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How to Add More Flexibility to WooCommerce Shipping at the Checkout?

August 2021
Shipping with WooCommerce
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform that is built on WordPress.
Originally, WooCommerce started as a site for building themes for WordPress, called WooThemes. After some time the founders of WooThemes realized that customers require more functionality and they ventured into the world of plugin development. That is when the company was renamed WooCommerce.

As a part of the service, WooCommerce offers free, default shipping. In this article, we will discuss WooCommerce Shipping, its functionality, and its features offered within the package. Also, we will mention whether it is better to use more advanced WooCommerce plugins for shipping or is the WooCommerce plugin enough for basic shipping?

What is WooCommerce Shipping?

WooCommerce Shipping is a default feature offered by WooCommerce for its existing customers. Once you establish your e-commerce on WooCommerce, you can take advantage of WooCommerce shipping.

What Does WooCommerce Shipping Offer?

WooCommerce shipping does not support many features and has limited functionality. To solve more complex shipping issues, WooCommerce advises getting additional shipping plugins. Still, WooCommerce supports easy-to-execute shipping tasks for your e-commerce. These are the basic features WooCommerce is currently offering to its customers:
1
Shipping Labels
WooCommerce shipping enables you to print labels directly from your dashboard. It is currently offering a 67% discount on shipping labels. You can print discounted shipping labels from DHL or USPS for domestic and international shipping.
2
Order Tracking
Track WooCommerce orders in real-time. Send real-time tracking information to your customers directly from carriers as soon as the updated information is live. The tracking information is sent to your customers via email.
3
Shipping Rates
The accurate shipping rates can be obtained from USPS and displayed at the checkout for your customers.
If you are not based in the US or need more shipping features and carriers, you will need to look for more flexible and complex shipping solutions on WooCommerce like Shippo or Calcurates.
4
Shipping Options
If you will be using only flat rate shipping, free shipping, and local pickup as shipping options for your e-commerce, you will be fine with the default shipping for WooCommerce. To configure shipping options for your e-commerce you will have to navigate to shipping zones within your settings for WooCommerce shipping.
5
Shipping Zones
In WooCommerce shipping zones are defined as the destination you ship to, be it country, region, city, or zip code. Shipping zones determine the shipping rates based on the customers’ location. To each shipping zone, you will be able to add three basic shipping options offered by WooCommerce shipping.

Is WooCommerce Shipping Free?

Yes, WooCommerce Shipping is free. It has some basic shipping features built within. Shipping options, order tracking, and shipping labels are built within the basic functionality of WooCommerce shipping, thus free to use for any e-commerce owner on WooCommerce. For more complex shipping functionality it is recommended to get a shipping plugin for WooCommerce.
Calcurates Related Features

How Does WooCommerce Shipping Calculator Work?

By default, you will only have a flat rate, location pick up, and free shipping option available for you by WooCommerce shipping. WooCommerce only takes into account one scenario that most of the online stores on WooCommerce, only focus on selling a certain type of product. Let's say you sell clothes, then most likely all your products are of similar attributes and weight, so you will need only one shipping option, and that is a flat rate.

However, what if WooCommerce is wrong here? What if you do have a diverse product portfolio? Let's say you own a clothes store, shipping a set of socks is completely different from shipping a nightgown, right?
If you want to take advantage of more shipping options, you will need to add an extra plugin to your WooCommerce e-commerce. It is better to get complex shipping software because having too many stand-alone plugins is costly and may result in faulty configuration. Shipping software can solve this problem and help you with more areas of shipping thanks to its advanced features.
  1. Set up shipping zones
  2. Add shipping methods to each shipping zone
  3. Set up shipping labels
  4. Manage packages
  5. Print shipping labels
  6. Send tracking information to customers
  7. Schedule a pickup
  8. Manage label reports

Click here for a detailed guide on how to set up WooCommerce shipping.
WooCommere shipping guide

What Features Does Calcurates Offer for WooCommerce E-commerce?

You can take advantage of the powerful shipping plugin and its advanced features that can help your WooCommerce business streamline your shipping storefront. Have a look at the features offered by Calcurates below.
Configurable Shipping Zones allows you to assign shipping methods and shipping rates to specific geo-locations as countries, states, regions, postal codes, and addresses. Creating location-based rules and restrictions will help you to obtain more shipping flexibility at the checkout for your WooCommerce e-commerce.
Here you have three shipping options to choose from. Let’s explain a little more about each of them. 

  • Table Rates - set up specific rates for multiple shipping methods based on various attributes and conditions
  • Flat Rate - shipping option which is best used for similar products and single locations. It is a very easy to use and time-saving option. Just be aware that flat rates do not take into account the weight, size, or shape of the product. 
  • Free Shipping - set up free shipping for certain products, categories, or other complex condition sets based on a variety of attributes.
  • In-Store Pickup
Connect your own carriers' accounts and get real-time shipping rates from the major carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, DPD, DHL, and more.
You can fully customize the Shipping Rules and Restrictions feature to your WooCommerce store with Calcurates. Add extra fees, offer discounts for specific locations and conditions, or exclude certain costly areas from your shipping network entirely. Shipping Rules and Restrictions improve the cost-effectiveness of your shipping on WooCommerce.
Let your customer know when the order will be due. With the Estimated Delivery Dates feature you can schedule delivery times, the cut-off times for various shipping methods, and inform your customers regarding the approximate delivery time right at WooCommerce checkout.
Display accurate rates that include applicable duties and taxes, called Landed Cost. Make shipping methods available at your WooCommerce checkout for the customers. This feature will help your customers understand better all the costs included in shipping.
Use Smart Packaging algorithm to pick the optimal packaging automatically for every order based on set custom packaging options and product dimensions. Smart Packaging feature obtains real-time rates from the major carriers and increases the accuracy of shipping rates. This is a novelty feature for WooCommerce.
Volumetric weight is a value adopted by carriers worldwide for calculating shipping rates. It increases the accuracy of shipping rates and makes shipping cost-effective for your WooCommerce store.
Compare carriers' shipping services and their corresponding shipping rates in real-time to find the cheapest one. Then display the best real-time rate at your WooCommerce checkout. The process of rate shopping is fully automated.
The multi-origin shipping feature allows you to set up shipping methods based on multiple warehouses. You will be able to ship from different locations and set up different shipping methods for each origin. This feature is fully compatible with WooCommerce e-commerces.

Why Opt for Calcurates Rather than WooCommerce Shipping?

Control over your Shipping Storefront
Have full control over your shipping storefront with Calcurates. Set up your shipping methods and shipping options and display them at the checkout. The great thing is that once the process is set up it will run automatically for you. And you don’t need any third-party shipping extension to manage all the shipping for you. The shipping process will run smoother and more efficiently. The best practice is to set up the whole process once and then just alter it as specific challenges arise.
Cost-Effective Shipping for WooCommerce E-Commerce
Optimizing your shipping process will help you manage your shipping costs better as well. Including features such as rate shopping, estimated delivery dates, and landed cost can help you better understand where you spent too much or where you could potentially save money.  Rate shopping will find the cheapest real-time rates from carriers for you. Landed cost displays all the cost it takes to ship a product abroad at the checkout to your customer and with estimated delivery dates you make sure your customer knows when to expect the package so that you avoid paying for re-routing of the package. All these advanced features add to cost-efficient shipping.
All-in-one solution
Calcurates is a complex shipping SaaS well-suited for any WooCommerce e-commerce. This means that all features are already built-in within the software. You will have all the features within one shipping solution. There is no need to get extra plugins for each shipping issue you might face. Simply start a free trial with Calcurates to test whether its functionality suits you. If you are unsatisfied with our product, you can always cancel your subscription within one month.

How to Configure Shipping on WooCommerce With Calcurates?

The process is very simple and easy to follow. All you have to do at first is to have an online store on the WooCommerce platform. Then just follow the steps to configure your WooCommerce store with Calcurates:
1
Calcurates WooCommerce Plugin
Install Calcurates plugin to your WooCommerce store
2
Shipping Origins
Set up shipping origins where you ship your products from
3
Carriers Accounts
Connect your carriers accounts (UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, Canada Post, Purolator Canada, Australia Post, Sendle and more)
4
Shipping Options
Configure Shipping Options (Carrier, Rate Shopping, Flat Rate, Free Shipping, Table Rates, and In-store Pickup)
5
Conditional Shipping Storefront
Customize your Shipping Storefront by configuring Shipping Zones, Shipping Rules, and Restrictions
6
Shipping Configuration
Check Shipping Configuration with built-in shipping calculator to test the process
7
Advanced features
Add advanced features (Smart Packaging, Estimated Delivery Dates, Volumetric Weight, Rate Shopping, and more)
And that is it! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding configuration.
Woocommerce integrations with Calcurates

Conclusions

WooCommerce shipping does have limited functionality. It only offers very basic shipping options, flat rate shipping, free shipping, and location pick up. Order tracking and printing shipping labels are available as well. There is a very limited choice of connected carriers from default WooCommerce Shipping. To solve more complex shipping issues and rules, WooCommerce advises retailers to get an additional WooCommerce plugin that deals with shipping. For instance, Calcurates is a shipping plugin that offers more shipping options; flat rate, table rates, free shipping, and in-store pickup. In addition to this, it supports more carriers like US-based UPS, FedEx, USPS, and European carriers such as DPD, DHL, and even Australia Post, Canada Post, and many more. Calcurates offers Estimated Delivery Dates, Rate Shopping, Dimensional Weight, Multi-origin shipping, and similar from the advanced features. To see the list of all the features supported for WooCommerce have a look here.
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