What are the must-have features that every WooCommerce Shipping plugin should have? Read this complete guide and find out the list here.
WooCommerce Shipping Plugin – An Overview
WooCommerce continues to be one of the best e-commerce platforms that let you set up the desired online store. No other platform has managed to come close to the number of customization it offers to its users. However, the real reason behind WooCommerce’s success has been its open-source nature and community. As a result, there has been a boom in the number of WordPress plugins/extensions made especially for WooCommerce. One area that has seen significant improvements is WooCommerce shipping. So, here is a list of some of the most requested features in a WooCommerce Shipping plugin.
Prompt Email Notifications for you and your Buyers
Email notification is among the most requested feature when it comes to choosing a WooCommerce Shipping plugin. Online stores can have buyers domestically as well as internationally. With such a huge customer base, a store owner must be able to keep track of his or her 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 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 orders. 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
WooCommerce Shipping – Domestic and International
Talking about the customer base, online stores nowadays are not limited to local buyers only. With WooCommerce, it has become very easy for small store owners to go global. With features such as Shipping zone and Shipping class, shop owners can cover any country, city, state, and even the ZIP code. Hence, an ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin must be compatible with the WooCommerce Shipping zone and class and should support both domestic & international shipping. Here are some of the shipping plugins that offer domestic as well as international shipping,
Efficient Product Packaging Methods
Besides WooCommerce Shipping, another feature that’s a must-have for an ideal WooCommerce Shipping plugin is the ability to decide the most cost-efficient method to pack the products. 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 and 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 store owners prefer. They need to set a Max Weight in order to pack their product(s) which weigh up to the Max Weight, in a single box.
Apart from the above packing methods, an ideal shipping plugin must also be smart enough to let store owners choose the way they want to pack their products. You can find plugins that offer 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.
Support for Shipping services like UPS, FedEx & USPS
WooCommerce shipping trends tend to be subjective. Some store owners may prefer shipping FedEx shipping services over UPS, while others may even be happy with carriers like Canada Post or USPS 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. 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 WooCommerce Shipping rates
When it comes to supporting shipping carriers like UPS, DHL, and FedEx, one thing that’s really important is the ability to display real-time shipping rates. There are some amazing WooCommerce Shipping plugins that offer real-time shipping rates that are accurate even up to decimal places. In most of cases, the shipping rates are calculated based on the weight and dimensions of a package. Considering the store owners using some of the packing methods to optimize packing, the whole thing 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.
WooCommerce Shipping price adjustments
Talking about the real-time shipping rates, there may or may not be any scope for the store owners to add or deduct some dollars from the shipping cost. Your ideal WooCommerce shipping plugin must have a way to provide shipping price 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? Providing discounts and occasional free shipping offers has become a necessity. Buyers widely appreciate this gesture and as per the store owners, being able to provide discounts is a must-have feature for an ideal WooCommerce 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 requires special care while shipping, the storeowners may choose to add up the extra cost on top of the shipping charges.
WooCommerce Table Rate/Conditional shipping
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.
- WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro Plugin by PluginHive
Being able to customize shipping rates based on these factors provides more flexibility and customizability for 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 Shipping Labels
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 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. Furthermore, a return shipping label proves very useful for stores offering repairs and returns within a time frame.
WooCommerce Estimated delivery date and time
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 dates with the shipping plugins. Also, the WooCommerce FedEx shipping plugin by PluginHive provides an inbuilt option to show the estimated delivery date on the cart page.
Accurate WooCommerce 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, is 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 them.
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 that 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 queries or any valuable suggestions 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.