Out For Delivery: What Does It Mean and How Does it Work?

on Jul 5, 2023

For customers, the phrase ‘out for delivery’ can evoke feelings of anticipation.

Their package is finally on its way and it is only hours or days away from their door. Right?

That anticipation, though, can often transform into confusion and fear as the days pile on with ‘out for delivery’ still showing in their tracking system. What happened?

Where is the package?

In this post, we’ll examine exactly what ‘out for delivery’ means, discuss the various stages of the shipping process, and give some ideas for how to avoid common pitfalls. 

Before we begin, let’s answer the main question: what does ‘out for delivery’ mean?

What does ‘out for delivery’ mean?

If you’re eagerly tracking your package, you might see that it goes through many stages.

One of the most anticipated stages is ‘out for delivery.’ However, for some, it can seem like the most confusing due to the duration of the stage.

‘Out for delivery’ means that the shipment is in the final delivery phase and is en route to the end destination.

There are many moving parts to the ‘out for delivery’ phase and optimizing each leg of the process is a massive undertaking. 

The last mile delivery transportation market size has steadily grown over the past few years and is anticipated to reach $424.3 billion in 2030.

Bar graph showing trends in last mile delivery market size(Image Source)

However, ‘out for delivery’ doesn’t mean your package will arrive in minutes. In some instances, packages can remain in the ‘out for delivery’ phase for days depending on external factors including weather, routing, driver delays, and logistical errors.

Often, a package will move into the ‘out for delivery’ phase if it has already checked in at the post office or warehouse and is in the vehicle that will transport it to the destination.

Delivery phase flowchart

Consumers are often eagerly waiting for their packages to get into the ‘out for delivery’ phase. This heightens the need for accurate ‘out for delivery’ labels on products.

If a product is listed as ‘out for delivery’ for days, the customer may become scared that their package is lost or frustrated that they haven’t received a recent update.

This can lead to a negative impact on the company’s brand.

Enterprise businesses need to make sure that there are no hiccups during this phase and make sure that the customer receives their package in a seamless way.

Managing expectations during the ‘out for delivery’ stage

Businesses shouldn’t use the ‘out for delivery’ label as a catch-all for shipments that leave their warehouse. 

Other steps, including processing via a third-party courier, may need to occur before arriving at the customers’ doorstep.

It’s important to only label a package as ‘out for delivery’ if it is in transit in the final vehicle that will take the package to the end customers’ destination. 

Delivering the right amount of hype

Enterprise businesses should strive to mitigate over-hyping and under-hyping their delivery status. 

If ‘out for delivery’ is used loosely, it may over-hype the customer and get them engaged for a package that is still days away.

However, if the company is too strict when applying that label, the customer may be under-hyped and not know when the package arrives. 

This can lead to confused inquiries through various customer support channels or even lost packages due to theft and unattended drop-off locations.

The three stages of the delivery process

To understand the out for delivery stage, you need to learn about the five different stages of the delivery process.

These stages include in transit, out for delivery, and delivered.

Icons for processing, shipped, in transit, out for delivery, and delivered

In transit

‘In transit’ means that your package is moving to its next destination and ultimately the final city where the delivery will take place.

However, in some rare cases, ‘in transit’ can be used to label a package that is moving from the first processing center to the next. 

‘In transit’ does not mean that your package is in motion at that very second. Instead, it means your package is moving towards its next destination.

Out for delivery

‘Out for delivery’ is the main event. In this phase, the package has already arrived in the destination city and now is on its way to the final stop.

However, ‘out for delivery’ doesn’t mean your package is next up on a courier’s list for delivery.

Instead, it means that no more processing or transit is needed. The package is in the truck, and its next stop will be your doorstep.


This is the phase everyone is yearning for. ‘Delivered’ means that the package has reached the end destination safely. 

The journey is complete and the responsibility of the package transfers from the business to the customer who purchased it. 

Of course, there can still be a variety of issues that occur during this phase. Some of the most common ones include theft, delivery to the wrong address, and weather-related incidents.

However, with real-time tracking, customers can prepare accordingly and plan to retrieve their packages as soon as they are dropped by their doorstep.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your delivery phases are accurate and also provide your customers with visibility over their purchases on their delivery journey.

Ideally, the delivery process would go smoothly from start to finish. However, occasionally there are disruptions that force couriers to adapt on the fly. 

By preparing accordingly, enterprise businesses can get in front of these disruptions and mitigate them before they negatively impact their customer experience.

3 common disruptions in the out for delivery stage

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned when a package is out for delivery. 

A customer may check the tracking of their package only to find that it has stalled in the ‘out for delivery’ phase. Why might this occur?

There are three common reasons a package may be in the ‘out for delivery’ phase for longer than intended. 

These include: no signature or confirmation, unable to access, and delivery exceptions.

3 examples of disruptions in circles

No signature or confirmation

Depending on how your package is shipped, a signature might be required at the destination.

There are often four types of signature classifications:

  • No signature required: The package can be delivered without anyone signing for it
  • Indirect signature required: Anyone, including a neighbor, needs to sign for it
  • Adult signature required: An adult is required to sign. A form of photo identification is usually required. This is necessary for alcohol-related shipments.
  • Direct signature required: Someone at the destination needs to sign for the package.

If a signature is required and no one is home, this presents a problem. The courier cannot leave the package at the house.

Thus, they must take the package and either return later date or alert the customer to pick up the package at a designated time at the local office.

This is a common disruption in the ‘out for delivery’ process, but it can be mitigated with additional services for the customer.

For example, if the customer received text message updates about their package and had access to readily-available tracking information, they could plan to be home when the package arrived.

This would reduce the amount of ‘no signatures’ that delivery drivers come across and ultimately make the last mile more efficient and cost-effective for everyone.

Unable to access

Another common disruption in the ‘out for delivery’ phase is when the delivery driver is unable to access the customer’s drop-off point.

This could be because the customer lives in a gated community or an apartment complex that requires a code to enter.

It could also occur if there are blockages in front of the delivery location, mailbox issues, or even a wild unrestrained dog that prohibits the delivery person from getting too close.

In most instances, the delivery person would try again later or notify the customer of pickup instructions.

Delivery exception

Delivery exception is a broad category that includes a variety of reasons a delivery was interrupted and not completed.

A few common delivery exceptions include inclement weather, flat tire, car accident, incorrect addresses, lost packages, and holiday delays.

You can’t always plan for a delivery exception, but you can plan for how you respond to one.

Keep your customers updated. Explain what happened, why the delivery exception occurred, and when they can expect their package to be back on track and delivered.

How to optimize the ‘out for delivery’ phase

Enterprise businesses need to focus on optimizing the ‘out for delivery’ phase to ensure quick and efficient delivery and save valuable resources.

Woman holding a laptop

Most importantly, though, businesses should focus on providing transparent visibility to their customers during this phase.

After all, your customers are eagerly awaiting your product. It would be a shame for a positive customer journey to end with a terrible delivery experience.

Some of the best ways to optimize the ‘out for delivery’ phase are to increase visibility, route alignment, communication, and redundancies.


Enterprise businesses should work to make sure customers feel like they are in control of the delivery process. With software like Delivery Solutions in place, businesses can provide customers with real-time delivery updates.

This will increase customer satisfaction and engage them in the delivery process. Ultimately, that will decrease the amount of disruptions during the ‘out for delivery process.’

Consider setting up (or increasing) your real-time delivery notifications to customers.

Route alignment

Enhance your tech stack to improve your logistics operations. Businesses should always work towards improving how their parcels are assigned to specific fleets and routes.

By assigning parcels to delivery couriers heading to similar destinations and optimizing routes for overall efficiencies, you can trim down your costs and improve delivery times.


Make sure you are providing updates to your customers as you receive them. In addition to text and email alerts, consider adding a live support option for inquiring customers.

This will leave a positive impression in the minds of your customers and delivery-related inquiries can quickly be answered and resolved in a live chat.

It always feels good to speak with a company representative, so this is a perfect way to connect on a deeper level with your customers.


Make sure you have enough redundancies — whether that is delivery trucks, staffing, or support on various routes — to step in during delivery exceptions. 

If a delivery truck breaks down, having an alternate one ready to go can minimize the impact of the unforeseen issue. 

However, if you don’t have one, it can be a costly disruption to your ‘out for delivery’ process.

Using Delivery Solutions’ Omnichannel Delivery Management

Delivery Solutions’ Omnichannel Delivery Management system can enable enterprise businesses to enhance their ‘out for delivery’ process.

With the system in place, you can:

  • Standardize shipping and same-day tracking and curbside notifications
  • Provide real-time delivery tracking, estimated time of delivery, and live chat
  • Reduce operation costs with delivery orchestration and service provider estimates

….and so much more! 

Implementing the platform offering will be an impactful investment for your business that will revolutionize your delivery process, increase customer loyalty, and drive down delivery-related costs along the way. Trust us: your customers will thank you for it.

Mastering the ‘out for delivery’ stage

The ‘out for delivery’ stage is a critical component of your last mile delivery process.

Failing to execute at that stage can negatively impact your brand and damage your customer relationships. 

Businesses should enhance their delivery tech stack and customer service teams to make sure the ‘out for delivery’ stage is as smooth as possible.

With DeliverySolutions you can have all the tools you need to integrate your tech stack with your delivery logistics to provide enhanced support and notifications for your customers during the out for delivery phase.

Get your omnichannel experience strategy in motion with DeliverySolutions and reach out to schedule a demo today.

About the author

Caitlyn Metzker

Caitlyn Metzker, a professional with 9 years of experience, brings a wealth of insight to her Sr. Enterprise Account Executive role. As a University of South Carolina graduate, Caitlyn has honed her skills within the industry previously with Roadie and Kabbage. Originating from Philadelphia, her multifaceted interests include traveling, hiking, soccer, swimming, and boating, reflecting her adventurous spirit. Her favorite getaway is the picturesque Kauai, Hawaii. Caitlyn's business philosophy underscores the importance of continuous learning, as she believes that "there is always more to learn; absorb as much as you can." When not devising groundbreaking strategies, Caitlyn unwinds by delving into books or enjoying the serene beach. Adding a unique touch, she cherishes the privilege of occasionally working alongside her sister and mother as part of the UPS Digital family. Caitlyn's profound industry knowledge and passion make her an invaluable asset to our B2B SaaS sales and marketing team.


Topics from this blog: Delivery Improvement Efficiency

Omnichannel Strategy Ready

Launch a comprehensive delivery management experience for your enterprise retail brand today.

Big & Bulky

The Omnichannel OS You Need To Get Things Moving

Retailer with Big & Bulky? , look no further. Delivery Solutions is your answer on delivering the best customer delivery experiences under a single platform