Note: As of October 19, 2022, ShippingEasy now offers the lowest USPSⓇ shipping rates in the industry, and the rates reflected in this blog are prior to this change. For more information on these new rates, check out our blog!
As more and more customers are choosing to shop online, there’s been a major increase in the demand for shipping. Many smaller business owners already look for ways to help save money during the shipping process, so it’s essential to know your cheapest clothing shipping options.
According to Statista, U.S. retail e-commerce revenue from the sale of fashion apparel is projected to reach almost $597 million dollars by the end of 2021. You definitely want your store to be included in those profits, so we’re here to help you understand how to ship clothing at the best price for your shipment! By comparing several carriers, rates, and services, and even providing an option for sustainable clothing donation, we’ll guide you through finding the cheapest option for shipping clothes.
For the current 2023 USPS rates, visit our USPS 2023 Shipping Rate Changes: Flat Rate, Priority, First Class, w/Tables blog!
Shipping Clothing Under One Pound
As of July 9, 2023, Retail Ground, Parcel Select, and domestic First-Class Package Service will be combined into USPS Ground Advantage™. Visit our blog for more information!
Many single-item clothing purchases you ship will weigh less than a pound, and if you aren’t paying attention, it can be easy to overpay on shipping. Customers who purchase clothing online are typically more understanding if you are transparent with shipping timeframes and return policies, so you may not need to worry as much about the more expensive and expedited shipping options.
USPS’s First-Class Package Service is basically unbeatable as the cheapest way to ship clothing under one pound. The First-Class Package service provides tracking and has an estimated delivery of 1-5 days. There is also an allowance of 15.999 oz, so this option is pretty ideal for sending single clothing items.
Shipping Clothing Over One Pound
If you pack multiple items to ship together, you’re likely to find the weight of your shipment will rapidly exceed the 15.999 oz. weight limit of USPS First-Class Package Service. From there, you will need to look at the other options listed in the table above.
When shipping with UPS and FedEx, it’s important to note residential and fuel surcharges. UPS and FedEx also apply dimensional weight to all packages, so the shipping cost is based on the volume of the package rather than the weight. USPS only applies this to packages larger than 1728 inches or 1 cubic foot. If you’re using the correct packaging, it’s not likely you’ll be using boxes that measure this size for clothing, so it shouldn’t be a concern if you’re shipping USPS. You can even get free supplies that fit clothing items nicely from USPS directly by ordering them offline and having them delivered right to your door!
Find out where to get free USPS supplies from your ShippingEasy account with our Onyx Products® Shipping Supply Store blog!
Flat Rate Options
Flat Rate can be a smart and cheap way to ship clothing, particularly for packages traveling longer distances. Flat Rate shipping removes the weight and distance requirements from consideration and offers a single rate to ship. To understand how to best ship clothing with USPS, let’s compare USPS Priority, Flat Rate, and Regional options.
USPS Priority vs USPS Flat Rate Supplies
A pair of men’s jeans weighs about 1 lb. 6 oz. and is rounded up to 2 lbs in accordance with USPS’s guidelines. This package is going to be shipped about 1400-1800 miles, or as it would be classified by USPS, in Zone 7. By considering the criteria for USPS Priority and Flat Rate, you can see the difference in that shipping cost:
- Priority Mail Package (Commercial Rates with ShippingEasy): $11.62
- Priority Mail Flat Rate Padded Envelope (Commercial Rates with ShippingEasy): $8.45
- Savings by using Flat Rate: $3.17
A savings of three dollars might initially seem small, but those savings will quickly add up! It’s also important to know the differences in these services because the cheapest service will vary, depending on what you’re actually shipping.
If we take those same jeans from the example above, and we only ship them 51-150 miles, or in Zone 2, the cheapest service shifts:
- Priority Mail (Commercial Rates with ShippingEasy): $8.02
- PM Flat Rate Padded Envelope (Commercial Rates with ShippingEasy): $8.45
- Increased cost using Flat Rate: $0.42
This may seem like a small difference, but much like with discounts, those extra charges can quickly add up. Check out our rate calculator to compare more of these rates as well to help your small business save more money when shipping.
For a full breakdown on USPS Priority Mail, check out our blog!
Regional vs. Flat Rate (for packages up to 15 lbs)
While Flat Rate and Priority are great options, once multiple items are included in a shipment, Regional Rate boxes are another great option for shipping clothing. These boxes use distance as their main criteria and work best for shipments that need to travel shorter distances and weigh 15-20 pounds, depending on the box.
UPS offers a flat rate option called Simple Rate, and FedEx offers one called One Rate. Both of these include fuel surcharges and residential delivery fees and also should be explored as opportunities when possible or available.
If you have clothing that can’t be sold or your business is looking to donate clothes to charity organizations, Give Back Box is a great option. Back in 2012, founder Monika Weila wanted to create a solution to help out those in need. Gift Back Box not only encourages you to donate clothing and other times, but they also partner with larger businesses to encourage the reuse of shipping packages and containers from these companies to create a charitable and sustainable process.
Give Back Box will not only provide you with a prepaid label, but you can drop off your items at UPS, USPS, and FedEx locations, and you can choose which charity benefits from your donation. For more information about Give Back Box, visit their website.
When you’re managing a small ecommerce business, comparing the rates of different carriers and services to ship clothing can be time-consuming. By learning some of the most cost-efficient ways to ship clothing, you can save valuable time. To select the best option for your shipment, keep the weight and destination in mind. Also, The Give Back Box provides you with a way to donate clothes you might not be selling or have decided to give away from your own closet. While clothing styles might change, saving time and money for your small business never goes out of style.