Economy & Express Shipping Confusion

August 3rd, 2014

One of the biggest areas of customer confusion I have found running Price USA over the last seven years is the differences between the way economy and express shipping work. The cause of this confusion is that economy shipping is charged by USPS on weight alone, while express shipping is charged by UPS on the basis of weight and volume. This causes people to think express shipping is only a little more than economy shipping if they forget about the effect of volume.

A classic example of this problem is that caused by shoes – by economy shipping most shoes weight around 2 to 2.5 lbs (shipping cost of US$22 to US$25), while the same shoes sent by express shipping are up around 6 to 8 lbs (shipping cost US$58 to US$67). This is because shoes (like lots of things other than lead) are relative light for their volume. What I have found is that many people think that express shipping is based on just weight and so will choose express shipping 2 lbs (US$39) for shoes thinking that it is not much more than economy. Of course when they get my quote after I have corrected the shipping weight to reflect the likely volume of the shoes they then think I am trying to overcharge them (which I am not of course).

To try and avoid this problem I have decided that from now on if a customer chooses an unrealistically low express shipping weight for orders that can be shipped economy then I will change the shipping from express to economy. If I have changed your order to economy, and you really want express, just let me know by email and I will send you a new quote with a realistic express shipping cost. Since the shipping method does not affect the initial deposit amount this should hopefully achieve the best outcome.

4 responses

  1. Tina C comments:

    Can we request examples of previous orders of your customers for say 2 nine west high heels; 2 Nike shoes; 4 heels; 4 sports shoes and add those somewhere on this site for reference. So before we even ask for quotations we already have in mind what the charges are going to be. I’m planning to get maybe 4 pairs of mix heels and shoes and wonder if you ship by normal usps if ups is much more pricier.

    Thanks for the help

  2. Carolina comments:

    Have you looked in the FAQ section since I list the typical weight and volume of shoes there. All you need to do is add them all up. In general it is better to order 2 at a time so that you can use economy shipping.

  3. Tina C comments:

    Yes I did, for example a pair of nine west sandals hxxp://, if I go by the dimensions given, 12x8x4; the shipping weight would be 2.76lbs? And if I’m planning to get 4 or more, will express still be viable? I’m thinking of reselling purposes so I need the boxes and economy is far too slow the last time I tried that. I didn’t see USPS priority international being offered so not sure if you do offer that?

    Thanks for the fast reply, appreciate it

  4. Carolina comments:

    I can’t answer if it would be worthwhile reselling or not, but I can tell you that once you go over 4 lbs UPS (express) is cheaper than USPS Priority Mail. This is why I do not offer priority mail any more.

    Also your estimate for the volumetric weight is too low for shoes – most are in the 6 to 8 lbs range.

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