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A Guide to Ecommerce Shipping

Written by Suzi Siegel on January 25, 2023 Blog, Shipping.

When someone clicks the “purchase” button on your site, you’ve made it across the finish line, right? Almost. Now you need a seamless ecommerce shipping process to keep the sale and win customers for life. 

Use this guide to determine a strategy that delights shoppers all the way through the sales funnel, from the time they add your product to their cart to its arrival on their doorstep. Creating the right shipping processes is an essential foundation for building a successful store — kind of like understanding the basics of ecommerce accounting. With shipping, there’s plenty of room for fun, creative touches that delight customers.

Shipping fulfillment options for your store

Shipping fulfillment isn’t just packing up an order and dropping it off at the post office. Many steps are involved in the delivery process. It starts with determining costs, printing labels and choosing packaging, and continues with providing tracking and status updates, completing delivery, and managing customer service. 

Shipping fulfillment can get quite complex, so the first thing you’ll want to determine when developing your ecommerce shipping strategy is who will be responsible for fulfilling your orders. Will you fulfill them yourself? Will they ship direct from the manufacturer or wholesaler? Or will you contract with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to handle all your ecommerce order fulfillment?

Let’s take a look at the options and walk through some of the pros and cons of each.

1. Ship orders yourself

If you’re a small business that makes products in-house, you may find it easiest to ship directly from your own offices or warehouse. This can be more cost-effective, especially if you’re keeping your inventory in your own home or office, but it does require more work to manage.

There are advantages and disadvantages to managing order shipments for your online store yourself.

Pros of shipping orders yourself:

  • You have complete control over the ecommerce shipping process and can customize it to your needs.
  • You can save money on shipping costs by shopping around for the best rates or use a service like WooCommerce Shipping that takes care of it for you.
  • You can build relationships with customers by hand-writing thank you notes or including small gifts in their orders.

Cons of shipping orders yourself:

  • Shipping can be time-consuming, particularly if you have a high volume of orders.
  • You may need to invest in shipping supplies and equipment, such as boxes, labels, and tape.
  • You might need to hire additional staff to manage inventory and shipping as your store grows or when you experience a spike in orders, like during the holiday shopping season.

2. Ship orders using a dropshipping service

If you’re operating an ecommerce store that sells products that you don’t design or manufacture, you might opt for using a dropshipping service. Dropshipping can be a great option for stores that are just starting out, or that don’t have the volume to justify their own shipping operation. 

Instead of ordering goods wholesale and storing them in your own warehouse while you wait for orders to come in, you could have your suppliers ship them directly to the customer. If your current suppliers don’t offer this option, you might shop around for companies that make the same, or comparable, products and contract with them to ship orders directly.

illustration of the dropshipping process

Dropshipping can be a great ecommerce shipping fulfillment strategy for big businesses, too. Wayfair got its start as a dropshipping-only business and expanded to using their own warehouses in addition to still using the dropshipping model. Houzz, a competitor of Wayfair, still uses the dropshipping model exclusively. Last year Houzz made $500 million in revenue. Not too shabby for a company that doesn’t design, manufacture, or ship anything it sells. 

Using a dropshipping service has its benefits, but it also has some downsides. We’ll go over the pros and cons of dropshipping so you can make the best decision for your business.

Pros of dropshipping:

  • It’s low-cost. You don’t need to invest in inventory upfront, and you don’t need to staff your own shipping operation.
  • You can be more flexible with the products you sell. You can easily adjust your product offering as needed, and you’re not tied to a specific inventory. This can give you the ability to quickly respond to changes in demand.

Cons of dropshipping:

  • You have less control over the types of products you offer. If you want customized products, you’ll probably need to consider print on demand or place wholesale orders with manufacturers.
  • You have less control over the quality of your products. When you’re Dropshipping, you’re relying on the supplier to provide quality products. If they don’t meet your standards, it can reflect poorly on your business.
  • Longer and less reliable shipping times might be frustrating for customers and lead to lost sales. Because you’re relying on a third party to handle shipping, there’s always the potential for delays. If you’re using multiple dropshipping companies, products in an order may arrive in different packages on different days, leading to customer confusion and increased customer support tickets.
  • Shipping issues can take longer to resolve. When you ship products yourself or use one 3PL company, you can respond to customer service issues more quickly. If you’re working with several dropshipping companies, you might have delays in communication that extend the amount of time it takes to resolve a customer complaint.

3. Ship orders with a third-party logistics (3PL) service

If you’re a company that orders multiple products from manufacturers, but don’t have the time, money, or resources to do your own warehousing, you might contract with a third-party logistics provider to handle all your ecommerce shipping.

This can be a good solution if you don’t have the storage space or capability to ship yourself, but it can be more expensive for smaller businesses, depending on your average volume of sales.

Some pros and cons of using a 3PL fulfillment service include:

Pros of using a 3PL service:

  • A fulfillment service can handle the entire shipping process for you, including packing, tracking, and delivery.
  • They often have relationships with major carriers, which can save you money on shipping costs.
  • They can scale up quickly to meet spikes in demand.
  • You don’t have to hire your own staff to manage shipping and fulfillment, which reduces your time spent on management duties.
  • You don’t have to keep your inventory in your own home or office, which can reduce overhead costs and keep your work environment less cluttered.

Cons of using a 3PL service:

  • You will have less control over the shipping process and may not be able to customize it to your needs.
  • You may need to pay a monthly fee or per-order fee in addition to shipping costs.
  • Some customers may prefer to deal directly with the store rather than a third party.

Ultimately, the option that’s right for you  – whether shipping yourself, using a dropshipping service, or working with a 3PL – depends on a number of factors beyond what we’ve listed above. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each option. In the end, you may even decide on a mix of fulfillment solutions. You don’t have to pick just one!

Shipping carriers and methods

No matter what fulfillment option you choose, you’ll still need to familiarize yourself with the various shipping methods and carriers as you’ll need to add information about them into your store’s shipping settings. You’ll also need to provide information about your carriers and shipping methods to your customers – especially if you’re giving them multiple options during checkout. 

A shipping carrier is the company that physically delivers your products to customers, like USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL.

Shipping methods are the options and associated rates that customers choose from at checkout – like free ground shipping, $5.00 three-day shipping, or $15.00 next-day delivery. These methods are usually determined by the carriers you work with and impact the cost and speed of delivery. 

Want more information? Our shipping and fulfillment guide has everything you need to know about carriers, methods, and fulfillment. 

Factor in places, dates, and weights

Before you choose your shipping carriers and methods, think through a few key variables:

  1. Places. What countries, states, or provinces will you ship to? 
  2. Dates. Considering where your customers live, how long will delivery take to a given country, state, or province? Do you want to offer express shipping?
  3. Weights. The size and weight of each product impacts your overall shipping costs. 

Places: Decide which countries to ship to

There are a few things to consider when you’re trying to decide which countries your ecommerce store should serve. First, think about which countries your target market is in. If you’re selling products that would be popular in the United States, then it makes sense to ship there. But if you’re selling products that are more niche or targeted to a specific region, then you might want to limit your shipping to just that region.

Another thing to consider is the cost of shipping. International shipping can be expensive, so you’ll need to factor that into your decision. You may also need to deal with customs and other regulations, which can add even more complexity and cost.

Finally, think about whether you have the resources to handle shipping to multiple countries. It can be a lot of work to manage different shipping regulations, carrier options, and rates, so make sure you’re prepared for that before you make the commitment.

If you take all of these factors into account, you should be able to narrow down your list of potential countries to ship to. From there, you can start researching the specific rules and regulations for each country to make sure you’re prepared to ship there successfully.

Pro tip: Beyond extra expenses and logistical challenges, international shipping comes with legal and customs requirements that can vary dramatically by country and region. Make sure that you partner with an international shipping company that can automate as much of the process as possible. 

purchasing a DHL shipping label

WooCommerce Shipping has partnered with DHL – so now you can manage international orders from directly within your dashboard. You’ll also save up to 67% on labels, receive free pickups, be able to provide customers with end-to-end tracking, and enjoy automated customs forms creation.

Learn more about international shipping with WooCommerce Shipping and DHL. 

Dates: Determine delivery times, carrier, and methods

Decide on delivery times and shipping methods for your ecommerce store that best suit your business. You’ll need to choose a shipping method that can get your products to your customers in a timely manner. If you’re selling items that are time-sensitive, such as food or cosmetics, this is even more important.

Depending on where you’re shipping to and how quickly your products need to get there, you may offer one or multiple ecommerce shipping options like:

  • Standard Shipping: UPS Ground, 1-5 business days
  • Expedited Shipping: USPS Priority Mail, 1-3 business days
  • Overnight Shipping: FedEx Priority Overnight, 1 business day

You can look at each carrier’s website and review shipping methods and rates to determine which may be the most affordable options for your business that also provide the quickest delivery times. If you’re using a multi-carrier shipping software on your store, you can review rates from several carriers at once to quickly determine which will be the best fit.

By offering fast and reliable shipping, you can ensure that your customers will be happy with their experience.

Weights: Package size and weight can affect shipping options and cost

Before you start shipping orders, you’ll need to know not only the size and weight of your products, but their size and weight once packaged. This will help you decide which method is best for each product or order that’s shipped. 

If your business ships from the United States, the least expensive way to ship small packages is often USPS Priority Mail 3-Day Small Flat Rate Envelope or Small Flat Rate Box. It offers tracking, quick delivery times, and is an especially good deal if you’re shipping small but heavy items. You can ship something up to 70lbs and still pay the same flat rate. You also get the benefit of USPS supplying you with a free flat rate envelope or box.

If you’re shipping large items, oversized package fees may be unavoidable, but if you’re shipping multiple items in an order it might be more cost effective to split them up over multiple packages to avoid oversized package charges. 

A 3PL service will default to whatever method is cheapest for them and for your business. If you need items to arrive in the same package, even if it’s more expensive, or split things up over multiple packages for some reason when it would be cheaper to put them in one larger box, you’ll need to inform your 3PL so they can follow your procedures. If you’re packing and shipping things yourself, you have more complete and granular control over this process.

For international shipping, you’ll need to look at the options that are available for each destination country and determine which will work the best based on the size and weight of your products. While strategies like splitting up items to avoid oversized-package charges may be beneficial domestically, the same strategy might not work for international shipments. You’ll need to map out a unique ecommerce shipping system for each country you ship to.

How to package orders for shipment

Destination, size, weight, carrier, and shipping methods all influence your shipping costs and practices. But equally important is considering how your orders are packaged. As a business owner, you want to ship orders in the most cost effective way while also making sure that your products arrive in good condition. 

If products are packed poorly, you can end up with bad reviews, returns, and expensive order reshipments. Whether you are shipping products yourself, using a 3PL service, or dropshipping direct from your supplier, ensure that all your items are packaged safely and securely.

You’ll want to consider how many of each product can fit in a single package and whether different types of products should be shipped in the same package or shipped separately. You’ll also want to make sure your products are protected from the elements and from damage due to dropping, stacking, and agitation during transport.

Ask yourself the following questions about your products to determine the best ways to pack them:

  • Is it heavy?
  • Is it fragile?
  • Is it sharp?
  • Does it contain fluids?
  • Is it one-of-a-kind?
  • Could it be damaged easily if it gets wet?
  • Is it oversized?
  • Is it very small?

If a customer orders two very different products – like a pair of crystal champagne flutes and a set of free weights – you probably don’t want to ship those in the same box. Even if someone orders multiples of the same thing, you may still want to break the order up over several packages to prevent damage. 

For instance, if someone orders twenty 18” x 24” canvas prints from your store, it wouldn’t be a good idea to ship them all in the same box. The weight of each item could cause damage to the canvas below it. Plus, you may incur much higher shipping costs for using an oversized box.

Also, the larger and more unwieldy the package is, the more difficult it can be to have it delivered without being dropped. Its notable size may also attract the attention of package thieves.

Small packages can be tricky as well. Even if your item could fit in a small padded envelope, you may need to add a stiff cardboard or hardboard insert to prevent bending, bubble wrap, or other padding materials to make sure your items arrive safely to the customer.

If you have a mix of small and large items in an order, you might ship them together if the small items can actually function as padding (like clothing or linens), or are lightweight and durable.

Choosing packing materials

Packing materials for both large and small packages can increase your ecommerce shipping costs. Not only do you have to spend the money to purchase these materials, but they also add weight, which can increase shipping costs. 

You’ll need to make sure that your boxes and packing materials can accommodate the size and weight of the items you’re sending, but that’s not the only thing you’ll want to think about.

When choosing packing materials for your ecommerce orders, consider the following:

  • Item fragility
  • Brand experience
  • Eco-friendly materials
  • Packaging cost

Fragile merchandise

If you’re shipping fragile items, you’ll need to use different packing materials than if you’re shipping non-fragile items. You may need extra bubble wrap, foam, or air cushions to ensure your items arrive safely. Additional packing materials may increase your overall package size, but making sure your products arrive safely will save you money on returns in the long run.

Take into account whether or not your items will be damaged by water or other elements during shipping. Consider wrapping products that could be damaged by water in shrinkwrap, a plastic overbag, or other waterproof packaging. If you’re using a bubble mailer, choose a plastic one instead of a paper one.

Brand experience

Your packing material is an opportunity to make a good first impression with your customers and give them a glimpse of your brand identity. Choose materials that reflect your brand’s personality and values.

If you aren’t bothered by the additional expense, you can even brand your packing materials. Companies like Sticker Mule offer custom branded packaging and tape that you can use to make everything about your order shipments a branded experience.

When a box with your logo on it arrives at someone’s doorstep, they’ll know it’s from you. Seeing your brand can add a little more excitement to a customer’s day. Plus, seeing that your company is going the extra mile for packaging can build trust that you’re also putting just as much effort into your products.

packing items for shipping, including branded materials

Eco-friendly materials

If you want your business to use environmentally sustainable packaging materials, there are definitely options out there. You may even use eco-friendly packing materials as part of your marketing strategy. If you’re selling products that are nature-related, organic, or you simply value sustainable manufacturing practices, it might make sense to invest in eco-friendly packaging.

Companies like Hero Packaging, Mushroom Packaging, and Noissue offer sustainable packaging options. Noissue even offers customized branding on your packing materials. Environmentally friendly packaging is sometimes more expensive than other materials, so keep that in mind if you’re on a tight budget. 

Packaging cost

You want to make sure your products arrive at their destination safely and that the customer has a positive experience with their delivery, but you also don’t want to overspend on packaging.

With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular, cost-effective shipping materials and how they can benefit your ecommerce business.

Cardboard boxes are one of the most commonly used packing materials for ecommerce orders. They’re strong and durable, which makes them ideal for protecting fragile items. Cardboard boxes are also relatively lightweight, so they won’t add a lot of extra weight to your shipping costs. And best of all, cardboard is recyclable, so it’s a great option for eco-conscious businesses.

You can even get cardboard that’s made from recycled materials in the first place. Most packaging retailers like Uline sell environmentally-friendly cardboard boxes.

Bubble wrap is another popular choice for packing material. It’s great for protecting delicate items and preventing damage during shipping. Bubble wrap comes in different thicknesses, so you can choose the right level of protection for your products. And like cardboard boxes, bubble wrap is inexpensive and recyclable.

Packing peanuts are often used to fill empty space in packages and prevent items from shifting during shipping. They’re made from different materials, including biodegradable options like cornstarch. Packing peanuts can be reused, so they’re a good option for businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact.

Air cushions are an alternative to packing peanuts. They’re inflatable bags that can be used to fill empty space in packages. Air cushions offer the same protection as packing peanuts but are easier to reuse and recycle.

Paper is another eco-friendly packing material option. You can use paper to cushion fragile items or fill empty space in packages. Paper is also recyclable (and you can use paper made from recycled material), so it’s another great option for businesses that are looking to limit their environmental impact.

There are many different packing materials available, so it’s important to choose the right option for your business. Consider your products, shipping needs, and brand identity when choosing packing materials for your eCommerce orders. With the right materials, you can ensure that your products arrive safely at their destination while making a positive impact on customers and a minimal impact on the environment.

Determine your shipping rates for customers

Now that you know where you’re shipping, how you’re packaging, what carriers and methods you’re using, and how weight and size impact your shipping options, you’ll need to calculate two things: your cost for shipping and handling and the shipping rates you charge your customers. 

While you can use a shipping calculator on any of the major carriers’ sites or a multi-carrier shipping software to calculate ecommerce shipping costs based on method, size, weight, and destination, these calculators don’t take into account your handling costs.

Back in the heyday of the infomercial, it was typical to see a product price listed alongside a shipping and handling fee. These days, most people expect to see a product price plus shipping (and many expect free shipping). Since 48% of cart abandonments are due to unexpected costs, adding a separate handling fee would probably hurt your conversions, so you might consider wrapping those fees into your shipping or product prices. 

You can decide which works best for your business, but you’ll need to add those handling costs somewhere so they don’t eat into your profit margins.

What are handling costs?

Handling is everything but the actual shipping fee that the carrier charges you. Handling can include, but is not limited to:

  • Cost of shipping supplies like boxes, padding materials, backing boards and plastic sleeves, tape, labels, and a thermal printer.
  • Cost of storing inventory.
  • Time spent packing orders and arranging carrier pickup.
  • Customer service regarding lost or damaged packages and communicating with customers on the status of their shipments.

A quick way to determine your average handling cost per order is to calculate what you spend per month on average on the costs listed above and then divide that by the average number of orders placed per month. You can then add that handling cost to the shipping price of each order.

If you’d rather add the handling cost into your product prices, you could divide your average monthly handling cost by the average number of products sold per month. If you have high-priced products and low-priced products, you might want to proportionally distribute the handling costs. Cheaper products will likely have lower handling costs associated with them than more expensive products, although this isn’t always the case.

What’s the best strategy for calculating shipping rates?

shipping calculator in checkout
Photo ©

Now that you have a broad understanding of the shipping methods you can offer and an idea of what you would like to charge for shipping, it’s time to think about your shipping strategy. The goal is to choose a combination of carrier, method, and pricing that meets the needs of your customers without eating into your profits. Let’s take a look at a few options:

Live rates

Live rates calculate shipping fees based on size, weight, and distance, which are synced in real time with your carrier (FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.) based on what they charge. Live rates are a popular choice because they offer a nice combination of choice and transparency. Customers can see the range of shipping options, based on speed, from least to most expensive. 

Table rates

Table rates use a set of rules that you create to calculate shipping based on factors like product prices, sizes, order totals, and destinations. This provides the highest level of customization. You might charge $5.00 for anything that weighs less than eight pounds, $10.00 for anything that weighs eight pounds or more, and offer free shipping only to the state of New York. With the WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping extension, you can create custom rules seamlessly.

Flat rates

Flat rates simplify your shipping strategy by taking the guesswork out of calculating rates. Charge the same amount regardless of the weight or size of the order. This is a great option if your inventory is consistent in size and weight, or if most of your customers order similar quantities. With default WooCommerce settings, you can charge a flat rate per item, a percentage-based cost, or a minimum fee.

Free shipping

Free shipping makes customers happy – but reduces your margins. You could include the cost of shipping in your product’s price, but customers might be turned off by the higher dollar amount. Or keep your pricing low and shipping free, in the hope increased sales will make it financially worthwhile.

Combined shipping

Combined shipping options give you the best of both worlds. If a one-size-fits-all approach to shipping doesn’t align with your business needs, you can always mix and match. One approach is to offer free shipping for orders that meet a minimum total to encourage customers to add more products to their carts.

Read our full guide on shipping strategies and learn how to make them work for your business. 

Implement your ecommerce shipping strategy

Once you’ve done your research, weighed your options, and made a decision, you’re ready to put your strategy into place and set up the ecommerce shipping process.

1. Back up your store

If your store is live, start by taking a full backup. If any unanticipated issues arise, this ensures you don’t lose valuable data and order information. We recommend Jetpack VaultPress Backup for this. 

After your backup is complete, update WordPress, WooCommerce, your theme, and all plugins to ensure full compatibility with any new shipping and fulfillment extensions.

2. Configure WooCommerce settings

If you offer free shipping, local pickup, or flat rate shipping, you don’t need any extra plugins or extensions – everything is built into WooCommerce. 

shipping zone options in WooCommerce

Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping in your dashboard. There, you can create shipping zones to define rates based on customer locations, and shipping classes to define rates based on groups of similar products.

Let’s start by taking a look at shipping zones. By setting these up, you can define shipping rates based on the specific areas you deliver to. And you can either be pretty generic here (like defining rates by country) or hyper-specific (like defining rates by zip code). Don’t worry – no matter how complicated you get, each individual customer will only see the rates that apply to their shipping address.

Click on the Shipping zones tab and, if you haven’t set up a zone yet, you’ll see a prompt to do so.

option to add a shipping zone

Click Add shipping zone. 

setting shipping zone name

In the new window that opens, name the new zone whatever you’d like. Then, select your shipping regions that will be included in this zone. There are a variety of ways to configure zones, so think through the best way to do so for your business.

For example, a retail store located in New York City might have zones for the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast, with rates increasing in price based on distance from New York. Or a bakery might offer free shipping just within their zip code, and paid rates to all other locations.

Select all the locations you’d like included in this shipping zone. If you want to limit the zone based on zip code, click Limit to specific zip/postcodes. A new box will appear that allows you to enter a list of zip codes.

Next, you’ll want to define the shipping rates that are available for the new zone. Click the Add shipping rate button. By default, you’ll see three options: flat rate, free shipping, and local pickup. 

If you select Flat rate shipping, you’ll have the option to set a specific price for that zone (e.g. $9.99 flat rate shipping). You can also set this based on shipping class, which we’ll discuss in a moment. 

flat rate shipping settings

If you choose Free shipping, you can set a minimum order total required for free shipping, whether or not you want to associate free shipping with a coupon code, and more. 

free shipping settings

And if you go with Local pickup, customers who live inside of the set shipping zone will be able to pick up their order at your place of business.

local pickup settings

Remember, you can add one or more of these items to each zone. So, for example, you could offer free shipping above a certain order total and flat rate shipping for everything less than that total.

But what about shipping classes? While these aren’t required, they are an excellent way to set rates for different types of products. For example, you may sell unframed prints of your artwork, alongside framed ones. Not only will these cost different amounts to ship based on their weight, framed options will also require more packaging materials.

Let’s run with this example. In your dashboard, you would navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping, then click the Shipping Classes tab. There, click Add new shipping class in the bottom right corner of the page.

Then, add a class name, slug (URL), and description, and click Save shipping classes.

shipping class setup

Now you’ll want to assign products to each class that you create. Go to Products → All Products and open the one you want to edit. Then, scroll down to the product data box and select the Shipping tab. 

assigning a shipping class

In the dropdown for Shipping class, select the class that best fits the product. Then, save your changes. You can do this for each product in that class.

This allows you to get even more granular with your shipping rates. So, for example, when you set up flat rate shipping, you can set a different price for framed vs. unframed prints. You’ll see in the screenshot below that there’s now a separate option just for the “framed” shipping class.

additional flat rate shipping settings for the new shipping class

And that’s it! As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with the default WooCommerce shipping settings.

3. Install and activate shipping extensions

To implement table rates, live rates, or to use a combination, you’ll need an extension. You can also use extensions to add features like shipping labels and warehouse syncing.

Start by purchasing or downloading an extension from the WooCommerce Marketplace. Not sure which one you need? Use our post about ecommerce shipping strategies to make the right decision for your store. Here are just a few great options:

  • Table Rate Shipping. Set up very detailed ecommerce shipping rates based on everything from weight, number of items, location, price, and more.  
  • USPS Shipping Method. Define ecommerce shipping rates automatically based on live rates directly from USPS. 
  • Per Product Shipping. Set ecommerce shipping rates based on each individual product or even variation! 
  • WooCommerce Distance Rate Shipping. Offer different ecommerce shipping rates based on the customer’s distance from your location.
  • WooCommerce Dropshipping. This streamlines your order fulfillment process with your dropshipping providers by connecting and syncing order information.

If you’re looking for a way to power up and streamline your ecommerce shipping processes, consider using the WooCommerce Shipping extension. It enables you to print USPS and DHL labels directly from your WordPress dashboard and gives you access to discounted rates. And it’s completely free!

Working with a 3PL service? They may have a WooCommerce extension available in the WooCommerce marketplace or directly from their website, or they may configure a custom integration for you. 

4. Make it easy for customers to understand their order’s location

The ecommerce shipping process doesn’t stop once you drop the package off. In fact, some of the best opportunities for good customer service occur after your order is in the mail! 

Customers should be able to quickly understand where their order is at all times, and know when they can expect it to arrive. This is especially important if you sell items that are frequently purchased as gifts.

The Shipment Tracking extension is an excellent way to do just that. Not only will buyers receive an email with the tracking number for their order, they can also log into their account on your site to check on its location. And it works seamlessly with USPS, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, and more than a dozen other shipping carriers. 

5. Consider return shipments 

While no one likes to think about returns, they do happen. And if you accept exchanges or return shipments, it’s important to have a plan in place. 

If you’re using the WooCommerce Shipping extension, you can create a new return shipping label for the order, use the customer’s address as the origin address, and update the package weight and size. You can learn more about this in the WooCommerce Shipping documentation.

You’ll also want to clearly outline any and all expectations ahead of time. In your return policy, define exactly who is responsible for paying return shipping fees, and in what circumstances.

For more details, visit our post on how to implement a shipping strategy

Ship – and profit!

You’re ready to start shipping! Remember to adapt  your shipping strategy as you go and make changes as you learn about your customers, and you’ll soon find the options that are good for customer relations and your bottom line.

There are several ways to handle ecommerce shipping. You can do it yourself, partner with a logistics company, or drop ship products directly from a manufacturer. To make these decisions, you’ll need to consider, in part, which carriers are available for each option and if they can take care of your needs. 

Some ecommerce shipping carriers have restrictions on the items they’ll ship, for example, or special regulations for certain kinds of materials. And if you want to ship internationally, you’ll need to find a partner that reaches the locations you want to target. 

You can pass along shipping costs to your customers, or cover all or part of it yourself. There are pros and cons to each method and you may want to experiment over time. If you do decide to charge for shipping, you can determine rates in almost unlimited ways – from flat rates to table rates and even live, real-time pricing fed from your shipping carrier. 

Finally, now matter how you choose to set up your ecommerce shipping strategy, WooCommerce has the tools to handle it all. Take advantage of extensions to ship products affordably, efficiently, and safely so your happy customers stay happy and your store runs smoothly. Need more information? Check out our ecommerce shipping documentation

3 Responses

  1. Rana
    August 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm #

    Need more informatio, thanks

  2. Hernan
    February 23, 2023 at 1:20 pm #

    Why does the price figure increase when I put two decimal places? This is something heavy. Thank you