How Shipping Distances Impact Shipping Times

April 22, 2015

We recently published a blog post on how shipping times affect net promoter score. This post focused on the amount of time that a package took to reach a customer and the correlation between that amount of time and that customer’s likelihood to be a promoter. The results showed that 87% of orders delivered in five days or less resulted in a net promoter. However, if the package was delivered in more than five days, that figure dropped down to 66%.

We decided to take our analysis one step further and look at how shipping distances impact shipping times. Nearly one hundred thousand customer survey responses were analyzed to get a better understanding on the relationship between shipping distance and time. We discovered that orders that took less than five days to ship were fulfilled by a location that was on average 35% closer than the locations that fulfilled orders that took more than five days. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise and it makes sense. Less distance = shorter ship times.

But when we dug into the details around how those orders were being fulfilled, we discovered some interesting trends. The orders were fulfilled by both manufacturers and their dealer networks.

  • The average distance from a dealer to a customer is 47% closer than the distance from a manufacturer’s warehouse or distribution center to a customer.
  • 45% of retailers who shipped out orders were within 300 miles of the customer. Only 18% of manufacturers were in that range.
  • 37% of orders shipped from fulfillment locations that were within 300 miles of the customer ended up arriving in five days or less.

This data highlights an obvious advantage to partnering with your dealer network for optimizing shipping distances and times. By partnering with your dealer network to fulfill orders placed on your website, you can capitalize on their distributed dealer locations to reduce shipping distances to your customers. By reducing shipping distances, you’ll also help to decrease shipping times, which will increase customer satisfaction.

An additional advantage of shorter shipping distances is a reduced shipping cost. USPS sets postage costs based on how close the origin and destination zones are. With a shorter shipping distance, it’s more likely a package will have to travel between fewer zones, which means less expensive shipping. The customer saves money and as a result, they are more likely to be satisfied.