WooCommerce Shipping Guide for Store Owners: Set up Complete Shipping and Delivery System

woocommerce_shipping_1

WooCommerce is designed for you—the store owners. It comes with a bunch of apparent features that you could mend your way. In fact, there are plenty of things you could do to make your online shop just about perfect.

There’s a lot that goes to your store. For example, WooCommerce shipping is one area where everything you do becomes tangible to your customers. You charge too much, you lose one customer; you charge too less, you lose money over shipping. Even the slightest mistake could really put down all your hard work.

The good news is you could easily avoid such scenario to ever appear in the first place. You could do something as simple as following a set of guidelines and if necessary, download one or two plugins on the side—and that’s all.

We’ve prepared this guide for store owners looking to set up spruce WooCommerce shipping and delivery system on their website.

Before we dive in: let’s explore the question of what plugins you need to install in the very beginning.

Plugins you should consider installing

Consider this checklist of shipping plugins which contains both free and premium plugins.

Carrier-Specific shipping plugin

Table Rate Shipping plugin

Basic requirements to enable a product for WooCommerce shipping

Physical attributes

The term WooCommerce Shipping is typically associated with products which can be shipped or delivered from one place to another. Since these products are designated as ‘Physical products’, they are required to have a defined weight and dimensions in order to qualify. This also means that WooCommerce products having no weight, or no dimensions, or neither weight and dimensions, shall not be considered as physical products, will not be considered for shipping calculation and thus, cannot be shipped.

Almost all carriers and postal services you see use weight and dimensions as essential parameters to calculate shipping charges. You might have noticed agents working in your local post office or logistics centers taking your package and measuring its weight and dimensions. They do that for the purpose mentioned above.

WooCommerce products, likewise, must have a certain weight and dimensions associated with it. Have a look at the image below showing the physical attributes of the product (Stuffed Toy) under the Additional information section.

package_weight_dimensions

Shipping address

Most logistics and courier services use shipping address as a parameter to calculate the shipping charges. They usually need the Ship from and Ship to addresses. The ship from address could be your store’s or warehouse’s address, or anywhere else where the product is going to be picked up from. The ship to address, on the other hand, is the destination address your customers enter on the Checkout page.

It is essential that your customers enter the correct address. Doing otherwise might result in the unavailability of shipping method on the Cart/Checkout page, or incorrect shipping estimates.

To counter such issues, many shipping carriers offer a feature known as the Address Validation Service. FedEx, for example, has the address validation service which can also be found in the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugin. Learn more about FedEx Address Validation here.

Various shipping types

Shipping items using famous logistics like UPS and DHL means that you can deliver items to both domestic and international levels. So on a higher level, we can categories shipping into two types.

  1. Domestic shipping—shipping items within the state or country
  2. International shipping—shipping items to an international location

So based on your shipping preferences and target customers, you can choose the appropriate shipping plugin. With the WooCommerce UPS Shipping plugin, for example, you can ship to both domestic and international destinations.

Moving on, there are 5 different types of shipping methods people prefer implementing on their website. These shipping methods usually work for both the shipping types (domestic and international). Please go through the following list of possible WooCommerce shipping methods and select the one which you wish to see on your Cart and Checkout page.

  1. Flat Rate
  2. Free Shipping
  3. Local Pickup
  4. Carrier-Specific Shipping
  5. Table Rate/Conditional Shipping

The first three shipping methods (i.e, Flat Rate, Free Shipping, and Local Pickup) are shipping methods offered by WooCommerce itself. You need additional plugins for the rest two.

Before we go ahead and check out these shipping methods, you need to first understand the basics of WooCommerce Shipping — Shipping Zones, Shipping Options, and Shipping Classes.

Flat Rate Shipping

Flat Rate Shipping comes in-built with WooCommerce. With this shipping method in place, you can ship any type of item at the same pre-defined price. To be specific, this option allows you to define a standard shipping rate for each item, or each order, or Shipping Class.

Setting up Flat Rate Shipping

In order to use this shipping method, you first need to add it to a Shipping Zone—(you can refer the guide above to see how to set up Shipping Zone). Or follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Open your WordPress Dashboard and then click on WooCommerce→Settings→Shipping.

woocommerce_shipping

Step 2: Once you’re in, select any Shipping Zone you wish to provide Free Shipping, and then click on Edit. After that, you need to click on Add Shipping Method as shown in the image below.

woocommerce_shipping

Step 3: Select Flat Rate from the dropdown, and then click on the Add shipping method option as displayed in the image below.

woocommerce_flat_rate

Step 4: Now you need to click on Edit option right under the Flat Rate shipping option. You’ll be then greeted to the following screen where you can make most of the changes related to Flat Rate— you can do things like the naming the shipping method (people usually go with Standard Shipping), choosing whether or not tax is required, setting up the price/flat rate, and defining product shipping class.

Note: If you don’t know much about product shipping class and how it works then we recommend you check out this guide. It should help you get started.

flat_rate_settings

Once you’re done with the steps, you can go ahead and move a product into the Cart. As soon as you enter the address, the Flat Rate shipping option will appear. Have a look at the following sample image.

woocommerce_cart

Free Shipping

Now you’re into another shipping method that many users implement on their website, i.e, Free Shipping. Many store owners and retailers across the globe offer free shipping to encourage new buyers to purchase their products. Most of them predetermine the approximate shipping cost and include it along with the product cost, as a hidden cost. This way they don’t actually lose money on the shipping. This strategy also helps people to sell items that are don’t have enough spark left in them.

Setting up Free Shipping

The setting up process for free shipping is similar to that of setting up flat rate shipping. Basically, once you’re in the WooCommerce Setting option, you need to again navigate to the desired Shipping Zone and then click on Add shipping method. Upon doing that, you will again the pop-window asking you to choose the shipping method. You need to select the Free Shipping option from the drop-down option here. Have a look at the following image.

woocommerce_free_shipping

Again, you need to click on the Edit option under the Free shipping option. You will then enter into the setting page where you can do things like changing the method title (people usually go with Free Shipping/Free Delivery), set the conditions for the free shipping to appear on the Cart page, and finally set the amount for those conditions.

Let’s take an example to understand the conditions and how to use them. Suppose you want to provide free shipping to orders having a minimum value of $6.

So if the worth of the Cart is below $6, then your customers won’t be able to see the Free Shipping option.

no_free_shipping

Now if the item quantity is increased to 2, the subtotal becomes $6 which is eligible for Free shipping. Have a look at the following image of the same Cart when the quantity is increased.

with_free_shipping

You can also use Free Shipping along with the Flat Rate Shipping option. So in the similar case above, if the Cart value is less than $6, you will charge a flat rate of $1.5. And if the Cart value is $6 and above the Free shipping option will appear. This is one of the most common implementations of these two shipping methods.

Local Pickup

The Local pickup option means exactly how it sounds. So if a buyer reads local pickup and selects it in under the shipping options, the buyer is responsible to come down to a pickup center and collect his or her order. So no shipping is going to be offered.

Many sellers and store owners sometimes offer both Local pickup and a shipping option. Generally and most usually sellers who practice this, imply that the buyer would have to pay in cash when they come to collect their order. The only thing is your buyers should be aware of your pickup centers.

Setting up Local Pickup

Again, you need to go to the WooCommerce Shipping option and then click on the Add shipping method option under the desired Shipping Zone. Have a look at the image below.

woocommerce_local_pickup

You can then click on the Edit option as shown in the image above. Doing that will open up a new window where you can change the title (people usually mention their pickup center name), choose whether or not tax is required, and define the cost for the local pickup cost. Have a look at the following image showing the local pickup settings.

Once done click on Save changes option.

local_pickup_settings

Let’s take an example.

Suppose you have a warehouse/store where you allow local pickups but you also provide shipping at a higher price. WooCommerce populates the Cart when an item is moved into it and it displays the two shipping options. Have a look at the following image.

local_pickup_cart

As you can see in the image above, the Cart offers Flat Rate Shipping at $10 and Store Pickup option at $2. Customers who are okay with going to the store by themselves can save money while those who don’t have time to do so could opt for the flat rate shipping.

Carrier-Specific Shipping

Now you’re entering into a rather different dimension of shipping altogether. In the carrier-specific shipping scenario, you provide shipping options to your customers with the help of logistics and courier services like UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, etc., The benefits of using this type of shipping method are endless. But let’s try to cover some of them.

Speed

Couriers and logistics services usually deliver parcels and packages using their own vehicles. So they would be held responsible for any delay in the final delivery—which of course they avoid at all times. It is safe to say that WooCommerce shipping services can easily get your package to your customers on or before the estimated delivery date and time.

Security

Package security is another area where the WooCommerce shipping services excel. With courier agents handling the packages personally, it is exponentially less likely for the items inside to get damaged or lost in between the delivery process. Shipping couriers pay even more attention to the packages that are insured.

Economical

Since these couriers handle a lot of shipments each day, the overall maintenance and operation cost is less. Which is why, for example, UPS Ground is the most famous shipping service provided by UPS. UPS Ground service offer rather cheap shipping charges and most businesses use it to deliver their orders to their customers. Just to give you a number to show how cheap exactly, it takes about $8 for UPS Ground to ship a small package from New York to Atlanta, Georgia.

Ease of Use

The fact is that the locality of courier services make them more accessible and accountable to their customers. Using courier services is easier when they are easy to contact, and your delivery order can be specified. You don’t have to navigate the hassles of climbing over hurdles with larger national chains or other types of delivery services.

Coming back to WooCommerce, there are some really good WooCommerce shipping plugins which provide exceptional shipping experience with best-in-class features. Following are the carrier-specific shipping plugins offered by PluginHive.

  • WooCommerce UPS Shipping Plugin with Print Label
  • WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugin with Print Label
  • WooCommerce Canada Post Shipping Plugin with Print Label
  • WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping Plugin—UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and Stamps.com USPS
  • WooCommerce Royal Mail Shipping Plugin with Tracking

But before we go ahead and see how they work, it’s better to understand their features first. This way you can compare each one of them and choose the right one for your online store.

  • Real-time shipping rates— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Multi-Carrier, Royal Mail
  • Shipment tracking capability— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail
  • Shipping label printing option— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post
  • Box packing— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail, Multi-Carrier
  • International shipping— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail (using Parcelforce), Multi-Carrier
  • Freight shipping— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post
  • Pickup & Insurance— UPS, FedEx, Canada Post

If you’d like to know more features, you can check out each one of them.


Let’s check out the basic features of these plugins and see them working in action. And since almost all the plugins are somewhat similar and offer similar features, let’s begin with the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping plugin.

Displaying Domestic Shipping rates

As we had explained earlier in the article, domestic shipping allows you to ship items within states or country. In order to set up the plugin for domestic shipping, you need to perform the following steps.

Step 1: Install and activate the plugin on your website. Please refer the documentation for the complete process.

Step 2: Once done, Open your WordPress Dashboard and then click on WooCommerce→Settings→Shipping→FedEx.

Step 3: As soon as you enter the plugin settings, you need to enable the Real-time shipping rates in order to see the shipping rates on the Cart/Checkout page.

Note: Please refer to the complete Setting-up documentation in order to correctly configure the plugin. You also need to get your FedEx account details (Account number, Meter Number, Services Key, Services Password) in order to make the plugin work accordingly.

So now that you’re ready, you need to go to the Cart page and enter any domestic address. Have a look at the image below.

woocommerce_fedex_shipping

As you can see all the necessary domestic shipping services are being displayed on the Cart page. The shipping rates for the respective shipping services along with the estimated delivery dates are also displayed on the Cart page.

Now if you don’t want to display all the WooCommerce shipping services and instead would like to show one or two, then you can configure that in the settings page of the plugin. You just need to disable the services that are not required as shown in the image below.

fedex_rates

Now let’s see what modifications you can do to your products. Once you go to the Edit Product page, you would find the following options.

product-settings

Here you can mention things like the HF Tariff Number, county of manufacture, Select special services (Alcohol), Alcohol Recipient type (if Alcohol is selected), Dangerous Goods, etc., These options help you legally ship alcohol and wines via FedEx services, and also pack dry ice to ship frozen items in FedEx boxes. You can more about these options in the Setting up documentation.

Displaying International Shipping rates

The international shipping rates also work in a similar fashion. If you have the international services enabled, your customers should be able to see the services along with the WooCommerce shipping rates on the Cart page like before. Have a look at the image when an international destination is entered.

fedex_international

Printing the shipping labels

Now let’s explore another feature of the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping plugin—printing shipping labels. You need to go to the plugin settings page and set up the label printing option. Please refer to the setting up documentation again to see how to do that.

Let’s go ahead and print the WooCommerce shipping label for the following order. As you can see in the image below, the FedEx shipping service is attached along with the order.

woocommerce_order

If you scroll down below, you would be able to find the FedEx option where you could generate the packages. You can automate this process, and for that, you need to configure it inside the plugin.

fedex_generate

As soon as you click on that option, you would find options where you can add additional packages or change the shipping service. And once you click on the Create shipment option, the plugin will display the following options to print the WooCommerce shipping labels.

create_shipment

Here’s a sample WooCommerce shipping label which you could attach to your package.

fedex_shipping_label

Order/shipment tracking

As soon as you create the shipment, you would see that the tracking information is automatically filled in the shipment tracking option as shown in the image below.

fedex_order_tracking

This tracking information will also be sent to the customer via the Order completion email generated by WooCommerce. Customers can click on the tracking link and directly go to the tracking page on FedEx.

Here are some amazing articles that you should check to see this plugin working.

  1. Create And Ship WooCommerce Custom Product Assortments via FedEx
  2. Volumetric Weight Based Shipping
  3. How to handle Shipping with FedEx Non-Standard Packages?
  4. Understanding FedEx WooCommerce Shipping Plugin Packing Methods
  5. Generating Bulk Shipping Labels Made Easy

You can also check out a few other guides on the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugins documentation page.

Other shipping plugins like the WooCommerce UPS Shipping, WooCommerce Canada Post Shipping, and WooCommerce Royal Mail Shipping plugins work in a similar way. The only exception is the Royal Mail plugin where you don’t get the print shipping label option as it’s not provided by the Royal Mail API.

Offering multiple shipping options with WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin

You can offer multiple shipping options from shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and Stamps.com USPS. For that, you need to define the shipping rules in the Multi-Carrier plugin. And to be specific, you can set the shipping rates based on the rules based on Country, State, Post Code, Product Category, Shipping Class, Product Weight, Shipping Company, and Shipping Service.

You can either create the shipping rules outside and then import it using the CSV upload feature. You can check out this guide to see how to do that. Here is a sample of shipping rules including the shipping carriers—UPS, FedEx, and USPS.

multi-carrier_shipping

As you can see, you can set rules based on parameters like the area list, shipping class, product category, etc., and choose the appropriate shipping options and services. Here’s how the Cart page would like if you enter an item in it.

multi-carrier_cart

Here are some amazing use cases where you can use the WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin to implement your business case. Please go through all of them.

  1. Allow Customers to choose Shipping Service from Different Carriers
  2. Save Shipping Cost by providing USPS Flat Rate for Lighter Products and UPS for Heavier Shipments
  3. Add Extra Charges to the Shipping Rates
  4. How to Order Shipping Options from Least Expensive to Most Expensive?
  5. How to select a shipping method based on the total weight of the cart, USPS for under 10 LBS and UPS for the rest?

You can check out more in the WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping Plugin documentation page.

Table Rate/Conditional Shipping

Table rate shipping, most commonly known as conditional shipping, is one of the most advanced ways of configuring WooCommerce shipping on your online store. This special kind of WooCommerce shipping practice will give you supreme control over the shipping and how your products behave on the Cart page. And the best part is you don’t have to be a genius to put two and two together. The plugin is really easy to use once you get the hang of it.

With the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro, you can set up rules in order to calculate the shipping rates for a combination of conditions. If the user’s cart matches the conditions in the rule, the WooCommerce shipping cost you have defined in that rule is applied.

The plugin allows you to set and define the shipping rules based on the following parameters.

  • Product/Order Total Weight
  • Product Quantity in Cart
  • Total Price of all Products in Cart
  • Different Product Categories
  • WooCommerce Shipping Classes
  • WooCommerce Shipping Zones
  • Destination Country
  • Destination Address Fields such as City and State
  • Different ZIP Codes

You can also set the things like per-product shipping and bundled rate shipping using the add-ons. The table rate shipping plugin works like the WooCommerce Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin mentioned before. The only difference is that you don’t have to select any shipping service or shipping option.

Now let’s take two examples and see how the plugin works in general.

Shipping based on City

Let us consider the shipping scenario where a store owner, Sam, wants to run an online electronics store. Most of his customers are from the three cities of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. So to promote sales further, Sam wants to provide Free Shipping to all his customers in those cities. Now let us see how WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro deals with this situation.

WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro has a number of matrix columns based on which it allows customers to configure shipping rates. It offers a dedicated matrix column to the name of the city where the store owner wants to ship. The only difference is that unlike other columns such as Country, State, etc, City column doesn’t have a list. The store owner has to write the name of the cities in that column.

table rate example

So based on Sam’s scenario the shipping rules will be something like this,

Sam's shipping rules

Based on this information we can easily configure the shipping rules using WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro. And once configured, the above-mentioned shipping rules will be applied in WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro in a manner similar to the image below.

Sam's shipping rules in plugin table

The above image clearly shows the shipping rules mentioned for the cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Also, since Sam requires standard shipping for the rest of the cities, he will have to keep the city field blank for that rule. By default, that rule will be applicable to all the cities in UAE.

One more thing worth noticing is that since those three cities are also in UAE, the standard shipping will also apply to them. To avoid such a scenario, the shipping rules in WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro need to be configured in such a way that if multiple rules are matched, the rule with minimum shipping value must be selected.

Have a look at the following video:

Shipping based on per item

Let’s consider the example of Joe, who owns an online retail store based in California, US. Joe has a variety of products which he sells across the country. But to keep the demand going, and his customers happy, he has found a way that will make him the first choice when it comes to his customers. According to Joe, his top customers purchase products in bulk.

Most of the time they have to face a heavy shipping price. But Joe is planning to counter that with a solution that will allow him to personalize his WooCommerce shipping cost per item, and not per weight.

According to Joe, he wants his customers to pay shipping cost based on the following factors:

  • Free Shipping if there is only one product in the cart.
  • The shipping cost of $10 up to 3 items in the cart.
  • The shipping cost of $15 up to 5 items in the cart.
  • Up to 10 items shipping will be charged $24.
  • If the cart contains more than 10 items then the shipping will be charged like $30 fixed and $0.5 per additional item. 

Now let’s check out how this shipping scenario can be configured using WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro plugin.

As discussed, WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro allows WooCommerce store owners to configure shipping rates based on so many factors. In the plugin settings, you can easily find Matrix Columns containing all the factors based on which shipping can be configured. Take a look at the matrix columns below.

table_rate_shipping_example

The matrix column named Item is clearly visible among all the others. Along with this, you need to select the Rate Based On matrix column. This will allow shipping rates to be modified based on factors like weight, price and the number of items in the cart. Apart from these two columns, you need to select other columns as Method title, Method Group, Base Cost and Cost per Unit. Once these are selected, all you need to do is create shipping rules based on your preference.

Take a look at the shipping rules configured using WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro for Joe’s shipping scenario.

Table rate rules

It is clearly visible that the WooCommerce shipping rules are placed in one group so that under no circumstances, more than one shipping cost is shown to the customers. Also, it’s pretty easy to configure the whole scenario. You have check out the following video to see it working.

Here are some amazing articles that you should check to see this plugin working.

  1. Setting Minimum Shipping Cost for Various WooCommerce Shipping Methods
  2. Setting A Default Product Weight and Dimensions To Ship Your Products
  3. Allow Customers to Choose between Pickup Option and Shipping
  4. Calculate Shipping Cost Per Quantity of Products
  5. Calculate Shipping Rates for Different Types of Product in the Cart

You can check out more in the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Pro documentation page.

Conclusion

There you have it! You can use this guide to set up WooCommerce shipping on your WooCommerce store. The WooCommerce Shipping plugins mentioned in this guide offer some of the most commendable features that can help you achieve any business case.

You can contact our customer support if you need any help or have any doubts about the plugin. The team will help you through and out so you don’t have to worry.


Do let me know in the comments how you feel about this article. I would love to hear from you.

Happy Selling!

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