Domestic Shipping in Australia: How to Choose the Best Courier

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Domestic shipping has its perks:

  • It helps you reach more customers in your local market without having to rely on in-person foot traffic.
  • It’s more affordable and easier to navigate than international shipping.
  • There are several courier options to choose from.

But establishing a shipping strategy for domestic orders still takes some planning to ensure you meet customer expectations around fast, reliable shipping.

In this article, you will learn the steps to developing a domestic shipping strategy that’s fast, reliable, and affordable. 

What is domestic shipping?

Domestic shipping refers to shipping a package via a courier within a country’s borders. In Australia, this includes packages shipped within all 6 states, including Tasmania, and 2 territories. There are many domestic shipping couriers to choose from in Australia; However, the most common one is Australia Post. 

Some businesses use a combination of couriers and shipping services to diversify their domestic shipping courier mix. Certain couriers will offer domestic shipping rates that are more favourable than others based on the shipping destination, the weight and dimensions of the package, how quickly your recipient needs it to arrive, and other factors.

Choosing the right domestic shipping courier for your needs

Domesticshipping couriersoffer a variety of shipping options based on package size, delivery speed, and the contents of what’s being sent.

For instance, in Australia, Australia Post offers “If It Packs, It Posts” for packages under 5 kg that are shipped within the country. This form of flat rate postage is based on the weight tier your packed item fits into.

There are also options for overnight deliveries, overweight and heavy shipments, and more. The same is true for NZ Post, with a variety of options for personal and business accounts.

Understanding the different options when shipping domestically

When it comes to domestic shipping in Australia, there are numerous different options. But it might be confusing to differentiate what shipping option best fits your needs. We’ve broken down some of the most common shipping options so you can understand the different services.

Standard shipping

Standard shipping is the most cost-effective option for domestic shipping in Australia. But with a 1-7 business day transit time, this option isn’t the fastest shipping solution. You can utilise Australia Post and Couriers Please for standard shipping in Australia.

Express shipping

Express shipping is a faster (and more expensive) shipping option than standard shipping. Packages being sent via express shipping are typically delivered in 1-3 business days.

Next-day shipping

Next-day shipping is the fastest shipping option for domestic shipping in Australia. With this shipping option, parcels are delivered the next business day.

For example, TNT has four options for next-day shipping. They can deliver parcels by 9 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, or 5 PM the next business day Australia-wide. Additionally, Australia Post has a next-day shipping option called Express Post Platinum.

International shipping

If you’re interested in shipping to countries outside of Australia, you’ll need to look into international shipping. Cross-border transit times range from 8-25 days for standard shipping and 4-18 days for express shipping. You can leverage Australia Post, FedEx, DHL, and other couriers for international shipping.

Domestic shipping couriers & rates

Each country will have its own domestic shipping couriers. And the more options there are, the harder it can be to make decisions on which couriers to partner with and the specific services to use.

Overall, here are the average prices of domestic shipping in the Australia:*

SpeedAustralia PostAramex GlobalCouriers Please
1-2 daysAUD $16.65 (If It Packs, It Post) – AUD $20.05 (Parcel Post) AUD $13.75AUD $29.39 (Road Express)

*Please note that we calculated the above rates using each courier’s online pricing calculators for a consistent example of a 4 kg package (with dimensions 15.24 cm x 15.24 cm x 15.24 cm) sending from Sydney to Melbourne in November 2022. Exact prices are subject to change and dependent on weight, dimensions, destination, and more.

Best practices for domestic shipping

A high shipping fee is the leading cause of cart abandonment for online stores, driving nearly half of consumers to abandon their carts last year. And 81% of consumersswitched retailers because shipping was too expensive. Though domestic shipping is much simpler than international shipping, there are some best practices to keep in mind to help you meet customer expectations around fast, affordable domestic shipping.

Compare couriers for best rates

Each courier competitively prices its services based on the shipment’s:

  • Contents
  • Size and weight
  • Shipping distance
  • Packaging type

Some shipping couriers in Australia also use shipping zones to measure the distance a package travels (not in miles but rather groupings of post codes) from the point of origin to the destination — something to keep in mind when calculating shipping costs for Australia destination shipments (see an example map here from Aramex Global).

Calculating shipping rates for each order can be a tiresome and time-consuming process.

To save you time and headaches, there are cloud shipping solutions that make it easy to compare real-time shipping rates. Cloud shipping software integrates with your ecommerce platform so you can compare shipping couriers and rates.

“Working with ShipBob has been great. Being able to take advantage of shipping rates through ShipBob has helped out a ton.”

Lee Nania, Founder of SubSubmarine 

Keep package size down

Most major shipping couriers use dimensional weight (DIM) or cubic weight to calculate the costs of shipping items. DIM weight or cubic weight is computed by multiplying length times width times height. This means the heavier or bigger the parcel, the higher your shipping costs. 

If you sell mostly heavy items or do a lot of oversized shipping, there may be options that cater to those packages.

Get shipping insurance for expensive or important items

Lost, delayed, and damaged finished goods during transit can be a common problem. To avoid these losses, it would make sense to purchase shipping insurance.

Shipping insurance is pretty cheap so when in doubt, it may be best to purchase it. If your package is valuable enough that you’re considering insurance, the small investment is worth the potential upside if something goes wrong.

Use basic ground shipping when speed isn’t a factor

When speed isn’t a factor, ground shipping is a great option for domestic shipments. Generally, ground shipping has a longer transit timeline than air, but with more 3PL companies helping online business expand their distribution reach, there are now more ways than ever to optimise ground shipping and speed up transit times.

For instance, ShipBob offers a growing network of fulfilment centre locations across Australia and globe (see our locations here), enabling you to keep your inventory closer to more of your customers to speed up the ground shipping process.

“Customers get accustomed to a certain service level at a low price — often free — and want it faster over time. Ever since we started our partnership with ShipBob in the summer of 2018, they’ve been able to deliver the customer service level we need at the right cost.”

Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12

ShipBob’s domestic shipping partners

ShipBob offers an affordable and fast ecommerce shipping solution that integrates with your online store. ShipBob has relationships with domestic shipping couriers in Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

“The biggest logistical problem that our organisation has had in recent years is one faced by hundreds of businesses around Australia. The tyranny of distance. With ShipBob, we’ve been able to remove that.

With hubs in Sydney and Melbourne, which are two of our largest markets, we’ve been able to put our products closer to those who want them. We’ve been able to cut our freight and postage spend while removing labour costs. For Betoota Outfitters, working with ShipBob has been easy and affordable.

It’s been the perfect growth partner for our organisation and we look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Errol Parker, Editor-at-Large, The Betoota Advocate

We handle your shipping operations for you, end-to-end, from partnering with major global and regional shipping couriers, to providing insights into shipping performance so you can optimise your distribution and shipping strategy. 

ideal distribution

Serve customer across the world? ShipBob offers an international fulfilment network with locations in Australia,the US, UK, the EU, Canada.

ShipBob’s industry-leading fulfilment platform provides advanced data and analytics related to shipping, shipping integrations with leading solutions, and order management functionalities to streamline your logistics operations.

Since ShipBob’s technology is connected to every fulfilment centre location in its global network, you can split inventory across multiple fulfilment locations and track inventory, orders, and shipments in real time.

ShipBob’s automated shipping technology offers real-time shipping insights at a glance. You can get answers to questions like:

  • Which shipping methods do my customers choose most often?
  • How much are my customers spending by shipping method?
  • What is my average shipping cost per shipping method?
  • How long does it take my orders to be delivered by shipping method?
  • Which orders haven’t been delivered yet?
  • Which states do I ship the most orders to?

“We are very impressed by ShipBob’s transparency, simplicity, and intuitive dashboard. ShipBob’s front-end software was the primary decision-making factor for me in choosing them over other fulfilment solutions.

Their software is so simple and intuitive, especially as so many 3PLs have either bad or no front-facing software, making it impossible to enter orders, keep track of what’s leaving or entering the warehouse.

It’s fun to see orders shipping out instantaneously. I love how fast and efficient ShipBob is. Their shipping costs are very reasonable, and their platform makes fulfilment feel so easy.”

Harley Abrams, Operations Manager of SuperSpeed Golf, LLC 

To learn more about how ShipBob can help you establish a winning domestic shipping strategy, click the button below to contact our fulfilment team today.

Does ShipBob ship domestically?

Yes, ShipBob does ship domestically in every country we have a presence in, including Australia, the US, the UK, the EU, and Canada.Click here to see all the locations where our domestic shipping services are available. Note: ShipBob also ships to all countries in the world from each location. 

How much does domestic shipping cost?

Domestic shipping costs can vary depending on the package’s weight, dimensions, distance, and speed. Domestic shipping with Australia Post rates start at AUD $9.70 for local, small packages (as of 17 November, 2022), but express shipping starts at AUD $12.70 for local, small packages (as of 17 November, 2022).

How long does domestic shipping take?

This varies based on the country, and the bigger the country is geographically, the longer this average will be. Typically, domestic shipping services in Australia take 1-7 business days to deliver goods to the recipient, depending on the destination a package is sent to. The closer and more local the delivery, the faster it will be.

What’s the difference between domestic and international shipping?

When goods are sent from and to the same country, it is called a domestic shipment. When shipping domestically you usually don’t need to attach any documents beyond a shipping label. International shipping, or when you ship to another country, is much more complex due to customs, tariffs, and additional taxes (in other words, there is more paperwork and fees to manage).

Which courier is best for domestic shipping?

This depends on the country and what’s most important (e.g., reliability, speed, the cheapest shipping rate, etc.). In Australia, Australia Post is considered a good option for shipping goods within Australia, owing to its significant presence in the country which makes for easy drop-offs and pickups as well as the most affordable shipping rates.

How much is Australia Post domestic shipping?

Australia Post domestic shipping rates start at AUD $9.70 for local, small packages (as of 17 November, 2022) and go up from there. For faster domestic shipping methods like express shipping , Australia Post starts at AUD $12.70 for local, small packages (as of 17 November, 2022) and goes up from there. The larger and heavier the package, the more expensive it is to ship domestically.

How has COVID impacted domestic shipping?

The pandemic caused a lot of slowdowns on the domestic shipping supply chain. Couriers were overloaded beyond capacity with a shortage of workers due to COVID outbreaks, which caused major delays in getting packages delivered to their end destinations. The couriers have largely recovered since the flux of domestic shipping increased due to lockdowns in Australia.

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Written By:

Kristina is the Sr. Director of Marketing Communications at ShipBob, where she writes various articles, case studies, and other resources to help ecommerce brands grow their business.

Read all posts written by Kristina Lopienski