Standard Vs Flat Rate Shipping Fee in WooCommerce

By Nimesh Patel 7 min Read

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    Shipping may be straightforward for customers, but every online business owner understands its complexity. While digitization has done a dozen good things, such as saving infrastructure costs, reducing the need for sales representatives in outlets, and so on, shipping & delivery operations still need your attention as a business venture.

    So, because you ship products instead of customers visiting the outlet, it is legible to charge a shipping fee in many scenarios. However, sometimes you can skip charging shipping charges and make your customers happy.

    Now, when you are charging fees, there are multiple types of fees you can charge, such as:

    1. Standard Shipping Cost
    2. Flat Rate Shipping Cost
    3. Percentage/Variable Shipping Cost

    The most confusing among these are standard and flat rate shipping costs because the scope of the percentage shipping fee can be guessed from its name. But because we will focus on most of the other two variants of shipping fees, here is a quick overview of variable shipping costs.

    The shipping cost varies with the cost of the product (or a part of the product cost). For example – A seller may charge a 1% shipping fee on cart value while selling electronic goods.

    Standard Shipping Fee vs. Flat Rate Shipping Fee in WooCommerce

    Let us begin with a standard shipping fee.

    Note: Those, who understand the difference, can skip this section and start learning how to add a standard shipping fee or flat rate shipping fee for their online shops]

    Standard Shipping Fee in WooCommerce

    This shipping rate applies to your cart or all products, irrespective of any related aspect, such as product weight, product size, payment method, and so on. You can think of it as the fixed shipping cost, as determined by third-party eCommerce vendors who handle the delivery operations.

    Flat Rate Shipping Fee in WooCommerce

    The flat rate shipping cost changes with different aspects related to your products or cart. For example – the same product may be shipped to different locations at different shipping charges. Similarly, you may charge $10 for shipping 10 t-shirts while $8 for shipping of 15 t-shirts (the shipping cost depends upon product count in this case).

    WooCommerce lets you fix the flat rate cost as per location only. Here is a detailed tutorial on how to set up flat-rate shipping charges from the official WooCommerce site for your WooCommerce store.

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    Figure 1: Adding Flat Rate Shipping Charges in WooCommerce using Standard Options Available

    Clearly, that’s not all.

    You can add flat-rate shipping methods that allow you to decide shipping rates based on dozens of parameters, not just location. These parameters could be –

    • Location-based – Country, state, zip code, shipping zone (custom collection of locations)
    • Product-based – product name, SKU, category, variable product, tag, product
    • Attribute-based – Color, size
    • User-based – User name, user role
    • Cart-based – cart subtotal, quantity, weight, coupon
    • Payment method based
    • Shipping class-based
    • On per delivery date and/or deliver time

    You will need the Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce Plugin.

    Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Methods

    Boost your WooCommerce store’s revenue with flexible shipping options. Your business deserves the best!

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    The good thing is that using this plugin is easy, and it won’t take much time to configure and set up flat-rate shipping.

    Comparing the Two: When Should You Use These?

    So, there are times when standard shipping rates are beneficial to deploy. And then, there are times when flat-rate shipping charges make more sense. You have to choose any of these as per your shop’s needs to keep sales operations efficient and smooth. Here is how to decide –

    1. When you need to sell products at a fixed shipping price

    You must sell one product or item in your online shop.

    Also, you are shipping them to a few limited locations. In this case, the cost of shipping can be kept the same. So, enable standard shipping for your eCommerce shop instead of making things complex.

    2. Highly different shipping costs are to be applied.

    For businesses that ship various products to multiple locations, it is impossible to fix the same shipping rate for all orders. Hence, the standard shipping costs won’t do any good here. You need to apply flat-rate shipping charges.

    3. When transparency is the priority

    It is essential to clarify to your customers why you are charging the shipping fee and how much it is. With flat-rate shipping, this becomes easy.

    So, whenever you think the customers do not feel your checkout process is fully transparent, go for flat rate shipping instead of standard shipping charges.

    4. Your business is new, and your reach is low

    The new WooCommerce store owners may take some time to understand how shipping works. Also, in the beginning months of your business, you might not be selling products to many locations, and your customer base must be limited.

    So, in such times, you can move ahead with standard shipping instead of a flat rate. Once you grow, make the switch to the latter.

    5. When you want to reduce manual calculations

    Go for flat-rate shipping in this case.

    By enabling flat rate shipping, your administrative team can be saved from manually calculating the shipping fee as per different conditions.

    It will happen on its own. Not only does it simplify things and reduce the burden on your team, but it also results in diminished human errors and decreased costs.

    Final Words!

    Online businesses vary in nature, scope, spread, and so on, big time. To operate at optimal cost and provide excellent services, you need to ponder these two types of shipping fees and decide what suits your WooCommerce the best.

    To give you a clear understanding, we have given enough details above. So, go ahead and enable the standard shipping fee or flat rate shipping fee with your online shop. It will help you automate the shipping correctly and better manage the sales operations.

    If you still are unsure about these 2 terms, ask us by adding a comment below.


    What is flat rate shipping in WooCommerce?

    Flat rate shipping in WooCommerce is a shipping method where a fixed price is charged for shipping an item, irrespective of the weight or size of the product. WoolCommerce allows you to configure this in the shipping settings through the WooCommerce dashboard.

    What is the difference between flat rate and free shipping?

    The main difference between flat rate and free shipping lies in who assumes the shipping costs. With flat rate shipping, customers pay a fixed shipping fee. With free shipping, the customers don’t pay any shipping charges – the merchant often absorbs these costs or incorporates them into the product price.

    How does WooCommerce calculate shipping costs?

    WooCommerce calculates shipping costs based on parameters like shipping zones, shipping methods, and shipping classes. WooCommerce allows for creating different zones based on geographical locations and assigning specific shipping methods (like flat rate, free shipping or local pickup) to those zones. Shipping classes can be created for different groups of products to manage distinct shipping conditions and costs.

    What is flat rate vs standard rate shipping?

    Flat rate shipping has a fixed rate for delivery, regardless of the product’s size or weight. Meanwhile, standard rate shipping usually varies depending on factors like the parcel’s weight, dimensions, and delivery distance.

    Is flat rate shipping better?

    The “better” shipping option depends on various factors. Flat rate shipping can be more predictable and easier to explain to customers, which can enhance their buying experience. However, for heavy, bulky items, or long-distance shipping, flat rate shipping might be more expensive than variable rate options. Therefore, understanding your product characteristics and customer preferences is important when choosing a shipping method.

    Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Methods

    Boost your WooCommerce store’s revenue with flexible shipping options. Your business deserves the best!

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    Nimesh Patel

    Nimesh Patel is the Product Manager and Growth Hacker at Dotstore. For the past 10 years, Nimesh has been a prolific marketer and product builder in the WordPress and e-commerce industry.

    Boost your store’s revenue with flexible shipping

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    Written by Nimesh Patel

    I am a Product Marketer and Growth hacker with expertise in Digital marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO), Email Marketing, Paid Campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, Content development strategies, and Competitive Research & Analysis. Nimesh is Product Manager at