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Expedited Shipping Meaning: What It Is And How To Use It

By
Bradley Johnson
Table of Contents

If you run a business that sells physical products, you know all about the complexities of eCommerce shipping. In fact, you’re probably looking for simpler and faster ways to ship goods. 

That’s where expedited shipping comes in. Expedited shipping is any shipping option or service that delivers packages faster than usual. 

So, what is essential knowledge when learning how to ship a package faster? What are some of the key things to be aware of? Keep reading this blog post to find out.

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What Is Expedited Shipping?

Expedited shipping is a type of shipping service that delivers goods faster than regular shipping. Overnight shipping, express shipping, and 2-day shipping are all forms of expedited shipping. 

The purpose of expedited shipping is to get packages to recipients faster for a greater fee. Occasionally a customer will order rush shipping, or perhaps you work in an industry where speedy shipping is the norm. No matter what the case is, understanding how eCommerce shipping companies do expedited delivery is helpful. 

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Standard vs Expedited Shipping

There are several differences between standard versus expedited shipping. One, expedited shipping is faster--though companies can’t always guarantee when a package will arrive. Since standard shipping takes anywhere from four to 10 business days, expedited shipping is usually handled in two to three business days. 

Two, expedited shipping costs more than standard shipping. Expedited services usually cost about $10 to $20 more than regular shipping fees. This is key information when learning how much does it cost to ship a package.

It’s wise to build this into your financial projections ahead of time so your profits aren’t eaten up by shipping fees. Then, be sure to mention what your shipping costs are on your website. 

Three, expedited shipping usually comes with business day cutoffs. In other words, if you’ve finished packaging a product on Tuesday that needs to arrive by Thursday, that requires dropping the package off no later than 6 or 7 PM on Tuesday. 

Shopping cutoff times are established to prevent delays in the shipping process. It also allows multiple packages to be grouped together on the same day, making bulk shipping much easier. Cutoff times vary based on shipping carrier and other conditions, so be sure to check your carrier’s information in advance. 

If you sell your products via an online marketplace, it’s even more important to pay attention to shipping cutoffs. If anything, customers expect shorter delivery times when shopping online than in physical stores. 

How Long Does Expedited Shipping Take?

Expedited shipping timelines depend on the carrier you’re working with, but most companies deliver rushed packages within two to four business days. Given that you aren’t dealing with excessive lead time or weather delays, your package should arrive without a hitch. 

Expedited shipping can take longer if a carrier naturally has longer timelines, or during busy seasons. When looking for expedited shipping, be mindful that some companies will share their time frames; others will simply state that it’s faster than regular shipping. 

USPS Expedited Shipping

If USPS expedited shipping is calling your name, you’ll want to go with Priority Mail Express. This is the postal service’s fastest option, getting packages to most domestic destinations within one or two business days. 

Their Express options start at $26.35 and increase with the weight of your package. If you aren’t sure how much your package will weigh when it’s ready for shipping, use our shipping cost estimator.

USPS can ship just about anything that isn’t alcoholic beverages, so if you’re selling alcohol online, you’ll need to use a different carrier. This is due to Prohibition-era federal regulations that are still in place. If USPS came up while researching how to ship cookies or how to ship food, you’re good to go. 

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UPS Expedited Shipping

If you’re looking for reliable expedited shipping that can deliver your package to most places in the world within three business days, UPS is a great choice. This prominent shipping company has a distribution network on par with that of FedEx, as well as competitive overnight shipping costs.

UPS can deliver a package from the US to Canada within two business days, and to Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East within three to five business days. You also have different billing options available with UPS, like shipper-pays-all or receiver-pays-all. UPS allows you to split the fees too, where the shipper pays shipping fees and the receiver pays taxes and import duties. 

If you’re sending a package domestically, you can expect to pay between $15 to $35 for expedited shipping and handling. You’ll see this price range no matter what eligible product you’re shipping, including for online beer sales and online wine sales.

If you’re shipping internationally, lighter packages range from $50 to $100 for closer destinations. You may pay anywhere between $200 to $500 or more for heavier packages or further destinations. 

FedEx Expedited Shipping

If FedEx is your shipping company of choice, you made a great selection. This shipping giant made its name by building a larger air fleet than any other shipping service at the time. Having such resources gives them expedited delivery capabilities that few other shipping companies can offer. 

FedEx offers three expedited shipping services that don’t fall into their overnight options:

  • FedEx 2-Day AM: starting at $29.30
  • FedEx 2-Day: starting at $22
  • FedEx Express Saver: starting at $9.95

Add roughly $2 per shipment if your packages are traveling between 151 to 600 miles within the US, and roughly $4 more if your goods are traveling 601 miles or more within the US. 

As your packages increase in weight or volume, you can expect to pay more. FedEx’s One Rate expedited shipping options are only available for domestic shipping, too. If you need to send packages overseas quickly, you’ll need to rely on their international services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Expedited Shipping

The shipping and supply chain industries rely on several parts working simultaneously to be successful. This is no exception with expedited shipping, which thousands of customers and businesses depend on every day. 

If this type of shipping is still a little confusing, don’t feel you have to go it alone. We researched some of the most commonly asked questions about expedited shipping along with our answers below: 

How fast is expedited shipping?

Expedited shipping almost always delivers packages within two to three business days. This time period varies based on how far the package is traveling and whether or not any transportation issues occurred. 

What is USPS expedited shipping?

USPS’s fastest shipping option doesn’t go under any “expedited” name, but they do offer Priority Mail Express. This delivers packages to destinations in the US within one to two business days. 

USPS also offers some of the cheapest expedited shipping rates, usually starting at $26.35. If you have a smaller budget but still need to get products to customers quickly, USPS is the way to go.  

Is priority or expedited shipping faster?

Priority and expedited shipping are usually two terms that describe the same thing. They are used preferentially by different companies, and not to indicate any difference in services. 

In some cases, like the USPS, options starting with the word “Priority” indicate a particular service. Their Priority services are above First-Class Mail, which is their service for standard envelopes and letters. 

Shipping companies use different terms to describe similar services. Oftentimes this is a way to differentiate their services from competitors and may make a particular service easier to remember.

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Shipping and Speed: A Match Made In Heaven

When used well, expedited shipping can be a business owner’s dream come true. It moves packages through shipping bays faster, keeps customers happy, and gives you less to worry about through the rest of the week. 

Remember to only use it when it’s needed and provide pricing information to your customers, too. Buyers usually don’t mind that faster shipping costs more; they just don’t want it to be a surprise. Use the right eCommerce packaging for all of your goods as well, and you can't go wrong!