E-commerce News and Insights
Jul 5, 2023

USPS Ground Advantage: Deep Dive into USPS’s Newest Service Level

USPS shipping is about to get simpler and more affordable for e-commerce merchants looking to deliver packages across the United States.

Beginning on July 9, 2023, the Postal Service is consolidating three ground services – USPS Parcel Select Ground®, USPS Retail Ground®, and USPS First-Class Package Service® – into one singular ground shipping option known as USPS Ground Advantage™.

This new service level is part of USPS’s efforts to simplify its pricing structure while also improving its overall product offerings. The change will affect all shippers, including Shippo users.

The Basics of USPS Ground Advantage

This domestic shipping service will be used for packages traveling via ground that weigh up to 70 lbs and measure up to 130 inches in combined length plus girth. Delivery times for this service can be between 2-5 business days. Packages can be sent to all 50 U.S. states, territories, and U.S. military bases.

For packages weighing under a pound, pricing will be broken up into 4 weight ranges (1-4 oz, 4.001-8 oz, 8.001-12 oz, and 12.001-15.999 oz) similar to how it’s been for First-Class Package Service.

In terms of possible fees, USPS Ground Advantage parcels are subject to Non-Standard Length (NSL) fees and/or Cube fees. Regarding NSL fees, parcels with a length greater than 22 inches but less than 30 inches will incur a $4 fee. Parcels with a length greater than 30 inches will incur a $7 fee. As for a possible Cube fee, if your Ground Advantage parcel measures greater than 2 cubic feet, there will be a $15 fee assessed.

Dimensional weight pricing may be applied to eligible packages. This is also the only service level available for shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

Benefits of USPS Ground Advantage

USPS Ground Advantage comes with major advantages for e-commerce shippers. Some of the biggest reasons to use this new service include:

  1. Free package pickup at your home or office
  2. Free $100 insurance is included for both outbound shipments and returned parcels
  3. Forwarding, return-to-sender endorsements, and undeliverable as addressed are included for all USPS Ground Advantage Shipments
  4. Tracking is included for free on all Ground Advantage packages
  5. No fuel or residential surcharges
  6. Limited Saturday delivery included at no extra charge

The biggest perk of using this new service is the new prices that come along with it. Commercial rates, which are already discounted for Shippo users, will be decreasing even further.

You’ll be saving even more money shipping with USPS after the service goes into effect this July.

How The New USPS Service Will Affect Your Workflow

Starting July 9th, web-app users will no longer see USPS First-Class Package Service or USPS Parcel Select as an option when comparing carrier rates for domestic shipments. Instead, they will simply see USPS Ground Advantage.

As for Shippo API users, if you use our Shipments endpoint to get rates (rate shopping), you need to use the new service level token “usps_ground_advantage”. We will no longer return First Class (usps_first) and Parcel Select (usps_parcel_select) rates. You should expect the new service level Ground Advantage (usps_ground_advantage) to be included in your API response. Until you make this change, you may be paying for a more expensive service level.

As a Shippo API user, if you use the one step (instalabel) workflow, we recommend you switch to the new service level token “usps_ground_advantage” as soon as possible to avoid any interruption to your operations. We will continue to accept usps_first and usps_parcel_select tokens, and will map them to usps_ground_advantage. We will continue to map this for 60 days following July 9th, then they will be deprecated.

For both Shippo web app and API users, it is important to migrate parcel templates from First Class Package Service or Parcel Select Ground to Ground Advantage while considering new pricing, service levels, and dimensions for those templates. Moreover, if you have assigned First Class Package Service or Parcel Select Ground as your service levels through automation rules, it is essential to update them to Ground Advantage. Additionally, we recommend reviewing your pricing, especially if you have flat-rate pricing in place.

In either case, the discounts you were accustomed to with USPS First Class Package Service and USPS Parcel Select will still be found within USPS Ground Advantage plus an additional decrease.

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Hasan Nabulsi
is the Content Marketing Manager at Shippo.

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