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why is shutterfly shipping expensive?

Why is Shutterfly Shipping So Expensive in 2023?

Shutterfly is the go-to web-based publishing service in 2023. The digital agency offers everything from scrapbook services to custom merchandise. 

However, it has also gained a reputation for being more expensive than most of its competitors. So, why does it charge so much?

Shutterfly shipping is primarily expensive because of packaging costs. Since there are many competing web-based publishing services, Shutterfly stands out with premium packaging, which is expensive. Fuel costs, shipping speeds, and the product’s weight also contribute to the high shipping costs.

This article looks at Shutterfly shipping services and why they’re so expensive. Keep reading to find out if they’re worth the high costs.

How Does Shutterfly Shipping Work?

Shutterfly lets you upload your digital photos and convert them into paper prints, photo books, stationery, mugs, and basically anything else you can print on. 

For instance, if you want to remember the fishing trip you had with your family, you can use Shutterfly to print the picture on a mug and keep it on your desk at work.

The amount of time it takes for you to receive your Shutterfly shipping depends on two factors: the amount of time it takes to process your order and the shipping itself. 

Fundamentally, it’s categorized into the following tiers.

Shipping MethodProcessing and Shipping Time
Economy6 to 10 business days
Standard (USPS)5 to 7 business days
Expedited (UPS or FedEx4 to 5 business days
Rush (FedEx or UPS)3 to 4 business days
Super Rush (FedEx or UPS)1 to 2 business days
Canada Delivery7 to 14 business days
Other International9 to 17 business days

Shutterfly Shipping Cost

Of course, Shutterfly shipping costs vary according to the shipping method and destination.

Local Shutterfly Shipping Cost

Local Shutterfly shipping depends on several factors including the shipping method, product type, quantity, and size. For instance, if you were to ship one 11×14 book, this is what it would cost:

  • Super Rush: $29.99.
  • Rush: $24.99.
  • Expedited: $19.99.
  • Standard: $14.99.
  • Economy: $11.19.

On the other hand, shipping a 7×9 book can cost anywhere from $4.99 to $19.99

Shutterfly International Shipping Cost

Shutterfly international recipients receive their pictures 5 to 10 days after processing depending on the shipping method. International shipping costs $3.79 above normal shipping fees.

Why Is Shutterfly So Expensive Right Now?

There are several reasons why Shutterfly charges so much, especially for shipping. Here are a few of the main ones.


There are several digital publishing agencies available. To stand out, Shutterfly uses a good portion of its budget on quality packaging. They make sure that apart from arriving at your doorstep safely, the package also looks good.

Regular customers will always know they have received a Shutterfly package when they see the distinctive orange package. 

Since this is not an ordinary cardboard box, it’s expensive to make. Therefore, one of the primary reasons why Shutterfly shipping is so expensive is premium packaging.

Weight of the Product

Shipping costs are always affected by the product’s weight.  As we’ve already established, Shutterfly does not just sell photos. 

They also sell other products you can print your photos on, including kitchen accessories, mugs, frames, and even some toys. Some of these products are significantly heavy, which reflects in the shipping costs.

 Shipments are mostly done by third-party carriers like UPS or FedEx. Since these companies carry products from different clients, they charge them according to their weight. They also have to watch their trucks’ weight to avoid paying fines in different states.

Further, the heavier a product is, the more fuel and manpower it’s going to consume before it gets to its destination. 

As a result, heavy Shutterfly products like mugs and toys are more expensive to ship than simple photos.

Fuel Costs

Of course, the biggest factor to consider when moving from one point to another is the fuel costs. 

Before your package is delivered to your doorstep, it’s ferried in different trucks, dropped off at different delivery locations, and probably delivered in a van. All these vehicles need fuel and the costs have to be channeled down to the customer.

With the recent oil crisis, fuel prices are higher than they’ve ever been. As a result, Shutterfly shipping costs have increased.

Shipping Speeds

Shutterfly charges different prices for various shipping speeds. If you need your product as soon as possible, you’ll pay considerably more than another customer who is not in a rush.

From a business perspective, if you want to ship something fast, it will have to use less efficient routes and methods (think flying) and this costs the business.

The company may have to send an extra truck or change its schedule to meet the deadline. It might also have to bring in extra staff or pay overtime to ensure the shipping arrives on time. 

As a result, Shutterfly shipping in the “rush” and “super rush” categories is always expensive.

Read Also: Why Is Gas So Expensive Right Now 2023?

Does Shutterfly Ever Have Free Shipping?

Yes. Just like most digital agencies, Shutterfly gives free shipping offers sometimes, especially around the holidays. 

Sometimes, they also offer free shipping if you opt for Shutterfly in-store pick up instead of having the package delivered to your house.

How to Get Discounts on Shutterfly Shipping

To avoid or at least reduce the hefty shipping costs on Shutterfly products, you can use the following tricks:

Promo Codes

Using Shutterfly free shipping promo codes is one of the surest ways to save on shipping and the prints themselves. To ensure you never miss a promo code, you can sign up for the Shutterfly mailing list.

Get a Free Shipping Upgrade

Most free shipping promo codes apply to economy shipping (6-10 business days). Therefore, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can upgrade to expedited shipping (up to 5 days) and pay the price you’d have paid for the economy.

Wait for Holiday Promos

Every company, including Shutterfly, is charitable around the holidays. They often offer free shipping and shipping discounts for the higher tiers. 

If you shop on Shutterfly around the holidays, don’t check out before confirming whether there’s an offer.

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