Shipping vs delivery

Shipping vs. Delivery: Understanding the Difference Between Delivery and Shipping


By Komal Puri | September 15, 2023

In the world of logistics and e-commerce, the terms "delivery" and "shipping" are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion. However, these two concepts are distinct aspects of the supply chain process, each with its own set of processes, considerations, and implications. In this blog post, we'll delve into the core distinctions between delivery and shipping, shedding light on how they impact businesses and consumers.

What is Shipping?

Shipping is the initial phase in the movement of goods from the seller or shipper to a designated location, often a distribution center, retail store, or directly to the end consumer. It encompasses a series of activities and processes that take place before the product reaches its final destination. Here are the key attributes of shipping:

  1. Origin to Intermediary Location: Shipping begins at the point of origin, which could be the manufacturer, supplier, or retailer. The goods are then transported to an intermediary location, such as a distribution center or a local shipping hub.

  2. Bulk Transportation: Shipping typically involves the movement of products in bulk, whether it's a pallet of goods or a container filled with various items. These shipments are consolidated to optimize transportation efficiency.

  3. Multiple Carriers: During the shipping phase, multiple carriers might be involved. For instance, a manufacturer might use a freight carrier to transport products to a regional distribution center. From there, a parcel carrier like UPS or FedEx may take over for the last-mile delivery.

  4. Documentation and Tracking: Shipping requires extensive documentation, including bills of lading, customs forms for international shipments, and tracking information. Businesses need to keep a close eye on these shipments to ensure they reach their intended destinations.

  5. Responsibility for Loss or Damage: The responsibility for any loss, damage, or theft of goods during shipping typically falls on the shipper or seller. They are responsible for resolving issues related to the shipping process.

What is Delivery?

Delivery, on the other hand, represents the final leg of the journey, where goods are transported from a local distribution center or store directly to the end consumer. This phase is all about getting the product into the hands of the customer. Here's a closer look at delivery:

  1. Last-Mile Transportation: Delivery focuses on the last-mile transportation of products. It involves the movement of individual packages from a local hub or store to the customer's doorstep.

  2. Individual Packages: Unlike shipping, which deals with bulk shipments, delivery deals with individual packages. Each package is addressed to a specific customer and contains the items they ordered.

  3. Local Carriers: In the delivery phase, local carriers are typically responsible for transporting packages. This could include postal services like USPS, private courier services, or even gig economy drivers for companies like Uber or DoorDash.

  4. Tracking and Notification: Customers expect real-time tracking and notifications during the delivery phase. They want to know when their package will arrive and often receive updates via email, text messages, or dedicated tracking apps.

  5. Responsibility for Loss or Damage: During delivery, the responsibility for the package shifts from the shipper or seller to the carrier. If a package is lost or damaged during delivery, it's the carrier's responsibility to address the issue.

The Role of Technology in Shipping and Delivery

Both shipping and delivery processes have been greatly influenced by technological advancements. Here's how technology plays a crucial role in each, and how FarEye enhances these aspects:

Technology in Shipping:

  • Inventory Management Systems: Technology enables sellers to manage inventory efficiently, ensuring that products are available for shipping. FarEye's advanced inventory management capabilities provide real-time visibility into stock levels, helping businesses avoid stockouts and overstocking. This ensures that products are readily available for the shipping process, reducing delays and improving customer satisfaction.

  • Transportation Management: Shipping companies use technology to optimize transportation routes, select carriers, and track shipments in real time. FarEye's transportation management system goes a step further by offering predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms. These tools assist in dynamic route optimization, taking into account real-time traffic data and other variables. By partnering with FarEye, businesses can significantly enhance the efficiency of their transportation management, leading to cost savings and faster deliveries.

  • Labeling and Packaging: Automated systems assist in labeling packages accurately, ensuring that products are shipped to the correct destinations. FarEye's platform offers automated labeling solutions that reduce the risk of errors during the shipping process. By integrating FarEye's labeling capabilities, businesses can improve the accuracy of their shipments, minimizing the chances of misrouted packages or incorrect deliveries.

  • Shipping Software: Sellers use shipping software to compare carrier rates, generate shipping labels, and manage shipping-related documentation. FarEye's shipping software provides a comprehensive platform for managing various aspects of shipping, from carrier selection to label generation. The platform also integrates seamlessly with multiple carriers, offering businesses a wider range of options. By leveraging FarEye's shipping software, businesses can streamline their shipping operations and reduce manual efforts, leading to greater efficiency.

Technology in Delivery:

  • Last-mile Optimization: Technology helps delivery companies optimize last-mile routes, reducing delivery times and costs. FarEye specializes in last-mile optimization, offering advanced route planning algorithms that consider factors such as traffic conditions, delivery windows, and vehicle capacity. By incorporating FarEye's last-mile optimization capabilities, delivery companies can achieve faster and more cost-effective deliveries, meeting customer expectations and minimizing operational expenses.

  • Delivery Tracking: Customers can track the real-time location of their deliveries through mobile apps or websites, providing transparency and peace of mind. FarEye's delivery tracking solution enhances customer visibility by providing accurate and real-time tracking information. Customers can easily monitor the progress of their deliveries, receive estimated arrival times, and stay informed throughout the journey. Integrating FarEye's tracking capabilities into their systems allows businesses to offer a superior customer experience, building trust and loyalty.

  • Delivery Notifications: Automated notifications keep customers informed about estimated delivery times and provide updates on the status of their deliveries. FarEye's delivery notification system enhances communication between businesses and customers. Through automated SMS, email, or app notifications, customers receive timely updates about their deliveries, reducing anxiety and uncertainty. Businesses partnering with FarEye can ensure that their customers remain well-informed and satisfied throughout the delivery process.

  • Route Planning: Delivery personnel use GPS and route optimization software to plan the most efficient routes. FarEye's route planning solution is powered by cutting-edge algorithms that optimize routes dynamically based on real-time data. This technology ensures that delivery drivers follow the most efficient paths, reducing mileage and travel time. By integrating FarEye's route planning tools, delivery companies can minimize fuel costs, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance overall route efficiency.

Incorporating FarEye's innovative solutions into the technology aspects of both shipping and delivery processes empowers businesses to excel in logistics and supply chain management. With FarEye's support, companies can achieve greater operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction throughout their shipping and delivery operations.

Shipping vs Delivery

Let's summarize the key differences between shipping and delivery:

  • Scope: Shipping covers the entire journey from the point of origin to an intermediary location, while delivery focuses on the last mile from a local hub to the customer.

  • Quantity: Shipping typically involves bulk shipments, while delivery deals with individual packages.

  • Carriers: Shipping may involve multiple carriers, while delivery relies on local carriers or couriers.

  • Documentation: Shipping requires extensive documentation, including bills of lading and customs forms, while delivery often relies on tracking information

  • Responsibility: The shipper or seller is responsible for loss or damage during shipping, while the carrier is responsible for loss or damage during delivery.

Implications for Businesses and Consumers

Understanding the distinction between shipping and delivery is crucial for both businesses and consumers. Here's how these differences impact each group

For Businesses:

  • Cost Management: Businesses need to carefully manage shipping costs, including freight charges and customs fees. Accurate cost calculations are essential for pricing products competitively.

  • Inventory Management: Effective shipping requires efficient inventory management to ensure that products are available when customers place orders. Stockouts or overstocking can disrupt the shipping process.

  • Customer Experience: Providing accurate shipping information and delivery estimates is essential for a positive customer experience. Delays or miscommunication can lead to customer dissatisfaction.

  • Risk Management: During the shipping phase, businesses bear the risk of loss or damage to goods. Comprehensive insurance coverage can help mitigate these risks.

For Consumers:

  • Convenience: Consumers expect a convenient and seamless delivery experience. This includes options for delivery windows, tracking, and easy returns.

  • Expectations for Timeliness: Customers have high expectations for timely deliveries. Delayed deliveries can lead to frustration and impact their perception of a brand.

  • Communication: Consumers rely on clear communication regarding shipping and delivery. They want to know when their package will arrive and receive updates along the way.

  • Recourse for Issues: If a package is lost or damaged during delivery, consumers expect a straightforward process for resolving the issue, including refunds or replacements.


In the intricate world of logistics and e-commerce, the distinction between shipping and delivery is vital. While shipping encompasses the journey from the point of origin to an intermediary location, delivery focuses on the final leg, getting individual packages into the hands of customers. Understanding these differences is crucial for businesses to efficiently manage their supply chain and for consumers to have clear expectations regarding their online purchases.

By grasping the nuances of shipping and delivery, businesses can enhance their cost management, inventory control, and customer experience. Meanwhile, consumers can better appreciate the convenience and reliability of e-commerce and logistics services. In this ever-evolving landscape, where speed and accuracy are paramount, a clear understanding of shipping and delivery is a valuable asset for all stakeholders involved.

Komal puri

Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.

Komal Puri
Sr. Director of Marketing | FarEye

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