What Are Shipping Zones and What Is Their Importance? A Small Business Guide for Shipping Zones

Run Your Business Jul 20, 2020
Which Shipping Zone does this parcel belong to ?
Photo by Brandable Box / Unsplash

Why are Shipping Zones Important?

Shipping zones are a crucial part of fulfillment and shipping. The zones can be a little hard to understand, especially as different carriers might use the zone metrics in unique ways.

Understanding the shipping zones will help small businesses in delivering quickly and reduce shipping costs.

A shipping zone is a metric to measure how far the package has to travel to reach its destination.

As the shipping cost is based on this, the right strategies and shipping solutions can be adopted.

We will go in-depth into the different shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS for this parameter. If you want a comprehensive comparison with multiple perspectives, click on the Ultimate Shipping Guide.

What Are Shipping Zones Exactly?

Shipping zones is the term for geographical areas used by shipping carriers to measure how much distance a parcel travels its origin to the end destination.

The zones are numbered 1 to 8, where Zone 1 is the nearest, while Zone 8 is the farthest(domestic shipments).

The point of origin is where the package is shipped from is located in Zone 1, the end location where the package arrives is called the destination zone.

The Zone number of the destination is contingent on how far it is from the starting location of the shipment( Zone 8 is the farthest away).

How Does Shipping Zones Vary By Shipping Companies?

Photo by Matthew T Rader / Unsplash

UPS Shipping Zones

To figure out the shipping rate of UPS, you would first require the Zone Number. To obtain your Zone Number head to the UPS website and adhere to the following steps.

  • Enter the Zip Code of the original location and click Download
  • A chart representing the Zones will open up in a new window.
  • Identify the Destination Zone based on the Zip Code representing the destination, and hence you get the Zone Number.

FedEx Shipping Zones

Similarly to UPS, FedEx also uses the same method to figure out the Zone Number. The FedEx Shipping Zone Locator would help in obtaining the Shipping Zones for your package and accurate rates for your package.

Please note that some additional surcharges may add on to the base wage like Fuel or some other services in specific scenarios.

USPS Shipping Zones

The price depends upon the class of service USPS provides, and there are shipping zone prices for each class.

As USPS is the only carrier to cover almost all the addresses in the U.S, it becomes vital as some of their competitors use them for last-mile delivery to these specific and remote places.

The Shipping Zones for USPS based on Miles

How Shipping Zones Impact Small Businesses?


The visible and primary impact is the cost of fulfilling the shipment. The shipping zone dictates the shipping rate.

With this information in hand, the business can prioritize choosing the shipping company and understand the costing early on to formulate strategies. The cost will also vary for specific dimensions and weight.

If you want to know more about how weight and sizes affect the pricing, click here for the Ultimate Shipping Guide.

Delivery Speed

Speed has become vital for the customers to expect speedy delivery, and as a small business, it should be a priority to manage these expectations. Identifying the zones will help you communicate clearly with the customer.

If there is a humongous need in certain Zones, then a fulfillment center might be useful to deliver on time.

Self Fulfillment vs. Fulfillment Center Location

If you outsource fulfillment compared to self-fulfillment, you will have more flexibility over choosing a fulfillment center location.

The location you ship orders should be near your customers, as determined by analyzing your past order history.


A small business that understands Shipping Zones would make a huge difference in the company's revenues as well as the effective customer service, but if you want to know about more parameters, take a look at our guide for small business shipping options.

Did You Know

You can easily track your orders and shipments from picking stage to packing to shipping and actual tracking via USPS or FedEx using Deskera Books?

Give it a try for free.

R Prakash

Product Manager @Deskera

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