Difference between Shipping and Delivery

Key Difference: Shipping is the date on which the shipment will leave the supplier’s warehouse. Delivery is the date the package will arrive at the customer’s doorstep.

The terms shipping and delivery have become more prominent since the boom of ecommerce. Items that required people to go to a store personally can now be ordered online with just the click of a button. E-commerce has opened a whole avenue for customers and suppliers, alike.

Shipping and delivery are often confusing for many customers, as they assume the two terms to be synonymous with each other. If one shops online, the company gives them two dates: a shipping date and a delivery date. The terms have two meaning in logistics and with the e-commerce taking the stage in today’s world, it is essential to understand the difference between the two terms.

One definition suggests that the major difference between the two terms is the size of the shipment, or the package. Smaller objects, such shoes, clothes, gadgets, small appliances fall under the category of shipping, which can be boxed and sent to the customer using a postal service. Large objects, such as big appliances, furniture, etc. that require a installation or a delivery person to come and heave it inside and cannot simply be mailed via the postal service is delivery.


The second definition is a bit confusing to understand. The term shipped, in this context, can be considered synonymous with the word dispatched. Dispatched was originally used when referring to this, but it has now been replaced with the terms shipped. Shipping basically means that the order (size doesn’t matter in this definition) is going to leave the warehouse of the supplier. So, the shipping date is the date on which the order will be dispatched from the supplier’s warehouse. Now, the delivery date is the date on which the customer should expect the order on their doorstep. The delivery date is not controllable by the vendor, so it is usually a tentative date on which the package is expected to arrive at the consumer’s place.

Comparison between Shipping and Delivery:




Definition 1

Small items that can be shipped using the local postal service

Large items that require installation or a delivery person

Definition 2

The date on which the shipment will leave the supplier’s warehouse

The date the package will arrive at the customer’s doorstep




Original definition

The term shipping originally referred to any package sent using a ship or transportation via sea.

Definition refers to the distributing any goods: physical goods as well as specialized goods (water, electricity, etc)




Image Courtesy: britishcornershop.co.uk, theinfosphere.org

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