What is Domestic Shipping?

In today’s global marketplace, where multiple players exchange unprecedented volumes of goods, domestic shipping plays a crucial role in keeping supply chains running smoothly within a country’s borders. Here, we’ll explain what domestic shipping means and how it differs from international shipping.

What Does Domestic Shipping Mean?

Domestic shipping refers to the transportation and delivery of goods, packages, or cargo within the borders of a single country. It encompasses various transportation methods such as trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, or a combination of these modes, depending on the nature of the goods, distance, and urgency of delivery. 

To grasp its significance, consider this statistic: in 2019, the U.S. transportation system moved a daily average of about 55.2 million tons of freight valued at more than $54.0 billion. Furthermore, the Freight Analysis Framework predicts that tonnage will increase at about 1.4 percent per year between 2022 and 2050.

The shipping process begins with preparing a package for shipment. This step involves making a shipping label and arranging the items to ensure their safety during transportation. The packaging may vary depending on the nature of the goods, their fragility, and any specific handling requirement.

Once the package is ready, it is handed over to a local shipping carrier or logistics company responsible for transporting it to the intended destination. Some popular domestic shipping services include:

  • FedEx
  • DHL Express
  • USPS (United States Postal Service)
  • UPS (United Parcel Service). 

Amazon also offers local delivery for Amazon FBA sellers.

These companies typically use various distribution vehicles including trucks, vans, trains, or even air freight, depending on the distance, urgency, and size of the shipment. They pick up the packages from the sender’s location and transport them to a sorting or distribution center. From there, the packages are loaded onto vehicles that will deliver them to their final destinations.

With tracking systems like Trackerbot, the sender and the recipient can track the progress and arrival of their domestic shipments during transit. Tracking information provides transparency and ensures the reliability of the shipping process.

Benefits and Challenges of Domestic Shipping

Domestic shipping has immense potential to facilitate retail and eCommerce businesses. And in some cases, it could be a disadvantage. Here are the pros and cons of domestic shipping:

Benefits of Domestic Shipping 

  • Faster Delivery

Domestic shipping typically involves shorter transit times compared to international shipping. Businesses can ensure quick delivery to customers when shipping within the same country. This edge is especially important for time-sensitive products or urgent orders.

  • Lower Shipping Costs

Domestic shipping rates are generally lower than international shipping costs. Without the need for customs fees, import duties, and additional paperwork, businesses can save money on shipping expenses, ultimately reducing the overall cost of products for customers.

  • Reduced Customs Complexity

Shipping products domestically eliminates the complexities associated with international customs regulations and documentation. Businesses don’t need to worry about navigating various import/export procedures, customs duties, or restrictions, simplifying the logistics and ensuring smoother transactions.

  • Increased Reliability

Domestic shipping offers increased delivery reliability as businesses partner with local shipping providers who have robust networks and infrastructure within the country. This collaboration ensures the efficient and dependable transportation of goods, significantly reducing the risk of delays, losses, or damages during transit.

MORE: What is EMS shipping?

Challenges of Domestic Shipping 

  • Higher Costs for Remote Areas

Shipping goods to remote or rural areas within the same country can incur higher shipping costs. Transporting goods to these locations often involves longer distances, additional handling, and limited transportation options, resulting in increased expenses for businesses. In this case, it may be more cost effective to opt for a flat rate shipping service.

  • Trade Barriers and Regulations

While domestic shipping avoids some complexities of international shipping, it still involves compliance with domestic trade regulations, tax requirements, and industry-specific restrictions. These regulations can vary from country to country and may impose additional administrative burdens on businesses.

MORE: What is standard shipping?

How to Choose the Right Domestic Shipping Carrier

With several domestic shipping services in the marketplace, choosing the right carrier can be puzzling. Remember, you also have the option of adopting shipping solutions that integrate with eCommerce platforms to streamline your shipping operations. Here are some key considerations to help you make the right choice:

  • Delivery Speed

Evaluate the carrier’s delivery speed options and compare them to your customers’ expectations. Consider if they offer expedited shipping services for urgent shipments and if their standard delivery times align with your business requirements.

  • Service Reliability

Research the carrier’s reputation for on-time deliveries and their track record for maintaining consistent service quality. Look for customer reviews and ratings to gain insights into their reliability and performance.

  • Coverage Area

Assess the carrier’s coverage area to ensure they serve the locations where you need to ship your products. And verify if they offer comprehensive coverage across your target regions or specific areas where you anticipate high demand. 

Some carriers offer exclusive services to a select few. ShipHype, for example, offers shipping services in locations such as Canada, the United States, Toronto, and Los Angeles. 

  • Package Size and Weight Limits

Check the carrier’s restrictions and limitations regarding package dimensions and weight. Ensure they can handle the size and weight of your shipments without incurring additional fees or requiring special arrangements.

  • Cost and Pricing Structure

Compare the pricing structures of different carriers, including their base rates, surcharges, and any additional fees. Consider whether they offer volume discounts or customized pricing options that align with your shipping volume and budget.

  • Customer Service

Assess the carrier’s customer service responsiveness and support capabilities. Prompt and helpful customer service can make a significant difference in resolving issues, handling inquiries, and addressing any shipping-related concerns that may arise.

  • Integration and Technology

Determine if the carrier offers convenient integration options with your existing systems or eCommerce platforms. Look for features like easy label generation, API integration, and seamless shipping fulfillment services to streamline your delivery operations.

  • Industry Experience and Specializations

Consider whether the carrier has experience and expertise in serving your specific industry or handling the type of products you ship. Specialized carriers may offer tailored solutions or added security measures for handling delicate, perishable, or high-value items.

Average Prices of Domestic Shipping

The average prices of domestic shipping can vary depending on the shipping carrier, package size, weight, destination, and shipping speed. However, here are some estimates of average domestic shipping costs for 1.2 lbs packages within the United States. Keep in mind that these rates are susceptible to change:

Shipping Speed UPSFedExUSPS
1-2 days$34.50$26.95$26.75
3-5 days$13.57$9.95$8.50
5-7 days $9.36$8.90$8.70

MORE: What is OMS?

Difference Between International and Domestic Shipping

From customs duties and documentation to shipping timeframes and carrier options, international and domestic shipping present distinct challenges and considerations that businesses must navigate for successful supply chain management.

DifferencesDomestic Shipping International Shipping
Scope and distanceDomestic shipping involves transporting goods within the boundaries of a single country.International shipping involves the movement of goods across borders, typically between different countries or regions. 
Customs and documentation Involves simpler documentation processes as it does not typically require customs clearance or international trade-related paperwork.
Entails compliance with customs regulations and the completion of extensive documentation. This includes providing accurate customs declarations, invoices, and any necessary permits or licenses.
Custom duties and taxesIn domestic shipping, customs duties and taxes are not typically applicable, as the shipment remains within the same country’s borders.International shipping often incurs customs duties, taxes, and other fees levied by the destination country’s customs authority.
Shipping costsDomestic shipping involves lower shipping costs.The costs associated with international shipping are generally higher.
Shipping timeframes Domestic shipments are usually delivered more quickly.

Due to the extended distances and potential customs processes involved, international shipping generally has longer delivery timeframes.
Carrier options Domestic shipping often provides a wide range of carrier options within the country, including national postal services, courier companies, and regional logistics providers.International shipping requires coordination with specialized international carriers and freight forwarders that have established networks and expertise in handling cross-border shipments.
Language and cultural considerations Operates within a single language and cultural context, simplifying communication and understanding.Involves dealing with different languages, cultures, and business practices. Communication may require translation services or specialized knowledge to navigate language barriers and cultural norms.
Risk factorsDomestic shipping, being within a single country, generally offers a lower risk profile.International shipping carries additional risks compared to domestic shipping. There is a higher likelihood of delays, loss, damage, or theft during international transit due to longer distances, multiple handling points, and potential customs inspections. 

Key Takeaways

By now, you already know that domestic shipping basically refers to shipping your packages within your country. For eCommerce businesses, the major advantage of domestic shipping is that it reduces the time it takes as it brings the items closer to customers’ doorsteps. Also, you don’t have to worry about an international border that needs approval from various authorities and custom duties.

At Webretailer, we have a calculator that can accurately take the dimensional weight of your package to estimate your item’s shipping costs across carriers. This will help you prevent any unpleasant surprises about the shipping costs of your items.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Expedited options can offer fast delivery, often within a few business days. However, standard shipping may take longer, depending on the distance and specific carrier's transit times.

The cost for shipping locally depends on several factors, including package size, weight, destination, shipping carrier, and service level. Shipping fees can range from around $7 to $20 for smaller packages and higher prices for larger or heavier packages, expedited delivery options, or additional services like insurance or tracking.

Expedited or express shipping options, such as overnight or two-day delivery, are generally the fastest for domestic and international shipments.

Domestic shipping durations vary depending on the shipping carrier and service selected. It can range from 3 to 7 business days for standard shipping to expedited options with next-day or two-day delivery.


Adaline Lefe Mary John

Adaline Lefe Mary John

A great researcher and creator, Adaline is responsible for planning and managing content for all our websites. She has over 10 years of experience in creating and managing content.

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