What Is the Difference Between Same-Day Shipping and Delivery?

What Is the Difference Between Same-Day Shipping and Delivery? Almost half of all consumers who shop online expect their orders to arrive within the next two or three days, and when their order is time sensitive, they hope to receive it by the next business day. So it is not surprising that a lot of online shops have to offer their customers same-day shipping or delivery in order to stay competitive. Although the two options sound similar, there is actually a not insignificant difference between them.

Same-day shipping means that orders are shipped the same day they are placed, provided that the items ordered are in stock. Most online shops that offer same-day shipping normally have cut-off time for same-day shipping, so last-minute orders placed shortly before the end of the business day are shipped the next business day.

Same-day shipping doesn’t guarantee that orders will arrive on the same day they are placed; delivery time will depend on the shipping carrier and service. What it can do is reduce delivery time by a day or two compared to retailers that use the same or similar shipping method but wait to ship orders.

When customers want to receive their order the same day it was placed, they need to look for online stores that offer same-day delivery. This delivery option is offered by fewer retailers because it is more expensive and harder to guarantee. Online stores that offer same-day delivery always have early cut-off time, typically before noon. Orders that are placed after the cut-off time may be eligible for next-day delivery (overnight shipping), which is still good enough for many customers as long as their orders aren’t extremely time-sensitive.

Online shops that offer same-day or next-day delivery are extremely well-organized. To keep their customers satisfied, they need to make sure their inventory is up-to-date at all times, keep track of packaging supplies so that they do not run out of boxes or bubble wrap at the most inconvenient time, process and package orders as soon as possible, and print shipping labels themselves to save time. However, the most important thing they should do to ensure orders arrive as soon as possible is choose the right carrier and shipping service.

Large retailers have their own distribution networks that make it easier for them to offer same-day delivery, whereas smaller online shops typically use same-day delivery services that are provided by most major carriers to deliver orders on the same day or the next day. More often than not, small retailers opt for private couriers such as UPS, FedEx or DHL because USPS Priority Mail Express provides next-day to 2-day delivery service, which is not fast enough for customers with extremely time-sensitive orders. However, online shops that offer next-day delivery may use Priority Mail Express as a cost-effective overnight delivery option.

UPS has a same-day delivery service for time-sensitive shipments called UPS Express Critical. It has access to all modes of transportation, which makes it easy to deliver domestic and international shipments as fast as possible regardless of their size and destination. FedEx offers same-day delivery options across the United States. FedEx SameDay services allow to deliver envelopes, packages, and even freight within hours on the closest available flight.

This being said, customers still need to be realistic: even fast delivery takes time, and sometimes it is physically impossible to deliver an order on the same day, especially when it is placed late in the day. Online retailers that offer same-day or next-day delivery do everything within their power to ensure that customers receive their orders as soon as possible, but some factors are out of their control.

So, let’s sum it up. Same-day shipping means that your order will be shipped the same day but you will receive it within the next few days (depending on the shipping service), whereas same-day delivery means that you will receive your order on the same day or the morning of the next day at the latest. The second option is offered by fewer online shops and will typically cost you more because most retailers don’t offer free same-day shipping.