Shipping to PO box - How to do it the right way

Last Updated:
March 13, 2023
Shipping to PO box - How to do it the right way
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Shipping to PO boxes requires writing the correct PO number in the center of the envelope, along with the recipient's full name and organization name.
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Shipping to PO box - How to do it the right way

PO boxes are still a thing and many customers do like to get their shipment delivered to the PO box of their choice. It's simply convenient and safe. The consignee needn’t be at home to collect the parcel, instead, they can go to the PO box, open the safe and collect it at their convenience, whenever they want.

So as an ecommerce merchant, you have to be aware of how the shipping process to PO boxes works like how all other shipping process' works so that the next time a customer requests it, you can be ready.

What are PO boxes

Post Office boxes, also known as PO boxes are safes or boxes with unique locks and a unique address that is available for rent at a nearby post office. People usually take up PO boxes to receive their parcels and mail away from their residential addresses as a precaution to not leak their private addresses.

Others merely do it out of convenience so that they don’t miss out on mail or important parcels when they are away.

There are currently more than 21 million post office boxes in the US alone. But here’s the thing. Only USPS delivers to the PO boxes. You might also find FedEx SmartPost service, but ultimately, the delivery part is done by USPS only.

With that said, the PO box is not without its fair share of restrictions. Since the safe/locker is small in size, not all packages can fit into it. Therefore, the ones that don’t fit in have to be taken back to the delivery center by the concerned courier services, here USPS. so this can cause unnecessary delays and even lead to the return of the packages. So here are the things you should make sure before you mail the item to the PO box.

3 Steps to shipping to PO Boxes the right way

The main difference between shipping to a specific address and a post office box is that instead of the address details you only have to give the delivery services the correct post office number.

1. Write the PO number on the center of the envelope

When addressing the package, make sure you write the number with a bold pen in the center of the envelope. If you have any further details regarding the place and state of the PO box, write it below the PO number. The more details, the merrier.

The PO box number usually starts with the word PO Box, followed by a 2 to  5 digit number. Double-check the numbers before sending them to the delivery agency. Confirm with the recipient if the PO box is under their name or someone related to them.

2. Write the consignee’s full name

Even though it's not mandatory, it's always suggested to write the recipient's full name on the envelope or the address slip. If the recipient has any formal title to their name, write it as well.

Then write the name of the owner of the PO box. If both are the same, then you need not repeat it.

3. Write the organizations name below the name of the consignee

If the package is for an organization, then insert the company’s name right after the name of the person. This provides much clarity and in case the delivery fails, the courier services can contact that particular organization and proceed with any alternate ways to deliver the product.

What happens when a parcel is not delivered to the post office box

One of the major reasons why the parcel delivery is incomplete is because the parcel just doesn’t fit the PO box shelf. To avoid this, if the customer enters the address as a postal code, inquire about the size of the shelf. This will help you pack the box accordingly.

Even if the parcel is undelivered because of size constraints, the parcel remains at the local USPS center for 10 business days. Inform the customer to pick up the package from the center.

If the package remains uncollected, then it will return to you and the duration for this depends on the regular return processing period.

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Emily Fletcher

Emily Fletcher is a renowned logistics expert and author, with over 15 years of experience in the industry. With a passion for optimizing supply chains and streamlining operations, Emily has helped numerous businesses achieve significant cost savings and improved efficiency. Her expertise lies in creating innovative logistics strategies tailored to the unique needs of each organization. As part of Shipixy’s Digital Marketing team, Emily provides practical insights and actionable advice to guide professionals in the logistics industry toward achieving operational excellence.

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