How to Set Up Per-Product Shipping in WooCommerce

By Nimesh Patel 11 min Read

Table of Contents

    In a world where the digital marketplace is as crowded as a shopping mall during Black Friday, a robust and adaptable shipping strategy is no less than a lifeline for eCommerce businesses. As online retailers, you are not only competing on the quality of your products but also on how swiftly and economically you can get them to your customer’s doorstep.

    The shipping method you employ, therefore, holds a profound impact on everything – from the intricacy of your logistics to the smiles (or frowns) on your customers’ faces when they see the shipping fees. 

    This is where WooCommerce’s per-product shipping feature comes into play, offering a laser-focused approach that can be the USP your business needs.

    Per-product shipping allows you to assign specific shipping charges to individual products, ensuring that customers pay a fair price while your profits stay intact. 

    WooCommerce, one of the titans in the eCommerce platform arena, provides some tools for per-product shipping through its shipping classes system. However, while shipping classes can be a good starting point, they may not provide the granular control that many online stores need. 

    In this article, we will explore two ways to incorporate per-product shipping – looking at how you can utilize WooCommerce’s built-in shipping classes to assign different shipping costs to different products and using the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce to navigate the depths of per-product shipping with finesse and agility.

    Let’s start optimizing your WooCommerce shipping strategy!

    Why should you charge per-product shipping in WooCommerce?

    When setting up shipping options in your WooCommerce store, it’s imperative to consider the various factors that not only affect your costs but also impact the customer’s experience and your store’s profitability. Charging shipping on a per-product basis comes with several advantages that address these factors. 

    Let’s dissect the benefits of this approach:

    • More control over shipping rates: With per-product shipping, you’re not bound by a one-size-fits-all flat rate or by generalized shipping classes. Instead, you can fine-tune the shipping cost for each product based on its weight, product dimensions, or other factors. This level of control ensures that you cover your costs accurately without burdening your customers with unjustified charges or, conversely, absorbing extra costs yourself.
    • Better customer experience: By charging item-based shipping, you’re ensuring that the customer pays a fair cost to ship specific items they are purchasing. This eliminates the guesswork and provides a sense of fairness, as customers recognize that they are not subsidizing the shipping costs of other products. In turn, this transparency can bolster customer trust and loyalty.
    • Increased profitability and product diversification: By configuring per-product shipping rates, you can maintain healthier profit margins. This is particularly beneficial for products with a smaller profit margin, where the shipping cost constitutes a significant portion of the total cost. When you have the ability to set shipping rates per product, it also becomes more viable to diversify your product offerings, which in turn can help attract a broader audience and lead to increased sales.

    Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Methods

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

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    What shipping options are readily available in WooCommerce?

    Without the need for additional plugins or extensions, WooCommerce provides three main shipping options that cater to various scenarios. Let’s look at each of these options to understand their features and use cases.

    1. Flat-rate shipping

    Flat-rate shipping is one of the most widely-used shipping methods in WooCommerce. In this approach, customers are charged a predetermined shipping fee for their orders. 

    While the term “flat-rate” might imply a single, uniform fee, WooCommerce adds a twist by allowing store owners to set different flat rates for different shipping zones. 

    For example, you can set a flat rate for domestic orders and another for international shipments.

    Moreover, WooCommerce allows you to define shipping classes and associate additional costs with them. Let’s say you have a product that is particularly bulky or requires special packaging. By assigning it to a specific shipping class, you can apply an additional fee on top of the basic flat-rate cost. 

    Though this grants some flexibility, it’s worth noting that the flat-rate model can still result in customers being either overcharged or undercharged for shipping on certain products.

    2. Free shipping

    Ah, the magic words every online shopper loves to see. With WooCommerce, offering free shipping is a breeze. Store owners can configure this option for entire shipping zones or based on certain criteria, which is the more typical use case. 

    The default settings in WooCommerce allow you to offer free shipping if:

    • The customer applies a valid free shipping coupon.
    • The customer’s order value exceeds a certain threshold.
    • Either of the above criteria is met.
    • Both of the above criteria are met.

    Free shipping can be an enticing incentive for customers to complete their purchase or even increase the size of their order to meet the qualifying criteria.

    3. Local pickup

    For those customers who prefer to collect their orders in person, WooCommerce provides the local pickup option. This is especially useful if you have a brick-and-mortar store or for customers who live nearby and want to save on shipping costs.

    You have the flexibility to decide whether you want to charge for local pickup or offer it for free. If you choose to charge, you can apply a flat fee, much like flat-rate shipping. This option can also be configured differently for various shipping zones.

    How do you offer per-product shipping in WooCommerce?

    Now that we have a firm grasp of the default shipping options in WooCommerce, it’s time to hone in on the crux of our discussion – offering per-product shipping.

    In WooCommerce, there are two primary avenues for implementing per-product shipping: 

    1. Using WooCommerce’s built-in shipping classes, which, although limited in comparison to a specialized plugin, can be an adequate starting point for some businesses.
    2. Employing a dedicated per-product shipping plugin, such as the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce, which has a treasure trove of features and controls that will enable you to fine-tune your shipping rates with precision.

    Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of both methods, so whether you’re looking for a basic setup or a more advanced and tailored solution, you’re covered.

    Method 1: Using shipping classes

    Here’s a short tutorial to walk you through the steps to set up shipping classes in WooCommerce to apply per-product shipping costs.

    • From the WordPress dashboard, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping. Go to the Shipping Classes tab, click Add shipping class, and fill in the name, slug, and description for your new class. Then, click Save shipping classes.
    woocommerce add new shipping class
    • Navigate to Products, and click on the product you wish to add a shipping class to. Under Product data, click Shipping. There will be a dropdown menu next to Shipping class – select your shipping class from this list, and then click Update
    woocommerce add shipping class to product
    • To apply shipping classes in bulk, check the box next to the products you want to edit from your full product list and select Edit from the bulk actions dropdown. You can then adjust the shipping class for all selected products at once.
    • Return to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping and click on Shipping Zones. Choose one of your existing shipping zones or create a new one. 
    woocommerce add new shipping zone
    • Click Edit underneath the shipping zone to see the existing shipping methods and rates. Then, click Edit under the shipping method you want to add a per-product cost to. There will be a section called Shipping class costs, which you can use to add a fee next to your new shipping class. Finally, click Save changes.
    woocommerce add shipping cost for class in shipping zone

    Limitations of using shipping classes for per-product shipping

    While shipping classes do provide a means to set different shipping costs for different products, there are limitations to using this approach for per-product shipping:

    • No differentiation between product variations: Shipping classes do not differentiate between variations of a variable product. If you have variable products with vastly different sizes or weights, they will be treated as part of the same shipping class, which may not accurately reflect shipping costs.
    • Limited to flat rates: Shipping classes are primarily tailored for flat-rate shipping. If your shipping strategy requires more complexity, such as discounts based on order subtotal or volume, the shipping class functionality might not suffice.
    • Time-consuming setup: Although shipping classes can be applied in bulk to some extent, there is still manual selection involved. For stores with a large number of products, setting up and applying different shipping classes can be tedious and error-prone.

    Given these limitations, if you’re looking to achieve granular control over your WooCommerce shipping costs with diverse shipping strategies, a dedicated plugin, like the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce, becomes essential.

    Method 2: Using the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce

    For those seeking more versatility and precision in their per-product shipping strategy, the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce by DotStore is an excellent tool. This plugin unlocks a plethora of features to configure your shipping costs with greater flexibility and control.

    Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

    • You can set up shipping costs not only for product categories but also for individual product variants. This lets you set different shipping methods for different products.
    • You can create rules that dynamically adjust shipping costs based on various conditions.
    • You can set different shipping rates based on an array of variables such as user role, shipping zone, shipping class, order weight, order subtotal, product quantity, and more.

    Setting up per-product shipping costs using the Flat Rate Shipping plugin

    1. Download the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce and install it on your WordPress site.
    2. From the WordPress dashboard, navigate to DotStore Plugins > Advanced Flat Rate Shipping For WooCommerce. Click Add New next to Shipping Methods
    3. Add a name for your new shipping method and a price. You can opt for a flat rate or set quantity-based pricing
    Add new shipping
    1. Fill in and configure any additional fields, such as the method description or the start and end dates of the shipping setup.
    advanced flat rate shipping configure settings
    1. Scroll down to the Advanced Shipping Price Rules section and click the slider to toggle these rules on. You can configure advanced rules such as product, category, and weight-based pricing in this section.
    2. Navigate to the Cost on Product tab, toggle it on, and click Add Rule. Specify the product you want the rule to apply to, the fee amount, and any minimum and maximum quantities for the rule to be applicable, then save your changes. This feature is ideal for implementing volume-based discounts.
    advanced flat rate shipping cost on product settings
    1. If you have multiple per-product fees, you can control which ones you want to apply on your storefront by navigating to the plugin’s settings page, going to Master Settings, and choosing the option that you want from the What to do when multiple shipping methods are available dropdown:
    • Allow customer to choose.
    • Apply Highest.
    • Apply Smallest.
    • Force all shipping methods.
    advanced flat rate shipping master settings

    Build an effective shipping strategy with flat-rate shipping for WooCommerce

    Setting up an effective shipping strategy is paramount to the success of your WooCommerce store. By incorporating per-product shipping costs, you’re taking a pivotal step towards more control over shipping rates, enhancing the customer experience, and boosting your profitability.

    Though WooCommerce does provide some functionality for per-product shipping through its shipping classes, it is somewhat limited in its scope and flexibility. For store owners seeking a more refined and versatile approach to shipping, a specialized plugin is indispensable.

    Here, the Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce stands out as the ideal solution. 

    Its ability to set product and category-based shipping costs even for product variants and the capacity to create dynamic, conditional shipping rules places it head and shoulders above the alternatives. 

    Moreover, the extensive range of variables it caters to, from user roles to order weights, makes it a comprehensive tool for customizing your shipping strategy.

    In a digital marketplace where shipping can make or break the customer experience, tailoring your shipping costs to the specifics of each product is not just a convenience – it’s a necessity. 

    Take full control over your WooCommerce store’s shipping strategy by harnessing the power of Flat Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce!

    Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Methods

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

    Advanced Flat rate shipping Banner

    Boost your store’s revenue with flexible shipping

    Advanced Flat rate shipping Banner
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    Written by Nimesh Patel

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