Overnight Shipping Information - What You Need to Know

Overnight Shipping Information – What eCommerce Owners Need to Know

Overnight shipping is the fastest way to get goods to your customers. Different carriers and couriers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx offer a range of overnight options to ensure deliveries get to their intended destinations by guaranteed times. Selecting a carrier and overnight option that’s right for you comes down to weight of package, cost, and how quickly you want it to reach its destination. 

At ShipMonk, we’ve worked with major carriers to provide our clients with a range of options to get eCommerce orders to customers in ways so speedy it would make The Flash consider switching shipping providers. Read on for a solid understanding of overnight shipping, the options available, and other must-know info that affects you and your customers.

Overnight Shipping Facts

  • Overnight Shipping and Next-Day Delivery mean the same thing; in both cases this is a delivery option where packages reach their final destination the following day. 
  • Next-Day Delivery means the package will arrive the day after it is shipped. Next-Day Shipping refers to when the package leaves the facility. 
  • Same-Day Delivery is different; this is when a package is delivered the same day it is ordered.
  • Most overnight options do not include Sundays or holidays.
  • Next-Day delivery on Saturdays generally costs extra unless there are no strict time constraints.
  • Carriers have different daily cut-off times for their next-day delivery guarantees. 
  • Orders placed on weekends may need two days to arrive at their destinations. 

How Does Overnight Shipping Work?

Shipping companies are able to provide overnight delivery if they have transportation networks across the country. This network allows packages to reach places more rapidly. Depending on how extensive the network is, a parcel could arrive at its final destination faster or slower, hence why certain regions, states like Hawaii and Alaska, and more rural areas may not get deliveries as fast as businesses or residences in major cities. 

Below you’ll learn about three of the most popular overnight shipping carriers and the service levels they offer. Whether you ship directly from your business or partner with a trusted 3PL provider like ShipMonk that utilizes overnight shipping carriers, it’s important to note the service distinctions so you know which is right for you.

Different Overnight Delivery Options

USPS Priority Mail Express®

This is the US Postal Service’s only option for overnight delivery. While the USPS 2-Day service is more common because it is more reliable than next-day delivery, this overnight shipping option does have several benefits.

  • Offers a money-back guarantee if packages aren’t delivered on time
  • Can be used for packages weighing up to 70lbs
  • Usually the cheapest overnight option for packages under 24lbs
  • Usually the cheapest overnight option for packages between 62-70lbs
  • Packages can be picked up from your place of business 
  • Average estimated delivery time for the next day is 10:30AM
  • Flat rates available for overnight envelopes and boxes (other carriers don’t offer this)
  • Service available seven days a week 

UPS Next Day Air® 

This is a great, affordable overnight shipping option for time-sensitive packages because UPS guarantees that packages make it to their final destination by the next day in specified timeframes. Though exact delivery times may vary, depending on regions, 10:30AM to noon is the typical delivery window. Saturday delivery will sometimes cost extra. To further control your delivery times with UPS, you can select from three levels of their overnight shipping service.

UPS Next Day Air Early® 

This shipping service level offers guaranteed delivery by 8:00AM in major cities on weekdays, 9:00AM – 9:30AM in many other cities, and can arrive in some locations as early as 9:00AM on Saturdays. This option is for packages that need to be delivered at the beginning of the day. 

UPS Next Day Air®

This option is cheaper than regular overnight shipping. On weekdays this shipping service offers guaranteed delivery by 10:30AM, 12PM, or the end of the day depending on delivery address. On Saturdays, deliveries reach their destination between 12PM and 1:30PM. Some limitations may apply to Hawaii and Alaska. 

UPS Next Day Air Saver®

The Air Saver® option is a bit less expensive than Next Day Air®. Overnight packages shipped through this method arrive by the end of the next business day, usually closer to the end of the day. So if the exact timing of your overnight delivery doesn’t matter, this is the most cost-effective option.

FedEx Standard Overnight®

Offering early morning, mid-morning, and afternoon delivery times, FedEx has a wide array of overnight shipping options that allow senders to select different delivery guarantees for all weekdays, with an additional service charge for Saturdays. Sunday deliveries are not available. There are three levels of overnight shipping you can choose from here as well, the main difference between them being arrival time and cost.

FedEx First Overnight®

Packages arrive as early as 8:00AM and by 9:30AM in most places. Packages arrive around 10:00AM and by 2:00PM in extended regions. This is much more expensive than other overnight delivery options. 

FedEx Priority Overnight®

Using this service, your package arrives at businesses by10:30AM and at residences by 4:30PM. Delivery on Saturdays can vary between 12:00PM to 2:00PM. This overnight delivery option is a bit less expensive than First Overnight®.

FedEx Standard Overnight®

This is the most affordable overnight delivery option that FedEx offers. The shipping service is available in all 50 states, with some restrictions applying to extended regions like Alaska and Hawaii. Delivery is guaranteed to businesses by 4:30PM and to most residences by 8PM. 

How Much Does Overnight Shipping Cost?

The cost of overnight shipping, of course, varies depending on size and weight of the package as much as where it is going and when you want it to get there (i.e. morning, afternoon, night). That being said, the average overnight shipping cost starts around $25. Based on cost averages, here is a list of the overnight shipping services listed from least expensive average to most expensive average.

  1. USPS Priority Mail Express®
  2. UPS Next Day Air Saver®
  3. FedEx Standard Overnight®
  4. UPS next Day Air®
  5. Fedex Priority Overnight®
  6. UPS Next Day Air Early®
  7. FedEx First Overnight®

Best Practices for Overnight Shipping

Amazon is a great company in a lot of ways. But let’s be real, every online company out there thinks Amazon is a little bit annoying for their insanely fast shipping abilities. No matter; plenty of 3PLs have mastered overnight shipping and steadfastly help their eCommerce clients reach customers just as quickly as Amazon. This increased speed not only helps businesses stay competitive, it keeps customers happy so they can get those last-minute shoes they need to match their outfit for a party this weekend or secure their Flash onesie by Halloween even if they didn’t remember to order until October 30th. 

Since fast shipping has become the industry standard, it’s important to note a few best practices when figuring out how you, as an online merchant, can offer and execute overnight shipping too. 

Same-Day Fulfillment

If you are going to offer overnight shipping to your eCommerce customers, then it is imperative that you have same-day fulfillment options with your 3PL company. If your 3PL is not able to get your order out the same day it is placed, then you will not be able to follow through on your website’s overnight shipping promise. You need a 3PL company like ShipMonk that can guarantee your orders will be processed in the warehouse in a timely manner every day.

Paying More for Convenience

Overnight shipping can be expensive. The good news is that customers who are in a hurry are often willing to pay more for the convenience of a faster order. Ergo, don’t automatically let the entire cost of overnight shipping into your bottom line. By using the right carrier to meet your needs, and being strategic about the delivery times you select (morning, afternoon, etc.), you can find an affordable overnight shipping option. Then if you build part of that into the cost of your product, customers who decide they need their goods now can pay a bit extra, but still feel like they’re getting a bargain because you found the best rates beforehand. 

In the end, even if your customers decide not to go with overnight shipping, offering deals for faster options in general (two days, three days, etc.) enhances customer experience and satisfaction. 

Negotiated Rates

No matter what, overnight shipping is always going to be more costly than standard shipping. However, if you work with a 3PL company that does a lot of business with major carriers, they may be able to leverage their existing business enterprise to get clients lower overall rates. At ShipMonk, we genuinely care about ensuring our clients not only have access to the fastest, and most efficient shipping methods; we want to get you the best prices the industry has to offer.

Multiple Warehouses

As mentioned, the more extensive the transportation network, the faster shipping carriers are able to deliver goods to different areas. With shipping and fulfillment services like Amazon, faster delivery times are tied to an extensive number of warehouses in central locations across the country and world. So, if you are set on offering overnight shipping to your eCommerce customers (or just want to ensure speedy shipping in general), you won’t want to be in this business alone. You’ll want to work with an established 3PL company that has many strategically located distribution centers across multiple coasts and countries. 

The more warehouses that store your inventory, the closer you’ll be to your customers and the faster the delivery. Additionally, though there is a cost to split inventory across distribution centers, freight shipping is cheaper than shipping individual orders, and reducing the distance your goods have to travel will lower your shipping costs in the long-term.

Overnight Shipping Solutions

Most eCommerce businesses will offer overnight shipping at some point. It’s a best practice that provides the option of added convenience to customers. However, understanding the ins and outs of package weights, carrier cut-offs, delivery windows, shipping zones, and so forth can sometimes feel more complicated than journeying through another dimension like the Speed Force that The Flash has to travel through. 

As we know from any superpowered protagonist though, no great hero is in it alone. You need a team. In the case of online merchants, the team you need to help you save the world one website order at a time is ShipMonk. Because at the end of the day, overnight shipping is a great option for your customers if it fits with your pricing structure, is strategically feasible, and you work with a 3PL company that has the technology, warehouses, and shipping carrier relationships to accomplish it. To learn more about how ShipMonk can help you achieve reliable overnight shipping, and faster shipping in general, contact us today.

Ready to take your eCommerce business to new heights?

Outsourcing your order fulfillment has never been so easy. ShipMonk integrates with your sales channels so you can "Stress Less, Grow More." Unlock scalable growth today!