In this article, we will be covering the important aspects of WooCommerce Shipping. This article is will help you identify some of the most important features that a fully-fledged shipping plugin must have in order for it to be ‘an ideal WooCommerce Shipping Plugin‘.
WooCommerce is one of the biggest platforms when it comes to online business. From the way, it integrates with WordPress to the amount of customization it provides the users, WooCommerce has grown to be among the top E-commerce platforms.
However, the real reason behind WooCommerce’s success has been its open source nature and a massive developer community. As a result, there are tons of plugins and extensions for WooCommerce. Using these plugins, a WooCommerce store owner can achieve virtually anything.
There are plugins for tasks like user-interface modification, security, shipment, payment gateways, product listing, and much more. It takes a lot of effort, analysis and time for thinking and delivering a full-fledged plugin. So, here is a list of some of the most requested features in a WooCommerce shipping plugin.
Email Notifications to both Buyer and the Store owner
Email notification is among the most requested feature when it comes to WooCommerce shipping plugins. Online stores can have buyers domestically as well as internationally. With such a huge customer base, a store owner must be able to keep a track of his Orders. Triggering Email notifications at the time of receiving an Order can help store owners in a number of ways. Once the buyers start placing the orders, it becomes easier to plan the things accordingly if there is a mechanism to notify the store owners. Further, buyers also require a similar way to receive notifications while placing their order. This way they can be sure whether their order has been successfully placed, packed and shipped.
There are a number of plugins that offer a mechanism for the store owners to choose to whom the email should be sent, the buyer, the sender or even the vendor. Some of the plugins that offer such a feature are,
- WooCommerce FedEx Shipping plugin by PluginHive
- WooCommerce Email Notification Pro by IgniteWoo
- WooCommerce Reminder Emails by Flippercode.com
Domestic and International Shipping
Talking about the customer-base, online stores nowadays are not only limited to the local buyers. With platforms like WooCommerce, it has become very easy for the store owners to go global. With features such as shipping zones, store owners can cover any country, city, state and even the ZIP codes. Hence, an ideal shipping plugin must be compatible with the WooCommerce Shipping Zones and support both domestic as well as international shipping.
Here are some of the shipping plugins that offer domestic as well as the international shipping,
Efficient Product Packaging Methods
Besides shipping, one more feature that is a must-have for an ideal shipping plugin is the ability to decide the most cost-efficient method to pack the product. There are some plugins that offer some very interesting parcel packing methods such as,
- Individual Packing
Product packing method where every product is packed individually, irrespective of its weight and dimensions.
- Box Packing with Custom Weight and Dimensions
A packing method is very suitable for those stores which sell products that are difficult to pack. Most of the time only those store owners prefer this packing method who have pre-defined boxes with customized dimensions and weight limits.
- Weight-based Packing
Packing method is purely based on the weight of the product(s). This method is what most of the store owners prefer. They need to set a Max Weight in order to pack their product(s) which weighs up to the Max Weight, in a single box.
Apart from these packing methods, an ideal shipping plugin must also be smart enough to let store owners choose the way they want to pack their products. There are some plugins that offer some advanced packing algorithms that are very useful while packing. Some of these algorithms let store owners customize the way of packing. These algorithms include,
- Stack First Packing
- Volume Based Packing
- Heavier Item First
- Lighter Item First
- Packing divided by Weight
The above algorithms ensure efficiency when it comes to product packing. This way, store owners can pack their products in the best possible way without adding up to the shipping cost. Here are some of the plugins that offer advanced packing methods and algorithms.
WooCommerce shipping trends, tend to be subjective. Some store owners may prefer shipping FedEx shipping services over that of UPS’s. Others may even be happy with carriers like Canada Post based on their experience with the services that it provides.
Having a feature where store owners can choose the shipping carrier based on their preference can make a huge difference when it comes to WooCommerce Shipping Trends. From a store owner’s point of view, selling products across the globe with shipping carriers to choose from is definitely a feature worth paying for.
So far there are not a lot of plugins that offer a feature of this extent, but there is definitely a plugin that can do the job perfectly when it comes to multiple shipping carrier support.
- WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin by PluginHive
Real-Time and Accurate Shipping Rates
When it comes to supporting shipping carriers and the shipping giants like UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc. one thing that strikes out is the ability to get real-time shipping rates. There are some shipping plugins that offer real-time shipping rates which are accurate even up to decimal places. In most of the cases, the shipping rates are based on the total weight and dimensions of the package.
Considering the store owners using some of the packing methods to optimize packing, the whole things comes down to the ability of the plugin to process the shipping details. These details consist of weight and the dimensions of the package, the number of packages, shipping origin, and destination address, etc.,
After processing these details and successfully fetching the shipping rates, an ideal shipping plugin must have the option to enable and disable a shipping service based on the store owner’s preferences.
Since store owners prefer different shipping carriers in different parts of the world, here are some of the plugins that offer accurate real-time shipping rates.
Shipping Rates Adjustments
Talking about the real-time shipping rates, there may or may not be any scope for store owners to add or deduct some dollars from the shipping cost. An ideal shipping plugin must have a way to provide shipping rate adjustments. There are times when this feature can make a huge difference such as,
- Providing Special Discounts to the Buyers
Who doesn’t love the special Christmas Free Shipping discount that various online stores provide, right..? Providing discounts and occasional free shipping offers is very common when it comes to online stores. The buyers widely appreciate this gesture and as per the store owners, being able to provide discounts is a must-have feature for an ideal shipping plugin.
- Adding Additional Cost to the Shipping
Generally, store owners may prefer not to charge the buyers any additional charges that they had to pay while shipping the product. However, in cases where the product is way too big or require special care while shipping, the storeowners may choose to add up the extra cost on top of the shipping charges.
Providing real-time accurate shipping rates and the ability to adjust shipping rates occasionally is an important feature. However, a feature like conditional shipping can prove to be a huge bonus for a shipping plugin. Conditional shipping allows store owners to calculate the shipping rates on the basis of factors like,
- Product Weight
- Product Quantity
- Cart Value (Total Price)
- Shipping Classes
- Product Category
- Destination Address (Shipping Zones, Country, State, City, ZIP Codes, etc.,)
- The combination of all the above factors.
Being able to customize shipping rates based on these factors provide more flexibility and customizability for the store owners. An ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin must be flexible enough to provide conditional shipping based on some (if not all) of the above factors.
Here is a WooCommerce shipping plugin that offers conditional shipping based on all the above factors,
- WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro Plugin by PluginHive
So far we have discussed all the features that are necessary to make the package ready to ship. Now comes the most important feature that is deemed vital for both domestic and international shipments. Shipping labels contain all the important details regarding the package such as package number, the total weight of the package, source, and the destination address, tracking number, details of the buyer, the type of products that are packed inside the box (chemicals, alcohol and other dangerous goods), etc.,
Ideally, online store owners have to visit the official website of the shipping carrier and add the shipment details manually, to print the shipping labels. In such cases, the ability to print shipping labels within the WooCommerce store is among the most important features of an ideal shipping plugin. Further, a return shipping label proves very useful for the stores offering repairs and returns within a time frame.
Shipment Delivery Estimation
One of the reasons for abandoned carts is the fact that some store owners provide shipping options that take a lot of time to deliver products. In such cases, providing an estimated delivery date or time on the cart page alongside the shipping options is a great way to ensure that the buyers who want the products early will select the fastest mode of delivery. This is also one of the bonus features that an ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin must have.
WooComemrce Estimated Delivery plugin by PluginHive provides an easy way to integrate estimated delivery date with the shipping plugins. Also, WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin by PluginHive provides an inbuilt option to show the estimated delivery date on the cart page.
Accurate Shipment Tracking
Tracking the package is one of the most important features that ensure a great post shipping experience for the store owner as well as the buyer. Shipment tracking is a feature that can help both the store owners as well as buyers that the products are being shipped properly without any mishappenings or damage. Being able to track the package right after purchasing, one of the great features that online websites like Amazon provide. This option allows the buyers to be more relaxed after the successful shipping of the products.
Here are some plugin that offers shipment tracking out of the box,
- WooCommerce Shipment Tracking Pro Plugin by PluginHive
Value For Money
Al the above-mentioned features come down to a single factor – Value For Money. It is true that not all the store owners will want all of them. Some may even be more than happy with half the features listed above. But there may be very less of them who would be willing to sacrifice the value that the plugin provides within the price tag.
A great way to ensure the value for money is to provide a basic version and a premium version of the plugin. This not only serves the interest of those store owners who don’t want all the bells and jingles, but it also allows those store owners who actually want the advanced features with the additional cost attached to it.
WooCommerce being a huge community of online store owners, enthusiasts, and developers, answers to the above question may be subjective. This article tries to cover some of the most important aspects of shipping and creates a wishlist for an ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin.
It covers some of the basic features such as shipping rates and labels, to some of the advanced features such as complex packing methods and shipping based on various conditions. Moreover, since there is not any dedicated plugin which can provide all the features listed above, you can find some of the best shipping plugins offering these features in the links attached.
If you have any query or any valuable suggestion regarding the article, feel free to share your views in the comment section below. If there is a feature that is not listed in the article and you feel that it may improve the overall WooCommerce shipping experience, I would love to know about it.
Do share your suggestions and we will definitely try to update our features list in search for the ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin. Meanwhile, if you need any help then feel free to contact our customer support.