Expedited Shipping 101: A Full Guide

Expedited Shipping 101: A Full Guide

We all want immediate gratification, and when it comes to receiving packages, the sentiment remains the same.

Sure, standard shipping is fine, but who doesn’t want expedited shipping? With a drastic rise in eCommerce, more and more people are ordering their favorite products online, and with more eager shoppers comes a heightened enthusiasm for faster deliveries to begin enjoying the latest buy.

But is expedited freight shipping service worth it? As one of the fastest shipping options, expedited shipping can get your products in the hands of your customers in a cinch, satisfying that ever-present need for immediate gratification, but it may not be right for everyone. To help your online business, here are all the ins and outs of expedited shipping. 

What Is Expedited Shipping?

So, what is expedited delivery anyways? The expedited freight meaning is characterized by a delivery option that ensures a faster, “expedited” shipping speed than that of standard shipping options. 

When a truckload is carrying packages that are under an expedited shipping time, they typically will avoid making stops to fulfill the expedited shipping request. The exact amount of time it takes for a package to arrive with expedited shipping depends on the carrier, but most often, it ensures packages will be shipped overnight or within two days. 

This timeline is for domestic shipments. So, what does expedited international shipping mean? While it’s not as fast as domestic shipments, expedited international shipping typically will arrive in 2-5 business days. Not bad!

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How Long Does Expedited Shipping Take?

We all want to know exactly how fast is expedited shipping. There is no one, standard option, but one thing is for sure - it will be faster than the usual five days it takes for standard shipping. So, expedited shipping takes how many days? It varies based on the carrier, but usually, you can receive an expedited package in 2-3 days, saving you a few days of wait time. 

While we know the basics of how many days expedited shipping is, let’s compare this shipping option to others you can choose from.

Standard Shipping vs Expedited Shipping

To best understand the expedited freight meaning, let’s compare it to standard shipping. 

Standard shipping is often the default shipping method and the cheapest for both businesses and their customers. Usually, standard shipping takes between three and seven days to deliver domestically. This time is most affected by the carrier you choose. In the process, the package is handled by multiple personnel in different freight terminals and transferred from one truck to the next on its journey from point A to point B. It’s a great shipping option, but certainly not the fastest.

Ultimately, the largest difference between what’s expedited shipping vs what’s standard is the amount of time it takes and how much a package is handled. Since expedited shipments are looking to cut down on time, they usually transfer between trucks and people less in order to meet the faster delivery time, thus cutting down on a few days in the process.

Express Shipping vs Expedited Shipping

Another popular freight shipping method often confused with expedited shipping is express shipping. This shipping method is often used interchangeably with expedited shipping, though the amount of time it takes, as always, depends on the carrier. 

We understand this makes the question of what is expedited shipping vs express shipping confusing, but let’s make it super clear. Ultimately, if both expedited and express options are available, express is most likely to be the faster of the two, while expedited just signals that it will deliver faster than standard shipping. 

So, when a business offers next-day or same-day shipping, is it expedited or express? Actually, it can be either, as both will deliver faster than standard shipping. 

Is it the Same as Next-day Shipping?

Next up - how long is expedited shipping compared to next-day shipping? 

Next-day, or two-day, shipping is a premium shipping option. Depending on the carrier, they will offer next-day or 2-day delivery, depending on which is their standard premium option. This option has grown in popularity as Amazon Prime guarantees 2-day shipping, making it an essential addition to many eCommerce sites’ offerings in order to remain competitive. 

While expedited shipments can arrive in two days, it’s not necessarily guaranteed, making next-day shipping the faster option. When it comes to how long does expedited shipping take, the only guarantee is that it will be faster than standard shipping, usually signaling that it will arrive in under five days. 

Is Expedited Freight Service Worth It?

Now that you know the answer to “what does expedited shipping mean,” is it even worth it? To many, the answer is yes. When looking at delivering freight in a strict amount of time, expedited shipping is definitely worth the money. 

Beyond just an increased urgency, here are some other scenarios where expedited shipping is worth the money.

  • Medical locations and facilities that need emergency tools and supplies to operate. 
  • Situations where there are manufacturing deadlines that require inventory replenishment within a certain amount of time. 
  • When machinery breaks in facilities, like mining facilities, where parts are needed quickly in order for operations to continue. 

While these situations may not relate to everyone, they are pretty typical, and expedited shipping from warehouses can help ensure that business continues as usual without a hitch. And while some may be wary of the extra cost associated with expedited shipping time, the benefit of speed, less handling (and thus less damage) to goods, and additional security when shipping is well worth the cost. 

Expedited Shipping

Why You Should Use Expedited Shipping

Is expedited freight service worth it for your business? Beyond a faster shipping time, there are a lot of perks to opting for an expedited shipping service. From increasing the chances of customers checking out to building loyalty, here are a few of the reasons to add expedited options to your business.

Fix Cart Abandonment Issues

One of the biggest hurdles eCommerce companies face is cart abandonment. In fact, 45% of shoppers have abandoned their carts solely due to the delivery options available. But what can combat this? Expedited shipping.

Offering a range of expedited delivery options at affordable prices will help decrease cart abandonment and boost conversions for eCommerce stores. This will ensure your customers are happy and have your products in their hands in a shorter period of time.

Shipment Expectations

We all know Amazon Prime will deliver our favorite products in 2 days, so why shop anywhere else? This is the question eCommerce sites are up against as shoppers veer towards the most convenient, fastest delivery option. Thankfully, with affordable expedited shipments, your business can compete with the likes of Amazon, offering 2-day shipping or free shipping options that will ensure conversion rates remain high. 

Ultimately, eCommerce is a competitive environment, and expedited shipping is increasingly becoming the standard, so to stay on top, it’s a must-have option.


Customer Loyalty

One of the best things eCommerce businesses can do for their long-term success is built customer loyalty, and affordable, quick shipping options are some of the top ways to achieve this. 

eCommerce stores typically generate about 43% of their revenue from repeat customers, and when you’re offering fast, reliable shipping, customers are more likely to come back for more. However, customers are highly unlikely to shop with an online company again if their delivery experience was negative, especially when it comes to late deliveries or high charges. For this reason, it’s in your best interest to make deliveries as fast, affordable, and seamless as possible.

Your Goods Will Be Secure

Another advantage of opting for an expedited shipping time is that it will decrease the chance of damage or displacement. This is due to the fact that expedited shipments, unlike standard shipments, are carried by only one truck and thus handled by fewer people. With less handling and no transfers involved, shipments are less likely to be lost or damaged. 

Plus, carriers that offer expedited deliveries typically share real-time tracking, too, allowing you to track shipments to ensure they arrive safely. 

Quicker Fixes When Issues Arise 

As with any business, various issues can arise that will disrupt business suddenly. From drastic weather changes to natural disasters and mechanical problems, a number of situations can pop up, yet we don’t want customers to feel the effects.

With expedited shipping, due to its faster delivery times, it’s easier to avoid these delays and ensure packages still arrive on time. In many cases, an expedited delivery that may be impacted can be transferred from one delayed truck to another, avoiding outside circumstances from impacting business. 

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Cost of Expedited Shipping

We know the answer to “what does it mean to choose expedited shipping?” But what about the cost?

We know, finances are top of mind, and shipping prices can quickly add up. When it comes to expedited shipping, the costs associated with it vary on how far a package is traveling, the weight, and the carrier handling the shipment. 

To help you better understand what you’re in for when shipping with expedited options, here are a few examples of the costs associated with this fast shipping method. 

Carrier & Shipping Option Cost
FedEx Express Saver $41.51
UPS 3-Day Select $37.69
USPS Priority Mail $17.26

Now, let’s compare those prices to overnight delivery costs!

Carrier & Shipping Option Cost
UPS Next Day $95.70
FedEx Express Same Day $49.95
USPS Priority Mail Express Deliver (delivers by 10:30 am) $38.49

Clearly, prices vary greatly by the carrier, and it is important to explore your options to find the right, affordable solution for your business. 

Best Practices When Choosing Expedited Shipping 

Since expedited shipments come in at a higher cost, it’s important to understand the ins and outs in order to get the most out of this offering. To help, we are sharing some of the best practices for eCommerce businesses offering expedited shipping options.

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Minimum Spend Threshold

It’s important to keep a business profitable, even when offering more expensive shipping options like expedited deliveries. To do so, it’s in a business's best interests to require a minimum threshold to qualify for expedited shipping. 

By requiring a minimum spend from customers, you can then in turn offer free expedited shipping - a big incentive for customers to buy more and thus boost business. In embracing this tactic, companies can create a larger average order value (AOV) as customers look to boost their baskets in order to qualify for faster shipments.

Ship From Multiple Fulfillment Centers

Another way to get the most out of expedited shipping is to ship from multiple fulfillment centers. Ultimately, costs increase based on how far a shipment has to travel, so in tapping into facilities closer to package destinations, you can help shipments reach customers faster with ground shipping. Plus, you will be able to offer expedited ground shipping at a lower cost, further avoiding the chance of customers abandoning their carts.

Outsource to a 3PL

When looking to keep costs low when opting for expedited deliveries, it can be beneficial to outsource shipping and fulfillment to a 3PL. This will help your eCommerce business access more shipping options, as well as discounts, and improve technology that an in-house fulfillment center might not offer. 

This option will help your business meet customer expectations by delivering packages in a timely, fast fashion by letting a 3PL take on some of the logistic solutions. Plus, you can utilize various 3PLs that are close to different customer locations to further reduce shipping costs and increase the speed of deliveries. 


Now that you know the expedited shipping meaning and the answer to “how long does it take for expedited shipping to arrive?” it’s time to decide - is expedited shipping right for your business? If you’re looking to remain competitive in an ever-growing eCommerce industry, the answer is likely yes.

If you’re still wondering if expedited deliveries are right for your company or how to keep costs to a minimum, our freight shipping company team is here to help. For all your shipping questions and needs, call us at 817-696-9458 or get a quote online today. 

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