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Shipping with UPS – One of the most important considerations for ambitious UK e-commerce businesses is providing good shipping and which courier to choose. Even if you have the best products on the market, your customers won’t stick around if their packages arrive late, damaged or not at all. Your standard of shipping shows you care about quality – and your customer service. This guide will help you make the right choice for you, and your customers. 

At Sendcloud we understand that this is a tricky decision. So, we’ve put together this free guide on shipping from the UK with UPS to help you make the right choice. The guide offers up to date and detailed information about the types of domestic and international shipping services that UPS currently offers. It covers UK shipping pricing structures and additional shipping, returns and tracking services. The guide will inform you about specialist e-commerce services and integrations that UPS provides. It will also help you get a better understanding about other factors to consider, such as shipping dangerous or hazardous goods. 

But if you’d like to take a look at more couriers than just UPS, feel free to download our complete Courier Comparison Guide 2021. Compare shipping services, costs, pros, cons, and more for; Royal Mail, Hermes, FedEx, DPD, DHL Parcel, DHL Express, UPS, and Pacelforce.

Read on to discover all you need to know about UPS and whether they are the right UK courier for your e-commerce business. We’ll take a look at: 

Shipping with UPS – Company Profile


UPS has a good reputation as a global shipping provider. Here are some of the key facts about UPS. 

UPS has 495,000 employees worldwide and serves more than 11.5 million customers including pickup and delivery. The company connects more than 220 nations and territories via road, railway, air and sea, serves 807 airports and has 572 leased, chartered and owned aircraft. UPS also runs approximately 125,000 cars, vans, tractors and motorcycles and operates more than 1,800 operating facilities across the globe. Customers can access 38,000 drop boxes and visit more than 5,100 UPS stores.  

UPS  delivers 5.5 billion packages every year and handles 294.9 million tracking requests online, every day. Customer care is delivered from 1,000 centres around the world. 

UPS has strong environmental credentials. It runs more than 10,300 alternative fuel and advanced tech vehicles and uses fuel-reduction strategies in its 110,000-strong fleet of ground vehicles. In the future UPS is committed to achieving the following targets; sourcing 25% of its total electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025; sourcing 40% of ground fuel from low carbon or alternative fuels by 2025. The UPS Foundation was established in 1951 with a mission to support and build safer communities around the world. This includes programs in diversity, environmental protection and combatting human trafficking. 

How can shipping with UPS help your e-commerce business? 

UPS enjoys considerable success as a UK shipping provider. Here are some of the main reasons to choose UPS as your shipping provider. 

UPS customers can opt for guaranteed express shipping if time scales are a priority. The company also offers deals to customers who need to ship heavy goods. UPS understands the need for flexible services so ensures customers can easily reroute or reschedule deliveries including arranging pick up from a UPS Access Point. There are 27,000 UPS Access Points across Europe and North America, all located around large cities for convenience. For door to door service, customers can choose from estimated and confirmed delivery times. The UPS tracking service is comprehensive and accurate and customers can track and manage multiple parcels simultaneously. 

UPS offers a range of useful tools for businesses including customisation and order batching. E-commerce businesses that use WooCommerce, Prestashop, Opencart and Magento can link their accounts with their UPS delivery services helping to save time and money. UPS can also help with integrating their Application Programming Interface (API) with your software meaning customers can find their delivery information directly on your site. UPS customers get access to member benefits with the UPS My Choice program including deals on electronics, travel, clothing and tickets. 

Shipping with UPS – Services

ups shipping

UPS has a good reputation as a UK shipping provider. They provide flexible services, good tracking and some useful integrations for e-commerce businesses. 

Sending a parcel with UPS

UPS offers five delivery options for shipping in the UK. 

  • UPS Express Critical. This is a same day UK delivery service from UPS. The customer will be informed of the delivery time when the order is placed. 
  • UPS Express Plus. This is a one day UK delivery service from UPS. Delivery is typically by 9am. 
  • UPS Express. This is a one day UK delivery service from UPS. Delivery is typically by 10.30am. 
  • UPS Express Saver. This is a one day UK delivery service from UPS. Delivery is typically by 12pm. 
  • UPS Standard. The delivery commitment depends on the day it is scheduled. Delivery is by the end of the day. 

Shipping with UPS Value Added Services 

UPS understands the need for e-commerce businesses to have flexible shipping services. The company offers the following Added Value UK Shipping Services. 

UK Collection and Delivery services from UPS

  • Direct Delivery Only.
  • UPS Saturday Delivery.
  • UPS On-Call Pickup.
  • UPS Smart Pickup.  
  • UPS Daily On-Route Collection.
  • UPS Day-Specific Collection.
  • UPS Notification Services.
  • UPS My Choice for Home.
  • UPS My Choice for Business.

Shipping with UPS Direct Delivery Only

The Direct Delivery Only option means the package is only delivered to the residential or commercial address that the sender provides. These packages cannot be rerouted or redirected. No signature is taken from the recipient. If the package is not delivered it will be returned to the sender immediately. 

UPS Saturday Delivery

As the name suggests, the UPS Saturday Delivery Service is for parcels that need to be delivered on Saturday. Delivery times will depend on the type of shipping service you choose. Senders must use a special Saturday delivery sticker on their parcels. 

Please note: With some UPS services, Saturday delivery of a UPS Returns shipment is available in the United States only. Contact your UPS representative for more information.

Shipping with UPS On-Call Pickup

The UPS On-Call Pickup service allows the sender to have their package picked up from any commercial or residential address. Customers can schedule this online or over the phone. There is the option of the same day or a future day for this service. The same fee applies regardless of how many packages are requested for pickup. Charges differ depending on whether the request was logged by phone or online. They also differ depending on whether the pickup is for the same day or a day in the future.

Customers who use the UPS Daily En-route Collection service are not charged for the UPS On-Call Pickup service. Charges are also waived for customers who are returning packages included in the UPS 1 Attempt and UPS 3 Attempts Returns Plus services.

Shipping with UPS Smart Pickup  

The UPS Smart Pickup service offers the convenience of the UPS Daily En-route Collection Service but pickups are only made on the days the customer requests them. This saves money and helps reduce carbon emissions. When you log a shipment using WorldShip, UPS Internet Shipping or UPS CampusShip, a UPS driver receives an automatic notification to make a Smart Pickup on the same day. If a parcel is processed after the cutoff time, the sender can schedule a UPS Smart Pickup for the following day. Or they can request a UPS On-Call Pickup or find a UPS location to drop off the shipment.

UPS Daily On-Route Collection

The UPS Daily On-Route Collection is great for businesses that send packages on a daily basis. This allows you to plan ahead, save time and gives you peace of mind. Costs for the UPS Daily On-Route Collection service start at £1.50 for one pick up a week. For a list of all the rates check out the UPS Daily On-Route Collection price list. The service is available Monday to Friday apart from UPS holidays. 

UPS Day-Specific Collection

The UPS Day-Specific Collection service puts the customer in control of when they need packages picked up. The service is available Monday to Friday apart from UPS holidays. Simply request pickups on the days you require and they’ll do the rest. Customers can book up to 4 collections on separate days per week. 

Costs for the UPS Day-Specific Collection service start at £1.50 for one pick up a week. The fee varies depending on the amount of collection days the customer requires. 

UPS Notification Services

UPS offers 3 notification services for businesses shipping in and from the UK. Each option provides a good level of flexibility for businesses and their customers. 

Shipping with UPS My Choice for Home  

UPS My Choice for Home is an opt-in service for your customers. It is a free service for all UPS customers. The service provides up to date information about deliveries including when the order has been shipped and when it is expected to be delivered. Customers can choose to receive notifications by text, email or via the UPS mobile app. 

The UPS My Choice service offers greater flexibility and choice for your customers. It also reduces the need for customer service calls and can help streamline your processes, allowing you to focus on sales. 

If the estimated delivery date and time are not convenient, the customer has the following options: 

  • Reschedule delivery for another day.
  • Pickup at a UPS Access Point location.
  • Reroute to a different address.
  • Request a driver. Please note: this service is not available at all locations. Please check with UPS for more details. 

How to sign up to UPS My Choice for Home

Your customers should find signing up to UPS My Choice simple and straightforward. Here’s how to sign up.

  1. Click on the Sign Up button on the UPS My Choice webpage
  2. Your customer will receive an email requesting confirmation. Click on the link in the email to verify the email address. 
  3. Customers have the option to set preferences for notifications and other membership features. 
  4. Customers are also invited to use a number of other advanced customisation features. To do this they need to add and verify their name and address. 

Shipping with UPS My Choice for Business

UPS also offers a My Choice for Business service. Using UPS My Choice for Business gives you greater control and visibility of your shipments. Here are some of the key features and benefits of the UPS My Choice for Business service: 

  1. UPS My Choice for Business is a free service. 
  2. Monitoring shipments is simple. You can keep your eye on all your deliveries in a few clicks.  
  3. You can keep in touch with your customers in real time via the interactive dashboard. 
  4. Multiple users can be added to the account. 

How to sign up to UPS My Choice for Business 

Signing up to the UPS My Choice for Business service is done in three easy steps:

  1. Log in with your UPS ID. If you are new to you need to register and create an ID. 
  2. Add in your company information
  3. Verify that the information is correct. Your company information including address and name should match the labels on the parcels that are received at this location. 

Shipping with UPS Quantum View Manage and Quantum View Notify

Quantum View Manage and Quantum View Notify are a suite of UPS shipping services designed for businesses who have more complex tracking and notification requirements. The services offer greater depth of visibility and control of your shipments. This means you can address any issues before they escalate. You can also use the Quantum View platform to update colleagues or third parties. To sign up to the services, customers need to speak to a UPS Account Executive. 

The Quantum View suite supports UPS Freight and 3rd party shipment views as well as forwarding services. Customers can use Quantum View when shipping a package with, UPS WorldShip, UPS WorldShip International, UPS CampusShip and UPS Connect. Please note that the availability of these services varies by country. Check the UPS specific webpages for each of these services for more details. 

UPS can send notifications to as many as five email addresses per shipping request. The UPS Quantum View Notification Services are as follows: 

  • Ship Notification: This confirms that UPS has received the required shipment information. 
  • Exception Notification: This service notifies you up to every hour about the shipment’s progress. When the package is delayed, it provides information about when and why a shipment will not meet its original scheduled delivery date. It will also give information about when the delivery will be rescheduled.
  • Delivery Notification: This confirms the delivery of a shipment by UPS. 

Using UPS Quantum View Notify 

Quantum View Notify is a great way for businesses to keep customers updated and improve communication with colleagues and third parties. Quantum View Notify allows you to: 

  • Send and receive notifications when items are dispatched and delivered. You can also inform customers when the goods will be delayed by text or email. 
  • Let your customers know when the returned items have been received. 
  • Keep in touch with your team via automated notifications. 
  • Alert customers when a delivery signature will be required. 

Monitoring shipping with Quantum View

Quantum View customers can customise and control a variety of views in Quantum View Manage. This means different parties only see the information that they need, when they need it. Customers have the option to customise and download reports to monitor shipment activity. Downloads are available in multiple file formats. You can also integrate your own data into the Quantum View interface, giving you a more holistic view of your shipping. You can even set triggers to automate invoice processing. All these services should make shipping from the UK with UPS more streamlined and efficient, with less margin for error and better communication flows. 

Shipping with UPS – Delivery Confirmation services

UPS offers three delivery confirmation services for customers shipping in the UK. They are as follows: 

UPS Delivery Confirmation

The UPS Delivery Confirmation service means the driver will obtain a signature from the recipient. Customers can choose from the following delivery confirmation options: 

  • Delivery Confirmation: the UPS driver will confirm delivery without the recipient’s signature. A similar service is available when you track your UPS package online.
  • Signature Required: UPS will obtain a signature from the recipient. UPS will provide a printed copy of the signed document. You can also view the recipient’s signature online.
  • Adult Signature Required: The UPS driver will only get a signature from an adult of legal age. The legal age will depend on the country the recipient is in. In the UK it is 18 years old. UPS will provide the customer with a printed copy, or it can be viewed online.

UPS Proof of Delivery Services  

UPS Proof of Delivery Services help customers keep an accurate record of their shipments. Customers can receive proof of delivery via email, fax or mail. The proof of delivery documentation includes the time of delivery, full delivery address and the name and signature of the person who received the shipment. Customers can view delivery documents by using the UPS Signature Tracking tool on the account management portal. 

UPS Declared Value 

The UPS Declared Value service is ideal for customers who want enhanced insurance protection for high value items. UPS does offer insurance for customers shipping from the UK, but it is limited. If your items exceed the limits of cover that UPS offers, consider choosing the UPS Declared Value option. Please note, the kind of cover will depend on the type of package and the origin and destination of the package. 

Please also note that international air shipments may be governed by the Warsaw Convention, including its limitations of liability. Check on the UPS website for more details.

UPS Access Point package collection 

The UPS Access Point package collection service is a great UK shipping service service for e-commerce businesses. It provides flexibility, security and choice for your customers. This helps improve customer service and increases customer loyalty and retention. 

UPS operates 27,000 Access Point package collection sites across Europe and North America. Thousands of these are based in the UK. UPS Access Point package collection service enables customers to drop off or pick up packages from these sites. All Access Point locations accept pre-paid UPS parcels.

All the UPS Access Points are located near to large cities, making them very convenient to the customer. The Access Points operates extended opening hours. Check on the UPS site for the exact opening times of your local Access Point. 

UPS makes sure that the Access Point outlets are secure. This gives you peace of mind and helps ensure your customers receive their goods swiftly and in good condition. 

Here’s how the UPS Access Point package collection service works:

  • Businesses opt in to offer the Access Point location service in the account management settings. This can be done through an Application Programming Interface (API) or plug-in tool.
  • Customers select the UPS Access Point location option during the delivery section at checkout. 
  • Customers will be able to see the exact location of their nearest Access Point. They will also be able to see alternatives close by, in case they are more convenient. The customer can check what hours the Access Point is open and the contact information. 
  • When the packages are ready for collection, customers will receive an email or text alert. They choose which notification service they want to opt in for. 
  • Customers can then collect their parcel at a time that suits them. 

How to ship to or from a UPS Access Point location

Here are a few important considerations when shipping to or from a UPS Access Point location: 

  1. The maximum weight for parcels is 20kg. 
  2. The maximum length for parcels is 97cm.
  3. The total size of the parcel should not exceed 330cm/130” in length and girth combined.
  4. The declared value of the parcel cannot be more than £3,000.
  5. Customers must bring an official form of identification or government-issued ID when collecting their parcel.
  6. If you are a UPS My Choice member you can redirect parcels to your preferred location before or after our first delivery attempt. This service is not available at all locations. Please check with UPS for more details. We have included information about UPS My Choice for Home and UPS My Choice for Businesses later in this guide. 

Save money with UPS Access Points

Using UPS Access Points offers good flexibility for you and your customers. Using the service can also save you money. 

  • Customers can save £2.40 (VAT included) by opting to drop off parcels at a UPS Access Point. 
  • Customers can save £1.20 (VAT included) when they choose to have a parcel delivered to a UPS Access Point location in the UK. 
  • When shoppers opt to have a parcel delivered to a UPS Access Point location in selected European countries they can save £2.40 (VAT included). Please check with UPS for which European countries this saving applies to. 

Shipping with UPS internationally


UPS understands the need for UK e-commerce businesses to ship their goods with a reliable and flexible international shipping provider. Their international shipping services are as simple and straightforward as their UK shipping services. 

E-retailers shipping with UPS

UPS Shipping Plug-In for E-commerce Retailers

UPS offers a great free plug-in for e-commerce businesses shipping from the UK. The plug-in gives great visibility of all your shipping activity and makes the shipping experience easier and more pleasant for both you and your customers. Simply download the plug-in from the UPS website and you can get started. 

The UPS shipping plug-in allows you to:

  1. Give your customers the option of shipping to a UPS Access Point location. 
  2. Set up your preferred shipping rates, both UK and internationally.
  3. Process batches of orders. 
  4. Create UPS shipping labels. 
  5. Show when orders are due to be delivered. 
  6. Display real-time tracking information. 
  7. Communicate with your customers directly and keep them informed about the status of their goods. 

E-commerce Integrations with UPS

UPS has partnered with some of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms. Linking your UPS account with your e-commerce provider can save you time and resources. It can also help increase conversions and boost customer loyalty. Simply download the plug-in for your chosen e-commerce site and upload your shipping data to get started. 

Which e-commerce sites does the UPS integrate with? 

UPS integrates with the following e-commerce platforms: 

  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • Opencart
  • Prestashop 

UPS restricted items

Dangerous or hazardous goods are substances or items that could present a risk to people’s  health and safety, their property or to the environment. There are nine types of dangerous or hazardous goods. These include: 

  1. Explosives ie. firearms or flares.
  2. Flammable gases i.e camping gas. 
  3. Non-flammable gasses i.e compressed oxygen.
  4. Toxic gas i.e carbon monoxide.
  5. Flammable liquids i.e paints. 
  6. Flammable solids i.e matches.
  7. Substances which are liable to spontaneous combustion i.e phosphorus.
  8. Substances which emit a flammable gas when in contact with water i.e calcium carbide.
  9. Oxidisers i.e fertiliser.
  10. Oxygen peroxides i.e fibreglass repair kits.
  11. Corrosives ie. bleach. 
  12. Toxic substances i.e pesticides.
  13. Infectious substances i.e blood samples.
  14. Radioactive materials i.e smoke detectors.
  15. Miscellaneous dangerous goods i.e magnets. 

It’s not always clear whether goods present a risk. If you aren’t sure, it is very important to check with an authorised body before you send. You can find out more on the UK Government dangerous goods webpage. You can also ask your supplier for a Safety Data Sheet which will show you if the item is classified as dangerous. 

Good packaging is always important. When packaging dangerous or hazardous goods it is absolutely vital to get it right. If your packaging is not appropriate for the goods or is not up to scratch, you could put others in danger or risk damaging property. Failing to package these goods well could also mean delays at customs, fines, or failed deliveries. You can see the full list of items that cannot be sent on UPS prohibited items webpage

Important note: if you send prohibited items or fail to package them well, your insurance is likely to be rendered null and void. 

Shipping with UPS – Returns

UPS offers a variety of returns services to help you give the best level of support possible to your customers. Please note that not all UPS returns services are available from every location. Please check with their customer service or website for more details. 

Here is an overview of the returns services on offer from the UK by UPS:

UPS Returns Labels

Make it easy for customers to return their goods by providing them with a UPS Returns Label. UPS offers the following types of Return Labels. The type of label you need will depend on where the package is being sent from and to.

  • Print Return Label: This label is printed and either added to a shipment or sent to the customer at a later date.
  • Electronic Return Label: UPS will email a return label directly to your customer.
  • Print and Mail Return Label: UPS will send a return label to your customer by mail. 
  • Authorised Return Label: This service is only available on a contractual basis. It is ideal for companies who ship high-volume and regularly return products of a similar size, weight or value. 

Please note: if you require a Saturday sending service, you need to use a special sticker. 

UPS Returns Exchange

If you ship high-value products, the UPS Returns Exchange service could be a great choice for your e-commerce business. Here are some of the main features or the UPS Returns Exchange service: 

  1. The UPS Returns Exchange service is only available on contract.
  2. When UPS delivers a replacement item they will simultaneously pick up the item that is being returned. 
  3. The driver will not deliver the replacement without receipt of the unwanted item. 
  4. The customer will benefit from a personalised, timely service. It provides a more streamlined experience and reduces time with general admin tasks and with the returns cycle. This helps you manage stock better and reduce bottlenecks.
  5. Customers don’t have to repackage their unwanted products as the driver will reuse the same packaging that the items were sent in. 
  6. The customer doesn’t need to prove that they sent the items back. This helps build trust and provides good customer service. 
  7. UPS contacts the recipient directly to arrange delivery. This saves you time, gives peace of mind and makes it more convenient for your customer. UPS will arrange contact via email, phone or text. 
  8. The UPS Returns Exchange service can be used in conjunction with most of the UPS delivery services. 
  9. You can keep track of your shipments on the UPS website. 

UPS Returns Pack and Collect

UPS Returns Pack and Collect is a contracted service for customers who ship high-value items. Here are some of the main features of the UPS Returns Pack and Collect. 

  1.  A UPS Driver collects a return the next business day after the request is logged. The speed of the service shows your customers that you value them and that you are committed to providing great customer service. 
  2. The driver arranges the collection time directly with your customers by phone, email or text. This makes the returns process simple and convenient for your customer, helping to increase loyalty and customer satisfaction. 
  3. The driver packs it using a specially designed box that is provided by UPS and returns it to the shipper.
  4. By using the UPS Returns Pack and Collect service you reduce the margin for error with incorrect products being returned in the wrong packaging. 
  5. Using UPS packaging helps protect high value items. So they are more likely to be returned to you in good condition. It also means you save money with buying your own packaging. What’s more, the UPS-supplied return packaging is certified to be re-used for the outbound shipment of repaired items as well.
  6. The swift returns process means you are able to better manage your stock, orders and returns processes. This saves you time and creates better stock flows. 
  7. The UPS Returns Exchange service can be used with most of the UPS delivery services. 
  8. You can get full visibility of your shipments on the UPS website. 

There are two collection attempt options with UPS Returns Pack and Collect:

  • UPS Returns Pack and Collect–one collection attempt: A UPS driver will make one attempt to collect the return item. If they are unable to collect, the driver will leave the box and return label at the address. The customer can then take the package to any UPS drop-off location including The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, an Authorised Shipping Outlet or a UPS drop box.
  • UPS Returns Pack and Collect–three collection attempts: If the item cannot be collected on the agreed day the UPS driver will make an additional attempt on each of the following two business days.

UPS Returns Plus

The UPS Returns Plus service involves arranging for a UPS driver to deliver a returns label to your customer and pick up the parcel the following day. 

Important note: if the pickup date is a Saturday you need to request a special UPS Saturday delivery sticker. 


We hope this guide to Shipping from the UK with UPS has been useful and informative. We know there is a lot to take on board but as we mentioned, this is a very important decision and it deserves a good amount of consideration. One of the most important aspects of customer service is providing a good shipping service. This includes offering a choice of delivery options, excellent visibility of tracking packages and – of course – great value for money. As your deliveries and shipping are one of the first interactions you have with your customers, you’ll want to get it right. There are few things that annoy a customer more than late arrivals, damaged goods or poor customer service. 

Choosing the right UK shipping provider delivers other benefits to your business beyond your business reputation and customer satisfaction. Timely deliveries and returns help streamline your shipping processes, maintains good stock flows and means less time is spent warehousing or storing goods. And it can save you money and resources and help boost your sustainability credentials. All good news for ambitious e-commerce businesses. 

Not sure which express courier is the best choice for you and your customers? Try checking out our other useful guides to UK couriers or get in contact with the Sendcloud team for some expert advice. Here you can find some useful information:

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  • Emre Demir says:

    As UK based small e-commerce business owner, during last 6-7 months, dispatching over 600 parcels as next day delivery with UPS monthly.

    It was totally disappointment.

    They weren’t able to deliver but they were able to lost parcels, tracking system is useless, customer service is “what is that?”

    Stay away from them, it costed us so many customer.

    Thanks UPS, never again.

    • Stephanie Butcher says:

      Hi, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with shipping with UPS. If you’re looking into shipping with a different carrier, then why don’t you come and have a chat with us? Our platform offers you the ability to have a multi-carrier strategy. Why is this beneficial? Well, there are so many reasons, the top 3 being: you can offer your customers choice for their delivery, optimise your shipping process dependant of the products or destinations you ship to, and immediately enable and start shipping with an alternative carrier if you’re experiencing difficulties! Just get in touch if you’d like to know more.