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WooCommerce Shipping Options - The Complete Guide in 2024

By James LePage
 on June 13, 2022

WooCommerce Shipping Options - The Complete Guide in 2024

By James LePage
 on June 13, 2022

Selling products, services, or even digital downloads has never been easier than with the use of WooCommerce in conjunction with WordPress. Using WooCommerce as your online storefront plugin is a way for you to quickly begin selling any type of goods right from your own home, even if you are not experienced with programming and development yourself. If you are using WooCommerce for your own store, you will need to determine how you will be shipping the goods you sell to your customers.

Understanding the shipping methods available with WooCommerce as well as plugins available for WooCommerce to help streamline the shipping and calculation processes can help get your store up and running as quickly as possible. 

Types of WooCommerce Shipping Options

When using WooCommerce to build your eCommerce storefront, it is important to keep in mind that WooCommerce offers three main shipping settings apart from additional available WooCommerce extensions.

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Core shipping options (added via "shipping zones") can help you to manage the overall shipping choices for your customers while also streamlining the shipping management at the backend of your site. 

1. Free Shipping

One option to choose from that removes all obstacles when handling shipping is to choose to offer free shipping. Offering free shipping is possible on all orders or by setting specific requirements or parameters. If you are interested in offering free shipping to those who spend a certain amount or for those who purchase a particular product, you can do so in your shipping settings by updating the "Free shipping requires" section.

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If you are thinking of offering a free shipping coupon, you can also do so with WordPress and WooCommerce. Once you are logged into the WordPress administrator area of your website, select "WooCommerce" from the left sidebar, followed by "Coupons". From this area, you can create your coupon(s).

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Before completing the coupon creation, verify that the "Allow free shipping" box is checked. This will ensure that any user who enters that coupon directly will immediately qualify for free shipping on their entire order. 

2. Flat Rate Shipping

One of the most popular settings available when it comes to managing shipping options for a WooCommerce storefront is to select Flat Rate Shipping.

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Flat Rate Shipping will allow you to charge for shipping based on specific shipping classes you have set or even by setting a standard shipping rate per item that you sell. 

Before choosing the Flat Rate Shipping option for your storefront, consider the type of items and products you sell and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Are all of the products and goods I sell the same size?
  • Do I require special packaging and shipping materials to ship my inventory?
  • Am I offering flat rate shipping to those in my native country, or internationally? 
  • Should I charge a flat shipping price for the entire order, or per item?
  • How much will charging a flat rate shipping price impact my overall sales and profits?  

3. Local Pickup

Do you have a local storefront that stores your inventory available? If so, you can also choose to offer a Local Pickup option for customers who live near your distribution center or your current store itself. Depending on your store's setup and your business model, offering a local pickup can significantly increase the amount of business you receive, especially if your products are in demand locally and regionally. 

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If you choose to offer a local pickup as an option, your customers will have the ability to select this as a choice while they are in the process of checking out. No additional shipping charges will be calculated or added to a customer's estimated total if they choose the local pickup option. It is important to convey the exact location of your customer's pickups, especially if you receive online orders from all around the country or the globe. 

4. Charging Per Product

It is also possible to calculate shipping costs for your customers automatically by charging a specific shipping price per product. To get started with the process of charging per product, the following steps must be taken: 

Create Shipping Classes

You will first need to create shipping classes using the backend administrator area of your WooCommerce store. Once you are logged in, visit the Settings > Shipping > Shipping Classes section of your administrative area.

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Select "Add Shipping Class" to create various shipping classes for products based on their size, the type of product you are offering, and even the estimated cost of the item to ship based on special packaging or the need for packaging peanuts and/or bubble wrap. 

Add Shipping Methods and Shipping Zones

Set up your shipping zones by accessing the Shipping Zone area from your WordPress admin area.

Click WooCommerce > Shipping > Shipping Zones to begin adding specific shipping zones. Select "Add Shipping Zone".

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Enter the areas that you ship to and choose from the default shipping methods to set up each shipping zone independently. Setting up shipping zones independently will prevent confusion and will also help to streamline the onboarding and checkout process when shopping on your website.

Setting Shipping Classes Per Product

It is also possible to set your created shipping classes to automatically register for specific products you have for sale. To do so, complete the following steps:

  • Open your product list
  • Select the product you want to add a new shipping method to
  • From the Product Data tab, select the Shipping tab. 
  • Designate which shipping class is appropriate for the product.
  • Select Save to commit to the changes.
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You can also edit the shipping classes for products you are selling in bulk.

  • Open your product list.
  • Select the product(s) you wish to assign shipping classes to
  • Select Edit from the 'Bulk Actions' dropdown menu
  • Choose the appropriate shipping class for the product(s) you have selected from the dropdown menu that appears
  • Select Save to commit to the changes.

Shipping Details

Familiarizing yourself with the various WooCommerce shipping options that are available can help you to set up your own shop without the hassle. When you are familiar with the core shipping options available for your products or your entire online storefront, you can then begin to dive into the advanced WooCommerce settings when it comes to your shipping settings. If you have a robust store, multiple shipping zones, or if you have numerous shipping classes, learning how to manage your shipping settings is essential. 

Advanced Shipping Settings (WooCommerce)

When working with WooCommerce and WordPress to run an eCommerce store, learning which shipping settings you have available to you can go a long way while setting up and launching your store for the world to see. Some of the advanced shipping settings available with WooCommerce include setting up specific shipping zones, shipping based on weight and/or dimensions, and even the ability to charge additional shipping fees.

If you are unsure of the type of shipping settings you should use for your own WooCommerce store, spend some time researching top competitors and alternative storefronts in your industry online. Immersing yourself in online stores that are similar to your own can also provide insight into what type of shipping options and solutions work best for the audience you intend to reach.

Consider the demographics you are targeting, the income level of your customers, as well as their potential willingness to pick up their order when determining the shipping settings that are right for your storefront and online presence.  Trying different options over time can also help you to find the most suitable and profitable shipping solution. 

Shipping Weight and Dimensions

Managing your shipping zones and shipping settings from the WordPress and WooCommerce admin sections is simple and easily accessible. From this section, you can also manage shipping products based on weight and the dimensions of the boxes or packages you intend to ship. 

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If you choose to calculate shipping costs based on weight, you can do it in pounds, grams, ounces, as well as kilograms. If you are measuring the dimensions of packages or products that you intend to ship, you can do so in inches, yards, centimeters, meters, or millimeters, depending on your preferences as well as the audience or region(s) you are targeting. 

Basic Shipping Zones

When using WordPress and WooCommerce to host your online store, it is important to remember that when you set up your basic shipping zones, there are two zones that will always be created automatically: The United States and "Everywhere Else". You can choose to create numerous shipping zones based on where you intend to ship to as well as estimated costs. It is also possible to set fixed prices to cover shipping costs based on specific products you have in stock.

It is also possible to offer live shipping rates from some shipping carriers, depending on where you are located as well as the shipping zones and regions you intend to ship to once you launch. 

Shipping Class

Setting up shipping classes is one of the most effective methods of managing your sales and shipments, especially if you sell a variety of products with different weights and dimensions. Setting up shipping classes based on product types can also help to streamline the process of checking out without requiring a live shipment calculator. When you have shipping classes set up for each of the product types you have in your inventory, you can eliminate the manual labor and guesswork involved in ensuring you calculate the appropriate shipping cost for each item you sell.

Choosing to set up shipping classes is a way to minimize manual labor and work while allowing you to focus on other aspects of building and growing your online storefront.  

WooCommerce Shipping Extensions

One of the perks of using WooCommerce is the ability to integrate a range of plugins and extensions with various apps, providers, and even shipping carriers from around the world. WooCommerce has a library of extensions available to help with setting up your online storefront as you see fit. Some of the most notable extensions available for WooCommerce that help with managing shipping and shipping costs include: 

  1. Local Pickup Plus: Allow customers to choose a date and time to pick up the product(s) they purchased from your online store. You can also use this to keep track of reservations as well as the overall foot traffic you receive with local pickup orders versus the online orders you receive that require shipping. 
  2. Order Delivery: Allow customers to select a delivery date and time during checkout. Be sure to inform your customers of all of your delivery options, timeframes, and delivery fees (if applicable) to prevent confusion. 
  3. Per Product Shipping: Include per-product shipping and combine shipping fees automatically for customers before they complete their purchase.
  4. WooCommerce Distance Rate Shipping: Shipping rates can be calculated based on time and/or distance.
  5. Postcode/Address Validation: Validate the address and/or postcode of a customer who places a delivery order.
  6. Shipping Multiple Addresses: Customers have the ability to ship products to more than one address while checking out with one singular order with the Shipping Multiple Addresses extension. 
  7. WooCommerce Advanced Shipping Packages: Offer customers the option to split their carts when shopping online. When a customer chooses to split their carts, they can use different shipping options for each cart individually. 
  8. Shipment Tracking: Allow customers to track the shipment of any order they place using your online store.
  9. WooCommerce Shipping: Use WooCommerce Shipping to directly print labels for shipping from USPS. You can manage all of your shipping needs with WooCommerce Shipping and USPS.
  10. WooCommerce Print Invoices and Packing Lists: Automatically generate packing slips, lists, and invoices from one central convenient location. 

Finding the best WooCommerce shipping plugin and setting your shipping options up properly can go a long way when it comes to garnering visitors and generating sales with your online storefront. By better understanding all of the options you have when it comes to setting up your WooCommerce store, you can ensure your online presence is set up exactly as you wish before publishing it live for the world to see. 

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Article By
James LePage
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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic, a WordPress education company and digital agency. He is also the founder of CodeWP.ai, a venture backed startup bringing AI to WordPress creators.
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