What Is Standard Shipping? The Ultimate Guide

What Is Standard Shipping

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Around 56% of consumers abandon their online shopping carts over shipping concerns.

They don’t qualify for free shipping? Or will their order take a week or more to arrive?

They’ll look elsewhere.

With the abundance of consumer choices today, you must figure out the right delivery solution for your business.

If you’re reading this, you’re in the right place. I’ll tell you what is standard shipping and everything to know about it.

You’ll learn how long is standard shipping, how much it costs, and what your options are below.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Standard Shipping?

Standard shipping is also known as regular or economy shipping. It’s typically the default option for most retailers because of its cheaper rates.

Standard shipping might include other features, such as tracking and insurance. It varies from courier to courier, so it’s best to check your options thoroughly.

It’s the most cost-effective solution for both sellers and buyers. But it’s not the fastest.

This delivery method uses road and rail transport to move packages, which takes much longer than air travel.

It’s best suited for businesses that send out non-urgent goods in small and large boxes. Although the standard shipping time may take a while, your customers can still receive their orders within a reasonable timeframe.

What Is Standard Ground Shipping Service?

what is standard shipping

If you’re shipping domestically, you may have heard of the phrase standard ground shipping.

Is it different from standard delivery? What is ground vs. standard shipping?

Wait, there’s no need to compare them.

Most shipping companies will tell you ground service is standard shipping. USPS, for example, call their regular service Retail Ground.

Standard shipping is the most economical option, so it doesn’t involve air travel. All packages travel on the road, hence standard ground shipping.

Then, how long is standard ground shipping?

It has a delivery window for domestic locations of three to seven business days.

What Is Standard International Shipping Service?

boats in the sea

Like domestic deliveries, standard international shipping services use the cheapest methods of getting packages from one place to another.

International shipments from the U.S. usually involve air or cargo transport. However, they may also travel over land for addresses in Canada or Mexico.

You may ask, how long does standard shipping take for international orders?

Depending on location, your customers may receive their orders in one to three weeks. It may take even longer in the case of customs delays.

As for the costs, expect it to be more expensive than domestic standard shipping because it involves several transportation methods. You should also consider custom fees and taxes when calculating shipping rates.

Nevertheless, standard international shipping still costs less than express or expedited shipping options.

Standard Shipping Services: Pros and Cons

Standard Shipping Services: Pros and Cons


The main advantage of standard shipping services is the lower cost. You can save on shipping costs, and you can also pass these savings to your customers.

Some retailers take advantage of the lower fees to offer a free delivery promotion. With the right strategy, you can be more profitable even after spending on shipping.

Most stores that do this get more sales and conversions simply because customers choose to shop where they don’t have to pay for shipping.

Free Delivery

In fact, around 62% of shoppers expect free delivery from an eCommerce store. The appeal is so high that most customers don’t care about how long does free standard shipping take.

Standard shipping also has a wide coverage. It’s the most common delivery option, available in many locations worldwide.

Although standard shipping takes longer, it’s still a reliable delivery method. The given window is accurate, and your customers can still ensure their packages are safe and secure.


Standard shipping doesn’t involve any special provisions that may expedite the delivery times. It’s the slowest shipping option, so it’s not the best choice for urgent needs.

slow shipping

Also, there’s no guaranteed delivery date or time. Your customers will have to keep on the lookout for their package, especially if your chosen standard delivery service doesn’t provide real-time tracking updates.

Delivered packages don’t require signature confirmation, which may pose a security risk for some items. If you or your customer wants the order delivered directly to a specific recipient, it’s best to choose another shipping method.

How Long Does Standard Shipping Take?

The average standard shipping speed is three to seven business days after the package leaves the warehouse. However, the actual transit time still depends on several factors, such as:

  • Pick-up and delivery locations

  • Package weight and size

  • Weather and environmental conditions

  • Unforeseen events

Because of these reasons, a specific timeframe can be challenging to determine. Those living in rural areas may experience even more delays.

It also depends on the delivery service you choose. To give you an idea, I’ve summarized the published shipping times from UPS, USPS, and FedEx below.

How Long Does Standard Shipping Take?

How Long Is UPS Standard Shipping?

The UPS standard shipping option is called UPS Ground. It’s a cost-effective solution with a guaranteed delivery time of one to five business days. UPS shipments also come with free 24/7 tracking information.

How Long Is USPS Standard Shipping?

As mentioned, the USPS standard shipping service is called USPS Retail Ground.

This option has a delivery service standard of two to five business days, except in Alaska and Hawaii. These locations have a timeframe of two to eight business days.

USPS Retail Ground delivers to many rural areas and PO Boxes. It comes with a free tracking service, as well.

USPS also has mail services called First-Class Mail. Here are the published delivery times:

  • First-Class Mail envelopes – one to five business days

  • Small packages – two to five business days

How Long Is FedEx Standard Shipping?

FedEx offers two standard shipping services, depending on the delivery destination:

  1. FedEx Ground Shipping for businesses

  2. FedEx Home Delivery for residential addresses

FedEx Ground and Home Delivery have a timeframe of one to five business days in all U.S. states. Exceptions are Alaska and Hawaii, where delivery can take three to seven business days.

How Much Does Standard Shipping Cost?

Standard shipping considers the pick-up and delivery locations and the package measurements when calculating the final rate. As such, it may vary per customer.

It also depends on the courier. Most delivery services have an online calculator for estimating your shipping rates.

Standard vs. Express Shipping

Standard vs. Express Shipping

Standard shipping services appeal to businesses and customers because of the cost savings.

However, customers aren’t always looking for the cheapest delivery option. Some are willing to pay a premium price to receive their purchase as soon as possible.

Remember that customers have different motivations when choosing their preferred shipping method. That’s why you have to offer fast delivery options, as well.

I’ll discuss how express delivery differs from standard shipping below.

Delivery Times

Express shipping commonly uses air-based transportation. This allows goods to arrive at their destination sooner – usually within two to three days.

Note: this option also has varying levels with varying delivery times.

Let’s take the USPS Priority Mail service. The guaranteed delivery times depend on which service you get.

  • Priority Mail – one business day to three business days

  • Priority Mail Express – next-day to two-day guarantee

Amazon also has the same varying delivery structures for its Prime subscribers. It offers same-day and next-day delivery times for qualified items and locations.

Shipping Costs

Express shipping usually involves air transport depending on the origin and the delivery destination. This significantly drives up the shipping costs.

The speed also affects the final rate. The costs will be higher if you want the package shipped quickly overnight.

In general, express delivery is a premium service that reflects its costs.


Express delivery isn’t always available, especially if you’re shipping to a remote location. You may have to settle for standard shipping in certain areas.

Other Features

Couriers often offer add-on features to express shipping, which makes it an even more attractive option than standard shipping.

For example, FedEx Express offers a pre-determined delivery time and money-back guarantee.

When To Use Standard and Express Shipping?

Choosing standard shipping depends on several factors, but the primary considerations are the desired delivery speed and the package type.

If there’s no urgency, standard shipping makes the most sense as long as the package arrives safely. However, it also depends on the nature of your business.

Are your customers comfortable waiting?

If not – you may want to offer express options at a reasonable price.

express shipping services

It’s also best to use express shipping services for time-sensitive items, such as:

  • Perishables

  • Legal documents

  • Prescription drugs

  • Medical supplies

  • Personal effects, like a phone or passport

Do you handle regular high-volume shipments?

If yes – standard shipping is a cost-effective way to maintain your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Standard Shipping the Same as Flat-Rate Shipping?

As its name suggests, flat-rate shipping offers a flat rate for all shipments, regardless of weight and size (up to established limits). The price may be the same for all zones in the U.S., or each zone may have its own flat rate.

On the other hand, standard shipping costs vary depending on package weight, dimensions, and location.

Is Express Shipping the Same as Expedited Shipping?

Sometimes, companies use the two terms to mean the same thing. However, if both options are available, the general rule is that express shipping is the fastest. Expedited shipping takes longer, although it’s still faster than the standard option.

Does Standard Shipping Have Tracking?

Yes, most standard shipping services have a tracking feature. With it, your customers can ensure that their orders are on the way, even if shipping takes a while.

Can I Send Hazardous Materials?

Many couriers allow you to send dangerous materials via standard shipping. However, there’s a whole procedure in place, including getting approval, before you can do so legally. The process should be on the USPS, UPS, or FedEx website.

How Long Does It Take to Deliver Oversized Packages?

The delivery timeframe should be the same as the average shipping service. However, you may have to pay an additional fee.

The Bottom Line

With all the shipping options today, you must choose the right solution to stay competitive.

Remember that customers either want to save money or get their items faster. Sometimes, they want both.

Shoppers won’t hesitate to abandon their carts if you can’t provide an appealing shipping option. It’s up to you to find the most efficient solution for your business and your customers.

However, if you have an Amazon online store, you don’t have to worry about delivering to customers. You only have to worry about shipping your inventory to an Amazon FBA warehouse.

Written by: Omar Deryan

Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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