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A Guide to Economy Shipping

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For any business, shipping is one of the most important aspects business operations. Today, while online and other mail order solutions are more popular than ever with customers, they also expect fast, affordable delivery too.

What is economy shipping?

Economy shipping is a shipping option for your customers that offers a significant cost saving, at the penalty of a slower delivery schedule. To avoid any negative impressions from consumers, many businesses opt to call it standard shipping or ground shipping. For consumers, the lower headline cost is attractive, and for many, a slightly longer delivery time is an acceptable trade-off, although it does still need to be relatively fast. For your business, economy shipping also allows an upsell to a faster option, often called expedited shipping. That expedited shipping option will add to shipping costs, but customers receive their goods quicker.  Businesses can then offer a range of shipping options, from domestic economy shipping to expedited shipping, along with international shipping options that can also include a similar slow/cheaper, fast/extra cost solution too. This gives customers the best choice, allowing them to save money and can be a deciding factor in the purchase decision.

Which carriers offer economy shipping?

FedEx Express

As businesses themselves, carriers want to grab as big a share of the market as they can, and so most major delivery companies offer domestic economy shipping and often some tiered pricing for international shipping, such as FedEx international economy, allowing you to have an ‘economy shipping’ option for overseas customers too.

Courier services that include economy delivery include, but are not limited to:

  • DHL
  • FedEx
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • United States Postal Service (USPS)

With a wide choice of economy shipping providers, businesses in most markets can find courier services that can help consumers save on shipping costs.

How long does economy shipping take?

While economy shipping is intended to save money and provide an attractive option for customers who don’t need their purchases next day, they also won’t wait weeks to receive things either. Domestic economy shipping is something of a balancing act then, fast enough to satisfy customers, but cheap enough to represent value. Most courier services offer economy shipping that will deliver goods relatively quickly. The average delivery period is between 2 and 5 days from dispatch. This is a relatively short time, and one that has become an accepted timeframe for any business that sets out to offer an economy shipping option.

  • To be more specific, lets look at the main couriers in more detail.
  • DHL Economy Shipping – Between 3 and 8 business days from dispatch
  • FedEx Economy Shipping – Between 2 to 7 business days from dispatch
  • UPS Economy Shipping – Between 1 to 5 business days from dispatch
  • USPS Economy Shipping – Between 1 to 3 business days from dispatch

By contrast, expedited shipping will usually be a next day service, giving consumers a clear choice when making a purchase.

For international shipping, you can expect anything from 7 to 21-day delivery times, depending on package size and destination.

Can you ship internationally with economy shipping?

shipping 2

Yes you can, and the ability to offer multiple tiers of shipping at different costs can have a positive impact on your overseas orders too. In fact, for any business selling online, with a worldwide economy to reach out to, it makes sense to offer an international economy shipping option for their products. However, there are some things to remember with international shipping that set it apart from domestic economy shipping.  The most important is the need for goods to pass through customs, which can drastically affect the delivery speed. For any online business, it is important to be aware of the customs regulations for the jurisdictions you plan on selling to, and make sure the shipping method and so on are correct.  Customs can also add import charges for the customer too, increasing the final delivery cost, and it is important that customers are informed during the purchase process. Surprise additional costs will otherwise lead to negative reviews for things that are otherwise out of your hands. However, with that in mind, by informing customers of potential costs and delays when purchasing international economy shipping, delivery costs remain transparent and small businesses can sell to a global audience in a cost-effective way.

The difference between economy and standard shipping

For domestic economy shipping, standard shipping is often used completely interchangeably, as there is no real difference between the two. Cost effective but slower delivery between 2 and 5 days on average is what you can expect from both affordable delivery service options.  Standard shipping may offer a slightly faster delivery time that economy shipping services in some situations. However, a day faster delivery is not such a big difference when looking for the most affordable delivery service for your customers. It is in international solutions for economy shipping, such as UPS Worldwide Economy and similar, where the difference is notable. Here there are both cost and time differences between the two. When setting up your store, it is important to compare international shipping rates to find the best option for your customers.

Benefits of economy shipping

By offering economy shipping, the goal is to provide the most effective service for customers while maintaining low additional costs for shipping. This has several benefits for your business, in ways you may not have considered. The first and obvious one is that it avoids putting off potential buyers with high shipping costs. People look for the best prices for products, and they don’t really want to pay much for getting that product to them afterwards most of the time. The lower cost for economy shipping is seen as a value addition, and can encourage purchases from your prospects. But another thing economy shipping does is allow you to offer an upgrade to expedited shipping. While most customers are put off by high shipping costs, once they have decided to purchase, the need to receive their goods as quickly as possible can be a powerful one. At that point, upselling to expedited shipping is a great tactic, and more customers than you think will take the more expensive option over the economy shipping option. As a service, when you offer economy shipping you are not lowering service standards either. Economy shipping, whether you call it ground shipping or anything else, offers great value and a fast, reliable service for your customers. Economy services may be lower cost, but solutions such as DHL Economy and others never compromise on the customer experience.

When should you use economy shipping?

If there is no hurry to send or receive a package, economy shipping is the ideal choice. With services such as DHL economy shipping, you get tracked service with delivery usually in less than a week, all at a great saving compared to those faster options. For businesses and consumers alike, economy shipping provides great value without compromising the delivery process too much. However, there are some situations where economy shipping may not be the best option. For perishable goods, the faster the delivery the better of course, but in general if a customer wants their goods in a hurry, then expedited shipping gets it to them next day, and is the better option. That is why it is important to offer both types of shipping to meet all customer needs. Ground shipping, economy shipping, whatever you call it, having a cheaper option as well as faster delivery provides the best range of options for your customers.  You can use economy shipping for international deliveries too, and many businesses do use this option successfully. However, with uncertainty around delays for customs and so on, a faster service can make for a smoother experience.

How Calcurates Can Help

Calcurates can cover all Ecommerce shipping solutions for your business. Offering real time shipping rates during checkout, the system will also print out shipping labels and notify the chosen courier of the package to be picked up. This allows you to provide a range of shipping options to suit each customer’s need, but also have a streamlined and efficient order management process throughout, helping your business to save on shipping costs while also providing the best value for customers.

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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