipments in a Priority Mail Express Envelope, a Priority Mail Express Mailing Box, or a box of your own. For the box options, pricing is based on weight and the distance of the delivery. Priority Mail Express Envelopes have a flat rate price, based on the envelope’s size.
#2 First Class Mail
First Class Mail is an economical service for sending envelopes and lightweight packages. This delivery type offers the lowest prices among USPS services for items under 13 ounces in weight. First Class Mail also comes with insurance covering up to $5,000 of lost or damaged merchandise.
Shipping time for letters sent via First Class Mail is 1 to 5 business days while small packages are delivered in 2 to 5 business days. Pricing for small packages starts at $4.80 and the maximum weight you can send is 13 ounces.
#3 Media Mail
Media Mail is a shipping service for sending media and educational materials. With this delivery method, you are only allowed to send the following type of items:
- Computer-readable media
- Playscripts and manuscripts
- 16-millimeter or narrower-width films
- Printed music and test materials
- Printed educational reference charts
- Medical loose-leaf pages and binders
- Sound and video recordings
Shipping time for Media Mail packages is 2 to 8 days. The maximum weight per shipment is 70 pounds.
#4 USPS Retail Ground
USPS Retail Ground is a package delivery method with slightly longer delivery windows. Shipping times for this delivery type are between 2 to 5 days. USPS Retail Ground is a common choice for shipments that are too large for Priority Mail delivery.
The maximum weight for Retail Ground shipments is 70 pounds while the maximum combined length and width of a package is 130 inches. Keep in mind Retail Ground is only available at USPS Post Offices. This means you can’t buy Retail Ground labels through the Click n Ship Portal.
Does USPS Deliver Mail on Saturday?
While the USPS used to only deliver on weekdays, they have expanded their service offering to include weekend deliveries. USPS business days are now Monday through Saturday. All shipments, no matter the delivery type, are eligible to arrive on Saturday.
What Time Does USPS Deliver on Saturday?
Like weekday mail, USPS Saturday delivery times depend on where a location is in the delivery route. However, USPS does have shorter business hours on Saturdays.
So, how late does USPS deliver on Saturday? Carriers aim to have all Saturday deliveries arrive by 5 PM local time. But during busy periods like Black Friday, deliveries may arrive later in the evening.
Does USPS Deliver Mail on Sunday?
Yes, USPS delivers on Sunday but with some expectations. On Sunday, the carrier only delivers two types of packages; Priority Mail Express shipments and Amazon packages. Shipments using any other service will be delivered on Monday rather than Sunday.
It is possible to get USPS overnight Sunday delivery if you send your Priority Mail Express package out early enough on Saturday.
What Time Does USPS Deliver Packages on Sunday?
While it varies based on location, USPS tends to start delivering Priority Mail Express items at around 10:30 AM local time. Amazon packages usually don’t start going out until the afternoon. During busy times, Amazon packages can be delayed until nighttime.
How Much Does USPS Weekend Delivery Cost?
The cost of USPS weekend delivery depends on whether a package is delivered on Saturday or Sunday. Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or any other type of delivery can arrive on Saturday at no additional cost.
For Sunday deliveries, USPS charges an additional $12.50 fee to deliver your Priority Mail Express shipment. However, Sunday Amazon packages are delivered without the extra cost.
What If The Weekend Falls on A Public Holiday?
If the weekend falls on a public holiday, USPS won’t be delivering packages. This is because USPS is closed for all major public holidays including:
- New Year’s Day
- Juneteenth National Independence Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
Note, there are other recognized holidays not listed above. Easter Sunday is not among them which means you can still plan to have your packages delivered on the day. You can check out the USPS Holidays & Events page for the latest list of public holidays.
During the holiday season, you should keep a close eye on which days of the week major holidays fall on. Doing so will help you calculate shipping cutoff times for packages to arrive by a certain date. You can then share this information with your customers so that they can plan accordingly.
Can Customers Pick Up Packages From USPS on the Weekend?
Customers can pick up packages from the post office during business hours. This means that most locations will be open for package pickup on Saturday. The exact hours can vary by location, but most branches are open from 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays.
Because USPS office locations are closed on Sunday, your customers are unable to pick up packages on this day of the week.
What Other Postal Services Can I Use on the Weekend?
USPS isn’t the only logistics company that delivers on the weekend. As carriers around the world have recognized the importance of weekend deliveries, more and more are expanding their services to be able to deliver at any time during the week. Here are some of the other logistics services that offer weekend delivery:
UPS offers Saturday delivery to the majority of the U.S. population for no extra cost. Saturday deliveries are reserved for certain services including:
- UPS Next Day Early
- UPS Next Day
- UPS Ground
- UPS 3 Day Select
- UPS 2nd Day Air
- UPS Worldwide Express
- UPS Worldwide Express Plus
- UPS Worldwide Express Freight
UPS also offers limited Sunday delivery via its SurePost economy shipping service. The service is only available in certain metropolitan areas and for residential deliveries. Like the USPS, UPS does not deliver on major public holidays.
FedEx offers Saturday and Sunday delivery through its Home Delivery shipping service. To have the carrier deliver on the weekend, you need to select the option when purchasing the shipment label. Otherwise, the package won’t be delivered until the next business day. There is no additional charge to deliver on weekends.
FedEx’s Saturday and Sunday delivery services cover 98% and 80% of the U.S. population respectively. You can check out FedEx’s coverage map to see which locations are eligible for weekend deliveries.
Unsurprisingly, the ecommerce giant Amazon delivers on the weekends by leveraging its own logistics service. After researching a winning product, the easiest way to make your items available for weekend deliveries is to have orders fulfilled through the FBA logistics service. Using FBA makes your product Prime eligible and the fulfillment fees are usually lower than any alternative carrier.
Having the Prime badge on your listings is not only important for converting shoppers into customers, but it also helps improve the discoverability of your items through search. Many Amazon buyers will enable Prime shipping as a filter when browsing through products.
For more support boosting your Amazon search performance, SEMrush Search Insights for Amazon can be a helpful tool in uncovering new keyword ideas and the strategies employed by competitors.
In summary, USPS offers some solid options for delivering on Saturdays and Sundays. Now that their business days run six days a week, you can ship packages via any method, confident that they can be delivered on Saturday. When you need a Sunday delivery, Priority Mail Express is available at a reasonable fee. Plus, Amazon packages are delivered without extra charge.
As consumer expectations grow, weekend deliveries will become the norm, not the exception. As such, you can expect USPS (and other carriers) to continue expanding their Saturday and Sunday delivery options in the years to come.
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