The United States Postal Service (USPS) has implemented a major change to their service offerings. With the aim of streamlining operations and simplifying offerings, they have consolidated three ground services into one new offering, USPS Ground Advantage.
Quick Facts on USPS Ground Advantage
- Launch Date: July 9, 2023
- Service Area: All 50 U.S. states, U.S. military bases, and the U.S.’ territories and freely associated states
- Transit Time: 2-5 business days
- Package Weight: Up to 70 lbs
Introducing: USPS Ground Advantage
Postmaster Louis DeJoy is leading the USPS through a 10-year transformation plan, dubbed “Delivering for America.” A focus of the plan is to increase the postal service’s viability as a competitor in the commercial parcel market. In order to do that, they set out to simplify their offerings to have one service that covers nearly all needs for commercial parcel shipments.
Ground Advantage is the result. The USPS merged three previously distinct services: Retail Ground, Parcel Select Ground, and First-Class Package Service. This new consolidated service promises a delivery standard of two to five business days for packages weighing up to 70 pounds.
According to DeJoy, “USPS Ground Advantage is a game changer – for our customers, the industry and USPS. By efficiently and effectively integrating our ground transportation model to the magnificence of our last-mile delivery operations, we can now offer the most compelling ground shipping offering in the market. With USPS Ground Advantage, we are ready to compete for an increased share of the growing package business.”
USPS pricing can be tricky to decipher at first, but it’s easy to navigate with an understanding of different customer groups.
Ground Advantage has four different customer groups:
- LOR (Limited Overland Routes)
For a commercial shipper, especially an eCommerce business, the “Commercial” and “Retail” designations might be confusing. Simply put, any high-volume shipper is eligible for Commercial pricing. Retail pricing is for consumers sending single packages through their local post office.
Here are some basics of Ground Advantage Commercial pricing:
- Packages weighing under a pound will be tiered in 4 oz. increments (i.e., 4 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz., and up to 15.999 oz.)
- For packages over a pound, pricing will rise in 1 lb. increments, reaching up to 70 lbs.
- For all weights, pricing varies based on zone, ranging from 1-9.
Here are a few examples:
|Package Size||Zone 1||Zone 5||Zone 9|
Ground Advantage’s published prices are slated to be 1.4% lower than the existing prices of both Parcel Select Ground and First-Class Package Service.
The Impact on Ecommerce Shippers
Here are some reasons eCommerce shippers may find USPS Ground Advantage to be an attractive option:
- Free returns: As with other USPS services, returns won’t incur any charges.
- Insurance: Any product shipped with Ground Advantage automatically receives $100 in insurance coverage, applicable to both outbound and return shipments.
- Tracking: Free tracking is included.
- Hazardous materials: Ground Advantage is the USPS’ primary service option for shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT).
For shippers more accustomed to FedEx or UPS, Ground Advantage could be a viable alternative for their parcel volume, especially for shipments that don’t require express two-day delivery.
How Does It Compare with USPS Priority Mail?
At a glance, Ground Advantage might seem similar to USPS’ other well-known mail and parcel service, Priority Mail. While there are similarities, there are key differences too – the most notable being delivery speed.
Ground Advantage ranges from 2-5 business days, without a specific guaranteed timeframe. Priority Mail, on the other hand, aims for delivery in 1-3 business days.
Because of this, Ground Advantage is a more affordable option. Pricing for Ground Advantage begins as low as $3.59 per package. For Priority Mail, Commercial pricing begins at $7.64 per package.
In the future, expect USPS to continue innovating in their quest to become a greater player in the commercial parcel market.
Key goals of the Delivering for America plan include:
- Expanding deliveries to 6-7 days per week
- Fully optimizing their ground and air networks
- Improvements in processing and delivery operations
The USPS plans to invest nearly $40 billion dollars into these objectives.
USPS Ground Advantage is just the start, and is a clear demonstration of their commitment to simplifying and improving their package delivery services for both businesses and consumers.