Selling items online has significantly increased in the last decade. “E-commerce B2C product sales totaled $142.5 billion, representing about 8% of retail product sales in the United States,” according to Wikipedia. Fielding the expense of having a retail store, employees, and other costs associated with a physical location makes having an online store very inexpensive. If you have a WordPress online store, consider using WooCommerce as your e-commerce toolkit. In a previous blog, WooCommerce Payment Gateways and Shipping Options, you can read more about how to use this plugin as a payment gateway, and, now, I will go into detail about working with WooCommerce to set up your shipping options.
Here are the steps to set up WooCommerce shipping options:
1. Pick a shipping provider – WooCommerce works with USPS, UPS or FedEx to ship your items. You can sign up with your preferred shipping provider online and create a login and password.
* UPS – You can use WooCommerce to set up a UPS shipping calculator based on shipping location and weight.
IgniteWoo offers a UPS Shipping Pro extension for purchase. Once you figure out which shipping methods you want to offer clients, the prices will be shown to customers, and they can choose the option that works best for them. The price starts at $40.
WooThemes also offers a UPS Shipping Method extension that you can purchase. The price starts at $49.
*Tip: You can offer free shipping through the UPS shipping plugin for customers who purchase a certain amount on your e-commerce site. This can be a huge incentive for buyers and drives up sales (look at Amazon.com, for instance).
* USPS – The United States Postal Service is the largest delivery network in the United States. They offer both domestic and international shipping options. This method will only work if your site accepts US dollars, and the package sizes are quoted in inches and pounds, although sometimes other measurements will work. By using USPS delivery as your preferred shipping method, you have the option to ship packages first class, priority, or even parcel post. Here’s a link to USPS prices. You can purchase the USPS Shipping Method extension on WooThemes for $49.
* FedEx – FedEx is another great choice among shipping options for small businesses. The company claims to save you money and satisfy more customers if you use their services, along with providing you discounts with their alliances.
WooCommerce offers a plugin called Fedex Shipping Pro for a starting price of $40. The site claims that “you control which shipping options to offer shoppers will easy-to-use configuration settings.”
2. Figure out weight and dimensions of each item – Once you have picked your preferred shipping provider, and registered online for an account, you need to decide how you want to set up your shipping options. “The fact is the cost of shipping has for a long time been one of the leading causes of shopping cart abandonment as buyers realize that the cost of the shipping has made the item too expensive…72% of website visitors abandon their shopping cart because shipping charges were higher than expected,” reports Proimpact7. Do you want to offer a flat rate shipping rate, like the website, Overstock.com? Although their promotions sometimes change, this giant e-commerce site often offers a flat rate shipping fee of $2.95 with any purchase. Other sites, such as Amazon.com, offer free shipping with a minimum purchase. Their “Prime-eligible” items are shipped free of charge with a purchase of at least $25. This incites customers to purchase more items so that they don’t have to pay for shipping. While sites like Nordstrom.com offer free shipping with any purchase, this is usually impossible for small WooCommerce shopping sites to offer as paying for shipping items to customers takes a big chunk out of the profit.
This is why most small e-commerce sites charge for shipping depending on the size or price of items using a shipping calculator. To do so, you need to figure out the weight and dimension for each item that you offer for sale.
3. Figure out box sizes – Do you want to purchase boxes to ship your items, order customized boxes with your store name or logo, or use flat rate shipping boxes from UPS, USPS or FedEx? You need to make these decisions and write down the sizes of the boxes you will use. This is so that you can combine products into one box so that WooCommerce will use the shipping calculator to add up the dimensions of each item and add it to the box. You will need the inner and outer dimension plus the box or package weight.
4. Fine tune the shipping options – Once you know the dimensions of the items you are offering, and know the sizes of the boxes you have to ship your items in, you need to fine tune the shipping options. For example, do you want to use the shipping calculator and offer your customers to pay the exact fee that your shipping provider will charge? Keep in mind, that on top of the shipping fees, you will also need to pay for boxes and packing materials, such as bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc. to keep your items from getting wrinkled or damaged during the shipment. Additionally, consider the time it will take to prepare the items for shipping, wrapping them, putting them into boxes, and either getting them ready for pick-up by the shipping provider (which often requires an additional fee) or using gas and time for dropping the packages off at a shipping location. Will you do this yourself, or will you pay an employee to do this for you? This will either cost additional time or money to get done.
Once you figure all those options out, you can set up a shipping calculator to add any possible shipping and handling fees that can be applied as either a flat rate or percentage of the total. For example, you can add $10 to the shipping price of each order, or add 15% to each order to account for all work of shipping out orders. Also, you can add special promotions and shipping discounts, if you so prefer. As discussed above, you can offer discounted or free shipping with a minimum order, which can incite your customers to purchase more items. If your site offers items that clients frequently use, such as food, vitamins, or diapers, for example, you can offer a special subscribe and save program, such as Amazon.com does, where you offer free shipping as long as clients sign up to receive the items on a regular basis, such as every month, or every few months. Although you will have to pay for shipping each time, you will sell more inventory than through a single sale.
The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copy writing professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.
For more information about making your site mobile friendly, contact Behla Design.