How to Handle Shipping Times When Dropshipping

Shopify June 17, 2024

How to Handle Shipping Times When Dropshipping


Once a shopper has decided to purchase a product from your online store, the first two questions they often ask are: how much will it cost and when will I get it? Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles preventing new entrepreneurs from starting an eCommerce store is dropshipping shipping times. We’re here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way.

While it might seem daunting to compete with Amazon Prime’s shipping speed, many dropshippers are building successful eCommerce businesses with longer shipping times. However, this doesn't mean you can ignore shipping times and hope everything works out for the best. You need a solid shipping strategy that keeps your customers happy and informed so they’ll come back to buy more.

In this article, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions about shipping times and give you tips for improving both your delivery speed and your customer experience. Let’s dive in and learn how to handle dropshipping shipping times effectively.


Post Contents

  • What's the Difference Between Order Processing Time and Shipping Time
  • How Shipping Times Impact Your Dropshipping Business
  • Five Best Practices for Managing Dropshipping Shipping Times
  • How to Reduce Dropshipping Shipping Times
  • How to Setup Storage Spaces for Faster Shipping
  • Four Benefits of Local Inventory
  • How to use Fulfillment Centers and Inventory Solutions
  • How to Deal with Last-Minute Shipping Surcharges
  • Additional Resources
  • Dropshipping Shipping Times FAQs 

The time it takes for a package to travel from a warehouse to your customer’s doorstep is made up of two distinct parts: order processing time and shipping time.

Order Processing Time: This is determined by your dropshipping supplier. After a customer places an order on your website, you pay for the order and submit it to your supplier. The supplier then locates the item, packs it, labels it for shipping, and hands it off to a carrier. Many suppliers provide their processing time in their data feed, dashboard, or app interface. Knowing your supplier’s average processing time is crucial for communicating expected delivery times to your customers. For more tips on working with suppliers, visit How to Connect a Dropshipping Supplier to Your Store.

Shipping Time: This accounts for how long it takes the carrier to transport the order to its final destination. Shipping times vary depending on the carrier, location, and whether your customer paid extra for expedited shipping. Understanding the average shipping speeds of each carrier you use is essential for setting realistic expectations with your customers.

Total Delivery Time = Order Processing Time + Shipping Time

How Shipping Times Impact Your Dropshipping Business

Shipping times play a crucial role in your customers' overall shopping experience. Research shows that 73.6% of online shoppers believe shipping is key to their shopping experience, and 83.5% are unlikely to shop with a brand again after a poor shipping experience. Fast shipping times reduce customer service issues, refund requests, and enhance customer satisfaction.

While you may not be able to offer Amazon Prime-level shipping, customers will wait for a product if they believe it’s worth the wait. Unique products or exceptional value can convince customers to tolerate longer shipping times.

Best Practices for Managing Dropshipping Shipping Times

Place Test Orders: To understand how your supplier handles shipping, place test orders and analyze the packaging, tracking information, and delivery time. This helps you assess which suppliers you can trust.

Be Transparent: Set realistic expectations for delivery times on your website. Clearly communicate the longest possible delivery time to avoid disappointing customers.

Communicate Shipping Delays: Use multiple channels to inform customers about delays and keep them updated to maintain trust.

Understand Your Suppliers: Build a relationship with your suppliers and understand their shipping processes. This helps you set accurate expectations with your customers.

Get Creative: Use humor or brand messaging to manage customer expectations about long shipping times.

Offer Free Shipping: Customers are often willing to wait longer for free shipping. Use this as a strategy to attract more sales.

Use Flat Rate Shipping: Simplify shipping costs with flat rates to avoid surprising customers with high shipping fees at checkout. To explore how to efficiently manage multiple suppliers, visit How Can You Dropship From Multiple Suppliers.

How to Reduce Dropshipping Shipping Times

Reducing shipping times involves choosing reliable suppliers and using efficient shipping methods. Here are two strategies:

Offer ePacket Delivery from China

ePacket is a reliable and cost-effective shipping method for products shipped from China, taking 12 to 20 days on average. It offers tracking and faster delivery compared to other methods. If you use Alibaba or another overseas dropshipping supplier, consider offering ePacket delivery to your customers. For more insights on selecting the best suppliers, read Product Samples for Dropshipping.

Use Domestic Dropshipping Suppliers

Partnering with local suppliers can significantly reduce shipping times. Domestic suppliers can deliver within a week or less, improving customer satisfaction and supporting local economies. This is particularly beneficial if you want to provide a delivery time of less than two weeks.

Setting Up Storage Spaces for Faster Shipping

While dropshipping allows you to avoid holding inventory, setting up storage spaces or inventory holding can help you achieve faster shipping times. Here’s how you can do it:

Renting Warehouses

Renting a warehouse can be an excellent option if you have a large volume of products. By storing inventory closer to your target market, you can significantly reduce shipping times. Look for warehouses in strategic locations near major shipping hubs or urban areas where your customers are concentrated.

Using Fulfillment Centers

Fulfillment centers handle the storage, packing, and shipping of products on your behalf. Many eCommerce businesses use fulfillment centers like Amazon FBA or third-party logistics (3PL) providers to streamline operations. These centers often have advanced logistics networks, ensuring faster and more reliable shipping.

Setting Up Your Own Storage Space

If renting a warehouse or using a fulfillment center isn't feasible, consider setting up your own storage space. This can be a small space in your home or a rented storage unit. Keeping a small inventory of your best-selling items can help you fulfill orders quickly and reduce shipping times.

For additional solutions to streamline your dropshipping business, visit How to Automate Dropshipping.

Benefits of Local Inventory

Having local inventory offers several benefits:

  • Faster Shipping: Reduced transit times as products are shipped from nearby locations.
  • Cost Efficiency: Lower shipping costs for domestic orders.
  • Better Control: More control over the packaging and handling process, ensuring quality service.

Inventory Management Systems

Investing in an inventory management system can help streamline your shipping process and reduce fulfillment errors. These systems automate inventory tracking, order processing, and shipping label generation, saving you time and ensuring accurate order fulfillment.

Fulfillment Centers and Inventory Solutions

To help you get started, here are some reputable fulfillment centers and inventory storage solutions:

  • Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) Website: Amazon FBA Description: Amazon FBA offers storage, packing, and shipping services for your products. They handle customer service and returns, making it a comprehensive solution for eCommerce businesses.

  • ShipBob Website: ShipBob Description: ShipBob is a technology-driven fulfillment service that helps eCommerce businesses by providing warehousing, packaging, and shipping solutions. They have multiple fulfillment centers across the US.

  • Rakuten Super Logistics Website: Rakuten Super Logistics Description: Rakuten Super Logistics offers fulfillment services with a focus on fast shipping and accuracy. They have a nationwide network of fulfillment centers to ensure timely deliveries.

  • Website: Description: provides global order fulfillment services with a focus on speed and reliability. They offer inventory management, order processing, and shipping solutions.

  • Red Stag Fulfillment Website: Red Stag Fulfillment Description: Red Stag Fulfillment specializes in heavy, high-value, or oversized items. They offer secure storage, fast shipping, and reliable order fulfillment.

  • Deliverr Website: Deliverr Description: Deliverr offers fast and affordable fulfillment services with a focus on eCommerce businesses. They integrate with major marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify.

  • ShipHero Website: ShipHero Description: ShipHero provides end-to-end eCommerce fulfillment solutions, including inventory management, order fulfillment, and real-time analytics.

  • Easyship Website: Easyship Description: Easyship is a shipping platform that provides access to multiple shipping solutions and real-time shipping rates, helping you choose the best option for your needs.

  • Flowspace Website: Flowspace Description: Flowspace offers flexible warehousing and fulfillment solutions with a network of warehouses across the US, providing fast and reliable shipping.

How to Deal with Last-Minute Shipping Surcharges

Unexpected shipping surcharges can impact your business’s profitability. To manage this:

  • Set Up Flat-Rate Shipping: Use flat-rate shipping to simplify costs and set clear expectations for customers.
  • Partner with Reputable Suppliers: Choose suppliers known for timely deliveries to avoid last-minute surcharges.
  • Monitor Supplier Performance: Regularly assess your suppliers' performance and switch to more reliable ones if needed.

For a comprehensive guide on setting up and optimizing your Shopify store, visit Shopify.


Don’t let longer delivery times stop you from launching your dropshipping business. Customers will wait for a product if they know what to expect and trust your brand. By following the tips above and considering storage solutions, you can effectively manage shipping times and build a successful eCommerce business.

For more insights and resources, visit Dropshipping.

Additional Resources

If you're delving into the world of dropshipping and e-commerce logistics, check out these articles for further insights:


Q: How long does it take for dropshipping orders to be delivered?
A: Delivery times for dropshipping orders typically range from 12 to 20 days for ePacket deliveries from China. Domestic suppliers can often deliver within a week.
Q: What are the costs associated with setting up storage spaces for dropshipping?
A: Costs can vary depending on the size and location of the storage space. Renting a warehouse or using fulfillment centers will incur additional expenses compared to setting up a small storage space at home.
Q: How can I manage customer expectations about shipping times?
A: Be transparent with your customers about delivery times, set realistic expectations on your website, and communicate any delays promptly. Consider using humor or brand messaging to manage expectations about long shipping times.
Q: Can I reduce shipping times by using multiple suppliers?
A: Yes, using multiple suppliers, including domestic ones, can help reduce shipping times. It's important to manage inventory and ensure reliable supplier performance. For more information, visit How Can You Dropship From Multiple Suppliers.
Q: What are the benefits of using fulfillment centers for dropshipping?
A: Fulfillment centers offer faster and more reliable shipping, handle storage and packing, and provide advanced logistics networks. This can significantly improve delivery times and customer satisfaction.
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Chris Snowden


Hi, I'm Christopher Snowden, a Shopify developer. I enjoy building and learning about e-commerce solutions that help businesses grow. With the rise of AI, I believe it is important for developers to understand more aspects of business and have a deeper understanding of how their skills translate to profit. Let's connect and collaborate! Follow me on social media to stay updated with my latest projects and insights.