Save Time and Money with USPS this Holiday Season

Published on January 4, 2022
Written by
Filed under Carrier Rates
Read time 7 Minutes

As an ecommerce retailer ramping up for a busy holiday season, you understand the value of a multi-carrier shipping strategy. If your business ships mostly lightweight and medium-weight packages, not utilizing the USPS is the equivalent of finding a lump of coal in your stocking.

Why should USPS be part of your holiday shipping strategy? Consider these reasons:

  • Avoid surcharges—Private carriers often tack on surcharges for residential delivery, rural delivery, Saturday delivery, fuel and address correction.
  • Accessibility—USPS has more than 35,000 retail locations and 180,000 drop boxes, and is the only carrier that delivers seven days a week.
  • APO/FPO, PO Box Delivery—USPS is the only carrier that can deliver to military and diplomatic addresses, as well as PO Boxes.

Here are a few ways USPS can save you money this holiday season and beyond.

Priority Mail

Priority Mail is an excellent option for businesses shipping packages to residential addresses that want quick delivery with free tracking, while remaining cost-conscious. In fact, it’s oftentimes the most affordable shipping option for ecommerce businesses. With delivery to most U.S. locations in 1-3 days, Priority Mail offers multiple options, including regular zone-based pricing, flat rate envelopes and boxes, regional rate packaging, and cubic pricing. The Postal Service also offers a variety of free shipping supplies for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipments, which can save businesses even more money.

The three Priority Mail service categories are designed to fit a diverse range of products:

  • Priority Mail Flat Rate®: Best for shipping heavier packages long distances, this service offers a pre-priced shipping cost based on the box or envelope size, not the weight or distance. In other words, you can send items weighing up to 70 pounds for a flat rate as long as those items fit in the box or envelope.
  • Priority Mail Regional Rate®: This service is best for shipping heavier packages short distances, with pricing based on pricing based on box size and its destination.
  • Priority Mail (Zone-based pricing): If your business needs to employ a wider range of box sizes, or would prefer to use your own branded packaging over USPS packaging, this service still offers cost-savings opportunities, especially when shipping lightweight items. All other Priority Mail pricing is determined by a package’s weight and where it’s headed.

Cubic pricing

If your ecommerce business ships more than 50,000 small, heavy packages each year, you’ll want to take a look at USPS cubic pricing, a cost-effective Priority Mail option for high-volume shippers. This option is available through Commercial Plus Pricing, the discounted rates offered to electronic postage users that ship high volumes.

With cubic pricing, the shipping cost you pay is for the size of the package and where it’s headed, not for the weight of the package. Priority Mail packages weighing less than 20 pounds and measuring no more than .50 cubic feet in volume are eligible.

Want to know how to measure the cubic feet of a package?

First, measure the length, width and height of a package in inches. Be sure to round down to the nearest 0.25 inch. You’ll then want to multiply the length, width and height, dividing the total by 1,728.

Is the value of your package less than .50 cubic feet? Your package is eligible for one of the following five cubic tier rates:

  • Tier 1: packages measuring up to .10 cubic feet
  • Tier 2: packages measuring more than .10 up to .20 cubic feet
  • Tier 3: packages measuring more than .20 up to .30 cubic feet
  • Tier 4: packages measuring more than .30 up to .40 cubic feet
  • Tier 5: packages measuring more than .40 up to .50 cubic feet

It’s easy to determine the cubic rate with by using ShipStation’s In-App Rate Calculator – learn more here.

Dimensional weight pricing

FedEx and UPS both apply for Ground packages. This means shipping prices are determined according to a package’s size (in volume) in relation to its actual weight. This can mean a serious cost increase for businesses shipping larger, lighter-weight packages. If your business specializes in products like teddy bears or pillows, you may want to turn to the USPS when shipping these bulky but lightweight items, as USPS does not apply dimensional weight pricing to its shipments.


Did you know that USPS package tracking is automatically included with the majority of USPS domestic mail classes, as well as some international mail classes? The list includes:

  • Bound Printed Matter
  • First-Class Mail Parcels
  • First-Class Package International Service (to select destinations)
  • First-Class Package Service
  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Library Mail
  • Media Mail
  • Parcel Select Ground
  • Priority Mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • Priority Mail Express International
  • Priority Mail International (not available with Flat Rate Envelopes; only available with the Small Flat Rate Box to select countries)
  • Retail Ground

With up to 13 scans per shipment, it’s easy for you to provide customers with updates about packages headed their way. Here’s a list of some of the USPS classes

By incorporating USPS services into your shipping strategy, you’re sure to have a prosperous holiday season and beyond.

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Written by


I'm Joey, ShipStation's Content & Social Media Coordinator. I spent over a year on ShipStation's Support team which has given me great insight into our product and our customers. Outside of work, you'll find me writing, getting into one of Austin's great microbrews, or relaxing on a trail with my mutt.

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