Courier Service vs Postal Service — Understanding the Difference in E-commerce

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We all are well familiar with the growing space of e-commerce and how it is transforming the shopping experience. However, more than knowing about the rapid movement of the e-commerce industry is required to sustain and grow in the industry. As an innovative entrepreneur, you should know which segments to ace and where to pick up the speed. 

For this ever-evolving fulfillment and shipping strategy, the company must decide among different 3PL options available to them. This gives them an edge to expand into newer markets and grows their customer base. 

In order to meet customer expectations and demands, merchants have now come up with same or next day delivery services. But does it come under the courier or postal services? Though the terms might confuse you a bit, the two have numerous differences. 

This article will strengthen your expertise in different courier services that help build your business. We have also highlighted the difference between post and courier and how you can transform from conventional to modern strategies. 

What is a Courier Service?

A courier service refers to a private firm that provides shipping and delivery services to other companies. The companies hire private courier services to deliver the goods and parcels to end customers. With the evolution of shipping, courier companies now offer new features such as– customized delivery destinations, same-day delivery, local or regional shipping, and so on. 

It is estimated that nearly 41% of customers are willing to pay more for the same-day delivery option, and 24% of shoppers said they would pay more to receive the package within one or two hours. 

Types of Courier Services

There are different types of courier services. These are:

  • Time-sensitive Shipping: This service aims to deliver the products within a specified time frame, usually within two to three business days. It also facilitates a particular delivery time, for example, between 9 AM to 7 PM. Under this category, we have.:

    Same-day delivery: It covers tight deadlines where the customer expects the order to be delivered on the same day. Although it is confined to specific locations, it surely gives you a competitive edge.

    Next-day delivery: Under this delivery method, the items are delivered the next day after the order. This courier service is best for establishing your business and provides real-time tracking. 
  • Local Shipping: This service covers speedy delivery, including same-day or 24-hour delivery. The company usually undertakes to deliver important documents that have to reach the destination on time.
  • Intelligent Routing: It highlights the best route available for your shipment. It presents custom factors, geography, and weather conditions before courier service providers.
  • Onboard Courier: The items which require extra care or are confidential are shipped through this courier service. It also requires expert-level knowledge to handle the product to ensure it is shipped smoothly and safely.
  • International Shipping: As the name suggests, the company facilitates delivery services overseas that help you ship goods to international destinations. Because of cross-border shipment, it also includes tax or customs duties’ cost within delivery charges. 

What’s the difference between a delivery driver and a courier?

Delivery drivers and courier services are similar to each other in many contexts. Some of them are– bringing products, important documents, or packages from one place to another. However, certain differences set them apart, especially regarding specialty products and time restrictions. Moreover, the general structure of both terms also differs. 

Delivery drivers have multiple steps along the way of the delivery route. They encounter multiple stoppages where they have to drop the item. In contrast, couriers may have different a different passages, but their workdays are comparatively more flexible. 

Courier services usually fit orders into their routine, which can be delivered at the last minute. Moreover, couriers deliver smaller products like documents since heavy or bulky products need a postal shipping service and more preparation time. 

When to Choose a Courier Service?

There are certain factors you need to consider while choosing a courier service. These are:

  • Expanding Locations: You can contact a courier agency when your business is well established and plans to diversify the location. The 3PLs should also cover as many geographic locations as possible. Many firms undertake few geographical locations, which could be unsuitable for your business. So do your thorough research and find the most compatible service for the business. 
  • Speedy Services: Another important factor to consider is– when you want to deliver the product rapidly to the end user. If your business also covers FMCG, you must hire only those 3PLs who can deliver the order quickly. The agency should be able to reach the customers in no time.
  • Managing cost: As the business grows, entrepreneurs start looking for ways to manage and cut costs. The increase in order volume further makes it challenging for you to manage it all at once. Therefore, many companies hire or partner with courier service providers. Some agencies charge based on the size and weight of the product. 3PL services help you manage the delivery and shipment on many levels.

What is the Postal service?

A government agency owns the postal service and handles all the delivery services. It is a type of shipping company that transports essential goods and documents to the end user. However, these government-affiliated agencies have faced many delays in shipment, which is why they are now used only to send non-urgent items. 

It covers shipment both within and outside countries, with extra charges. Postal services’ functionality enhances connectivity within the country and simplifies product delivery for businesses. 

Postal services are generally government agencies. They sort and deliver letters and packages domestically and sometimes internationally. Some common examples of postal services are– SingPost, Hong Post, Australia Post, China Post, and many more.  

Courier services vs. Postal services


The first thing to compare between the two is cost. Opting for postal services turns out to be comparatively low-cost than courier services. The former service is cheap because it offers a longer delivery time and limited tracking options. Whereas the latter provides customers with impressive speed, equally impressive service quality, and reliability, for which they charge extra. Moreover, they also charge some extra for customizable delivery options. 

Although it looks like courier services come with a lot of capital investment, it is worth every penny compared to their offers. Courier delivery services operate according to you and how fast you want the parcel delivered. 

Real-time Tracking

Both services provide you with tracking services. However, in international shipping, the postal service operates differently. Due to restricted real-time tracking, you may feel lost and lose track.

This is precisely the opposite with courier services, as they provide you with absolute transparent tracking throughout the journey of your package, whether national or international. 

Which is better: Postal Services Vs. Courier Services

A report by Delloite estimated that more than 70% of customers cite convenience and free shipping as their top reasons to purchase products online.

Before deciding which is better for you, there are specific criteria based on which you can judge. These are– speed, availability, traceability, cost, and reachability. In all these criteria, courier services clearly win. 

Therefore, it is safe to say that courier services are ahead of and better than postal services. Moreover, courier services also come with technology integration, giving many businesses a competitive edge.


What are the advantages of courier service over public postal service?

Some of the most significant advantages of courier services are– fast delivery, real-time international tracking, a better quality of service, and keeping up with the new generation’s demand. All these characteristics help them thrive in this cutting-edge e-commerce environment.

Which is faster, postal or courier?

Courier services are faster than postal services while providing same-day and next-day delivery.

What is meant by courier address?

The courier address is the mailing or shipping address where you want the item to be delivered. It usually belongs to end users, but some companies also ship items to suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, etc.

Is your postal address the same as your address?

 A physical address is a geographical location, aka street address. At the same time, the postal address is where the mail is sent. It could be the same or different depending on where you would like your mails to be received.

How do you write a postal address on a courier?

While writing the postal address on the courier, you must use commas to separate the address, street address, state, and postal code. For example, Josephine, 1234 NW Bpbcat Lane, St. Robert, MO 44558-22558.

What is the difference between Standard post and courier post?

A courier post includes all the activities that collect and deliver parcels in the shortest time frame. While standard post, also known as courier post, is used to send letters or those items which can afford some time to reach the destination.

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