Difference Between Shipping and Delivery

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Order – Shipping – Deliver

We can broadly categorize the journey of a product in this 3-step e-commerce chain that starts from the consumer placing an order to finally receiving it. While modern e-commerce sites have made it so easy and rather tempting for the users to place an order, shipping and delivery to have come a long way.  

With the rise of e-commerce, not just customers, even business owners are often using the words ‘shipping’ and ‘delivery’ as if they mean the same thing. And even though they’re pretty easy to confuse, they mean two distinct things. Now let’s take a look at both. 


What does the internet say about shipping? 

Shipping has two definitions with a hairline difference. Firstly, it means the ‘date’ on which the product is going to be dispatched (sent out) from the warehouse/fulfilment centre. Its second meaning includes the processing, packaging, and dispatching of small items that can be sent to the customer quickly, and fairly easily via local postal service. 

Now, what do we say about it? 

Shipping is something that makes business owners happy because their product is finally out of the warehouse and on the way to the customer. 


What does the internet say about delivery? 

Just like shipping, the delivery has two meanings with a minor difference. Delivery means the ‘date’ on which the product arrives at the customer’s address or is rather expected to arrive at the customer’s address. To put it simply, it means the successful distribution of the orders to the customers’ addresses. 

Its second meaning includes the arrival of fairly larger items that are transported from the warehouse/fulfilment centre to the customer’s address. A lot of the time it includes large electronic appliances and furniture that require proper installation. 

Now, what do we say about it? 

Delivery is something that makes the customers happy because who doesn’t love getting parcels delivered right at their doorsteps! 

What is the difference between the two? 

The next time you shop on an e-commerce website, take a closer look at the shipment instructions. It will say something like ‘dispatched within 4-5 business days. This means that the ordered product will leave the warehouse/fulfilment centre of the brand within 4-5 working days. In those 4-5 working days the product will be processed, packaged, labelled, and will be kept ready for pick-up that is an essential stage of shipping. Post pick up, the order is then declared to be ‘in transit, which means that it is being transported to the customer’s address.  

Now the focus shifts on how long the transit takes. Thanks to shipping companies offering customers the convenience of ‘order tracking’, it is easier to give the customer an estimated date of delivery. If all goes well, the product reaches the customer’s address on the estimated date, exactly on time. However, natural calamities, unforeseen events, government restrictions like Covid-19 lockdowns, weather changes, etc may push the delivery date. 


Now that you have a clear understanding of the difference between shipping and delivery, make a wise decision before choosing the right logistics partner. This decision can be a deal-breaker in terms of business. Check for quick delivery, large distribution radius, staff size, fleet variety, customer service, and most importantly the shipping costs before making the final call on a logistics partner.