When you know how shipping zones fit into your order fulfillment plan, it can help you better understand how they transform shipping costs and delivery time. Determine whether you can offer customers affordable shipping options and what you’d have to do to make that possible. See how much of an impact shipping zones have on your company’s profit and take significant steps to reduce shipping costs. In this blog, we’ll start by explaining what shipping zones are and then dig deeper to see why they’re essential in eCommerce order fulfillment.
First things first! What are shipping zones?
Shipping zones are the geographic areas that carriers ship to, ranging from Zone 1 to Zone 8 for domestic shipments within the United States. Shipping carriers use shipping zones to measure the distance a package travels – from the point of origin to the destination. The location from which an order is shipped is the point of origin and located in Zone 1. The address it’s shipped to is the destination zone. The destination zone number will depend on how far it is from the point of origin, with Zone 8 being the farthest away.
Most shipping carriers determine shipping zones based on the distance from where the package is shipped from, to the destination:
Shipping Zones Calculated
Shipping zones are calculated based on where a package is shipped from. Meaning that two separate points of origin shipping to the same destination can often be shipped to different zones. Tools for determining shipping zones for your orders:
UPS Zones and Rates for the 48 Contiguous States: Enter your zip code of origin and download zone charts to a spreadsheet.
USPS Domestic Zone Chart: Go to the tab “Get Zone for ZIP Code Pair.” Then enter the zip code you’re mailing from and the zip code you’re mailing to, and you will get the shipping zone for your destination.
FedEx Zone List – Select “Yes” & “Domestic” when generating a rate sheet. Enter the zip code of origin. Choose the shipping service type, whether that’s Same Day, 2-Day or Ground. Download the zone chart to Excel.
How does increasing the number of fulfillment centers affect shipping zones?
If a company distributes its products across multiple fulfillment centers that are geographically close to its customers, it can reduce the amount of time in transit for many of their orders.
Strategic Fulfillment Warehouse Locations
If you ship a high volume of products, it might make sense to place your inventory in many warehouses around the US. The amount you save by reducing the number of shipping zones could be substantial. Many eCommerce businesses would be stretched thin by the need to stock several warehouses when having multiple fulfillment centers. By choosing strategic fulfillment warehouse locations, you can place your products within a few zones of your customers. At the same time, you can get within a two-day delivery range for most of your customers. Did you know Cincinnati is one of the ideal locations for an eCommerce operation? Learn more here.
Talk With Taylor
Taylor Logistics is a technology-focused automated order fulfillment provider. We use powerful analytic tools that help route each order to the fulfillment center that is closest to the end destination. There are many benefits to working with a 3PL if you are seeking logistics support, we’d love to hear from you. Chat with us!