Holiday Shipping: Which Option is Best for E-commerce?

Holiday shipping options are a critical consideration as 4th quarter approaches, and e-commerce businesses gear up for the peak season. 38% of consumers are most concerned about delivery delays during this time. To ensure a successful 4th quarter, it’s essential to choose the right holiday shipping option that suits your business needs.

In this guide, we’ll explore different holiday shipping options, from the popular free shipping to flat rate and exact cost shipping, and even expedited and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) choices.

holiday shipping options e-commerce

Free Shipping

While free shipping is an enticing prospect for customers, it’s not a walk in the park for e-commerce businesses. Here’s the deal: someone has to foot the bill for shipping, and it’s not your carrier doing it for free. It’s the customers who ultimately pay for free shipping. E-commerce businesses typically achieve this by encouraging customers to spend more to qualify for free shipping, essentially building the shipping cost into the product prices or order totals. As shocking as it may sound, free shipping isn’t really “free.”


  • Reduces shopping cart abandonment.
  • Attracts and retains customers.
  • Increases sales.


  • May lead to higher product prices.
  • If shipping rates increase, costs rise for your business.
  • Budget shipping options may result in subpar delivery experiences.

Flat Rate Shipping

If you’re caught between raising product prices and absorbing shipping costs, flat rate shipping offers an alternative. With this option, you set a fixed shipping fee that covers most of your shipping expenses, providing customers with a predictable cost. However, if a customer purchases heavy items, your business may need to absorb additional costs.


  • Predictable shipping costs.
  • Avoids surcharges.
  • Includes shipping insurance.


  • Can’t use branded packaging.
  • May incur extra expenses for heavy items.
  • Local customers might find it costly.

Is Flat Rate Shipping Right for You? This option suits e-commerce businesses with small yet heavy inventory, like books and monthly subscriptions.

Exact Cost Shipping

Exact cost shipping, also known as real-time carrier shipping, automatically calculates shipping charges at checkout based on factors like weight, dimensions, and destination. It’s a straightforward but transparent option that may lead to higher cart abandonment rates.


  • Accurately calculates shipping costs.
  • Charges customers a precise amount.
  • Boosts international sales.


  • May increase cart abandonment.
  • Can’t be used for promotional purposes.

Is Exact Cost Shipping Right for You? This is recommended for e-commerce brands unable to include shipping costs in product prices. It prevents losses on both delivery and merchandise.

Same-day, 2-day & Expedited Shipping

During the holidays, customers’ patience for waiting diminishes. Fast shipping options like same-day, 2-day, and expedited shipping become crucial for timely delivery. While these options are more expensive, they satisfy customers’ impatience and can enhance loyalty.


  • Quick delivery.
  • Reduced risk of damaged items.
  • Improved customer satisfaction.


  • Higher cost.
  • Takes more time to fulfill orders.
  • Limited order editing time.

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A Future of Opportunities

Choosing the right holiday shipping option is vital for e-commerce businesses. Holiday shipping options for e-commerce has many options and choosing the right one can make all the difference. Consider what best suits your brand and, during the holidays, you might even offer different shipping options to meet your customers’ needs.

Holiday Shipping with Falcon Fulfillment: Shipping can be a hassle, especially during the holiday season. Falcon Fulfillment takes that hassle off your hands, ensuring on-time orders and satisfied customers. Make the switch today.

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