Standard vs Expedited Shipping: How To Pick The Right One For Your Business

Shipping options can often be confusing, especially when terms like “standard” and “expedited” come into play. What does each option mean for your delivery times and costs? And most importantly, which one should you choose? This article will explore the nuances of standard vs expedited shipping, providing you with the information needed to select the best shipping method for your needs. Let’s dive in!

What Does Standard vs Expedited Shipping Mean?

Is standard and express shipping the same? No, standard and express shipping are not the same. Here is a brief explanation for you.

What Is Standard Shipping?

Standard shipping is the default shipping option provided by many carriers, offering a cost-effective solution for transporting packages. It primarily uses ground transportation methods like trucks and rail, which contribute to its longer delivery times compared to faster options.

What is Standard Shipping?

Key features of standard shipping:

  • Delivery time: Typically 3-7 business days.
  • Cost: Lower compared to faster shipping options, making it an economical choice.
  • Transport mode: Mainly ground transportation, which includes trucks and rail.
  • Ideal for: Non-urgent deliveries, larger and heavier items, and goods that do not require immediate delivery.


  • Affordable: Standard shipping is usually the least expensive option, making it budget-friendly for both businesses and customers.
  • Easy to Use: It’s the default option for most retailers, so it’s straightforward and doesn’t require special arrangements.
  • Good for Non-Urgent Deliveries: Ideal for items that don’t need to arrive quickly, like non-perishable goods and bulk orders.


  • Slower Delivery: Standard shipping usually takes 3-7 business days, which can be too slow for urgent needs.
  • More Delays: With more handling and stops, there’s a higher chance of delays and lost packages.
  • Less Predictable: Delivery times can vary a lot, which can be frustrating for customers who need their items sooner.

What is Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping is a faster shipping option designed to deliver packages more quickly than standard shipping. This method prioritizes speed and efficiency, often ensuring delivery within 1 to 3 business days. Due to the quicker delivery times, expedited shipping is more expensive and frequently uses air transportation to achieve the necessary speed.

What is expedited Shipping?

Key features of expedited shipping:

  • Delivery time: Typically 1-3 business days, much faster than standard shipping.
  • Cost: Higher than standard shipping due to the expedited service.
  • Transport mode: Utilizes air transportation and fast ground services to reduce transit time.
  • Ideal for: Urgent deliveries, time-sensitive documents, perishable goods, high-value items, and emergency supplies.


  • Faster Delivery: Expedited shipping delivers items in 1-3 business days, making it great for urgent needs.
  • Priority Handling: Packages are given priority, so there are fewer delays and more reliable delivery times.
  • Better Tracking: Often comes with advanced tracking features, so you can closely monitor your package.


  • More Expensive: The faster service costs more, making expedited shipping pricier than standard options.
  • Limited Availability: Not all areas or carriers offer expedited shipping, which can limit its use in certain locations.
  • Higher Costs for Businesses: For businesses, the higher cost of expedited shipping can reduce profit margins unless passed on to the customer.

What Is The Difference Between Expedited vs Standard Shipping?

Now that you understand the different types of shipping, let’s summarize the differences in one table. This will help you to mark everything back. In the next part, we’ll dive deeper into how to choose between standard and expedited shipping, so don’t miss it!

Feature Standard Shipping Expedited Shipping
Cost Lower Higher
Delivery Time 3-7 business days 1-3 business days
Handling Multiple stops Fewer stops
Tracking Basic Advanced
Best For Non-urgent items Urgent items
Risk of Damage/Delay Higher Lower
Customer Satisfaction Lower for urgent needs Higher for urgent needs

Standard vs Expedited Shipping: Which Is The Best?

Standard vs Expedited Shipping - Which Is The Best?

Choosing the right shipping option can significantly impact customer satisfaction and business operations. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of standard and expedited shipping based on several key factors, with real-time examples from top carriers.

Delivery Time

Standard Shipping: Typically takes between 3 to 7 business days, depending on the distance and carrier. Standard shipping is suitable for non-urgent deliveries where speed is not a primary concern.

  • Example: UPS Ground usually delivers within 1-5 business days, depending on the destination within the U.S.

Expedited Shipping: Usually ensures delivery within 1 to 3 business days. This method is designed for urgent deliveries that need to reach the customer quickly.

  • Example: FedEx 2Day guarantees delivery within two business days, while FedEx Priority Overnight offers next-business-day delivery by 10:30 AM to most U.S. addresses.

Conclusion: Comparing the delivery time of standard vs expedited shipping, expedited shipping is faster.

Dispatch From Warehouse

Dispatch From Warehouse

Standard Shipping: Items shipped via standard methods often have longer processing times in the warehouse. This means the package may take a couple of days to leave the warehouse after the order is placed.

  • Example: Amazon Standard Shipping typically processes and ships orders within 2-3 days, then delivers within 3-5 business days.

Expedited Shipping: Expedited shipping typically involves quicker processing times. Orders are prioritized and dispatched from the warehouse within the same day or the next day, ensuring faster overall delivery.

  • Example: DHL Express Worldwide prioritizes the processing and dispatching of packages, ensuring next-day or two-day delivery to most international destinations.

Conclusion: Comparing the dispatch from the warehouse of standard vs expedited shipping, the same dispatch but expedited shipping is less processed and quicker.


Standard Shipping: Standard shipping is more affordable, making it an economical choice for businesses and customers. It’s ideal for bulk items, non-urgent deliveries, and cost-conscious shoppers.

  • Example
    • USPS Priority Mail offers flat-rate shipping starting at $7.95, providing an affordable option for standard delivery.
    •  USPS First Class Mail starts at $4.00 for packages weighing up to 13 ounces, making it an economical option.

Expedited Shipping: Expedited shipping is more expensive due to the faster delivery times. The higher cost reflects the priority handling and quicker transit times, making it suitable for urgent and time-sensitive deliveries.

  • Example
    • UPS 2nd Day Air costs more than standard options but ensures faster delivery within 2 business days.
    •  FedEx Standard Overnight costs more but guarantees next-business-day delivery by 3 PM to most U.S. addresses.

Conclusion: Comparing the cost of standard vs expedited shipping, standard shipping is more affordable.

Chances of Damage

Standard Shipping: With more stops and handling points, the risk of damage is higher. Standard shipping involves multiple transfers between trucks and sorting facilities, which increases the chance of mishandling.

  • Example: Packages shipped via FedEx Ground might face more handling and transfer points, increasing the risk of damage.

Expedited Shipping: The risk of damage is lower because expedited shipping involves fewer touch points. The direct routes and priority handling reduce the chances of packages being damaged in transit.

  • Example: FedEx Priority Overnight uses fewer stops and direct routes, reducing the likelihood of damage during transit.

Conclusion: Comparing the chances of damage between standard vs expedited shipping, expedited shipping is less because it involves fewer touch points. 

Standard vs Expedited Shipping: Situations Where They Are Recommended

When To Use Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping is designed to get packages to their destination faster, typically within 1-3 business days, and sometimes even overnight. This method prioritizes speed over cost, often using air transport and direct routes. Expedited shipping is ideal for: 

  • Urgent Orders: If customers need their products quickly, such as for last-minute gifts or urgent business supplies, expedited shipping is the best choice.
  • High-Value Items: Expensive or high-value items, like electronics or jewelry, benefit from the added security and speed of expedited shipping.
  • Perishable Goods: Items like food or flowers, which need to remain fresh, are perfect for expedited shipping to prevent spoilage.
  • Competitive Advantage: Offering faster shipping can set your business apart in a crowded market, appealing to customers who prioritize quick delivery.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Quick delivery can enhance customer satisfaction, leading to repeat business and positive reviews.

When To Use Standard Shipping?

On the other hand, standard shipping is the default method for most online retailers, usually taking 3-7 business days. It is cost-effective and widely accessible. Standard shipping is suitable for: 

  • Non-Urgent Items: Standard shipping is adequate for products that don’t require immediate delivery, such as books or home decor.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Budget-conscious customers who prefer lower shipping costs often choose standard shipping, which helps keep overall product prices down.
  • Wider Geographic Reach: Standard shipping is often more accessible in remote or rural areas where expedited services may not be available or are significantly more expensive.
  • Predictable Orders: Regular, non-time-sensitive deliveries, such as subscription boxes, are well-suited for standard shipping.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: Businesses can manage lower shipping expenses, maintaining healthy profit margins while offering affordable options to customers.

Best Practices for Choosing the Right Shipping Method

When choosing the appropriate shipping method, consider several factors:

  • Product Type: Consider whether the items are perishable, fragile, or high-value.
  • Customer Expectations: Understand your customer base and their delivery expectations.
  • Cost vs. Speed: Balance the need for quick delivery with the associated costs. Expedited shipping is faster but more expensive, whereas standard shipping is slower but cheaper.

How To Choose Between Standard vs Expedited Shipping?

Choosing between standard and expedited shipping doesn’t have to be difficult. After considering, the next step, apply these 5 tips to your business to create the best balance of shipping methods:

Provide Flexible Shipping Options

Offering both standard and expedited shipping gives your customers more choices. Standard shipping is great for those who want to save money, while expedited shipping is perfect for those in a hurry and willing to pay extra.

Or you can provide different prices for expedited shipping based on how fast the delivery is (like next-day or 2-day delivery). This gives customers more control over their spending.

Be transparent with Customers

Clearly tell customers about delivery dates and costs for both shipping options before they check out. This prevents surprises and reduces the chances of dissatisfaction. Here are some tips:

  • Use simple, easy-to-understand language to explain shipping options.
  • Send timely updates about where the package is and when it will arrive.

Use Technology for Better Decisions

Modern technology can make shipping easier and faster. Tools like real-time tracking, delivery time predictions, and analyzing factors like distance and traffic help choose the best shipping method and routes.

Using systems like Synctrack Order Tracking can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and keep customers happy by providing accurate delivery information. Synctrack is an amazing tool that offers you and your customers a free website for tracking orders. Plus, if you are selling with Shopify, this app includes a Shopify app that seamlessly integrates an order tracking page with your brand. Key features like estimated delivery dates (ETAs) and automated courier matching ensure a smooth, customized tracking experience.

Adjust Shipping Method According to AOV (Average Order Value)

To cover the extra costs of expedited shipping, businesses can set a minimum order value above their average order value (AOV). Here’s a simple way to do it:

  • Check Your AOV: Find out the average amount customers spend on each order. This helps you understand their spending habits.
  • Set a Threshold: Decide on a minimum amount customers need to spend to get expedited shipping. For example, if your AOV is $50, you might set the threshold at $75. This ensures you make enough profit to cover the expedited shipping costs.
  • Inform Customers: Let customers know about this offer. Use banners and notifications on your website to tell them they can get faster delivery if they spend a bit more.
  • Review Regularly: Keep an eye on your sales and customer feedback. Adjust the threshold if necessary to make sure it works well for your business.

Collect Customer Feedback to Improve

Knowing what customers think about their shipping experience is important. Gather feedback through reviews, complaints, and surveys to identify areas for improvement. Here’s how to do it:

  • Send surveys via email or add feedback forms to your website to understand what customers think about your shipping services.
  • Address persistent problems found in feedback promptly. If many customers complain about delayed deliveries, it might be time to review your logistics or find a more reliable shipping provider.


In summary, the choice between standard vs expedited shipping boils down to cost and delivery speed. Standard shipping is a budget-friendly option for non-urgent items, while expedited shipping ensures faster delivery for urgent needs. You should assess their specific requirements and customer preferences to choose the most suitable shipping method, ensuring optimal satisfaction and efficiency. Hope this information helps! Good luck with your selling journey!