How to Solve Multi-Origin Shipping at the Checkout for Magento and WooCommerce Stores

July 2021
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Image of Nikolay Pasholok
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates
As businesses grow they expand, and with expansion comes the need for more fulfillment centers and warehouses. And this is the point when shipping becomes more complicated. However, with the use of shipping software, multi-origin shipping can become very cost-effective and flexible.
Do you know how to manage multi-origin shipping for your locations and which e-commerce platforms offer multi-origin shipping?

What is Multi-Origin Shipping?

With multi-origin shipping, e-commerce businesses can select the optimal origin of the shipment if more warehouses are available. To better manage multiple warehouses you will need to set up shipping methods for each of your warehouses. If you enable multi-origin shipping, the order could be split between two or more locations. Customers will only see one shipping rate instead of multiple shipping rates.
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How Does Multi-Origin Shipping Work?

The problem with multi-origin shipping is shipping costs and shipping rates. How is shipping cost calculated if the products are shipped from multiple locations to one destination? Let's see how multi-origin shipping works.

Imagine the order consists of products stored in different locations or warehouses, for example, New York and Los Angeles. The algorithm will select the best carriers and shipping options for each product to be shipped to the customer from multiple locations. As an e-commerce owner, you will want to avoid paying two separate shipping costs for orders shipped from multiple locations. Some retailers can afford to do multi-origin shipping this way but most can not.

Unless you are willing to calculate everything manually, you will need a multi-origin shipping solution to obtain real-time rates and bake them into one shipping rate. Multi-origin shipping will help you split the order, create the different shipping profiles for each order, and bake the costs into one unified shipping rate displayed at the checkout for your customer.

Steps: Simplified Guide on Multi-Origin Shipping Process

To simplify the multi-origin shipping process let’s use these simple steps to try to imagine how it works.
  • 1
    Order Placement
    The customer places an online order that is shipped from multiple  locations
  • 2
    Multiple Shipping Locations
    With shipping software or solution, you will be able to add multiple shipping locations (also known as origins or sources)
  • 3
    Multi-origin Shipping Options
    Add supported shipping options as Live Rates from the carrier, Table Rates, Flat Rate, Rate Shopping, Free Shipping, and In-store Pickup for each of your locations
  • 4
    Multi-origin Shipping Rates
    Shipping software will request or calculate individual shipping rates for every location involved in the order
  • 5
    Shipping Cost
    Shipping costs will be unified into a single shipping rate
  • 6
    Single Shipping Rate
    Single shipping rate will be displayed to the customer at the checkout
Origin Selection Algorithms
Problem Statement:
how to select the best origin if the product is available in multiple origins?
  • 1
    Algorithm 1
    Stock quantity - The algorithm will check in which locations the product is available and if there is enough stock available.
  • 2
    Algorithm 2
    Distance - Automatically the algorithm will select the origin closest to the customer if Google Distance Matrix API Key is selected. Otherwise, the origin that matches the customer's country will be selected.
  • 3
    Algorithm 3
    Minimum origins for an order - if products inside the order are available in multiple locations, the algorithm will select the one that minimizes the QTY of origins for the order
  • 4
    Combined Option
    Alternatively, you can use all 3 algorithms together. Note that if no algorithm is selected the main origin selected for the website will be used for all orders.
Calcurates Related Features
What Are the Benefits of Multi-Origin Shipping for You?
  • Enable Origin-based Shipping (Shipping Software)
    Shipping from more warehouses covers more geographical areas. It might happen that products from multiple locations will be requested within one order. With shipping software, you can obtain real-time shipping rates for each location/warehouse automatically.
  • Delivery Times
    If you have the same products in multiple warehouses or locations, the best practice would be to ship each product from the nearest warehouse. Distributing products among the warehouses to shorten the delivery times.
Let's check if Calcurates meets your shipping needs!
Turn on cost-effective shipping

Does Magento 2 Offer Multi-origin Shipping?

No, Magento supports only shipping from 1 location by default. Magento offers a multi-source inventory, which is slightly different from multi-origin shipping. The multi-source inventory gives control over your product inventory. It helps maintain quantities for sales, handle shipments to complete orders better, track your inventory stock, provide stock amounts, and ship according to recommendations based on distance or priority.

Calcurates multi-origin shipping is fully compatible with Magento multi-source inventory.

Does WooCommerce Offer Multi-origin Shipping?

WooCommerce offers a feature called Advanced Shipping Packages. The feature allows the retailer to split the shopping cart into more “packages” and ship each package with its own shipping rate and shipping method. The only solution here is to split the shopping cart and ship items separately. Customers will see different shipping options for each split order, “package”. The rest of the products will be shipped in a bundle, if not specified otherwise. WooCommerce Advanced Shipping allows users to take advantage of free shipping for certain items as well.

Other than using Advanced Shipping Packages, functions such as WooCommerce multiple shipping addresses are not supported.
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How to Configure Multi-origin Shipping for Magento 2 and WooCommerce with Calcurates

Any retailer shipping from multiple locations can benefit from using the Calcurates multi-origin shipping feature. Calcurates obtains real-time shipping rates from your locations and displays a single rate at the checkout for your customers.

With multi-origin shipping, the retailer can ship items depending on the origin-based shipping method, origin selection based on the stock quantity, origin selection based on the distance, and minimize the number of origins for the order.

Currently, Calcurates supports multi-origin shipping on Magento 2 and WooCommerce. For Shopify e-commerce owners we offer multi-vendor shipping for Shopify.
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