Walk into any place of business and you’re bound to hear some employees use the term “mailing” when what they really mean is “shipping” or the term “shipping” when what they really mean is “mailing”.

So, what?

At the end of the day does it really matter?

Actually, yes, it can.

Before we get to that, let’s define what the difference is between “mailing” and “shipping.”

What is “mailing?”

Mailing is the process of sending a letter or other type of message in a regular-sized envelope via the United States Postal Service (USPS.)

What is “shipping?”

Shipping is the process of sending a package or over-sized envelope over land, air, or sea.

What should be mailed and what should be shipped: a few examples

Source: https://www.quadientdirect.com/blog/post/mailing-vs-shipping-explained

Why knowing the difference can make a difference

There are 3 reasons why it matters that your employees know the difference between mailing and shipping.

  • It can save your business money
  • It will help you choose the best delivery time
  • It will help you choose the best delivery option

How is this possible? Because by using the correct terminology to describe your needs, your employees will be able to accurately define which suppliers are best suited to meet those needs. From there you’ll be able to conduct a comparison.

Keep in mind shipping rates, delivery times and options are not necessarily the same at all carriers. Depending on your requirements, it’s likely one carrier may be a better solution than the others.

And don’t do this…

Don’t let misconceptions cloud your understanding of what each carrier has to offer. For example, some employees may think of FedEx and UPS as just overnight delivery services when they also offer 2-day, 3-day, 5-day and, in the case of UPS, up to 12-day shipping.

There could be misconceptions about the USPS too.

It’s probably fair to say that when some employees hear the acronym “USPS,” they naturally assume it’s just a mailing service.

But it’s not.

USPS ships packages just like FedEx and UPS.

In fact, USPS ships millions of packages every year and, depending on your needs, their services can be more affordable and feature less restrictive weight, size, quantity, and type restrictions than the competition.

Knowing the difference is good for business

At first blush the difference between “mailing” and “shipping” may not seem like a big deal, but as you can see it can be the difference between a package being delivered in the most time-efficient, cost-efficient manner, or not.