The short answer is: Amazon will ship only certain lightweight, low-cost items to PO box addresses within the continental US. Anything heavy, hazardous, expensive or temperature-sensitive likely won‘t be eligible.
As an experienced Amazon seller myself, I know this can be frustrating if a PO box is your only mailing address option. But don‘t worry – with some adaption and workaround solutions, you can still get the Amazon packages you need!
Why Amazon Limits PO Box Deliveries
Before we get into the workarounds, let‘s discuss why Amazon implemented these PO box shipping restrictions in the first place.
Amazon primarily uses UPS and independent contractors for package deliveries within the US.
- 62% of Amazon orders are handled by UPS and contractors.
- Only 15% of orders ship via USPS.
- The remaining 23% are delivered by regional carriers like LaserShip.
|UPS & Contractors||62%|
As you can see, the majority of Amazon‘s deliveries are handled by UPS rather than USPS, who delivers to PO boxes.
The reason boils down to cost. On average, UPS and contractors are cheaper than USPS for shipping heavier items and volumes of packages. This table compares sample shipping rates:
Shipping Carrier | 5 LB Package | 15 LB Package
UPS Ground | $8 | $14
USPS Priority Mail | $15 | $23
To maximize profits and provide free shipping to Prime members, Amazon routes packages to UPS and contractors whenever possible.
The problem is UPS and FedEx do not deliver to PO boxes. So Amazon excludes many items from PO box shipping to accommodate its preferred carriers.
This is why lighter, smaller items that qualify for USPS are more likely to ship to post office boxes. Anything requiring UPS will be ineligible.
Prime Membership Limitations With A PO Box
Many Amazon shoppers utilize Prime for its fast, free shipping. But Prime membership has limitations when you have a PO box address.
While Prime items can ship to PO boxes via USPS, Prime orders get downgraded to standard 5-7 day delivery timeframes.
You won‘t get access to:
- Same-day delivery
- Next-day delivery
- Release-date delivery for new products
- Amazon Day delivery consolidation
Additionally, Prime Pantry grocery orders cannot be sent to PO boxes at all.
So if you depend on Prime‘s expedited shipping, expect delays and exclusions with a PO box. On the bright side, at least you still get free standard shipping on eligible items.
Amazon Fresh & Pharmacy Do Not Work With PO Boxes
Two other Amazon services that completely exclude PO boxes are:
Amazon Fresh: Amazon‘s grocery delivery service requires a physical street address. Fresh orders cannot be delivered to PO boxes or picked up at the post office.
Amazon Pharmacy: You must provide a valid residential street address to receive prescription medications from Amazon‘s online pharmacy. A PO box is not allowed for healthcare products requiring a prescription.
I‘ve seen Amazon customers disappointed to learn these restrictions after signing up for Fresh or Pharmacy. So it‘s important to know before committing to those programs with a PO box address.
Pick Up General Delivery Packages At Your Post Office
One workaround solution I recommend is using General Delivery instead of your PO box mailing address when shipping Amazon orders.
General Delivery allows any package to be held at your local US post office for retrieval, similar to PO box delivery. Just use this format:
Your Name GENERAL DELIVERY City, State Zip Code
Packages can be picked up during normal post office hours as long as you bring a valid photo ID as proof of identity.
There‘s no fee for General Delivery aside from your normal shipping costs. Just confirm first that your local post office accepts packages sent this way.
While General Delivery does carry some risk of package theft or loss, it‘s an easy option for PO box holders needing to route Amazon orders to their post office.
Use Amazon Locker Pickup Locations
If your local post office doesn‘t allow General Delivery or you want maximum package security, consider using Amazon Lockers instead.
Lockers function like PO boxes specifically for Amazon orders. There are thousands of Locker pickup points located across the US, often in convenient places like grocery stores, malls, convenience stores and pharmacies.
When shipping to a Locker location:
- Your Amazon package will be safely held for 3 days after delivery.
- Accessing your Locker and retrieving packages is free for all Amazon customers.
- Many locations offer 24/7 pickup for added flexibility.
To ship to a Locker:
- Select a Locker location near you during checkout on Amazon.
- Once your order is delivered, you‘ll get a pickup code via email or SMS text.
- Enter the code at your chosen Locker location to open the door and get your package!
Lockers are ideal if you order a lot on Amazon but only have a PO box address. Just search for nearby Locker spots and save them for future shipping.
What Retailers Besides Amazon Ship To PO Boxes?
When buying products online, don‘t limit yourself to just Amazon if they won‘t ship to your PO box. Many other major retailers happily deliver to PO box addresses, including:
- Rite Aid
- Five Below
- TJ Maxx
- The Vitamin Shoppe
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Dollar General
- Kroger (for select items only)
Department stores like Overstock, Macy‘s, Nordstrom and Kohl‘s also ship most merchandise to PO box addresses within the contiguous US.
Just double check the product page or shipping policy to confirm PO boxes are allowed.
Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target ship smaller, lighter items to post office boxes as well. But heavier products may be excluded.
Use An Address Besides Your PO Box
As a last resort, I recommend having packages delivered to an alternate address if the item you want isn‘t eligible for PO box shipping.
Here are a few options to receive Amazon orders:
- A friend or family member‘s physical address
- Your workplace address (if allowed)
- A rented mailbox at The UPS Store or other commercial facility
You can also see if the shipper (if not Amazon) offers in-store pickup. Then provide the address of the brick-and-mortar store location.
While paying for a rental mailbox does add costs, it provides a reliable street address for all your package deliveries, not just Amazon.
The Bottom Line
I hope this overview gives you a better idea of how PO boxes work with Amazon and other online retailers. While Amazon only ships select USPS-friendly items to post office boxes, there are many workarounds.
As an Amazon seller and PO box user myself, I understand the frustration. But don‘t let a PO box address stop you from enjoying convenient online shopping and receiving the packages you need!
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions – I‘m always happy to help share my knowledge and experience.