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Expedited Shipping 101: Process, Benefits & Comparisons

Explore expedited shipping: a faster delivery method than standard shipping. Learn how to swiftly get orders to customers in our guide.

Team Hopstack
May 29, 2024

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Nowdays every online shopper wants their orders to be delivered instantly. Online shopping platforms are using faster shipping to attract customers and this has led to same day delivery, next day delivery etc. making expedited shipping a popular choice. But what is expedited shipping?

The number of customers wanting to get their products delivered in a couple of days instead of in a week has increased dramatically over the past few years. The recent Covid-19 pandemic also added fuel to this progression with $20 billion worth of parcels being shipped across the US in 2020.

80% of online customers choose to order products from Amazon because of its fast one-day shipping option. This has led to more and more companies incorporating expedited shipping and in-house fulfilment to stay competitive and deliver products to their customers quickly.

Let's explore what is expedited shipping?

What is Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping is a faster shipping method that allows the delivery of goods to customers faster and quicker than the standard shipping methods. 

So, what is expedited shipping? It is the process of delivering goods to consumers or the target destination in less than the regular transit time. Goods are loaded into the trucks at the pickup point and are delivered to the destination without taking any prolonged stops in between.

This reduces the transit time drastically. If the destination is quite far, drivers can work in shifts as well to make sure that the delivery is done in as little time as possible. Now that you know what is expedited shipping, let's explore how long expedited shipping takes.

How Fast is Expedited Shipping?

The speed of expedited shipping can be different for different regions, brands, the products that are being shipped and a lot more. For instance, standard shipping in the US is 3-5 days, while expedited shipping will deliver the product to your doorstep in under 2 days.

It is also important to understand that shipping time is calculated from the moment an order is processed and not when it is placed. So If a company provides two-day delivery but the order was placed during the weekend or over a holiday and it took a couple of days for the store to confirm and process the order, those “two days” will start after the order was processed.

Expedited shipping varies as per the product as well. This could be understood by the fact that for-eCommerce deliveries, same-day shipping or 2-day shipping are considered expedited.

Whereas for ordering groceries, delivery in 10 minutes can be considered expedited as normal deliveries can take anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours or even longer. This is how fast expedited shipping is.

How Long Does Expedited Shipping Take? Compare with Alternatives

How long does expedited shipping take

To understand how fast expedited shipping is, let's first have a look at different fulfilment options.

Standard Shipping

Standard shipping refers to regular shipping. Standard shipping is usually the cheapest form of shipping and the slowest as well. Products are delivered at a normal rate without any provisions and with stoppages along the way.

Standard shipping can take anywhere from 2 to 8 days, sometimes even more, depending on the product and the delivery location.

Express Shipping

Express shipping refers to faster than normal shipping where orders are delivered with special provisions so that they are delivered faster. Express shipping can include shipping through the air and other channels so that products can reach the customers in just a couple of days or before.

Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping means priority shipping in which products are delivered to customers overnight or the next day without any stoppages in between. Companies can charge extra for expedite shipping and delivering products to customers doorsteps in the fastest time possible.

Standard Shipping vs Expedited Shipping

Standard shipping usually means that the product will be delivered anywhere from three to seven business days. This is the cheapest shipping option for both the consumer and the store. The delivery time can vary depending on the fulfilment provider, the carrier used, delivery location and more.

It can also vary as per shipping companies. In expedite shipping, customers can expect their products to arrive before two days, sometimes even on the same day depending on their location.

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Standard Shipping vs Express Shipping

Standard shipping is cheaper and slower than express shipping. In standard shipping, products are delivered at a normal rate and without any urgency. Shipping companies usually perform standard shipping in such a way that they can fulfil a large number of orders in a single trip by making optimized use of their shipping channel.

In express shipping, best shipping carriers aim to deliver products faster in order to increase customer satisfaction. While the products might not be delivered with extreme urgency as in expedited shipping, the focus is more towards completing the delivery in 1-3 business days.

Express Shipping vs Expedited Shipping

For a number of brands and retailers, express shipping can be synonymous with expedited shipping. However, at the base of it, there is a slight difference between the two. Express shipping means shipping the products as quickly as possible.

The products leave the warehouse quickly, drivers take the fastest route possible and take fewer stops in between.

In expedite shipping, your order is prioritized over others and the shipping company tries to deliver it in the shortest time. While express delivery can be anywhere from 24 hours to 72 hours, expedited shipping means same-day or next-day delivery. Both of these terms can be used interchangeably by several shipping companies and retailers as well.

Why You Should Offer Expedited Shipping

In a survey, 58% of consumers said they'll wait for one or two days to get their order, not more than that. Expedited shipping not just delivers products to customers quickly, it also provides a lot of benefits to the businessstore as well.

What is Expedited shipping

Product Usability

Food items, medicines & medical equipment, groceries, and other products that are perishable or required urgently need to be delivered in a timely manner. Customers don't want to receive products that are expired or are delivered later than required. With expedite shipping, you can ensure that perishable items reach their destination on time.

Cargo Protection

As per a report by NRF, US retailers lost nearly $400 billion in sales in 2020 due to products being returned. Of all the reasons for returning a product, 20% do it because they received a damaged product.

If fragile and expensive items are transported in a start-stop manner with a lot of stops and jerks along the way, it has a higher chance of getting broken or stolen. Through expedited shipping and non-stop deliveries, the risk reduces considerably.

Reduce Cart Abandonment

More than 25% of customers tend to abandon their carts in the middle of purchase just because they didn't find same-day delivery option. Giving them flexible options of getting their products delivered to them quickly can encourage increased fill rates and closed sales.

Improve Customer Experience

88% of customers say they will be willing to pay more for same-day delivery. Getting products delivered as per your own time and convenience can be a great factor for brands to compete on. Customers will make repeat purchases from the store that delivers products quickly than their competitors as it makes up for a memorable shopping experience.

Save on Storage

If you're delivering products at a fast rate to your customers, you don't need to consume a lot of space for storage. Products can keep coming in and going out without staying too long on the shelf.

When Should You Not Offer Expedited Shipping

While Expedited shipping is the need of the hour, there are some scenarios where it can prove to be a liability rather than an asset.

  • If the order value is less than the average order value and it will end up costing you more to deliver the product than the product costs.
  • If your delivery location is too far and you don't have a warehouse nearby to guarantee a two-day delivery, don't provide the option of expedited delivery.
  • In times like long holidays, inventory restocking, or other emergencies when you can't guarantee prioritized deliveries, offering expedited delivery and not delivering can hamper the customer experience.
  • Products that are fragile or require a custom touch can take a longer time to deliver than other items and expedited delivery might not be an option in these situations.

Is Expedited Shipping Worth It?

In terms of delivering products within a time frame and improving customer experience, yes, expedited shipping is worth the cost. Expedite shipping can be done for any product granted that the correct packaging material and delivery options are employed.

If done correctly, expedite shipping can help you increase the overall revenue. If customers get their products delivered faster, they'll want to shop from you again. In the US, nearly 55% of customers prefer same-day delivery over any other kind of delivery.

This increases the number of sales and the chances of making a profit. The benefits of integrating expedited shipping in your company's supply chain strategy can far outweigh its costs.

How WMS Helps Companies Leverage Expedited Shipping

How Fast is Expedited Shipping?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) helps companies in optimizing their supply chain and improving its efficiency. It streamlines every warehousing process crucial to an omnichannel retail business and helps the distribution business run faster, smoother, and more efficiently.

Improved inventory control

A WMS system gives warehouse the capability to process bulk orders and dispatch them quickly. A centralized system will achieve broader inventory visibility across distribution centers and reduce the stock picking time. Pickers will take less time to pick every item in the order, it'll be ready to be packed sooner and hence to be shipped faster as well.

Efficient labour

Automating day-to-day activities like picking automation in the warehouse can help reduce human errors and improving efficiency. With organized inbound and outbound warehouse operations and synchronized processes, smart warehouses can save a lot of time in fulfilling orders. More than 50% of a modern warehousing employee's time is spent on walking and manual picking.

Increased visibility

Lot, batch, and serial numbering can be used to track inventory movement and get real-time insights into expedited orders. Tracing inventory enables accurate planning and allocation, lowers any potential redundancy and optimizes the entire supply chain. This way the warehouse staff can eliminate unnecessary activities and ship items faster by tracking shipping warehouse metrics.

WMS solutions like Hopstack can easily integrate with other warehouse applications and help in expediting the shipping process. They can help in inventory optimization and suggest the fastest route to products so that the picking process for expedited orders can be completed quickly.

A WMS can also help in suggesting the correct packaging options to protect the items, printing shipping labels and managing prioritized orders to make sure products are delivered faster.


Expedited Shipping is quickly becoming the norm. As of 2019, more than 65% of retailers offer same-day delivery. The trend for expecting fast deliveries from every retailer, shop, and vendor isn't going to die any time soon.

And with same-day delivery also catching up quickly, you need to evolve as well. Integrating a WMS solution like Hopstack can help you stay on top of your warehouse processes and make expedited shipping a success for your business.

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