Understanding Shipping Zones in eCommerce

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The knowledge of shipping zones is more necessary when it comes to eCommerce order fulfillment. However, several sellers still battle to comprehend what the zones are and how they function. In this post, we'll let you know exactly what shipping zones are, how they work, their significance, and how to go about them in eCommerce order fulfillment so you can have a proper insight into the ideal shipping strategy for your eCommerce business.

What Are Shipping Zones?

Shipping zones are geographical areas to which carriers distribute goods. They're specified by a grouping of zip codes and calculated from the package's point of origin to its destination. Shipping zones are founded on the distance traveled by the package, right from the warehouse to the buyer. For instance, in the US, shipping zones range from Zone 1 to Zone 8. Hence, most shipping firms specify their transit zones according to these 8 zones. With that said, let's get to how and why shipping zones are important in your eCommerce order fulfillment strategy.

How Do Shipping Zones Affect the Cost?

Most carriers use shipping zones to calculate rates for specific services. However, some of them charge a flat rate, making you pay a similar rate in the US regardless of the point of delivery. USPS specifies which services are categorized as zoned like Priority Mail, USPS Retail Ground, Bound Printed Matter, and Priority Mail Express. The ones not categorized as zoned include USPS Marketing Mail, First-Class, Media Mail, and Library Mail. For the zoned services, a greater zone mostly results in high shipping costs.

How Can eCommerce Business Owners Pick the Right Shipping Strategy?

Picking the best shipping strategy can be challenging at first. But you don't have to worry anymore. We'll make it easy for you. Most prosperous eCommerce businesses combine many of these shipping techniques into a perfect strategy that works for them.

Free In-Store Pickup

In case you own several storage locations or an established local business, providing free pickup in-store could benefit both you and your buyers.


  • Customers can skip the wait and the cost of delivery.
  • Your online business can skip the weight of one more package.

Compare Rates

Accessing direct rates from our ground-breaking shipping solution, Xparcel, will always earn you the most reasonable rates while still trimming your transit times and shipping costs.


  • For buyers close to your warehouses, you can provide them relatively lower shipping compared to your rivals while still cutting costs.
  • You secure the most affordable shipping choice by price shopping between different local an regional carriers.

Same-Day Delivery

Although same-day delivery is a bit challenging, it can be achieved. Providing same-day delivery service to your customers demands an extremely great logistics undertaking and enough resources.


  • You can surely enhance your conversion rate and revenue with the quickest delivery time.

Free Shipping

After being started by Amazon Prime, free shipping is now a customer's expectation.


  • It matches customer expectations
  • It improves conversion rates for buyers who visit your funnel

Significant Shipping Strategy Considerations

The most important aspects to consider when picking the ideal shipping strategy include:

Product Size and Weight

If your stock is relatively identical, choosing a per-item, per-zone strategy works well compared to by-weight or size, where shipping price varies depending on your customer's location. For eCommerce sellers with different weights and sizes in their stock, price shopping directly with Xparcel is the right route to take to ensure you offer your customers the best rates and transit times.

Shipping Destinations

Shipping destinations are areas significantly crucial as the product sizes and as weights. It's important to set rates according to the zones. For example, if you're based in New York, give cheaper rates for the Mid-Atlantic area and increase the rate as you get out of the region.

Shipping Options

Governing your shipping alternatives enables you to delight your customers and cut down expenses. Stop relying on only a handful of carriers, and you will meet a whole lot of other choices with affordable delivery for all of your products.

How Using Multiple Fulfillment Centers Can Help eCommerce Retailers Reduce Shipping Costs

The longer the distance between your warehouse and the end consumer, the greater the zone and the higher the cost of delivery. In other words: Limited fulfillment centers equal greater shipping zones that are equal to higher shipping costs. Multiple fulfillment centers equal lower shipping zones that are equal to reduced shipping costs.

One way to reduce shipping expenses is to establish additional fulfillment centers that you use to ferry, store, pick, and pack your products. This way, you can fulfill orders from a location that's close to your shoppers, helping you to reduce the overall transit time. As well as provide low-cost shipping alternatives. With fewer fulfillment centers, it's hard for businesses to provide one or even two-day shipping options to customers. Rather, you'll be forced to contemplate costly shipping alternatives like air freight to fulfill your promise of quick delivery.

On the other hand, you'd be keeping a fraction of your stock in multiple locations and serving customer orders from the nearest facility to them. A reliable 3PL partner can enable you to do exactly that. This way, when a customer orders products, their order can be submitted to a warehouse near their shipping zone. Hence, remarkably reducing shipping costs as well as speeding up delivery times.

When you partner with Rakuten Super Logistics, you benefit from our 20 plus years of logistics expertise, WMS (warehousing management system), and extensive fulfillment network just to name a few perks.


Acquiring a better understanding of shipping zones and how they impact your eCommerce order fulfillment strategy can enable you to reduce shipping costs and provide affordable, fast delivery choices to customers. Learn how outsourcing to Rakuten Super Logistics can reduce your shipping and fulfillment costs while delivering fast and accurate order fulfillment to help your online business drive more revenue. Request a quote today!

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