7 min read

Expedited Shipping Explained

Jake Rheude

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Your customers have two basic questions about your eCommerce shipping: When will my order arrive and how much do I have to pay for shipping?

You need to provide answers that will generate orders and repeat customers. To do that, you have to understand an array of shipping choices. Same-day shipping, two-day delivery, and overnight shipping are just a few of the options. Your customers want choice. Offering expedited shipping options can boost your sales. Expedited shipping allows your customers to choose the level of service they need. If a customer can get an order when they need it, they’re more likely to buy from you.

expedited shipping

Here’s what you need to know to provide the expedited shipping services that eCommerce shoppers expect.

What Is Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping is a shipping option that gets a package to its destination faster than normal delivery. It varies depending on a carrier’s standard delivery, but generally expedited shipping refers to overnight or 2-day delivery.

Normal delivery depends on where you ship from and where your customer is located. For example, you might ship orders from a warehouse in Los Angeles. Regular ground delivery to a customer in New York would take about five days. Expedited delivery would get the package across the country in two to three days, or even overnight.

expedited shipping

It’s important to distinguish the term “shipping” from “delivery.” These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Same-day shipping means an order is shipped from the fulfillment warehouse the day it is placed. The delivery time for that order will depend on the shipping zone of the recipient. Delivery time also varies depending on what type of service your customer chooses. Same-day delivery, on the other hand, means that the customer will receive the order the same day they place it.

The term expedited shipping can also include expedited freight services. If you ship large orders to institutional buyers or wholesale clients, FTL or LTL freight are economical shipping options. Expedited freight costs more than regular freight shipping, but it can still save you money on large shipments. When you expedite a freight shipment, it will travel in just one truck. Two drivers will work together in shifts to minimize downtime. Expedited freight shipping can take one or more days off the time it takes to truck your goods to their destination.

expedited freight

Expedited Shipping Turns Online Shoppers into Buyers

Whatever your normal shipping terms, it’s a good idea to offer expedited delivery options. If your normal delivery time is two days, expedited shipping might mean an overnight service. 

Online consumers are big fans of choice, including choices about shipping and delivery. For some, regular delivery is just fine. This is particularly true if you can offer free shipping. However, your customer might have a deadline such as a special event or a trip. In that case, they may be willing to pay for faster shipping.

The key to keeping your customers happy is giving them the options they need. If you don’t have an expedited shipping option that will get an order delivered on time, you could lose the sale.

Expedited Shipping Options

All three major carriers offer different forms of expedited shipping, from overnight to three days. These shipping options cost more than regular delivery. The price increase will depend on the weight and dimensions of the package you need to ship. Our DIM weight calculator lets you calculate and compare shipping prices.

USPS Priority Mail

USPS Priority Mail service can delivery your packages in one to three days, regardless of shipping zone. You can use the Postal Service’s boxes for flat rate shipping or your own packaging. For overnight delivery, Priority Mail Express Overnight gets your package to its destination by 10:30 am. This service also includes some Sunday delivery options and a two-day delivery option.

UPS Expedited Shipping Options

UPS provides a variety of expedited shipping services. These include UPS Express Critical Domestic Shipping, which can delivery a package the same day it’s shipped. UPS can also provide Saturday delivery to get a parcel to your customer quickly.

Fedex Same Day Delivery

FedEx also has a same-day delivery service for urgent shipments. FedEx offers expedited freight as well. The company’s expedited services include delivery within a specific time window.

Expect to pay a premium for expedited shipping. This is particularly true for overnight or same-day delivery services. However, there are other ways to get orders delivered to your customers quickly. See the last section below for tips on speeding up your eCommerce shipping without breaking your fulfillment budget.

International Expedited Shipping

You can also get expedited delivery services on shipments from the US to other countries. UPS provides international expedited services that expedite customs clearance as well as delivery. FedEx International First and International Priority services deliver international packages in one to three days.

The Role of Your 3PL in Fast Shipping and Delivery

Expedited shipping may be necessary in a pinch. When critical orders don’t go out on time, angry customers can take a bite out of your business with bad reviews. It may be worth it to take a loss and get a package delivered quickly. This can be a better option than than seeing your ratings go down.

3PLs can help with expedited shipping

However, you don’t have to use expedited services to provide fast order delivery to your customers. Your 3PL services company can help you create a fulfillment strategy that saves money and delivery time. 

Here are just two of the ways that your eCommerce fulfillment provider can help you offer fast shipping every day.

National fulfillment warehouses

Your order fulfillment warehouses should be convenient to your customers, not to you. Your business might be based in Los Angeles, but that’s not the best place from which to ship to customers across the country. Or your products might arrive in the US from an overseas factory through the port of Miami in Florida. If you use a national fulfillment center near the port, it could take five days for your orders to reach the West Coast.

When you’re choosing a 3PL provider, look for one that has warehouses in strategic locations throughout the country. Ask for a map showing delivery days from each location. 

Red Stag Fulfillment fulfillment warehouse locations

When it comes to warehouse locations, more is not always better. If you ship a high volume of orders, you might want to ship from several warehouse locations. This will allow you to reach customers in different areas quickly. However, if the carrying cost for your inventory is an issue, fewer warehouses could be a better choice. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice speed. Red Stag Fulfillment is able to ship to 97% of US households in two days or less from its two fulfillment warehouses.

Same-day shipping

Every day that an order sits in a fulfillment warehouse is a day of lost delivery time. Work with a fulfillment warehouse that offers same-day shipping. That way, your orders go out the same day your customers click the buy button. Same-day shipping is a great way to reduce delivery time without paying for expedited shipping. 

Ask your fulfillment company for advice on faster shipping

As a business owner, you probably wear a lot of hats. However, you don’t have to be a fulfillment expert if you have a great fulfillment partner. Your fulfillment warehouse ships many thousands of orders every year. The staff deal with shipping issues every day. You can lean on their experience. They will be able to help you find the best way to ship your orders quickly without resorting to expedited shipping services.

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