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How to Setup Woocommerce Shipping (Options, Zones, and Best Practices for 2022)
Lightning-fast, reliable, accurate shipping is one of the hallmarks of today’s most successful eCommerce brands. And fortunately, if you’re setting up an online shop with WooCommerce, you’ll have an easy time creating customized shipping requirements, zones, pricing, and more.
So how does it all work?
Check out this post for a beginner’s guide to setting up shipping for your WooCommerce store.
How to Setup WooCommerce Shipping
To start the process of shipping with WooCommerce, you’ll first need to install the WooCommerce plugin within your eCommerce website.
Navigate to Plugins on your online store platform, click Add New and then type in “WooCommerce.” From here, click Install Now, then Activate Now.
Consider backing up your website data before moving onto the next step. Then, head to the WooCommerce button within your sidebar menu to get started. Select Settings and Shipping to start customizing your shipping requirements and pricing.
WooCommerce Shipping Options
WooCommerce has three built-in shipping options, including Flat Rate, Free Shipping, and Local Pickup. Once you’ve designated your shipping zones, you can choose corresponding shipping methods for each zone. To do so, select Add Shipping Method, then choose one of the three options.
Not sure which shipping method is best for you? Here’s what you should know about each option:
Flat rate shipping is a convenient method for both customers and merchants. With this option, you can choose one set shipping rate for everything in your store—so both you and your customers always know the price. (The downside of the option is that customers might sometimes end up paying more for shipping than they otherwise might have. And of course, free shipping is always the most desirable option.)
In today’s world, free shipping is in high demand. In fact, many customers have come to expect this shipping option — and they’ll shop elsewhere if you don’t offer it. Luckily, you can quickly learn how to offer free shipping in WooCommerce. Within the platform, you can offer free shipping on all orders, after a customer spends a minimum amount, or when the customer enters a coupon code.
Local pickup allows a customer to come to a physical location and pick up the product. They don’t have to be local to your warehouse—instead, you can pay for a storing location (similar to Amazon lockers) and use a shipment service to get your products to that location.
WooCommerce Shipping Zones
Navigate to the Shipping Zones tab to organize your shipping by country, region, or other geographic zone. From here, you can add a corresponding shipping method and rate for each zone.
Here’s how to get started:
Adding New Zones
From the Shipping Zones tab, select Add Shipping Zone. Type in a Zone Name and then add a Zone Region, either from the dropdown menu or by using the search option. Click Add Shipping Method, and choose from Flat Rate, Free Shipping, or Local Pickup.
Click Add Shipping Method. (You can add more than one shipping method per zone.)
Managing and Editing Current Zones
Once you’ve chosen shipping methods for each new zone, you can manage and edit those zones by navigating to the Shipping Methods section and clicking the Edit button under each method.
Then you can add detailed requirements for each shipping method, including tax status and cost, or percentage-based fees.
Creating a WooCommerce Shipping Strategy
A modern shipping strategy doesn’t come together overnight. Instead, take time to carefully understand the goals and needs of your company, then run through all of the possible options to find the best fit for both your business and your customers.
Understand Your Goals and Needs
The first step in creating an effective WooCommerce shipping strategy is to identify your business objectives. What do you want to accomplish with your shipping? Are you trying to reduce costs, boost customer satisfaction—or a combination of both? Consider your margins and customer expectations, compare rates, and consider other global factors that may affect your strategy.
Install Shipping Extensions
With a clear understanding of your shipping goals, you can move forward with your strategy by adding WooCommerce shipping extensions. WooCommerce offers a wide range of extensions that improve the flexibility and customization of your shipping strategy.
Here are a few of the most popular options:
- Table rates: WooCommerce Advanced Shipping allows you to offer table rate shipping, with complex rules and conditions.
- Live rates: Increase transparency, visibility, and customer trust by showing customers the real-time cost of shipping.
- Flexible shipping: Add a table diagram that highlights different shipping rates based on factors like weight and dimensions.
- USPS shipping: This extension allows you to calculate shipping costs based on real-time USPS rates.
Adjust Shipping Settings
Under the Shipping Settings tab, you can customize rules related to Shipping zones, Shipping options, and Shipping classes. For example, you can enable the shipping calculator on the cart page, hide shipping costs until a customer has entered their address, or force shipping to the customer billing address. Use these customization options to better serve the needs of your customers and tailor your shipping strategy to your business goals.
Run Pre-Launch Tests
Even minor shipping errors can have serious consequences, causing you to lose money, customer loyalty, and your good reputation.For this reason, it’s always wise to run pre-launch tests before your shipping settings go live. Even if you’re already familiar with WooCommerce shipping, it won’t hurt to make sure your shipping fees, zones, and methods are all correct.
WooCommerce Fulfillment Options
You have three main options when it comes to WooCommerce order fulfillment: in-house, outsourcing, and dropshipping. Each of these options has their own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each before deciding.
Here’s what you should know about each type of fulfillment:
With in-house order fulfillment, you pick and pack all of your own shipments. This option gives you full control over the WooCommerce fulfillment process and makes it easy to customize shipping options—but it can get overwhelming and leave room for error as you grow your business.
Outsourcing order fulfillment to a WooCommerce third-party fulfillment (3PL) partner can help you raise your bottom line, improve the customer service experience, and scale your business. Some of the most popular WooCommerce 3PL shipping plugins include Shipbuddies, Adstral, and Red Stag.
WooCommerce dropshipping suppliers like AliDropShip and WooDropShip make it easy to open and scale an eCommerce store quickly, since you don’t have to worry about storing inventory, packaging, etc.
How to Offer Package Tracking and Order Insurance
With your WooCommerce shipping set up, it’s time to take your shipping strategy to the next level. By offering package teaching and order insurance, you’ll give customers the peace of mind and post-purchase engagement they expect.
Route is compatible with WooCommerce, Magneto, Shopify, and other online stores, giving you an easy way to provide real-time shipping notifications and branded tracking experiences. As a free, user-friendly alternative to FedEx or USPS shipping insurance, Route allows you to give customers the modern package tracking they crave.