Last updated - January 29, 2020
Setting up the shipping rates is one of the crucial tasks on an eCommerce store. You may have to set up a shipping strategy before creating different shipping methods and rates. WooCommerce is a popular shipping platform that offers basic shipping features. By default, it lets you set up free shipping, local pick up and flat rate shipping under each shipping zones. In this article, we will discuss how you can set up WooCommerce flat rate shipping. And, we will also discuss some of the advanced flat rate shipping options that you can integrate with the help of plugins.
What is flat rate shipping?
In simple terms, WooCommerce flat rate shipping is simply setting up a fixed shipping rate under a shipping zone. Based on the nature of your products, you can create multiple flat rates under a shipping zone. To make the rates specific to the nature of the products, you can use product shipping classes.
To understand how to set WooCommerce shipping classes, read our article.
How to set up flat rate shipping on WooCommerce?
As you know, WooCommerce shipping works through geographical areas called shipping zones. Depending on your customer base, you can define different shipping zones. For each zone, you can add a set of shipping methods such as flat rate or free shipping. When the customer add a product to the cart, the applicable shipping rates according to the customer’s location will be automatically displayed.
Here are the steps to set up WooCommerce flat rate shipping.
Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping.
You will see the shipping zones you have already created here.
If there are none, you can create a new shipping zone easily.
Need to brush up on WooCommerce shipping zones? Here is an article.
Now, you can click the Edit option under the shipping zone name. Here you will see an option to add shipping methods. Click the Add shipping method button.
You will see a modal window with a drop-down with three different options for shipping methods. These are Flat rate, Free shipping and Local pickup. Choose the flat rate shipping option, and click the Add shipping method button.
Now, you will see that a flat rate shipping method is created inside the shipping zone. You can enable or disable a shipping method under the shipping zone by using the button.
The next step is to specify the rates for your flat rate shipping. You can click the Edit option under the name of the shipping method for this. This will open another modal window, where you can specify the rates.
The options are quite simple here. You need to enter a name for the shipping method, which will be displayed in the frontend.
The next option defines whether the shipping rate is taxable or not.
Finally, you can specify a rate which will be applied. The simplest way is to add an amount that you need to charge the customer as shipping cost. For example, if you want to charge $3, simply enter ‘3.00’.
Now, when a customer (from the geographical area that you specified under the shipping zone) adds a product to the cart, this flat rate will be displayed as shipping charges. Now, this rate will be applicable to the entire cart. Read on if you would like to understand how to set up per item shipping charges.
Per item shipping
The default WooCommerce flat rate shipping offers a few advanced options to help you set up shipping rates per item.
[qty] – When you want to charge additional shipping charges based on the quantity of products in the cart, you can use this placeholder.
[fee] – When you want to set up additional shipping charges based on the total order cost, you can use this one. This one has additional arguments that you can use along with it.
- percent – set additional shipping charge as a percentage.
- min_fee – set a minimum value for additional charges.
- max_fee – set a maximum value for additional charges.
Let’s say you want to keep the shipping charge as $3 when one item is in the cart. However, if you notice that your average order will have multiple items, you may want to set up shipping costs per item.
You can use different placeholders to set up shipping costs per item. For example, you can charge a shipping cost of $3 per item in the cart by adding the placeholder in the shipping charges field:
3.00 * [qty].
Now, depending on the number of items in the cart, shipping costs will increase. In the below screenshot, you can see the cart has three items, and hence the shipping charge is $9 ($3 for each item).
Now, in another scenario, you want to charge a base shipping cost of $10 and based on the order amount, you want to charge a 10% shipping charge. Here, you can also set a minimum amount where this additional charge will be applicable, say $5. Let’s see how you can set it up.
In the shipping field you can add the following
10.00 [fee percent=”10″ min_fee=”5″]
This means for all orders, a base shipping charge of $10 will be applied. Along with that a 10% of order value will be added as additional charges. Now, the minimum additional charge of $5 will be levied for orders with lesser amount.
See the example below. Just one product of $20 is in the cart. The base shipping charge of $10 is applied. Along with that, ideally, 10% of $20 should be charged, which will be $2. however, since you have set a minimum value of 5, the additional charge will be $5. That makes the total shipping costs to be $15.
Now if it is a larger order, the $10 base charge and the additional 10% will be applied. As you can see in the below example, the cart has a relatively higher priced item. So $10 + $12 (10% of $120).
You can also set up different shipping rates to your products using shipping classes. There will be scenarios where you are selling products that require diverse shipping strategies together. Charging the same shipping rates won’t be a feasible idea in that case. Thankfully, WooCommerce provides you an option to tackle this with the help of shipping classes.
Consider you have a set of products that have larger dimensions, and will require additional space. Also, you may have some products that require careful handling as they are fragile. Let’s see a simple example to handle this. We will create two shipping classes ‘Bulky’ and ‘Fragile’, and assign these to the relevant products.
Now, on the Flat rate shipping modal window, you will see additional options to set shipping rates for these shipping classes.
You can set rates for each shipping class. Just like the other shipping rate field, you can use placeholders here as well to set up per item shipping rate.
Also, you can choose the calculation type for shipping classes, when multiple products belonging to different shipping classes are in the cart. Either, you can charge shipping for each shipping class, or you can choose the most expensive one.
In this example, we have set up $15 for ‘Bulky’ and $18 for ‘Fragile’. And the calculation type will be to charge individually.
And when a customer adds three products to cart. One product is from ‘Bulky’ shipping class, another is ‘Fragile’ and the third product does not belong to any shipping class.
As you can see in the below screenshot, the customer will be charged the base shipping fare ($10)and for both shipping classes (Bulky $15 and Fragile $18). So, the total shipping cost will be $43 ($10 + $15 + $18).
Flat rate shipping plugins
The examples that you have seen above are using default options of WooCommerce. However, there are several plugins that will help you incorporate additional features to your flat rate shipping. Let’s see some of these plugins.
Here are some of the interesting plugins that you can use to enhance your shipping strategy.
You can set up an unlimited set of rules for WooCommerce flat rate shipping with the help of this plugin. It will let you create multiple shipping methods connected to different rules. When customers add products to the cart, the plugin will display shipping rates in accordance to the rules that you have set. Moreover, the plugin helps you set up free shipping on your store based on several conditions such as customer location, product, cart details, etc.
The major advantage of the plugin is that it offers an extensive range of options to help you set up shipping rates on your store. You can create specific rules for location, users, products, variations and cart. It also lets you combine different rules to customize shipping methods on your store. While creating the shipping methods, you will be able to specify a duration for the method as well as display estimated delivery time for that shipping method.
When you have multiple conditions for WooCommerce flat rate shipping, you can control which method gets priority based on your strategy. Overall, the plugin is a great option to supercharge your WooCommerce flat rate shipping options. The plugin will cost you $99 for a single site subscription. If you don’t want to opt for the premium plugin just yet, check out the free version of the plugin below:
You can create a basic set of rules to set up shipping rates on your WooCommerce store using this plugin. It offers options to create rules based on location, product, category, tag, user, cart subtotal and quantity. The plugin is quite easy to set up and will help you a lot in creating an effective shipping strategy.
With the help of this plugin, you will be able to set up shipping rates specific to products based on the location of the customer. The plugin lets you create a standalone shipping method, or you can add per product shipping costs to other shipping methods. Basically, you will be able to define per line and per item shipping costs based on products or variations. Based on the customer’s address costs can vary.
The plugin also offers a CSV handler option that will help you import and export rates easily. If you are selling diverse products that require independent approaches to shipping, this plugin could be really useful to you. The single site subscription will cost you $79.
If you would like to offer shipping rates based on the distance of the delivery location or the total travel time, this plugin could help you. It also helps you set rules based on total number of items in the cart, product weight and total cart value. This plugin could be really useful to you when you want to charge shipping rates based on the distance from your location to the customer’s location. Restaurants delivering food, stores offering grocery delivery, places that rent out equipment, etc. would find this an apt option. Basically, wherever you want to get more specific than a zip code to determine shipping charges, you can use this plugin.
The single site subscription will cost you $79.
USPS Flat Rate boxes
Flat rate boxes let you define shipping rates in a more structured manner. With the help of flat rate boxes, you can define fixed shipping costs for products without considering the weight. Major shipping carriers offer flat rate shipping options for products under a certain weight. For example, you can use USPS flat rate boxes for products with weight less than 70 lbs. For FedEx, the product weight should be less than 50 lbs.
Advantages of USPS Flat rate shipping boxes
If your business is located in the United States, USPS will be one of your natural options to ship your products to customers. Here are some of the advantages of using USPS flat rate boxes.
- Avoid unexpected costs – When you are using flat rate boxes for shipping, there is no chance that you may have to pay unexpected prices. You will only pay for the service that you choose.
- Faster delivery – The flat rate boxes of USPS generally come under priority delivery. This will help you create better customer experience on your store with faster delivery.
- Better coverage in the US – USPS offers far better coverage when you consider delivery addresses. This will help you get better reach for your products in the country.
- Ensure better security – USPS offers better security to your packages and often deals better with fraud
This plugin will help you offer USPS flat rate shipping boxes to your customers. There are several USPS flat rate services available with the plugin. You can set up the required boxes in the plugin set up and offer these economical rates real time to customers. If you are a high volume customer of USPS, you can use this plugin to print eVS shipping labels as well. If you are not an eVS customer, you can completely integrate WooCommerce USPS shipping through the ELEX Stamps.com plugin.
This plugin will help you define flat rate boxes on your store. Based on the shipping destinations, you can define fixed rates for the boxes. Then you can pack items based on dimensions. You can set a separate shipping rate for items that are not able to fit into these flat rate boxes.
The plugin lets you create multiple box sizes for each of your shipping zones. Also, you will be add costs per box or per weight unit. Moreover, you can also add costs as a percentage of the item price inside the box. A single site subscription of this plugin will cost you $49.
Table rate shipping
If your shipping strategy is more complex than flat rate shipping, you can always consider table rate shipping. You can use WooCommerce table rate shipping plugins to create complex set of rules on your store. When a customer adds a product to cart, these plugins will consider the table of rates according to shipping location, product weight and other parameters. And using the different conditions and rules that you have set up, it will display an appropriate shipping rate. This is a more accurate way of defining your shipping rates and charging your customers.
This plugin will help you execute your shipping strategy in the most customizable manner. You will be able to define multiple tables of rates for each of your shipping zones. And the plugin gives you different types of calculations such as per order, per line, per item or per shipping class. In addition, you can add rules based on product weight, price, quantity, etc. And, you can add costs per row or per item cost, or as per weight unit, or as a percentage. The user-friendly interface of the plugin makes it extremely easy to set up complex shipping rules using this plugin. It costs $99 for a single site subscription.
This is another intuitive plugin that will help you set up shipping rates based on a large number of conditions. It is a great tool to use if you want to execute a flat rate shipping or table rate shipping strategy on your WooCommerce store. Some of the conditions that you can use to create shipping rules are product price, weight, categories, cart quantity, shipping classes, shipping location, etc. The plugin also helps you manage per product shipping and bundled rate shipping with the help of add-ons. Moreover, this one has an option to import and export shipping rules using a CSV file.
Watch on Youtube: How to easily set up flat-rate shipping for your WooCommerce store?
Hope this article has provided a concrete idea on WooCommerce flat rate shipping. Leave us a comment if you have a query.