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Both the terms, ‘shipping’ and ‘delivery’ are often used interchangeably in e-commerce and logistics management. However, both signify distinct processes. And with the increase in the rise of businesses shifting towards online models, it is quite significant to understand the difference between the two.  So, let us explore more about these terms, and understand the meaning of shipping and delivery, their differences used in logistics and understand in detail their relationship.


What is shipping?

Shipping is a process in which goods are moved from one place to another. Basically, moving the products from the supplier’s warehouse to the customer. It’s mainly about packing up items and sending them out. In simpler terms, it is the initial stage in the broader journey that goods take from the point of sale to the hands of the consumer. The process of shipping can be further categorised into several different components, including:

  • Packaging: Before any item is shipped, it needs to be safely and securely packaged. This step is significant not just for the protection of the item but also for the brand’s representation and professionalism. Further, depending on the product’s nature and fragility, packaging can include eco-friendly solutions, and range from simple padded envelopes to complex boxes with customised fillers.
  • Labelling: Once an item is packed, it needs a label. This label contains key information such as the shipping address, return address, and any other relevant data such as tracking numbers or bar codes. This will ensure a smooth transit of the package through various postal systems and checkpoints.
  • Choosing the right carrier: Shipping isn’t just about sending an item; it’s about choosing how it gets there. Depending on the destination, cost, weight, and urgency, sellers select from various carriers such as Delhivery, FedEx, DHL, Gati, etc. As each carrier provides different services with varied transit times and costs, you can choose the logistics provider as per your business requirements.

Why knowing your shipping costs matters:

Knowing how much you spend on shipping can be a crucial aspect. If you know the usual cost, you can add it to the product’s price. This way, you can often offer “free shipping,” making customers happier since no one likes surprise fees when shopping online.

  • Custom clearance: In case the goods are being shipped internationally, the shipper may need to arrange for customs clearance. This is the process of obtaining permission from the customs authorities to import or export the goods.
  • Tracking and updates: With the advancement of technology, consumers now expect the ability to track their shipments in real time. Once an item is shipped, a tracking number is usually provided, allowing both the sender and recipient to check the status of the item, estimated delivery date, and any potential delays.
  • Insurance and special services: Depending on the value and nature of the shipped item, shippers might opt for insurance to protect against potential loss or damage. Additionally, other services such as signature upon delivery or expedited shipping can be chosen based on the needs of the shipment.

At Tata nexarc, we understand the criticality of secure and timely shipping, and we recognise the challenges that come with it. With Logistics on Tata nexarc, we make it possible for businesses to find safe shipping solutions at competitive prices. On-time pickups, free transit insurance of upto ₹20* lakhs and coverage across 19000+ pincodes pan India. Book your next shipment with us today.

What is delivery?

Delivery is the process that starts after shipping. This is the last supply chain process, where the product is delivered to the customer’s location.

So, shipping refers to sending goods or products from one place to another, and delivery means that the goods or product has reached the recipient. Both of these steps are vital in e-commerce transactions, and they need to be followed correctly so that customers receive their orders on time and have a favourable experience.

In an e-commerce business, defective products damage the company’s brand. Client and customer experience is regularly evaluated after the shipping and delivery of the items. Sometimes, many issues occur in shipping and delivery, like the product being defective, not arriving on time, etc, which can spoil the company’s first impression. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the company to pay attention to the shipping and delivery process.

Relationship between shipping and delivery

Shipping and delivery are the two components of the logistics process that are linked to each other within the e-commerce operations or different business models. These two processes work together to ensure both the business and customer have a satisfactory experience. Here are some key points that will help you understand the relationship between them:

Order placement and shipping: 

  • The product journey starts once a customer places an order. Being the shipping process as the first step towards order fulfillment.
  • After that, the shipping company or courier service transports the goods from the seller to the buyer. Thus, ensuring effective movements of goods to its destination.

From shipping to delivery: 

  • Once the goods reach the destination through the shipping process, the delivery process begins.
  • The process of delivery involves handing over the goods to the recipient. Here, local courier services, logistics, and transportation sectors also plays a crucial role commercially.

Communication and tracking: 

  • With an efficient shipping and delivery system, customer gets consistent updates and tracking facility. Thereby, letting them know where his order has reached and also helps to monitor the progress of their order.
  • This effective communication and tracking, helps in offfering reassurance to the customer. So that, they are being informed about the status of the shipment.

Customer satisfaction: 

  • Timely and secure delivery of products is significant to achieve customer satisfaction. It will also increases customer retention and also builds their loyalty towards your business.

Returns and customer support: 

  • Issues such as damaged goods during transit or dissatisfaction with the product are common. These problems required to be handled effectively and thus, necessitate the importance of a returns policy and responsive customer support.

Due to all these reasons, shipping and delivery are closely related, and it is essential to manage both of them adeptly from a business point of view. If these steps are executed properly, then it ensures a positive customer experience, and improves the business’ reputation as well.

Shipping vs delivery

Now, that you understand the relationship between both, shipping and delivery, let’s find out what are the differences between them. Shipping involves the packaging and dispatching of goods, while delivery is a complete reverse process. Here, goods, are sent from warehouses to the customer’s address. Look at the differences between shipping and delivery.

Points  Shipping  Delivery 
Definition  Shipping means sending goods/ products from the seller to the recipient’s local region.


Delivery refers to the final stage where the goods/ products are handed over to the recipient.
Process It begins when the seller packages and sends out the goods.


This process begins when the shipped goods arrive in the recipient’s local region and are ready to be delivered to their final destination (recipient’s address).


Responsibility The shipper (could be the seller or a shipping company) is responsible for the safe transit of goods until they reach the local delivery system.


 Here, the delivery service, often a local courier, is responsible for the final handover of goods to the recipient.


Tracking status The status of tracking is possible during shipping, allowing senders and recipients to know the location of the product in transit. Tracking the status is constantly available during the delivery. It helps inform the recipient of the expected arrival time of the product.
Time frame  Shipping time refers to the period when the goods are in transit and are yet to reach the local delivery system. After the shipping process, the delivery time refers to period when the goods are out for final delivery to the recipient.
Decision authority  Typically, the seller decides which shipping service to use based on various factors such as cost, speed, etc. The recipient may sometimes choose specific delivery preferences, such as time or place of delivery.
Third-party involvement Often involves third-party (courier / freight company) often assists in transporting the product from the seller to the recipient’s area. May involve local delivery services that specialize in last-mile delivery to the recipient’s address.
Focus It involves getting the product ready and dispatched. Thus, focuses on the initial steps of movements of goods. Focuses on the final stage where the goods/ products are delivered to the recipient’s doorstep.

Policies: Shipping and delivery

The shipping and delivery process has policies according to which the seller and the customer must follow. However, the policies of Shipping and delivery are like many extents. So, let’s see what these policies are.

Process periods: 

  • Shipping and delivery periods are usually on working days.
  • All products are shipped to the warehouse or delivered to the customer’s destination within 24 hours.
  • The delivery period of the product is 3 – 4 days in metro cities and 4 – 5 days in nonmetro cities.
  • When the product is sent from the warehouse for delivery, the customer is informed via email and message.

Shipping and delivery cost: 

  • Here, the e-commerce website company must pay the cost to the warehouse where sellers sell their products. The price depends on the product size, shipping, location, etc.
  • Most of the delivery costs are free. But in certain cases, businesses may charge delivery amounts from the customers.

Cash on delivery charges:  

However, cash on delivery remains free. But if your product exceeds the standard price, you must pay shipping and delivery charges.

Order tracking:  

Here, you can track your order to know its current location. Mainly, this is used in delivery.

In shipping, once the seller completes the payment and documentation, the tracking facility is available to them through email and SMS links.

Return policy:  

  • You can send it back if there is any defect in your product or you do not like it. In the case of shipping, photos of the product have to be sent, and only after that will you be able to return it.
  • In case of delivery, you can return the product directly. Customers do not need to give any reason for returning the items.
  • In shipping and delivery, the product will be returned only if the address you gave is valid and the same as before.
  • You cannot return an item purchased online to an offline store.
  • You can return your purchased product within ten days.
  • The returns process takes your purchase recipe address proof.
  • Likewise, you cannot produce a product online that is purchased from an offline shop.

Refund or payment back: 

  • You may receive a refund or full payment upon return of your product in both shipping and delivery.
  • You will receive a refund only when your product returns to the warehouse or seller.
  • The refund is returned to the seller and the customer in the original payment mode, whether online or cash on delivery.

Cancellation policy:  

  • If you want to cancel the product, you can go to the particular website and talk to the company’s customer care representative.
  • Or you can directly cancel the product online before it is dispatched.
  • You will get a refund and total cash within 1 and 2 days of product cancellation.


  • If your defective product is under warranty period, you can get a replacement.
  • In this case, you cannot get different colours and sizes of the product.
  • Mostly, the warranty period is between 3 months and six months.
  • Warranties are mostly for heavy products such as electronic devices.

Charul Nalwaya

Charul is a content marketing professional and seasoned content writer who loves writing on various topics with 3 years of experience. At Tata nexarc, it has been 2 years since she is helping business to understand jargon better and deeper to make strategical decisions. While not writing, she loves listing pop music.