Shipping With UPS®: Everything E-Commerce Merchants Need To Know

UPS® is a true global shipping and logistics powerhouse, serving more than 220 countries and territories around the world, employing over 540,000 workers, and delivering 24.7 million packages each day.

Given all of that, it’s easy to see why UPS is one of the top choices for e-commerce businesses looking for efficiency and reliability. Here, we’ll take an up-close look at shipping with UPS, including its history, service levels, and pricing structures.

UPS Shipping for E-Commerce Businesses

Since its founding, UPS has paved the way for global commerce and has played an integral role in fueling the e-commerce revolution of the 21st century. And while today’s e-commerce businesses have more shipping options than ever before, UPS has remained a favorite for four primary reasons:

  • A wide array of shipping services – With UPS, you can choose from several different service levels for both domestic and international shipments to accommodate a variety of needs and budgets.
  • Comprehensive tracking – UPS’ tracking is second-to-none, allowing customers to follow a shipment’s progress from start to finish and giving them peace of mind every step of the way.
  • Fast delivery – As we’ll discuss later on in this guide, UPS offers multiple shipping services for e-commerce businesses that need their packages to arrive in a hurry. Two popular options include UPS Next Day Air® and UPS 2nd Day Air® shipping services.
  • Multiple, convenient pickup options. This includes smart pickups, on-call pickups, daily pickups, and route pickups, which you can learn more about here.
  • Plenty of drop off options – There are more than 5,000 The UPS Store® retail locations in the U.S. and Canada. This gives e-commerce businesses plenty of ways to drop off packages for shipping and plenty of ways in which consumers can drop off returns.

UPS® Shipping Services

As mentioned, there are numerous UPS shipping options for e-commerce businesses. But here are some of the carrier’s more popular offerings, including delivery times, key benefits, and which types of customers each service is best suited for.

UPS® Standard

UPS® Standard service is a smart option if you’re looking for affordable shipping for non-urgent deliveries. 

Service Name Est. Delivery Time Key Features
UPS® Standard End of the day in 3+ business days
  • Ships to the 48 contiguous states, as well as certain locations in Canada and Mexico
  • Door-to-door shipping service

UPS® Ground

Like UPS® Standard, service UPS® Ground shipping is ideal for non-urgent packages where you want to keep costs to a minimum, but also need to know when your shipment will arrive.

Service Name Est. Delivery Time Key Features
UPS® Ground 1-5 business days
  • Economical options
  • Day-definite delivery

For Shippo customers shipping with UPS, they’ll get access to deeply discounted rates on UPS® Ground shipping as well as no peak surcharges. Here are a couple of examples of those savings: 

UPS Ground Rate Card ExampleUPS Ground Rate Card ExampleUPS Rate Card Example

UPS 2nd Day Air® Services

If you’re looking for a shipment to meet the 2-3 day delivery window (as 54% of customers prefer) and want complete reliability, UPS 2nd Day Air® shipping is a good choice.

Service Name Est. Delivery Time Key Features
UPS 2nd Day Air® Guaranteed two-day delivery to the 48 contiguous states and Puerto Rico, with packages arriving as early as 10:30 am
  • More cost-effective than overnight delivery
  • Free packaging available for this service

You can see some examples of rates for this service through Shippo below:

UPS 2nd Day Air Rate SampleUPS 2nd Day Air Rate SampleUPS 2nd Day Air Rate Sample

UPS Next Day Air® Shipping Services

This is a lightning-fast shipping option that ensures packages arrive the next business day. Although it’s one of the most expensive options for e-commerce sellers, it’s perfect if you need to rush out a package.

Service Name Est. Delivery Time Key Features
UPS Next Day Air® Next business days to locations throughout the entire US and Puerto Rico
  • Time-definite delivery or your money back
  • Free packaging available for this service

UPS Worldwide Express® Shipping Services

If you’re looking for highly reliable international shipping from the US, UPS Worldwide Express® service is a great option to consider.

Service Name Est. Delivery Time Key Features
UPS Worldwide Express®
  • Next day service to most of Canada
  • 2 days to Mexico, Latin America, and Europe, with delivery times as early as 10:30am
  • 3+ days to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, with delivery times as early as noon
  • Ships from the US to 140 countries around the world
  • Day-definite delivery or your money back
  • In-house customs clearance is provided

Determining UPS® Shipping Costs

How much you spend to send a package will depend on three main factors:

  • How far you’re shipping it – UPS breaks deliveries down into different zones. The further a package travels, the more it costs to ship.
  • Weight – Generally speaking, the heavier a package is, the more expensive it is to ship. Note that UPS has a maximum weight limit of 150 lbs for most common e-commerce shipping services. Anything over that limit will be subject to an Over Maximum Limits charge.
  • Delivery time – The faster a delivery arrives, the more you’ll pay. As noted, basic services such as UPS® Standard and UPS® Ground shipping will be significantly less expensive than expedited services like UPS 2nd Day Air® and UPS Next Day Air® shipping.

Getting a quote from UPS requires providing key information upfront, including your origin address, delivery address, destination type, and shipping date. However, you can streamline this process significantly and get a UPS rate quote faster via web dashboard or API with a tool like Shippo.

UPS® Shipping Software

Besides just quickly calculating accurate quotes, there are several other key advantages of using a UPS shipping software. Perhaps the biggest is the massive discounts you can access. With Shippo, for instance, you can create discounted printing labels and save up to:

  • 55% on UPS® Ground shipments
  • 69% on UPS 2nd Day Air® shipments
  • 69% on UPS Next Day Air® ship
  • 86% on International services

To get started, you simply connect your UPS account to Shippo to view your discounted UPS rates in real-time. Or, if you need help, learn how to add Shippo’s UPS master account to your account here.

On top of that, Shippo also lets you:

  • Avoid common UPS surcharges such as Fuel, Residential, and Peak surcharges.
  • Validate addresses to ensure packages reach their correct destination
  • Quickly create invoices and packing slips
  • Easily generate return labels to make returns a breeze
  • Pre-fill customs documentation and packing slips to save time
  • Add shipping insurance to provide peace of mind
  • Send automatic email tracking information to customers so they know when a package will arrive

Finally, with Shippo, you’ll enjoy comprehensive analytics that give you an always-on view of your order history, shipping efficiency, and how much you’re spending. Over time, you can use this data to continually refine your UPS shipping processes to maximize your productivity and profitability.

The Rich of History of UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) has deep roots, going all the way back to 1907. The carrier was formed in Seattle, Washington when two teenage entrepreneurs — Claude Ryan and Jim Casey — took out a $100 loan to begin a package delivery business. By 1919, the two had expanded to Oakland, California, after which they scaled throughout the rest of the US, moving their headquarters to Los Angeles, New York, and then eventually to Atlanta where it remains today.

One particularly noteworthy highlight of UPS’ history was the shipper becoming the first delivery company to serve every address in the continental US in 1975. Ten years later, in 1985, UPS was the first service to offer Next Day Air® in the 48-contiguous states, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. In the same year, UPS launched the first intercontinental air service, reaching from the US to key destinations in Europe. Since its founding, UPS paved the way for global commerce and has played an integral role in fueling the e-commerce revolution of the 21st century.

Learn more about how Shippo can help you ship smarter through a full range of helpful e-commerce features.

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