Shipping vs Delivery – Revealing the Differences in Detail

“The product is shipped.”

“The product is delivered.“

While the first message would bring a delightful smile to your customer’s face, the second one would bring one to your face (if you are the seller). Isn’t it amazing how shipping and delivery sound the same but have a big difference? You might be surprised to know that the global package shipping volume was recorded to be over 159 billion in 2021. And this says a lot about shipments increasing every year.

However, there is still a majority of people who get confused between shipping and delivery. So, it is important to educate your customers on the differences between the two terms, especially if your business is still growing. After all, you want your customers to have high regard for your brand, which starts with being clear about the terms. In case you too are confused between shipping vs delivery, this blog will give you detailed insights.

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What is Shipping?

Shipping or product shipment means preparing packages and dispatching them from the supplier’s warehouse. It is a complex process in e-commerce, wherein goods are loaded on ships or vehicles and then sent to the distribution centers. Air freight is also used when the shipment is supposed to be moved quickly across the globe. 

What is shipping

These products are then prepared for the next step, which is arriving at the customer’s doorstep. They are either shipped through a courier company or a local postal service. Here is how the shipping process works: 

About shipping process

1. Receiving an order 

Once you receive an order, making sure that you have enough inventory is the first step to process it. You need to have a clear coordination with your product supplier or manufacturer to receive it at your hub. For businesses working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), you’ll need to send the package to their fulfillment center. 

2. Processing and fulfilling the order

This stage has multiple operations that involve confirming the order details, customer’s payment details, contact, and address. Then, the internal team starts the process of picking, sorting, and packing the order as per the quantity, region, and batches. 

Then the package is shipped to the relevant location through a local postal service or courier company to reach the customer’s doorstep. For any valid reason, if the customer wants to return an item, it is managed within the order fulfillment process.

Delivery: Meaning & its Types

Delivery means taking the product to the desired destination, i.e. the customer’s doorstep from the closest delivery hub. It is the final stage, also known as last mile delivery. It involves the distribution of both physical goods and specialized products like water or other utilities.

What is delivery

Based on the payment received from the customer, the delivery company may offer white glove service or threshold delivery

The delivery process takes place as follows: 

  • The products arrive at the distribution center or delivery service hub from the manufacturer. 
  • In-house teams scan orders prepared for delivery and update the details about inventory before loading them on the delivery vehicles. 
  • Delivery person is allotted their task as per the delivery dates.
  • Then they take the packages to the assigned addresses and complete their jobs. 

Here are a few types of delivery services:

1. Standard delivery

This is the slowest delivery method, which is normally opted by online shoppers if they can wait to get their parcels. Standard delivery usually takes 3 to 5 business days as it happens through ground transport (transporting packages through the land). It helps reduce delivery and shipping costs for both customers and retailers.

2. Next-day delivery 

This type of delivery is used to deliver products that can be moved during the night. It includes items that won’t damage immediately but may need special care like cold storage. Midnight being the time of low traffic, it can be used to domestically move large quantities of goods. This delivery option is preferred by many retailers and businesses.

3. Same-day delivery 

This is the fastest delivery type wherein the product arrives on the same day a customer places the order. It involves a customer placing an order within a specific timeline during the day so the dispatch team has enough time to send it.

Many e-commerce companies like Amazon are offering same-day delivery for customers who have availed of speedy delivery services like Amazon Prime.

What is the Difference Between Shipping and Delivery?

Shipping and delivery may look similar but are different and crucial for a business. The entire journey of a consumer placing an order and receiving it depends on these two pillars of the supply chain. A shipping company ensures that the product is collected from the warehouse and moved safely to the distribution hub near the customer. 

Delivery, on the other hand, deals with making the product reach the final destination, the customer’s address. Let’s look at a few other differences between shipping and delivery.

Shipping vs delivery date

  • The shipment date of an order is different from the delivery date. The shipping date informs one about the day on which the parcel leaves the supplier’s warehouse. It doesn’t show any information about last-mile delivery. 
  • Whereas, delivery indicates the last stage of transporting the order. The delivery date specifies the timeline during which the customer is likely to receive the order. 
  • Informing online shoppers about the estimated delivery date is key to ensuring customer satisfaction. This keeps things transparent as no one likes to keep anticipating the package’s whereabouts. 

Package size

  • Shipping mainly handles small items that can be sent via a local postal service. These items are usually packed and shipped from the warehouse of the supplier. 
  • It includes products such as clothes, cosmetics, electronic gadgets, or household related items. 
  • Delivery caters to bulky and heavier items such as furniture, air conditioners, washing machines, and similar ones. 
  • It also deals with customers who have ordered major appliances that require installation. Such deliveries often require service professionals to visit the customer’s address. 

Optimize Your Delivery Process and Save Hours of Work with Upper Route Planner

Now that you have clarity about shipping vs delivery, it’s important to ensure you provide a proper delivery date to the customers. An automated and intelligent route optimization software can help you relax from the manual work and focus more on your business growth. 

Upper Route Planner offers the below benefits:

1. Faster route optimization

Say goodbye to endless paperwork and confusion as our software helps you optimize multiple routes and assign them to different drivers. Along with offering the best route combinations, it helps accommodate additional stops instantly. You can also add delivery constraints like driving preferences and service time to make deliveries more efficient.

2. Cost-efficient route planning

Now that you have Upper, you can leave the frustration of travel time for your drivers. As you have the benefit of driving preferences, your drivers don’t need to waste a minute on the road. This way they can save a lot of fuel, and as a result, you save money on gas.

3. Scheduling routes in advance

Are you worried about a customer requesting an order after a month and don’t know how to schedule it in advance? Leave it to Upper! You can now plan and schedule routes for weeks or months in advance just in a few clicks. This way you can save hours of route scheduling and be relieved about your customer orders.

4. Estimated Time of Arrival 

Providing tracking information to your customers is a good way to help them know the estimated time of arrivals (ETAs). Upper Route Planner can help provide accurate ETAs with its automated feature of sending notifications. This way you can delight your customers with excellent service. 

5. Proof of delivery

One of the key features that any e-commerce company needs is the proof of delivery. It doesn’t just save you from fraud, but also lets you remain in loop about the task completion of your delivery person. With Upper, your delivery drivers can take e-signatures, take photos during task completion, and add additional notes. This will keep your dispatch manager and admins informed.

Get your hands on optimizing routes and start enjoying the benefits of Upper by signing up for a 7 days free trial today!

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To provide an exceptional buying experience to your customers, it’s important to ensure the factors below:

  • Offer free shipping: This is one of the shipping options. For faster deliveries, you can charge more based on the customer’s preference.
  • Local courier: If you cater to a smaller region, this option will serve you better as they can offer cheaper options.
  • Specialized goods: Customers shopping online will look up to your business if they know you are giving special care to deliver perishable goods.

Same-day shipping refers to the package being shipped on the same day of order placement. This can help make faster order deliveries to your customers. On the other hand, same-day delivery indicates that the customer will get their order on the day they placed it. It requires them to place the order within a certain timeframe during morning or noon.

Here are the types of shipping options to look out for:

  • Full truckload (FTL) shipping
  • Less than truckload (LTL) shipping
  • Intermodal shipping
  • Flatbed shipping
  • Rail service shipping
  • International air & ocean freight

Most online shoppers are driven by the timeline in which they’ll receive the product. The availability of receiving orders on the same day makes them decide and make the purchase instantly.


Any e-commerce or online business can only grow and have a proper understanding of the difference between shipping and delivery. To ensure customer satisfaction, you must display the accurate shipping date and delivery time. This way you can have a streamlined process of shipping and delivery for optimum revenue generation. 

So, if you are only one step away from planning and optimizing routes through automated software, look nowhere else. With features like importing addresses from excel and route scheduling, you can relax and let Upper do the job! Moreover, you can dispatch routes in a single click, keep your drivers informed, and get proof of a job. A hassle-free planning is all you need to run your online business. Start using Upper Route Planner and provide quality services. Try the 7 days free trial today.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.