Last updated - February 24, 2020
One of the most tricky aspects that you encounter while running an eCommerce business is shipping. It often directly impacts the customer perception of your business. Ensuring an organized process flow works wonders in terms of customer satisfaction and your store’s reputation. As the store grows, going for automation at different stages of the shipping process is a good idea for store owners. This article looks at the possibilities of WooCommerce shipping process automation where you can save a considerable amount of money and time.
WooCommerce shipping methods integrating third-party carrier rates
Integrating rates of a third party shipping carrier have become an essential feature of many online stores. That way you can ensure quality service to your customers and save yourself from a lot of complications later. The shipping cost that you show your customers will be directly based on the rate that the shipping carrier charges you. Carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS all have varied pricing options. You can always look at using different shipping carriers together based on the geographical area that you want to cover.
Use multiple shipping carriers together
If you are looking to integrate multiple rates together, you should be able to retrieve real-time rates for each carrier. This will make sure you’re taking advantage of the best pricing. Furthermore, you may want to utilize business accounts and negotiated pricing based on the volume of shipping. ShipStation is a great option when you’re looking for automation at multiple levels. It helps you to make use of both Commercial Base Pricing and Commercial Plus Pricing from USPS. You can also check out some of the discount programs offered by FedEx and UPS as well.
However, an exclusive WooCommerce plugin with popular shipping carrier rates that gives control to the store owners would drastically simplify things.
Print invoice, packing lists, and shipping labels automatically
Automating the process of printing invoices, shipping labels and packing lists is a useful time-saving strategy when it comes to WooCommerce shipping. You can use this automation strategy irrespective of the kind of store that you are running. Through invoices, you can provide important order and policy information to customers in a hassle-free manner. Packing lists help you figure out items needed to fulfill an order, while pick-lists provide an assorted list of several orders.
WooCommerce Print Invoices & Packing Lists is a great plugin that you can look up to for shipping process automation. This will help you in handling invoices, packing lists and pick lists in your store. With this plugin, you can easily print these documents individually or in bulk from the orders page. At the same time, your customers can view the invoice from the ‘My Account’ page. The fulfillment process of your store becomes brisk and precise with this plugin.
If you want to generate shipping labels along with other things, you can try the Print Invoice, Packing Slip, Delivery Note & Label Plugin for WooCommerce. This one helps you generate and print shipping labels individually or in bulk. You can easily configure the base address and label size according to preferences. This shipping method automation plugin does a good job in printing invoices, delivery notes, packing lists, etc. too. You can get started with the free version.
Provide shipment tracking link for better customer satisfaction
Your customer, after placing an order in your store, will be anxiously waiting to get the product delivered. The wait is much more bearable if the customer has a clear idea about the whereabouts of the product. This is where shipment tracking comes into the picture. Your customer will be able to view the tracking information including probable date of delivery.
WooCommerce Shipment Tracking plugin lets you add the tracking information to orders placed in your store. This will appear in the notification emails that you send to your customers. In addition, customers can view the tracking details from the order tracking and view pages also. For all the major shipping carriers, this plugin generates automatic tracking link when you provide the tracking number. For custom providers, you have to enter the entire link to the company’s tracking page.
Another good option that you can try out is WooCommerce Shipment Tracking Pro. Apart from the expected features, this one also provides a real-time status update for certain carriers like Canada Post and USPS. Your customers can view the tracking status on the order details section of the ‘My Account’ page.
Provide a lead time for out of stock products to be available
WooCommerce does let you mark products as in stock, out of stock, or on back order, however, it doesn’t allow you to add a lead time for out of stock products or those on back order. The WooCommerce Lead Time plugin allows you to keep your customers informed of when a product will be in stock. Ideally, this information should be displayed on the single product page so that customers can make an informed decision on whether they should place their order or wait for it to be back in stock.
Define the estimated delivery date or allow the customer to choose
The estimated delivery date is an important matter of consideration for a customer before finalizing the order. Through this automation option, you can effectively streamline your fulfillment process. This, in turn, will reflect on improvements in your productivity and customer satisfaction.
You can try WooCommerce Estimated Shipping Date Per Product plugin to set a date estimate for each product in your store.
Estimated Delivery Date Plugin for Woocommerce is another option that works smoothly with the product, cart, checkout and order pages. It helps generate an estimated delivery date with the help of a range of rules that can be applied together. Fully integrated with WooCommerce checkout process, this plugin provides a lot of customizations like a minimum delivery date or a choice of date formats.
A comprehensive automation option in this regard is the WooCommerce Order Delivery Plugin that enables your customers to choose a delivery date for their orders. But as it seems to be, this plugin does not completely take away the control of store owners. You can decide which dates are not to be considered for delivery. There is also an option to not allow delivery for specific time periods on particular locations.
Address validation to simplify your checkout process
Another WooCommerce shipping process automation method that helps you save time and money is the Address Validation. You can leave behind the hassles of invalid/incorrect addresses when you employ one of the plugins that helps you with this functionality.
WooCommerce Postcode/Address Validation plugin helps to connect your store to one of the address verification services such as Addressy or SmartyStreets. This way you will be able to verify or geocode addresses. An option to auto-complete customer’s address entry is also offered by some providers.