Royal Mail Shipping – All You Need To Know

Probably one of the oldest mail delivery systems in the world (founded in 1516 as part of the English government), Royal Mail is a multinational postal service and courier company delivering parcels and mail throughout Great Britain and internationally.

Its subsidiary, Parcelforce, is dedicated to quick parcel delivery, however, many eCommerce brands still trust Royal Mail itself to reach their customers on time and safely.


Royal Mail In Comparison to Its Competitors

There’s been a lot of competition for Royal Mail over the last few years, from other British delivery companies such as TNT, as well as international brands like DHL. One frustration is that Royal Mail is universally bound to deliver mail to the whole of the UK, so couriers’ are dedicated to reaching every customer and may not focus on timely delivery.

TNT, for example, is able to deliver more quickly in some scenarios, because they aren’t bound by the pile-up on general mail. However, a positive of this is that Royal Mail can charge lower prices for standard shipping and does offer express services for businesses and customers that require delivery on a tighter schedule. 

Royal Mail is obliged to provide reliable services and its easy to understand the delivery process whereas some independent couriers aren’t held to this high standard. 

And, According to Royal Mail, “We are the only company that has the capability to deliver a ‘one-price-goes-anywhere’, six-days-a-week service on a range of letters and parcels to more than 30 million addresses across the UK.”


Royal Mail Domestic Shipping Rates

Royal Mail offers slightly different prices for shipping through a post office or online through the Royal Mail Click & Drop or through online channels. The full price guides for both are available on the Royal Mail website.

Royal Mail On Account Services

Royal Mail 1st Class: Fast next-day delivery including Saturdays. A small parcel of 1 kg would cost £3.68 to ship anywhere in the UK.

Royal Mail 2nd Class: Delivery within three business days including Saturday. A small parcel of 1 kg would cost £3.00 to ship anywhere in the UK. 

Royal Mail Franking Services

Royal Mail 1st Class: Send a parcel up to 20 kg by the next day starting at £3.68 for a 1 kg small parcel to anywhere in the UK.

Royal Mail 2nd Class: Send a parcel up to 20 kg within two or three days starting at £3.00 for a 1 kg small parcel to anywhere in the UK. 

Royal Mail Same Day 

Royal Mail Same Day is available for those “need it now” situations. With live satellite tracking, it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. 

Royal Mail Sameday™ On Demand – for one-off urgent deliveries
Royal Mail Sameday™ Scheduled – for regular or scheduled deliveries

Royal mail domestic delivery

Royal Mail International Shipments and Documents to Speed Up Delivery

International shipping is easy with Royal Mail. Depending on the size and needs of your business, you can choose from services that include signature on delivery, tracking, and untracked abilities. Business Accounts and On Account/Franking accounts come with their own set of features, savings, and services. 

Prices for international services are determined based on weight and service zones. You can see a full map of International Service Zones for Business Accounts and Franking accounts on the Royal Mail website.

Royal Mail International Tracked

A small parcel of 2 kg shipped within Europe on a Franking account would cost £14.75 to ship and £24.35 to ship to Zone 1, which includes Canada, Mexico, Africa, and more. 

Royal Mail International Standard

A small parcel of 2kg would cost £12.50 to ship within Europe and £22.30 to ship to Zone 1 countries.

Royal Mail International Economy

A 2 kg parcel shipping almost anywhere in the world, where time is not an issue, would cost about £12.95 to ship. This option is great for those sending larger parcels. 

Read the entire Royal Mail Business Price Guide.


Royal Mail International Shipping Labels & Customs Documents

Customs documents for Royal Mail International shipping are available and outlined on the Royal Mail website. They provide self-service tools and support for new businesses who are just starting to ship internationally as well as information on scaling up your exports using local partnerships.

Country guides on what is needed to ship to specific countries are also available for customers to take advantage of.

Royal mail shipping label

does royal mail deliver on saturday and sunday?

Royal Mail does not deliver on Sundays. They have a 6 day week for delivery, including Saturdays at no extra cost. Saturday delivery is available with urgent parcels. 


Royal Mail Features and Options for eCommerce Stores

To compete with other couriers and delivery services in the UK, Royal Mail has worked effectively to meet the needs of eCommerce businesses. 

Royal Mail offers franking services to its business customers. This allows customers to create professional mailings without the need to leave their business. Services include reduced prices, Mailmark technology with automatic price updates, Royal Mail Signed For, and Royal Mail Special Delivery. 

Excellent Returns services are also available to customers, which include free returns with proof of posting, tracked returns, and a guarantee that returns will be completed by 1 pm the next business day.


Using Royal Mail to Automate the eCommerce Shipping and Delivery Process

Royal Mail offers multiple APIs to business customers to integrate into their website using a developer or an official shipping solution. Some examples are:

  • Tracking API
  • Local Collect API – gives customers the option to pick up their purchases from a convenient post office.
  • API Shipping – easily create shipments and labels.

By partnering with an authorised Shopify app or WooCommerce plugin that will help you optimize your shipping and chosen carrier services to automate the entire process, you won’t need to go to the company’s website to create shipping labels, etc. Everything is done right from your website. 


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