E-commerce Tools & Best Practices

Top WooCommerce Shipping Methods for E-commerce Businesses

By: Michelle McNamara | May 16, 2019

There are many WooCommerce shipping methods you can use in order to charge your customers the right shipping price for their items at checkout. The more items you sell, the more complex your shipping setup will be.

Today we’ll go through the list of WooCommerce shipping methods for setting up the shipping rates charged at checkout. We’ll start with the most basic and work our way to the most complex method for charging for shipping.

Keep in mind that once you’ve set up your shipping rates in WooCommerce, you’ll still want to find a WooCommerce shipping plugin like Shippo that allows you to manage orders, compare rates, and print shipping labels.

Without further ado, here’s our top WooCommerce shipping methods for every type of e-commerce store.

Option 1: Set a Flat Rate Fee for Shipping

The easiest way to set up shipping costs is by charging a flat rate, no matter where the buyer is located or what is in the buyer’s cart. Keep in mind that this flat rate will often be far from the rate your carrier charges you for shipping, so you’ll need to pay or pocket the difference.

This can be done by creating one shipping zone for all locations and then listing the price you want to charge for shipping. See the next option for more information.

Option 2: Start by Setting Up Your WooCommerce Shipping Zones

We recommend setting up shipping Zones, since this will allow you to charge more accurate rates based on where your customer is located.

WooCommerce shipping Zones are a building block for many of the other WooCommerce shipping methods below, but you can also simply add your shipping Zones and stop there if your cart typically consists of only one item.

In our tutorial, we’ll help you figure out if setting shipping Zones is right for your WooCommerce store, and if so, how to determine a great shipping rate. We’ll show you how to set up your shipping Zones with accurate rates, and how to generate labels with a shipping software that guarantees some of the best shipping rates out there for WooCommerce stores.

Option 3: Create WooCommerce Shipping Classes

If you have more than one type of product, but your customers only buy one item at a time, then you can consider implementing WooCommerce Shipping Classes. This allows you to identify your different types of products and assign a different shipping price for each item.

In this seven step tutorial, you’ll learn how to add product groupings and assign them to the appropriate shipping classes, how to determine and set every product’s shipping rate, and how to include your own shipping information in WooCommerce.

Option 4: Set Up WooCommerce Quantity-Based Shipping

If you have a business model that encourages customers to make multiple purchases of the same product every time they shop, we recommend adjusting shipping rates based on the amount of items customers purchase. In the WooCommerce world, this means set up WooCommerce quantity-based shipping.

Once you set up your shipping Zones and get your list of USPS shipping rates (see the tutorials above), we’ll help you figure out the difference in costs between shipping one item and shipping several items. It’s not always as obvious as you might think. Then, we’ll help you create a shipping rule that helps to ensure you won’t lose money on shipping costs.

Option 5: Use the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Plugin

If you’re looking to sell multiple types of products at the same time—for example, you want customers to buy a couple of towels plus a bar of soap—then learning how to set up your WooCommerce shipping for a varied shopping cart is important.

To WooCommerce’s credit, they know that setting up your shipping rates can be complicated, so they developed a plugin called WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping.

The plugin makes it really easy to set a wealth of shipping rate options based on a variety of criteria, including weight, item count, product price or shipping location.

How Much Does the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Plugin Cost?

The WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping plugin is sold on an annual subscription basis. This is how much it costs per year:

  • One site: $99
  • Five sites: $149
  • 25 sites: $299

The price includes one year of support and updates.

Is the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping Plugin Right For My Business?

The plugin is very easy to use, and will undoubtedly make your life easier, especially if you’re not a techie.

You’ll need to figure out shipping rates and rules on your own (use our simple tutorials above for some guidance), but at least you won’t have to manually insert any math equations or do any coding.

WooCommerce offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s worth giving it a shot if you think it might make sense for your needs.

Option 6: Hire a WooCommerce Developer

If you have the budget, and don’t want to deal with all the complexities of setting up shipping rates for your store, consider hiring a WooCommerce developer who can set up your shipping for you, so you can focus on growing your store.

Where Can I Find a High-quality WooCommerce Developer?

WooCommerce has hand-selected WooCommerce experts for you, so feel free to use their list. Besides the fact that they verified these experts for you, they also list every business’ rates and what’s the minimum project fee they’ll take on. There’s a range of services and prices offered there, starting at $45/hour, but the list is relatively short, which makes it simple to go through.

That said, remember that cost isn’t everything when hiring a developer.

How Do I Hire a Developer?

Check out this podcast episode (and transcript) where entrepreneur Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, shares the mistakes he made when hiring his first developer, and what he recommends you do differently, so you don’t end up losing $10,000 like he did. It’s not specific to WooCommerce, but you’ll still gain a lot of great insights to help you make smarter hiring decisions.

If you need extra tips, this is another useful guide to hiring developers if you’re not a developer yourself. Among others, it includes an explanation on how to test developers’ skills even though you can’t write code.

How to Choose the Best WooCommerce Shipping Method for Your Store

If you’re looking to offer varied shopping carts–as in, allow customers to order different types of products, or products that weigh differently, at once–then the final two options are the best for you. Try the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping plugin if you have a limited budget, or hire a developer if you have the money but not the time.

If your store only offers products that weigh more or less the same, consider using our above tutorials to figure out shipping pricing that will be a win-win for you and your customers.

Michelle McNamara

Senior Marketing Manager at Shippo

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