With major ecommerce players like Amazon Prime offering superior shipping speeds, consumers have come to expect nothing short of 2-day express shipping options. As many other ecommerce brands fall in line by offering customers express delivery options, your business will need to meet this standard. Otherwise, you'll be in danger of falling well behind your competitors.
So how can you keep up with industry standards and offer 2-day fast shipping or overnight delivery options?
What Does Overnight Delivery Mean?
Overnight delivery is analogous to one-day or next-day delivery. If a customer places an order, it will have arrived at their doorstep by the next business day.
Is Overnight Shipping Truly Overnight?
Sort of. With overnight shipping, businesses set a daily 'cutoff' time, after which any orders placed will not necessarily be delivered on the next business. Instead, they will likely be delivered on the following day.
Tips To Reduce Overnight Shipping Costs
The thought of providing shoppers with overnight shipping sounds great, but as you may have guessed, offering an overnight shipping service can be costly. Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to trim these costs down.
Use the smallest packaging possible
For calculating shipping costs, most major carriers use the dimensional weight pricing model (otherwise known as DIM). This model takes your package's dimensions into account when calculating the shipping cost. All the package dimensions (height, width, and length) are multiplied, and the result is then divided by a DIM divisor. The result is the package's dimensional weight. Each carrier calculates its DIM weight differently.
When it comes to the shipping rates you'll have to pay, the carrier determines this amount by calculating costs and choosing whichever is higher — the dimensional weight or the literal weight.
So even if your package is very light but very large, the DIM will be high, and you will be charged. The takeaway? Keep your packaging as small as possible!
Remove extra weight
Since weight is one of the biggest factors in determining one-day shipping costs, it stands to reason that you should remove any extra weight. So if there's any extraneous packaging, remove it.
Use a wide network of fulfillment centers
Major carriers divide distances up into different shipping zones. For example, within the continental United States, carriers usually classify shipping zones into zones 1-8. The zones give an effective distance approximation by comparing the sending zone to the receiving zone.
For example, if your package needs to move from zone 1 to zone 7, it will likely cost more than sending it to zone 2. Moreover, in next-day shipping, the price increment from zone to zone increases significantly.
One way to combat the costs that rise as zone distance increases is using fulfillment centers distributed across different strategic locations. Partnering with different fulfillment centers expands your network and is one of the most effective ways of lowering shipping costs.
Check volume shipment discounts
Major carriers differ in their rates, but you might be surprised to learn that there isn't any one carrier that's cheaper overall than another because each carrier offers different discounts based on volume shipment. Suppose your package dimensions and package weight are consistent, and you can estimate how many shipments you will dispatch. In that case, you can compare volume shipment quotes from each carrier.
How Much Is Overnight Delivery?
Overnight delivery costs vary from carrier to carrier, so let's take a look at what the biggest carriers are charging.
USPS is generally the cheapest option for overnight services, and they offer two next-day options. These options both fall under USPS Priority Mail Express, which guarantees overnight delivery of packages weighing 70 pounds or less. If your customers are in a real hurry, then the Priority Mail Express service has an option that guarantees next-day delivery as early as 10:30 a.m. on the following day.
USPS offers the best rates because, frankly, they can afford to. The U.S. Postal service already goes along local routes — even through rural areas — every day, so dropping off your deliveries isn't out-of-the-way for them.
Of the three major US carriers, FedEx will probably cost you the most. Still, the extra fees bring nice customization options. With FedEx overnight, you can customize your pickup and delivery options and even request proof of the deliveries.
FedEx offers three overnight delivery options, which are:
FedEx First Overnight: Their quickest option, FedEx First promises delivery early as 8:00 a.m. on the following business day for most zones. For destinations that are a little further off, delivery is guaranteed by 2:00 p.m.
FedEx Priority Overnight: Coming in at second place, this option has orders delivered by 10:30 a.m. the next day, save for those headed to remote areas that may take up until 5:00 p.m.
FedEx Standard Overnight: The third overnight service, FedEx Standard Overnight, costs less than FedEx Priority Overnight, but it is only available for Saturday pickup.
Like FedEx, UPS also offers three different overnight shipping options, all with available tracking options. From most to least expensive, the choices are:
UPS Next Day Air Early: Orders shipped by this option will usually arrive by 8:00 a.m. the next business day.
UPS Next Day Air: This option gets orders delivered by around 10:30 a.m. the next business day.
UPS Next Day Air Saver: Another next business day 3:00 p.m. option like the one FedEx offers.
What Are The Overnight Delivery Cutoff Times?
To guarantee overnight delivery, most carriers have shipment cutoff times.
Overnight delivery cutoff time for USPS
Generally, USPS overnight delivery cutoff time is 6 p.m. on weekdays. Be aware of your local post office's hours of operation. Some locations close early on Saturday, and most locations are not open at all on Sunday.
Overnight delivery cutoff time for FedEx
FedEx dropoff cutoff times vary by location, which you can search here.
Overnight delivery cutoff time for UPS
UPS dropoff cutoff times also vary by location. UPS recommends contacting a shipping specialist to get the most accurate information.
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