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How to Setup WooCommerce Shipping Zones and Classes?

A detailed guide covering the ins and outs of WooCommerce shipping - why is it necessary, what to do, how to set it up, the various shipping zones and classes in WooCommerce and plugins required. Perfect for both beginners and already existing stores.

WooCommerce shipping classes zones blog featured image

Last updated on July 5, 2022

It’s a myth that customers care only about product quality.

Shipment plays a major role in the overall shopping experience. It impacts the level of loyal customers have towards your brand.

It is the combination of shipping charges, speed of delivery and everything else that ensures customers have a great shopping experience.

So, if you are eager to offer a wide range of shipping options to your customers, WooCommerce is the right platform for you.

Here, we will walk you through WooCommerce shipping options, how to set them up and the WooCommerce shipping plugins you’ll need. Let’s get started!

Default WooCommerce shipping rates

WooCommerce’s primary shipping rate and method by default enables the shipping calculator on the cart page. After selecting a shipping location and shipping method, you can complete the checkout process. Also, WooCommerce’s default shipping rates have three types:

Flat rate

Flat rate implies to a standardize shipping charge for all shipments, regardless of location. It makes tracking easy. Plus, the shipping charges aren’t a surprise to the customers. If a flat rate is used, customers may end up paying more in shipping.

Free shipping

Zero charges are applied to the customer’s order. You can offer free shipping to your customers when they reach the minimum spend.

Local pickup

Local pick-up shipping eliminates the need for a courier company, such as FedEx, DHL, USPS, or UPS. Here, the customer visits you and collects the product. As a result, the shipping charges are free. Yet, a physical location for handing over products to customers is essential.

Basically, WooCommerce shipping has these three core options. However, what you should know is that the main benefit of WooCommerce shipping comes from its extensions. You gain these three additional shipping rates options with the help of extensions:

Real-time carrier rates

Using real-time carrier rates allows you to link your shipping to carrier services such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. The main benefit is that the shipping rates are accurate. However, customers have to wait until checkout to see the exact shipping charges.Therefore, the charges may be viewed as ‘too high’ by some customers.

Table rate shipping

Consider factors like volume, weight, delivery date range, etc. before setting a shipping charge. For example, if a shipment needs to be delivered overnight, you could set a certain charge. You can charge a different price (lower than expedited shipping) if a shipment takes a standard 3-5 days to arrive. Additionally, you can set your shipping rates based on other factors like the weight of the shipment.

Local delivery

The local delivery plugin allows you to deliver products directly to customers’ doorsteps if you have a physical store and vehicles. If you do, then this plugin is a good option for you.

How to set up WooCommerce shipping zones?

A WooCommerce shipping process consists of configuring a zone, setting up a shipping method, and mentioning the cost of each shipping method.

Apart from these, there are a few extra configurations including special shipping conditions or classes to receive free shipping.

The entire process of WooCommerce shipping starts with setting up a zone. Let’s take you through the quick steps.

  1. First off, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping on your WordPress Admin dashboard. Here, you’ll get the WooCommerce shipping configurations and settings.
  2. Find the Shipping zones tab and click on Add shipping zone.
    WooCommerce add shipping zone

    Note: An e-commerce store’s shipping zones are defined by the geographic area in which it operates, so you can link shipping charges and methods for each region. As an example, if you are based in Germany, you may choose to charge higher shipping fees for delivery in a distant country (Spain) than a nearby one (France).

  3. For your reference, choose a Zone name. And for Zone regions, scroll through the drop-down list and go for the best-suited location.
  4. WooCommerce shipping zone settings
  5. Once the shipping zone is set, get to the bottom of the page and choose the Add shipping method button.
    adding shipping method to a shipping zone

    Every zone should have a shipping method, which specifies how much shipping will cost for a specific location. For example, you may opt for a flat rate shipping option for most customers, table-rate for commercial packages and local pick-up for the nearby community.

  6. Note: You can opt to include multiple shipping options for each zone as well. To do so, click on the Add shipping method and follow the process again.

    Suppose that you want to charge a flat rate for all Canadian customers but also provide free shipping after spending a certain amount. In this case, you need to edit the shipping methods list as you create them.

    So, this is how you can configure WooCommerce shipping methods. Like if you opt for free shipping, you have to set the minimum spend to activate the free shipping option.

    Similarly, a few other configurations follow that you can complete by going to Shipping > Shipping Options. These are optional. So, you can decide whether or not to set it. These settings include shipping destinations, calculator, etc.

    Remember to click on Save changes to update all the choices you have entered. Next up is creating shipping classes.

    How to create WooCommerce shipping classes?

    First off, let’s get clear about shipping classes.

    When you use shipping classes, you can group similar products and apply the same shipping method and charge to all of them. For instance, sunglasses (lightweight packages) might have a lower shipping rate than luggage bags (heavy packages).

  1. You can find the shipping classes function alongside shipping zones. So, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping on your WordPress Admin dashboard. Click on the Shipping classes option.
  2. Provide a name and URL slug for the shipping class, as well as a short description. For example, ‘Sunglasses’ might represent light, smaller packages.
  3. WooCommerce shipping classes
  4. Save the shipping class. You can hover on the shipping class name to edit details or remove the shipping class based on the Edit and Remove options respectively.
  5. Turn on shipping methods (if not done already) and choose a shipping method for the class.
  6. Assign shipping classes to the products. Here’s how.
  7. Finally, look at the shipping method settings box. Choose the Shipping class costs area. Then, choose the shipping cost for the class and set the other options for calculation type. Here’s how.

There you have it. That’s all there is to it regarding WooCommerce shipping settings. In the next section, we are going to discuss a few popular WooCommerce shipping extensions.

Popular WooCommerce shipping plugins

The default WooCommerce shipping options are good. But for more customization and better handling of shipping, you must choose some plugins based on your requirements. Here we cover the popular ones developed by the WooCommerce team.

Table Rate Shipping

Table Rate Shipping plugin gives you the flexibility to set multiple shipping charges based on factors such as weight, location, price, etc.

Top features:

  • Flexible, customizable shipping options
  • Multiple rate tables per shipping zone
  • Multiple table rate calculation type
  • Allows adding rules based on weight, number of items, etc.
  • Allow addition of cost per item, row, etc.

Pricing: $99

Get Table Rate Shipping plugin

Shipment Tracking

The plugin allows your customers to track their shipments easily and conveniently.

Top features:

  • Allows adding shipment tracking information to orders
  • Allows adding shipment tracking information to customer emails
  • Supports custom tracking links and automatic tracking links for popular shipping providers liike FedEx, DHL, UPS, Canada Post, Australia Post, etc.

Pricing: $49

Get Shipping Tracking plugin

WooCommerce Order Barcodes

You can create a unique barcode for each order on your website. This is best suited for e-tickets, packing slips, reservations and a variety of other applications.

Top features:

  • Choose from five different barcode types
  • The barcodes can be processed and scanned directly on your site
  • Customers will receive the barcodes via emails

Pricing: $79

Get Order Barcodes plugin

FedEx Shipping Method

Using this extension, you can get accurate FedEx API shipping rates for both domestic and international parcels.

The extension requires that your store uses the US or Canadian Dollars, US or Canada as a base country, and SOAP installed on the server.

Pricing: $79

Get FedEx Shipping Method plugin

UPS Shipping Method

The UPS API manages both local and international packages so you can get accurate shipping rates. It requires Simple XML installed in your server.

The Rates API returns rates in the currency of the country where the API is registered. So, ensure that your store matches it.

Pricing: $79

Get UPS Shipping Method plugin

WooCommerce Distance Rate Shipping

Using distance rate shipping, you can offer customers shipping rates based on the total distance or time traveled.

Top features:

  • Rules are set to charge based on travel time, or distance.
  • Add extra charges based on total weight, total cart value, etc.
  • Best for businesses that charge customers based on the distance covered for package delivery.
  • The extension requires a Google Account as it uses Google Maps, Google Distance Matrix API, etc.

Pricing: $79

Get WooCommerce Distance Rate Shipping plugin

Per Product Shipping

Separate shipping costs per product and variation. In addition, you may combine shipping charges during checkout.
Top features:

  • Costs might vary according to destination
  • Get import and export rates via a built-in simple CSV handler
  • Allows using standalone shipping method where all the product costs add up to the final cost-or- add per-product costs to other shipping methods.

Pricing: $79

Get Per Product Shipping plugin

ShipStation Integration

Using ShipStation, you can reduce your shipping duties, ship faster and for less money, and fulfill all your orders with minimal effort.
Top features:

  • Importing orders automatically at Woo, Amazon, eBay, Walmart.com, etc. and save time.
  • Cheaper shipping by availing of the preferred courier choices
  • Customize emails, shipping labels, packing slips, or brand you tracking page to enhance customer experience

Pricing: Free app download. 30-days free trial.

Get ShipStation Integration

Flat Rate Box Shipping

Defining costs for different types of destinations and deciding the cost of the boxes based on the destination.

Top features:

  • Multiple box sizes as per the shipping zone
  • Adding cost per box, per weight unit, and a percentage of item cost inside the box
  • Define a cost for items that are unpackable

Pricing: $49

Get Flat Rate Box Shipping plugin

WooCommerce Shipping Services

This is the only solution that allows you to perform all the shipping tasks including printing labels, requesting pickups & monitoring shipment tracking status right from your WooCommerce dashboard.

Top features:

  • Supports multi-carrier shipping for all the top carriers like UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, Canada Post, Australia Post, & many more.
  • Display accurate shipping rates on your WooCommerce checkout page.
  • Save time & Effort by automatically printing shipping labels.
  • Automatically choose the cheapest shipping services.
  • Carrier pickup requests & manifests.

Pricing: Starts from $9/month, 14-day free trial available

Get WooCommerce Shipping Services plugin

Parting words

Taking care of shipping is not only a part of the shopping process, but it’s a process in itself that requires attention. There are so many things to do. And as your business grows, handling shipping becomes increasingly challenging.

It is worthwhile to experiment with WooCommerce shipping settings to better understand the system, learn more about it, and figure out which plugins or shipping options are right for you.

Take the time to figure out what works for you and do things the right way!

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