Amazon and other Internet retailers typically offer same-day shipping as an option for people and businesses that need their purchases right way.
However, should a business even consider the extra charge? Or do less-expensive shipping options save money while delivering products within a perfectly acceptable time frame?
Same-day shipping can be a useful tool for pressing situations, but as a general rule, it should not be the default shipping option.
Comparing the Various Shipping Options
In 2014, Consumer Reports tested Amazon’s next-day shipping against its second-day shipping, standard shipping and free shipping. The consumer advocacy magazine found that Amazon did indeed deliver the next-day package the following day, at 6:24 p.m. The second-day shipping arrived 17 hours later and upon inspection – included items Consumer Reports ordered via the standard and free shipping options.
To some businesses, the 17-hour difference between next-day and second-day isn’t very substantial considering next-day costs twice as much ($25.58 to $12.78). However, in an individual crisis situation, 17 hours is a huge difference, considering it only costs $12.80 more.
In its article about the comparison, Consumer Reports concluded there is not much reason to regularly opt for expedited shipping given the costs. The report cited a similar experiment in 2006 that produced similar results. The article also noted the US Postal Service typically offers the best overnight shipping rate compared to FedEx and UPS for a 3-pound package.
When to Use Same-Day and When to Forego It
Of course, ordering from Amazon isn’t the only time you have the option of same-day shipping. There are countless companies that offer such a service at a range of prices. For example, Google Express offers free same-day or overnight shipping for its members in Manhattan and other large urban areas for orders over $15. If there’s no extra fee attached, there’s no reason not to opt for same-day shipping.
Another time when it makes sense to go with same-day shipping is when you need something ASAP. When a deadline is imminent, shipping costs suddenly become less of a factor. Alternately, the best way to make sure you get your hands on an essential part or tool is to send someone out the buy it locally, if possible.
Using same-day shipping also makes sense when the logistics of transporting products is best left to the professionals. If you’re ordering a large amount of furniture or fixtures and need them right away, same-day shipping means company personnel won’t be required to load, unload or transport anything.
While paying extra for same-day shipping can be useful during the holidays, when package delivery services get backed up, spending money on extra fees shouldn’t be the default option. Businesses should constantly be on the lookout for ways to save and being smart about shipping is a great way to do just that.
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