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Expedited Shipping: Everything you need to know

After getting your customer to click the “Add to Cart” button, now you have to ship their order to them. But even at the checkout portion, you can still lose a sale because they don’t like the shipping options. Don’t let all your marketing efforts go to waste by having short delivery times with expedited shipping.

What is expedited shipping and how fast can it deliver?

Expedited shipping services deliver your shipment faster than standard shipping options. Since transit times for standard shipping is around five days, anything less than that is considered expedited. It also varies among different carriers, ranging from overnight to a 3-day timeframe for domestic deliveries.

Getting the shipment from point A to point B as fast as possible is inarguably wonderful. But here are examples where it is highly useful:

  • Urgent need for spare parts to sustain operations in the manufacturing and mining industries
  • Timely replenishment of in-demand inventory in distribution channels
  • Hospitals and other medical facilities that need equipment and supplies during emergencies

How does Expedited Shipping work?

Expedited shipping utilizes a dedicated truck with less-than-truckload (LTL) capacity and shipments are picked up from the consignor and delivered immediately to the consignee. The truck is manned by two drivers who work together in shifts to make as few stops as possible and reduce travel time.

Expedited shipments are also trackable at any point during transit because of the new mandate of regulators in the logistics industry. Freight companies provide quote calculators and up-to-date shipping rates from different carriers so you can choose which solution meets your needs for a reasonable cost.

Expedited vs other shipping methods

Aside from expedited shipping, standard shipping and express shipping are the most common delivery methods available today. Here’s how they differ from each other.

Standard shipping is the cheapest shipping option for both store owners and their customers. It takes three to seven business days to deliver a shipment within the US depending on the carrier used. The cargo is touched by different personnel in several freight terminals and transferred from one truck to another.

Express shipping, on the other hand, is interchangeably used with expedited shipping and delivery times may vary depending on the carrier. But if both express and expedited are offered, express is the faster option while expedited simply means faster than standard.

Aside from these typical shipping options, it is also popular in the e-commerce space to advertise a delivery time like next-day shipping or same-day shipping. These are also considered as expedited or express shipping because of faster delivery times than standard shipping.

Benefits of Expedited Shipping

By this point, we’ve established that expedited shipping is faster than standard shipping and its advantages are clear. But it has other upsides that may make it worthwhile for you.

A lower number of abandoned carts

According to a consumer study done by Metapack in 2016, 45% of customers abandon their carts because of unfavorable shipping choices. If your customers can’t get their order as soon as possible, eventually they will find another store who can do so.

Offering faster delivery times helps seal the deal at checkout — the last hurdle of the sale. And by making it easy all the way through for your customer, you create a smooth buying experience that makes them want to come back.

Increased customer retention

If customers had a great experience with your online store, it’s only more likely that they will buy from you again. One reason why is because they got their order on time. 

And according to the same consumer study by Metapack, 38% of online shoppers are likely to never buy from a store again after a sour delivery experience. The opportunity cost of not offering fast and reliable delivery is big enough to not ignore.

Additional security for your goods

If you send your customer’s package using standard shipping, it usually goes through typical LTL operations (cross-docking, unloading and reloading, and en-route handling) and is carried by different trucks from one freight terminal to the next.

However, since an expedited shipment is carried by a single truck and handled by less people, it is less likely to get damaged or lost. Carriers also offer more options (depending on the cargo) for expedited shipping services and real-time tracking updates allow you to trace your shipment in case of a mishap.

Fix urgent supply chain and operational issues

Things that disrupt the flow of your business can sometimes happen without warning. It may be natural disasters that limit the accessibility of roads and slow down your supply chain. Or it may be sudden mechanical problems in your production facility that need immediate repair.

Expedited shipping solves these problems with shipment diversion and by just how fast it can get goods from point A to point B. Shipment diversion allows some or all of your shipment to be diverted from a delayed semi-truck. Thus, you can still supply even a minimum amount of inventory to your distributors despite current circumstances that impede logistics.

And if you’re working with your suppliers in fixing urgent operational problems, expedited shipping saves the day by delivering the tools and parts you need immediately. You reduce the down time in your operations and avoid further losses.

How much does it really cost?

The cost of expediting shipping depends on many factors such as the destination, weight, seasonality, products shipped, density, etc. And getting your customer’s package at their doorstep in no time is not cheap either.

But when placed in the right context, expedited shipments are actually cost-effective. Here’s how to use expedited shipping without hurting your profits.

Require a minimum amount for orders

If you’re going to offer free and fast shipping, your customers should spend a minimum amount in order to enjoy your incentive. Their order must be greater than the average order value (AOV) of your store for expedited shipping to make sense. This might even raise your online store’s AOV as you continue to provide customers with fast delivery times.

Distribute inventory among several fulfillment centers

The shorter the distance that a package has to travel, the faster and cheaper it can get to your customer. Given how far your online store can reach a lot of customers from different locations, you can reduce your logistical expenses by distributing inventory in fulfillment centers nearer to them.

Regardless if your customer is 10 or 100 miles away from your warehouse, they are more likely to buy from you again if you can deliver their order right away.

Hire a 3PL for your fulfillment needs

Third party logistics (3PL) companies own the fulfillment centers that allow you to maintain consistent delivery times for all your customers in the country. These companies can also help you through other services they provide, giving you a smooth supply chain experience that ultimately encourages repeat business from your customers.

See how much time and money you'll save by having our pros help manage your freight.