What is Shipping?



Shipping is a set of actions when an item is transported from one place to another, usually from merchants to buyers. Shipping is usually executed by postal networks and delivery services companies like FedEx or UPS.

Types of shipping methods

In ecommerce, retailers offer a set of options regarding product delivery. Depending on the speed of delivery, there are 5 ways of product shipping (excluding standard shipping):

  • Self-pickup. Many big retailers and even small businesses have a place, where customers can pick products themselves. This method won’t cost anything and can be done in 1-2 working days.
  • Same-day delivery. This option allows to receive products on the same day customer has purchased them. Same-day delivery costs more than normal shipping and usually takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete. However, if a customer orders goods after noon they will be delivered to him either at night or on the next day.
  • 2-day shipping. After the release of Amazon Prime, 2-day shipping has become one of the most popular ways to deliver goods.
  • International shipping. If the store operates globally it can offer customers international shipping. The turnaround time and the price of international shipping may vary because different countries have different tariffs and requirements for incoming shipments but it allows ecommerce stores to gain customers worldwide.
  • Freight shipping. Freight shipping is the transportation of cargo across the globe via air, land, or sea. If a product weighs more than 150 pounds it is considered freight. Freight shipping is used by ecommerce companies to refill their inventory and send products to manufacturers or distributors.


Shipping rates

Flat rate shipping and real-time carrier rate are two of the most popular shipping rate options.

Flat rate shipping is an average shipping and handling cost across orders in a category. The flat rate shipping method charges a fixed price for a certain weight, product value, or other categories.

Real-time carrier rate is an exact shipping rate, which is based on the customer’s location and delivery preferences. The advantage of the real-time carrier rate is that businesses can calculate the exact price for each specific order, including delivery.

Many ecommerce retailers, like, for example, Amazon, offer free shipping to customers with Amazon Premium subscription. If the retailer doesn’t provide free shipping for participating in a loyalty program, the shipping cost can be included in the product price, so that customers won’t pay for delivery. Last, but not least, companies can offer free shipping for spending a certain amount of money on their goods.


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