With the help of shipping methods, shipping zones and classes you can easily organize shipping in WooCommerce. Our article will show you how to set up and combine the different options.
After installation of WooCommerce you reach the shipping options under -> WooCommerce -> Settings -> Shipping:
Note: This menu item is not available? Then check if under -> Settings -> General -> Location(s) the item “Disable shipping & shipping calculations” is wrongly set.
Set up shipping zones
A shipping zone corresponds to a region for which you offer certain shipping methods and also calculate shipping costs. WooCommerce gives some examples of this, for example:
- For a certain federal state or a postal code region you offer local pickup
- In some countries there are different shipping costs
- You set up larger zones such as “Europe”
Your customers only see those shipping methods that are available for their address during the order process. If you only have one shipping method for all your customers, you only need to create a general shipping zone. With “Locations not covered by your other zones”, WooCommerce already has a default zone that you can customize. This zone also applies if no other zone matches your customer’s address.
Tip: In the basic settings of WooCommerce you define to which countries you want to sell or which countries should be excluded.
Click on “Add shipping zone” to create a zone for the first time (or click on the name of an existing shipping zone to change it):
Now enter a name for the shipping zone under Zone name, for example “Northern Europe”. Then select the countries for which the “Zone-Regions” should be valid:
Tip: To select an entry from the list you only have to type the first letters of the country and you will get a matching list.
With a click on “Limit to specific ZIP/postcodes” you can further refine the zone. Wildcards and postcode areas are also supported, for example for information such as
- 2* (for all Postcodes beginning with two)
- 90210…99000 (for all Postcodes in this zone)
- Different individual Postcodes, e.g. for Anson, Texas
Enter one Postcode or placeholder per line. In this way, different Postcodes and areas can be combined. Note, however, that this usually only makes sense if the shipping zone contains only one country:
Tip: In the overview under -> Shipping -> Shipping Zones you can sort the created areas by drag & drop, using the icon in front of the product zone name. The shop system then follows the order to check whether the customer address matches a shipping zone. This allows you to control the priority of country or postal code levels, for example.
Add shipping methods
When creating or editing shipping zones, you finally assign suitable shipping methods, this happens at the bottom of the section “Add shipping method -> shipping method”. In the WooCommerce standard these are:
- Flat rate: Define a fixed price that has to be paid for shipping to the respective region.
- Free Shipping: There are no shipping charges. Either generally for the zone, or however released by coupons (see this Tutorial) and/or a certain minimum order value.
- Local pickup: Speaks for itself. Also here you can optionally set a price if you still have to pay.
Note: You can assign several shipping methods to one and the same shipping zone, from which your customers choose in the order process. This makes sense, for example, with the combination “Flat rate” and “Local pickup”.
Finally, click on the respective shipping method to make the settings or set the price:
The individual shipping methods can also be activated or deactivated at this point. For free shipping you can choose from the following options via the field “Free shipping required”:
- Valid free shipping coupon
- Minimum order amount
- Minimum order amount or a coupon
- Minimum order amount and a coupon
The dropdown field “Tax status” can be used to determine whether or not VAT or sales tax should still be calculated for the shipment in the case of the Flat rate and the Local pickup on site.
Tip: In Germany and Austria there is a legally binding dynamic calculation of the value added tax (VAT) for additional services such as shipping costs and cash on delivery charges. This is not implemented in WooCommerce itself. However, you can use our plugin WooCommerce German Market to do this.
Note: Click on the name of a shipping zone if you want to remove individual shipping methods from it. You can also use Drag & Drop at this point to define which shipping method should be preselected or displayed first in the order process if several options meet the conditions.
Click on “Save changes” at the end to create the final zone. Once you’ve figured out the combination of shipping zones and shipping methods, you’ll have plenty of options. In addition, the principle is very intuitive after an initial familiarization phase. Try out different variants on a test system before you make the settings for your live shop.
Show free shipping only
In the default setting of WooCommerce, your customers are shown all shipping options that are possible for their address. If there is the option “Free shipping”, e.g. because the specific postal code or a voucher makes this possible, it is relatively pointless to also display the alternatives that are subject to a charge.
This snippet – built into functions.php – prevents exactly that. In the comments at GitHub you can also find some more variants of the small tool. In our plugin WooCommerce German Market a corresponding option is already integrated, you don’t have to add an additional function.
General shipping settings
Under -> WooCommerce -> Settings -> Shipping -> Shipping options you can set some general options:
- If you activate the shipping calculator on the cart page, a link “Calculate shipping” will be displayed in the shopping cart of your shop. The customer can use this link to determine the valid shipping costs for his place of residence before he proceeds with the order process and enters his personal data. The calculation is based on the country and postal code, so it only makes sense if you offer regional shipping costs.
Note: From a legal point of view and independent of this function, the shipping costs must already be visible in the shopping cart , at least in Germany and Austria.
- The next option has the opposite effect, with it you can hide Shipping costs until you enter an address is entered
- If the goods are sent to the billing address or the shipping address by default, this regulates the selection under Shipping destination. You can also force the shipping to the billing address of the customer.
Shipping classes and formulas for price calculation
By shipping classes and shipping price formulas, the shipping flat rates can be set even more individually, for example based on the products in the shopping basket. How shipping classes work, we show in our next blog post.
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