party emoji
Outvio Desk, the eCommerce help desk, is here!
Learn more

Economy shipping: all you need to know before using it

Sofia Gomez
Sofia Gomez
May 20, 2024
economy shipping

Logistics costs can account for up to 20% of an eCommerce company's total profits. Naturally, businesses look for ways to reduce delivery expenses, and economy shipping often appears to be an attractive option. However, it is crucial to be aware of its implications. While this method can cut costs, it also leads to longer delivery times, which can be detrimental to your customers' experience.

The key question is: when should that method be used? Economy shipping can be beneficial in certain circumstances, but it is essential to be discerning about when to use it.

First of all, let's see the meaning of economy delivery, how long it takes, and how much it costs.

What does economy shipping mean?

Economy shipping is the cheapest shipping method available, offered by most shipping companies, such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx. It can be used for both national and international shipments. However, economy delivery is also the slowest option, making it suitable for those who wish to reduce shipping costs in exchange for slower delivery times.

Economy shipments are usually sent by land or sea, but the mode of transport doesn't always determine the cost. For instance, shipping by train can be more expensive than by truck. Keep this in mind when selecting a shipping method to avoid unexpected price increases.

How long does economy shipping take and how much does it cost? 

UPS Economy Ground

  • Best for: Businesses needing international options and competitive pricing.
  • Delivery time: 1-5 business days
  • Cost: Starts at $19.02 for a 3-pound package (NY to Miami)
  • Pros: Multiple international options, tracking available, good transit times
  • Cons: Can be more expensive than some options

FedEx Economy Ground

  • Best for: Small businesses, online retailers shipping under 70 lbs.
  • Delivery time: 2-7 business days
  • Cost: Starts at $9.25 for a 3-pound package
  • Pros: Cost-effective, tracking available
  • Cons: Slower than some options

DHL Economy Select

  • Best for: Shipments under 150 lbs needing tracking but don't require exact pricing upfront.
  • Delivery time: 2-5 business days
  • Cost: Pricing not readily available
  • Pros: Tracking available
  • Cons: No upfront pricing information available, slower than some options

USPS Economy Domestic

  • Best for: Domestic shipments under 70 lbs and 130 inches total size.
  • Delivery time: 1-3 business days
  • Cost: Starts at $7.70
  • Pros: Very affordable, fast domestic delivery, tracking available
  • Cons: Weight and size limitations

Recommend to read

Learn how to professionally manage your eCommerce shipments.

Is the economy shipment always the cheapest?

From the perspective of an individual user or a small business that schedules shipments manually, economy shipping is typically the most cost-effective option. However, there are instances where the delivery times between standard and economy shipping are relatively similar, often between 3 and 5 days.

In such cases, large online retailers, which frequently ship a high volume of small, lightweight products to nearby customers, can often negotiate lower standard shipping rates than economy shipping. This is due to their ability to leverage bulk shipping agreements and economies of scale, securing more competitive pricing and faster delivery times for their customers.

For smaller businesses, it’s important to regularly compare shipping rates and consider the potential benefits of negotiating with carriers, especially as their shipping volume increases. Sometimes, the cost difference between standard and economy shipping can be minimal, making it worthwhile to opt for the faster service to enhance customer satisfaction.

When should eCommerce use economy shipping?

Economy shipping is an attractive option due to its cost-effectiveness, but it can put you at a disadvantage compared to your competitors if not used wisely. If your customers notice slower deliveries, they may choose other suppliers. Therefore, you should use economy shipping in situations where delivery speed will not affect your customers' purchasing decisions.

To offer affordable shipping without impacting customer satisfaction, consider absorbing some or all of the shipping costs. Reducing the shipping price for your customers or offering free shipping can be an effective strategy.

When is economy shipping not advisable?

Avoid using economy shipping for time-sensitive products, such as perishable items like food or plants. The same applies to urgent products like prescription drugs or essential spare parts. These items require faster delivery methods to ensure they reach customers in optimal condition and within the necessary timeframe.

When is economy shipping advisable?

  1. For New Businesses: If you are starting your eCommerce business and have a limited budget, economy shipping can help you save money as you grow.
  2. For Low-Value Products: Economy shipping is particularly useful for low-value products where the cost of shipping can significantly influence the customer's purchasing decision. Customers are unlikely to buy an item for a few euros if the shipping cost is higher than the product price.
  3. For Bulky or Heavy Products: This option is also suitable for bulky or heavy products, as standard shipping costs for these items can be high. Economy shipping can provide a more affordable solution.

Economy shipping for returns

You can use the economy shipping method for products that your customers return. Unless it's a product that needs to be restocked quickly, the return time should not affect the shopping experience, so it's a very effective way to reduce the cost of your returns. You can offer cost-effective shipping automatically from Outvio's returns portal.

Other important factors in economic deliveries

Does economy shipping have tracking?

Economy shipping is the most economical choice, but tracking may not be included to minimize costs, leaving you unaware of your package's location during transit. Shipping notifications are crucial for customer satisfaction and a positive shopping experience. We recommend using Outvio's customisable notification system to ensure a first-class delivery experience.

How does economy shipping differ from standard shipping?

It is a matter of cost and time. Standard shipping falls somewhere in between economy and express shipping. 

What is the difference between economy and ground shipping

Economy shipping may include several methods of transport, while ground shipping specifies that the shipment is exclusively by land.

What is the difference between economy and express shipping

Economy shipping is usually slower but cheaper, while express shipping is faster but can be more expensive.

How to achieve a more cost-effective shipping operation

With Outvio, streamlining the cost of your shipments becomes effortless. By integrating your carriers and implementing allocation rules, the platform consistently selects the most economical shipping option for every scenario. No longer do you need to manually compare rates to find the best deal; Outvio ensures the most affordable shipping rates available.

Furthermore, you'll expand your service offerings to customers, enhancing your ability to meet consumer expectations and drive conversion rates.

Outvio isn't just about automating cost-effective shipping. It's an eCommerce software solution that streamlines your entire operation, from logistics to returns.

The software also boasts features designed to optimize your logistical processes, including automated fulfillment and returns, as well as tracking services and customer support functionalities.

Share article

Related articles.