Expedited Shipping vs. Standard Shipping for Ecommerce Stores

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Expedited Shipping vs. Standard Shipping for Your Ecommerce Store

7 min read
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At Sherpack, we want you to find the shipping option that’s right for your product – and we’re happy to discuss this if you have specific needs or big plans. In addition to getting in touch with one of our Trail Guides, we also wanted to take time to explain answers to some of the frequent shipping questions we get. That brings us to the difference between expedited shipping and standard shipping!

New companies can sometimes get a little overwhelmed with all the shipping options and pricing, especially when some terms are unfamiliar. So let’s dive into exactly what expedited shipping and standard shipping mean, how they’re different, and how they should be used.

What to Know About Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping simply refers to an alternative shipping option that’s faster than the standard version. If standard shipping is within 7 business days for a particular shipping company, expedited shipping would be any other option that’s less than 7 business days.

Obviously, getting products to customers faster has many advantages (happy customers, for one), so it’s important to review your expedited shipping options and see if they are right for your products. However, expedited shipping will also cost more: Those extra fees can vary a lot based on the location of the product, the shipping method, the shipping route, the size of the product, and a bunch of other little details that are calculated to arrive at a fee.

Since expedited shipping fees can get a little complicated, Sherpack offers discussions and advice from our specialist Trail Guides for companies that want to learn more, and find out what sort of shipping they can offer customers while staying within their budgets. Remember that different shipping companies offer different services with a variety of rates (anywhere from $20 to $100 depending on the service), so it’s important to have an expert that can help you compare them all and pick which one is right for your company. Often, certain types of expedited shipping work well for some products, but aren’t the best choice for others.

“Wait, isn’t this like express shipping?” you may be wondering. This is where things get a little more complicated. The term “express shipping” is a vague one, and doesn’t have a specific meaning or promise behind it. However, it’s most often used to refer to those special shipping deals you see in places like Amazon where the shipment is guaranteed within a short window, like two day or next day delivery. When express shipping is used to mean these special deals, it falls under the broader umbrella of expedited shipping – as does same-day shipping, and other similar terms.

“Priority shipping” is another term you may have heard. This refers specifically to a USPS flat rate option that guarantees a 1 to 3-day delivery for packages under a certain weight. Under that definition, it’s also part of the general expedited shipping umbrella.

What to Know About Standard Shipping

Now that we’ve covered expedited shipping in detail, you can probably guess that standard shipping is simply the baseline shipping option. That means it’s almost always the cheapest option for a company – and a customer. When you or your customers want to save money, standard shipping is the option to go with, which means it’s also a valuable tool when planning your budget and marketing strategy.

Just because standard is the most affordable pick does not mean all standard fees are the same, so it’s also important to compare standard rates for a variety of shipping services.

You’ll also see some wordplay going on here as a result of marketing. For example, an online store might claim, “Our standard shipping delivery is two days!” while behind the scenes they actually have a lot of options from a fulfillment center and are paying extra to upgrade from standard shipping to a two-day expedited shipping option. They just want their customers to feel like two-day shipping is their personal brand standard.

Making the Right Choices

Keep in mind that offering customers choices is usually a good thing, as long as you make it easy for them to pick the right option. Offering expedited shipping alternatives is usually a good idea because it can:

  • Please customers looking for faster shipping options to meet their own needs
  • Help reduce abandoned carts – customers are less likely to abandon carts when they have a variety of shipping options to choose from
  • Build customer loyalty, especially if you can offer expedited options that competitors cannot

However, you need to decide if your customers or your business will shoulder the extra costs associated with expedited options. If customers have to pay more for faster shipping, they may not be as willing to make the deal. If you cover some of the shipping costs, then this will eat into your profit margins. Finding the balance for how much of the cost you should pass on to customers isn’t easy, but strategies are available to make it easier. Common plans include:

Find a fulfillment center that works with you: Fulfillment centers with robust shipping technology and strong connections to local shippers can help you find the deals you need. Sherpack’s technology supports all major online e-commerce platforms for fast picking, shipping, and tracking so you get the best results.

Using more than one fulfillment center: Some companies prefer to branch out and look for different fulfillment centers in different shipping zones to find new ways to save on expedited shipping (for example, offering lower-cost ground shipping instead of air shipping). This can work well for companies that are expanding into new regions.

Adjust pricing according to AOV (average order value): Here, businesses examine their AOVs and find a way to compromise by offering expedited shipping for orders that are a certain amount above the AOV. Since customers have to meet that threshold to get expedited shipping, the business can ensure that it’s making enough profit to cover the extra shipping costs.

We hope that this has made your expedited and standard shipping choices easier to understand! As always, if you have any questions just contact us to learn more about the specifics.