Time in transit and other important shipping metrics

By Oleg Mikhailenko
Published in Solutions
July 14, 2022
4 min read
Time in transit and other important shipping metrics

We live in a post-Amazon world where fast, cost-effective shipping is one of the single most definitive factors in determining whether a customer completes a purchase, or abandons their shopping cart, never to return. Keeping delivery times speedy and cost-effective is more important than ever. Shame that these mounting expectations are coming at a time where Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine has interrupted the global supply chain, making international shipping a crapshoot and even causing domestic interruptions. USPS, Fedex, and UPS rates are climbing while delivery windows are becoming more uncertain than ever. What’s a merchant to do?

At the very least, it’s a good idea to stay informed. With all the news flying around, it’s more important than ever to have a solid understanding of certain terms and ideas to make sure that you can understand what’s going on. After all, it’s hard to jump on an opportunity you don’t fully understand, right? Read on to learn about some important shipping terms that are especially pertinent in these strange and uncertain times.

What is time in transit?

Time in transit refers to the time it takes for a shipment to be transported and delivered to its end location, from the second it’s picked up from the point of departure. This includes all steps a package has to take on its ecommerce shipping journey, from scanning, transportation to a sorting facility, sorting, and last-mile deliveries to the customer’s doorstep. Reducing transit time goes a long way towards being able to meet the ever-important promise to your customers of getting them their items within two business days. Shipping rates can often be based not only on location and how many shipping zones a package must pass through, but also time in transit. Express shipping naturally costs more than economy, after all!

How do I calculate shipping costs?

In this day and age, if you want to know how much it is to send a package, the simplest way to find out is to quickly check the website of your preferred courier partner. These sites will inevitably contain no end of shipping rate tables to help you determine how much you’re likely to spend on an individual package, and some sites even have tables for multiple packages at a time. This means that you don’t have to spend valuable time and energy sitting in front of a computer screen, calculator in hand, doing complicated forms of addition and multiplication.

Not only will most couriers’ sites have tables for domestic delivery, you’ll also typically see an international shipping calculator so you can make sure that you get the best deals possible when it comes to fulfilling for your international customers. Be aware that many delivery companies will provide better rates to business customers who ship packages with them again and again. This means that it may be more cost effective to pick one company and stick with it as opposed to jumping around to whomever has the cheapest rates at the time. However, there are arguments for both approaches, so you’re free to run the numbers yourself and see which is best for you.

How much does shipping cost per pound?

The average price per pound is $1.35, but this depends strongly on location, the type of delivery selected, and whether it’s being transported at personal, commercial, or freight rates. A freight cost calculator will quote far lower prices than USPS for instance, because international marine transportation is far more efficient and involves far fewer fuel and personnel costs than traditional ground or air transport. As a result, your average freight container shipping cost calculator is likely to quote a price of only a few dollars per kilogram.

Not only is marine transport cheaper than other forms of carrying merchandise from point A to point B, current studies suggest that it’s far more environmentally friendly as well. Indeed, first and last mile transport makes up the vast majority of fuel emissions to begin with, but even ignoring that, it simply costs a lot less to sail a boat over the sea and take advantage of ocean currents than it does to drive large trucks or fly an airplane.

How much is domestic US shipping?

It depends on the courier, as well as other metrics such as weight, dimensions, and whether it needs to be treated as a fragile or dangerous material. Domestically USPS will often have the best rates, especially for simple letters and flat mailers. Once you get into larger packages, though, things begin to get a bit more tricky. Packages under one pound start from just under 3 dollars at USPS, and start from 7 for over a pound. But this of course all depends on whether you’re electing for priority mail, first class mail, media mail, or retail ground mail. Commercial rates for priority mail express start at almost $23 a package (!) but come with up to $100 in insurance. Normal commercial rates for priority mail will run you a far more reasonable $7.16, and comes with $50 in coverage.

UPS offers multiple flat-rate shipping items for ecommerce merchants, which can be an excellent convenient choice if you don’t feel like spending time calculating and generating multiple types of shipping label. UPS will charge 7-14 dollars for small-ish items such as t-shirts or books. Large items, however, can start at $23 and climb upwards for merchandise that’s particularly large or unwieldy. FedEx also provides a number of flat-rate options. To mail a stack of papers or something similarly flat, the charge will be just under $9. Packages large enough to fit a few books, on the other hand, will run you anywhere from ten dollars. If you have an extra-large box to ship, meanwhile, that will cost you in the low 30s. This represents a large diversity in shipping fee rates between the carriers, which naturally will have a strong effect on your bottom line.

In conclusion

The cost it requires to get your products onto the doorstep and into the hands of your end customer is highly variable depending on the size, weight, and dimensions of the item in question, as well as the distance you need to send it. The major three courier companies all offer different prices and flat-rate options, but for sheer efficiency of price it’s difficult to beat marine freight. All of this can be quite confusing to wrap your brain around, especially if you’re new to the world of ecommerce fulfillment. Luckily, P2Pseller has your back. Instead of leaving you to flounder, we offer a number of calculators and even the use of our own business account so you can get better rates than you might be able to get going to these courier companies as an individual. We’re ecstatic to help you smash sales goals and grow your business bigger than ever before. Register a free account with us today to browse the full measure of our offerings without any commitment required on your end. We’ll see you there!


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Avoiding the black swan: how to stay resilient in the face of the unpredictable

Oleg Mikhailenko

Co-Founder, CEO P2Pseller

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