WooCommerce Shipping – Everything You Need to Know

Last updated on October 31, 2021

Do you know that shipping alone can make or break your business? It is one of the most important aspects of an online business and a major contributor to cart abandonment rate, if not properly managed. If you think once a customer has clicked on the “buy now” button, the job is done? You are completely wrong. The process from checkout to the shipping page needs to be optimized and strategized to complete the shopping process. Thus, we are going to provide you with tips and tricks to elevate your WooCommerce shipping experience -rates and methods.

Questions like shipping charges, delivery days, shipping method, and courier service are very important for your customers. Either one of these could lead your customers to abandon their carts at the last moment. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, a proper WooCommerce shipping strategy is important, discussing rates, methods, etc.

Let’s discuss in detail what your WooCommerce shipping rates strategy should include.

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Offer Flexible Delivery

The more customized your shipping process is for your customers, the better will be your traffic and sales. We cannot state the importance of shipping highly enough. But you all must have experienced similar scenarios when shopping online, “you like a product, add it to cart, fill out the information at checkout page, but when you notice the additional shipping charges, you abandoned your cart”. We have all done that, so you know that WooCommerce shipping rates can be impactful. 

Besides optimizing your shipping rates, other factors make a difference. For example, the courier service, the payment method, the shipping method, etc. Customers can request an address change, delayed delivery, urgent delivery, and much more. Your logistical operation should be able to handle all this without any hassle to improve customer satisfaction. 

It’s better to automate all these processes and offer flexibility rather than doing it manually to avoid errors. There are many WooCommerce shipping plugins available that can help you run a smooth logistic operation.

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Estimate the Shipping Cost

After flexibility, how you calculate your WooCommerce shipping rates is also important. If you have your warehouse and shipping service, then we suggest you follow the below guidelines precisely, but if you hire external companies to do pickup, packaging, and delivery for you, then make sure they have all the options listed below and at least the ones you need for your business.  

Below are the 5 key factors that will help you determine your shipping cost:

1. Location

woocommerce shipping rate estimation - location

Your customer location plays a huge role in shipping rate estimation. Depending on the audience you are catering to, national or international, your prices and services will vary. Nowadays, the eCommerce market is booming and if you do not provide the services to all your customers, chances are they can get it from somewhere else.

Thus, even for your international customers, provide flexibility. And for this you need to determine the handling costs, measuring units, payment type, international tax rules, labeling, customs duty, etc.  

2. Time


Whenever we order something online, we excitedly obsess over it and can’t wait to get it delivered. And that’s why timing is also a crucial factor of shipping. Depending on the purpose of the purchase, such as for a gift or personal use, the delivery time requirements change. Here your customer’s convenience is of utmost importance because if they receive the product later than expected, it would lead to a negative response. 

Thus, to avoid this, state delivery dates and times. Or let your customers choose from multiple pre-set options. Here, you have to coordinate with your shipping carriers.   

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3. Shipping Carrier

shipping carrier

Your WooCommerce shipping rate estimate will be determined by your shipping carriers and how much they charge you per delivery. Do they offer international delivery? Do they offer fixed rates for national deliveries or is the rate estimated by customer location and weight of the product? 

There are multiple shipping services available, such as USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc. and some businesses use more than one service to cover a wider area to cater to all their customers. Thus, this is an important decision and you need to find a carrier that covers all your areas and provides the most economical rates for you.

4. Weight 

woocommerce shipping rate estimation - weight

Your WooCommerce shipping rate is also dependent on the product weight. Depending on the type of product you sell, the weight can vary, and thus this changes the delivery charges for multiple shipping carriers. Now, you can either offer flat rates to your customers, ignoring product weight, or you can notify them on the checkout page and set a limit when extra shipping charges will be added.

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5. Product Handling

product handling

Depending on the type of product you sell, your shipping rates are also estimated based on how these products are handled and packaged. For example, your product needs to be refrigerated and sent in a sealed box to prevent spoilage if you are selling food items. Similarly, clothes, toys, jewellry, etc require bubble wrap, packing peanuts, boxes of different sizes, and much more to make sure your customers receive the order perfectly. 

The final shipping cost need not be dropped on your customers completely. As stated above, you can choose to charge your customers fixed rate shipping charges or divide the shipping charges into halves, handled by you and your customer. Or offer free shipping by incorporating the estimated shipping price into the product price.  

Different Pricing Options for Shipping

WooCommerce shipping rates

There are multiple pricing options that you can include in your WooCommerce shipping rate strategy to optimize the process. Your strategy needs to be a combination of the shipping carrier, pricing options, and shipping method, and one that provides you profit as well.

1. Live Rates

If you are using more than one shipping carrier for your store, then it’s beneficial to display live rates on your site. Live rates offer real-time calculations based on customer location, product weight, and delivery time. Customers have the option to choose from multiple choices and they can go for the costly or cheaper option depending on their needs. It also shows transparency and increases trust. 

Looking for the best WooCommerce Weight-Based Shipping plugins? Read the article.

2. Free Shipping

One of the most effective ways to increase sales and conversion rates on your site is by offering free shipping. Free shipping is great for attracting customers to your site but it does eat up your profit margins. This strategy is only profitable for a short period and thus needs to be advertised on your website and social media so that it gains attention. You can keep this up for a long period, by adding some of the cost in the product prices. 

3. Table Rates

By table rates, we mean a set of rules that you can customize according to your business. You can make a combination of rules and define different shipping charges for all of them, but your customers don’t get to choose, as they are pre-set. For example, set an order value limit after which delivery will be free. Or set lower charges for lighter weight, etc.  

4. Flat Rate

A flat rate refers to a fixed rate set on all deliveries regardless of product weight, delivery time, and customer location. This reduces the hassle of setting up different rules and regulations and you can just set the same rates for everyone, although this might affect your profit margin but helps speed up your delivery process. 

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5. Bulk/Weight Shipping

Many businesses also set shipping rates on their WooCommerce store based on order weight. This is especially beneficial for businesses that sell multiple products varying in sizes and thus the shipping charges vary. You can also set different shipping rates for bulk orders and set an amount over which charges will be added or reduced.

Many businesses use a combination of these above-mentioned shipping rates strategies rather than just sticking with one. 

Final Words

There is a lot that goes into creating the perfect WooCommerce shipping rate strategy, such as methods, carrier, pricing, taxation, printing labels, settings delivery rules, and much more. If all of this is maintained and properly carried out, you would have an optimized shipping process and it would help in increasing sales and conversions

Editorial Team
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