E-commerce is becoming popular all over the globe. Shipping is one functionality that has gained the maximum importance along with the growth of eCommerce. Shipping products fast and efficiently can be a win-win situation for any online store. Timely shipping not only retains the existing customer but also helps as a method of passive marketing. And feedback on swift shipping can attract more customers. So in this article, we’ll explore the shipping options available with WooCommerce. And discuss the advantages of having ELEX Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with Postage for your WooCommerce store. by the end of this article, you will also be convinced on the need of a shipping plugin
Getting Shipping Rates
Shipping rates can be shown either by the core options of WooCommerce or by using any shipping plugin. So, it is done:
- Without Plugin and
- With Plugin
First, we’ll see the core shipping options for WooCommerce shipping. They are:
- Shipping Zones
- Shipping Options
- Shipping Classes
A Shipping Zone is a geographical area to which you ship your items. Here you can get as specific as you need, right down to regions and zip codes, or you can leave it more general like ‘all of the USA’ – whichever suits you best.
Once created, customers see the shipping methods available for their addresses and corresponding zone. Each customer matches only one zone.
This allows the user to enable/disable the shipping calculator on the cart page. The options available here are:
Calculations: Here you can choose either to show shipping on the cart page or hide them until the customer enters an address.
Shipping Destinations: You can choose to ship to the shipping address or to the customer’s billing address.
Debug Mode: This helps you to find the errors in setting with error messages.
Shipping classes can be used to group products of similar type and used by some shipping methods, such as Flat Rate Shipping, to provide different rates to different classes of product.
For example, with shipping classes and Flat Rate Shipping, it’s possible to create different flat rate costs for different product types, like bulky items and small items. Shipping rates assigned to zones as Flat Rate and rates assigned to shipping classes add up at the time of calculation of shipping charges.
Shipping classes are used to group products – they are not used directly to offer shipping rates to customers. To set up shipping rates, configure Shipping Zones, and then add your shipping class costs to a shipping method, like Flat Rate.
WooCommerce offers API guidelines to develop your own plugins based on your requirements. But you will have to be a programmer to achieve this feat. And then there is WooCommerce Business Plan which lets you add plugins developed by various third-party developers. Now let’s discuss how plugins make shipping easy.
Before moving on, plugins are available for free at WordPress.org and you can find the premium versions on the developer’s websites.
Let’s consider Tom’s case. He operates from the United States and has just started on WooCommerce, his first choice was the basic version of WooCommerce Stamps.com USPS Shipping Method. It’s because Stamps.com provides discounted rates, it is reliable and reaches to every corner of USA through USPS.
Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce helped him streamline USPS shipping integration. Also, you should know that this plugin helps you get shipping rates from USPS APIs based on the shipping address and cart content. the plugin show rates based on postal codes and other parameters.
It integrates WooCommerce to USPS Shipping Rates using Stamps.com API. Once this plugin is installed and configured with necessary information, your WordPress/WooCommerce Shop will be ready to show shipping rates from USPS.
Stamps.com Basic Version
It calculate Shipping Rates Dynamically
While checking out, a customer is presented with the available shipping services and the rates based on the shipping address and cart content. The customer can choose the best method that matches his/her requirements and proceed to payment.
And yes the plugin calculates the shipping rate for each extra item added. Much better and relieving than the core shipping options. But again you don’t get to print labels. You buy stamps from the post office or give you shipment to transports. Also, the basic version doesn’t offer shipping carrier services and the tracking services.
If you are happy with showing shipping rates by USPS only, the basic version is just fine.
Otherwise, for labels, free pickup of packages, and tracking of the shipment, USPS Premium plugin is the one you need.
Is that enough?
Showing shipping rates to customers is enough to run a successful online store? Don’t we want to print labels? Don’t we need to find a transport agency to ship your items? Yes, we need these features to complete our shipping process. And thus this calls for the necessity of a service provider which can help you in printing labels and ship these items to the shipping address. And also, let you and your buyers track the shipment.
Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce
So you can switch to its premium version. And apart from returning the live rates, you get these features.
Printing of USPS Postages at discounted rates
What it does is that it buys postage from USPS at high discounted commercial rates. And sells at their rates to general buyers. This rate is slightly less than the USPS commercial rates. But in return, Stamps.com charges its customers with a monthly charge of $15.99(subject to change). You will get the plugin from ELEX store for $69.00. This entitles you to year-long free updates and premium support. For continuous updates and support, you can renew the subscription at 50% off. With the plugin, you get 30-days money back guarantee, for any such case where you feel the plugin is not for you. And you pay for your postage through your Stamps.com account, based on usage.
Provides special packing options
It provides most of the packing options provided by USPS. And a large portion of items can be packed in Flat Rate boxes. These boxes are usually large and can accommodate more. This helps is decreasing the shipping charges, even though other regular shipping options are there. You can use the available options to offer different shipping options to your customers. You can find all the details of various packing options here.
Printing Labels and Tracking
You can create a shipment by clicking the ‘Create Shipment’ button on the right side of the order details page. This sends shipment details to Stamps.com online account automatically. And then you can generate shipping labels, which are printable. You pay for the postage through the online mode directly to your Stamps.com account.
You can also change the shipping service and box/parcel dimensions (if enabled in the plugin settings) manually before generating the label. This plugin integrates with Stamps.com APIs to print domestic or international shipping labels with a tracking barcode.
Tracking: The plugin sends the tracking number to you and your customers through e-mail automatically. Both parties get tracking updates via messages also.
Name of Services: You get an option to change the name of services you offer to your customers.
Debug Mode: You get a debug mode and based on the error messages you can help yourself out of minor troubles.
Hidden postage: This helps you to skip price of postage paid for the postage printed. In fact, this enables you to hide the amount you actually paid to Stamps.com and charge the customers a different shipping rate for the same postage.
Labels contain barcode/ scatter code and USPS scanners read them easily.
Support: You can see the details of Installation and documentation on ELEX website or you can contact online support at any point in time here.
Although Woocommerce Core shipping options help you show shipping rates, you need to do a lot of math yourself. Even then you can’t be sure if you are charging enough for shipping. So having a shipping plugin can relieve you from the tedious job of finding a carrier for shipping and also get help in packing the items. You also get free pickup from your warehouse. With Stamps.com Shipping Plugin, you and your customers can track the shipments. So it is a smart choice to have Stamps.com for your WooCommerce store.
Find more details and relevant plugins related to shipping on our product page. For any queries, shoot your comment in the comments section. We’ll be more than happy to respond quickly.