Your Guide to Overnight Shipping

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overnight shipping
Scott Riddle - ShipNetwork
Scott Riddle
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The majority of customers consider the speed of delivery to be an important factor when selecting an online retailer, and more than half of customers are willing to pay more for faster shipping choices. Customers now anticipate having the opportunity to receive their orders within two days of placing their order, regardless of where and when they do their shopping online, because of shipping options like Amazon Prime. 

How can eCommerce companies differentiate themselves when shipping times of two days are the industry standard? In comes overnight shipping, a method of delivery that provides a premium shipping experience to your clients so that you can exceed their expectations (and appeal to buyers who wait until the last minute to buy anything or have urgent needs arise).

What Is Overnight Shipping? 

Overnight shipping is the quickest delivery option available by couriers, and it ensures clients that their orders will be delivered on the following business day.

Various shipping carriers that provide overnight shipping services will have daily cutoff dates, after which next-day delivery cannot be assured. Furthermore, depending on the carrier and the shipping service, orders that are placed over the weekend, which is often an off time, may take up to two days to arrive at their destination.

Although this term is sometimes used interchangeably with "next-day delivery" or "one-day shipping," the actual delivery dates are determined by the time the order is placed.

Shipping businesses that offer overnight shipping can provide a delivery service because they have access to transportation networks that enable them to carry packages in such a short amount of time. Customers can drop off their packages and have them prepared for delivery first thing in the morning because the distribution centers for the transportation network are often spread out across the country. These express services are often restricted to certain places; for example, if the product is being delivered to a remote delivery area, the service may not be available.

Overnight Shipping Benefits

75% of customers have expressed a desire for faster shipment, while just about 50% of online retailers offer same-day shipping as an option for their customers. You can differentiate your eCommerce company from other companies in the industry by offering overnight shipping as a competitive advantage. The following is a list of just some of the advantages that come with overnight shipping:  

1. Ability to Deliver Time-Sensitive Orders

You may provide your customers with additional delivery options for those times when they are pressed for time by making overnight shipping available to them. Because overnight shipping is the fastest delivery option that is currently available, offering it to your clients enables you to appeal to a greater number of customers who may be looking for a speedier delivery choice.

2. Increased Customer Satisfaction

The expectations of customers continue to rise, and rapid shipping is becoming the normal option for shipping. Offering overnight shipping can boost customer satisfaction with your brand, which in turn can increase customer loyalty to your company. Customers will feel more loyal to your business if you offer them the choice to select faster shipping methods if they have a pressing need for them. 

3. An Increase in Both Sales and Profit

Increased levels of customer satisfaction are directly correlated to increased levels of sales and, as a direct result, increased levels of revenue. Your online store will continue to have repeat customers as long as consumers are aware that they can rely on you to provide prompt shipping. 

4. Lower Storage Costs 

Providing overnight shipping is another step that can help reduce storage expenses. Shipping items by overnight delivery helps free up space in warehouses, which in turn lowers the cost of storage and lessens the likelihood of deadstock and obsolescence.

What Is the Fastest Overnight Mail?

There are multiple options for overnight mail, with USPS, UPS, and FedEx offering options for quick shipping.

Priority Mail Express is the name for USPS' overnight service, and it comes with a 24-hour delivery guarantee. Time-sensitive correspondence and paperwork are ideal for this service. Overnight shipping is available seven days a week, and you can get your money back if you're not satisfied. 

UPS offers three overnight shipping alternatives in the United States: 

  • UPS Next Day Air Early: Overnight delivery as early as 8:00 am
  • UPS Next Day Air: Overnight delivery by 10:00 am 
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver: Overnight delivery by 3:00 pm 

FedEx, like UPS, has three overnight options for packages weighing up to 150 pounds: 

  • FedEx First Overnight®: Next-business-day delivery by 9:30 am 
  • FedEx Priority Overnight®: Next-business-day delivery by 10:30 am 
  • FedEx Standard Overnight®: Next-business-day delivery by 4:30 pm 

How Much Are Overnight Shipping Costs?

overnight shipping costs

The short answer is that it depends. However, you’re looking at overnight shipping options starting at $25 or more. The following are some of the potential contributors to the differing costs associated with overnight shipping:

1. Package Dimensions

Dimensional weight, also known as DIM weight, is a price methodology that is used by all of the main carriers to determine how much a shipment will cost. When calculating the cost of delivering an item, the DIM weight method takes into consideration all of its dimensions.

The dimensional weight of a package can be determined by first multiplying its length, width, and height and then dividing the result by a DIM divisor to arrive at the final amount. The actual weight of the box, or its DIM weight, is what most shipping carriers use to determine how much they will charge for the shipment. This will become the billable weight, which will be used to calculate the cost of an overnight shipment.

2. Package Weight

It is more expensive to ship items that weigh more than those that weigh less. As was just discussed, the actual weight of an item will be taken into consideration when determining the cost of shipping if it is more than the DIM weight. Shipping costs will increase proportionately with the weight and size of the package.

3. Shipping Zones

The number of shipping zones a cargo passes through indicates the total distance traveled from its point of origin to its final destination.

Shipping expenses are often computed by carriers based on shipping zones. These can span anywhere from Zone 1 to Zone 8 in the United States.

The origin of an order is factored into the determination of the shipping zone for that order. This indicates that two independent points of origin with the same destination could be shipping to completely different zones at the same time.

The higher the shipping zone, the greater the increase in the cost of shipping cargo. When it comes to alternatives for accelerated shipping such as overnight delivery, next-day shipment, and other similar services, the price difference across zones increases at an exponentially larger rate.

4. Contracts for Shipping With Several Carriers

It's possible that you could qualify for reduced shipping costs through several carriers. Some carriers offer discounts to small businesses, while others offer savings based on the number of packages that are shipped. Investigate potential discounts on shipping rates offered by the carrier(s) or third-party logistics providers that you are considering working with before making your decision.

Who Has the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Options?

Many factors, such as the weight and size of the product, the delivery time frame and distance, and any discounts that could be obtained with a carrier, are considered when determining which shipping alternatives are the most cost-effective. For items weighing less than 2 pounds, USPS is typically the most cost-effective shipping option.

You will have the best option to ship your shipment if USPS Priority Mail Express Flat Rate shipping envelopes can accommodate it. When shipping packages that weigh more than 70 pounds, the most cost-effective choice will be either UPS or FedEx. By negotiating with carriers or forming partnerships with retail fulfillment services like ShipNetwork, online retailers may be able to negotiate lower shipping charges for their customers. 

Does Overnight Shipping Mean 24 Hours?

Overnight shipping is a type of accelerated shipping that requires several processes to be completed to guarantee that customers will receive their products within a short time period: 

1. The order must be placed before the cut-off time for overnight delivery. 

A customer's order must be placed before the cut-off time for overnight delivery for the customer to be eligible for actual overnight delivery. Establishing a delivery cut-off time provides you with a generous amount of cushion time that may be used for order processing, selection, packing, and delivery through a courier.

2. Either you or your fulfillment partner prepare the order for overnight delivery so the courier can pick it up. 

This comprises printing the shipping label and packaging the goods (or products) to be shipped. 

3. The courier picks up the package and then processes it.

The shipment will be sorted alongside the other overnight shipping orders once the courier has it in their possession, and then it will be delivered to the location that was originally intended.

4. The box is taken to a distribution center that handles overnight shipments.

After being routed, the package will be delivered during the night to the hub that is geographically closest to the final customer. Orders that are placed for overnight delivery are, as the name suggests, sent on the same day using either ground or air transport to reach the customer by the following business day.  

5. The order is delivered to the customer the following business day! 

The majority of major carriers offer choices for overnight delivery, which can suit the needs of both business owners and their clients.

Overnight Shipping vs Next-Day Delivery

Although the terms "overnight shipping" and "next-day delivery" may sound different, they refer to the same service in most cases. Both of these words, same-day delivery, and next-day delivery, can be used synonymously to refer to shipping companies that deliver customers' packages on the same day that the packages were ordered.  

Overnight Shipping Best Practices

If you are ready to offer an option for overnight shipping but are unsure where to begin, utilize these best practices to ensure that your products will reach the appropriate place on time and without being damaged: 

1. Establish a Definitive Cutoff Time

To provide customers with the option of overnight delivery, you will need to develop a policy that specifies the cutoff time for your particular brand. You are going to want to establish this strategy so that you have plenty of time to process and fulfill orders to satisfy overnight delivery times. To prevent misunderstandings and properly prepare your clients, this policy needs to convey your cutoff time in a way that is crystal clear.

2. Conduct Business From Several Different Warehouses

It will take you less time to deliver products to final consumers if you store your inventory in several different warehouses rather than just one. You can accomplish urgent shipments more easily if you ship from various warehouses because your inventory will be stored closer to the spot where it will be delivered. 

3. Establish a Warehouse at a Position That Is Central to the City

If not done in a smart manner, the utilization of many warehouses can make inventory management more difficult and can push up the expenses associated with warehousing. The utilization of a single centralized warehouse is a method of completing overnight shipments that is significantly more efficient and cost-effective for certain types of organizations.

4. Collaborate With Reputable Businesses.

Keeping your promise that you would ship orders the next business day requires that you cultivate relationships with reliable business partners. Perform thorough research on potential fulfillment partners to identify a company that can reliably meet SLAs.

Find an Overnight Shipping Partner

overnight shipping partner

If a company had offered same-day delivery a few years ago, it would have likely set them apart from its rivals and made it easier for customers to do business with them. Deliveries made the same day or the following day have become something of an industry standard thanks to eCommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart. According to recent polls, around eighty percent of customers would select the same-day delivery option if given the choice. Because of this, many companies in today's market are opting to form partnerships with third-party logistics providers to ensure that their customers' purchases are fulfilled in the quickest time possible.

Third-party logistics providers like ShipNetwork offer the resources and knowledge to support the goals of your company, with a focus on being flexible and scalable. Because of their connections and networks, they can meet the requirements of their clients while reducing the amount of money that is spent on shipping by both businesses and individuals.

You've got customers all over the United States, so with our distribution centers across the country, you can provide quick shipping options to most of the country. Get a quote today to get started.