Believe it or not, mailing and shipping mean totally different things! While these two terms are commonly used interchangeably, they aren’t the same…especially from an industry perspective.
What is Mailing?
Mailing describes the process of sending letters and regular-sized envelopes, usually through the United States Postal Service (or whichever international postal service you may be using).
Out of the major carriers, USPS is the ONLY one legally authorized to deliver mail to all 140 million residential addresses in the United States. However, USPS also offers shipping services outside of delivering mail to every home in the U.S., just like UPS and FedEx do.
What is Shipping?
Generally speaking, shipping involves sending packages, boxes, or any item that isn’t a piece of mail. When one thinks of the basics of shipping a package, they typically think of large carriers like UPS and FedEx. However, don’t forget that USPS also offers shipping services! They even offer the best postage rates on small packages like Priority Mail Cubic that the other carriers can’t come close to competing with.
Fun fact: the word “shipping” was originally conceived as a reference to a parcel that was being mailed by ship. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
Mailing vs. Shipping: Why The Difference Matters
Though it might not seem significant, knowing the difference between the two is one of the most crucial basics of shipping for small businesses. It’s a common misconception to think that USPS only handles mail, and you can only ship through the other carriers. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, since USPS ships millions upon millions of packages each year. In fact, USPS is the most favorable carrier for shipping eCommerce parcels!