USPS Retail Ground vs. Parcel Select: The Difference

Learn about the main differences between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground (they might look the same, but they're not!)
USPS Retail Ground vs. Parcel Select Ground

Whenever we talk to new shippers, one of the main questions they ask us is, “What’s the difference between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground? Are they technically the same thing?” To be candid, both Retail and Parcel Select offer the same exact type of service (ground transportation), with the same exact delivery timeframe of 2-8 business days. In addition, neither service comes with any built-in USPS insurance. It seems like these services are the same thing with different names…so, what’s the difference between the two? We go into the details below.

USPS Retail Ground is Only Available at the Post Office or the USPS Website

One of the main differences between Retail and Parcel Select Ground is where you’ll find each of these services. Retail Ground is the exclusive USPS ground service that you’ll find at any Post Office location. You’ll also see it on the USPS website, when you opt to buy your postage through Click N’ Ship.

On the other hand, you won’t find Parcel Select Ground at your local Post Office, nor on the USPS website.

Pro Tip: USPS Ground services like Retail Ground and Parcel Select are most often used for shipping hazardous materials that USPS prevents from being transported via services, such as Priority Mail. Learn more about hazardous materials and how to ship them.

Parcel Select is Cheaper than Retail Ground

Another big distinguisher between Retail and Parcel Select is the price. Across the board, Parcel Select Ground is cheaper than Retail Ground. In some cases, it has the ability to be significantly cheaper (up to 43% cheaper than Retail Ground rates, at the top end). This is because Parcel Select Ground is the ground service that USPS offers to shippers who have access to special Commercial Pricing rates. In other words, only a select group of shippers can capture these exclusive savings on their ground shipments. However, there’s a way that you can, too!

How Can I Access Parcel Select Ground Rates?

If you’d like to access Parcel Select Ground, the only place you’ll be able to do so is with free online shipping software. Buying your postage with online USPS shipping software allows you to gain access to these same Commercial Pricing rates we outlined in the section above. This way, you can get the same discounts as huge shippers sending out 50,000 or more packages per year! Pretty sweet, right?


Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To access Parcel Select Ground as well as the deepest discounts on all USPS services, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software


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