The Basics of Standard Shipping

If you are an eCommerce retailer, you are keenly aware of the need to provide reliable delivery options to customers. Shoppers expect a variety of delivery options at the checkout. Shipping, while an essential requirement, can be overwhelming. One of the most popular and reliable options remains standard shipping. This article will share the basics of standard shipping, delivery times, cost factors, and improving your shipping experience.

What is Standard Shipping?

Standard shipping is regular shipping, typically the most economical parcel delivery option. It’s commonly called ground, economy, or regular shipping. Standard shipping is the lowest level of shipping typically offered at checkout. It doesn’t include overnight, 2-day, express, or special modifications. Standard shipping is the minimum expected delivery option in eCommerce. It isn’t fast, but it gets the job done.

standard shipping timelineHow long does standard shipping take?

Several factors contribute to how long a package will take to deliver using standard shipping. 

  • Distance the shipment travels
  • Processing time cut-offs 
  • Standard shipping timeline for the individual carrier 

The typical timeframe for a package delivered via standard or ground is 1-5 business days within the continental United States. Conversely, a Hawaiian customer ordering a product from Maine will experience a longer delivery timeline.

What factors contribute to shipping costs?

Similar to determining the time a package takes to be delivered, many factors contribute to the cost. The distance from the warehouse or store to the final destination will be a significant cost factor. Typically, prices are relatively stable within the continental US. Those costs will be slightly higher if you add Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. International is an entirely different beast. Other factors that significantly impact the price are the package dimensions and weight. Most major parcel carriers now offer standard-size boxes and maximum weights for a flat rate. This is useful for smaller eCommerce businesses that don’t care about a branded unboxing experience. The carrier will also make a difference in the cost of standard shipping. The graph below compares standard shipping for the largest parcel delivery companies in the continental US.

Standard Shipping Carriers ComparisonWays to improve the standard shipping experience.

According to a study done by Accenture, effective and dependable delivery options are a priority for eCommerce brands to remain competitive. Brands that want to maintain and grow their market share will not only need to provide reliable shipping but will also need to diversify their offerings. A few ways to improve the standard shipping experience include:

Proactive delivery communication.

Giving consumers a delivery window is no longer enough to satisfy customer expectations. They want consistent post-purchase communications to plan and prepare to receive their order. This includes tracking information, delay updates when necessary, and even notifying the consumers when a package is out for delivery. Suppose your parcel delivery company can provide consumers with a preferred delivery window that can be game-changing. This is especially true for large parcel deliveries and those requiring an adult signature. This level of proactive communication improves the standard shipping experience greatly.

Upgrades and delivery alternatives

66% of consumers choose retailers based on the number of delivery options available at checkout. Offering 2-day shipping, expedited, or delivery alternatives must be available to stay competitive. Alternative options to standard shipping that won’t dramatically raise the shipping costs include; BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-Store), Curbside, and local delivery or locker systems. If you run a brick-and-mortar store, these alternatives can improve customer satisfaction without negatively affecting the bottom line. 


Managing the logistics of shipping can become overwhelming quickly. Typically, eCommerce brands use at least three parcel carriers to mitigate the risk of lost packages and delays stemming from single carrier usage. Partnering with a 3PL is an excellent way to scale your standard shipping options. 3PL partners, like Falcon Fulfillment, are experts in fulfillment, delivery, and shipping best practices. They can help your eCommerce brand not just get a package delivered but ensure your growing consumer expectations are not just met but exceeded. Want to go beyond the basics of standard shipping? Get in touch with one of our specialists today. 

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