Shipping Optimization by Weights and Zones for Bigcommerce Stores

If you'd like to download a pdf version of this guide, please see the attached file at the bottom of this page.


Setting up shipping rates to reflect USPS zones


Setting up shipping zones based on USPS Postal Zones make it easy to charge fair and reasonable postage to your customers while protecting profit margin across all shipments, including cross-country.

Need to know: the USPS determines postage rates based on specific Postal Zones (distance) and the weight of the package, with the exception of flat rate boxes and envelopes.

Delivery zones: For domestic USA mail deliveries, the USPS has created eight (9) Postal Zones. These zones are determined by calculating the distance between the ship from address (origin) and the ship to (delivery) address. Zone 1 will always be the lowest cost delivery zone for every weight. Each higher zone gets progressively more expensive, with Zone 9 always the most expensive delivery zone for all weights. View USPS zones for you zip code and calculate zones based on 2 zip codes with this handy rate calculator from the USPS




Get Zone Chart. You will need a zone chart to set up your BigCommerce shipping zones on the next page. Click here for a USPS Zonechart.

  • Step 1. Type in your Ship From Zip Code
  • Step 2. Print the list
  • Step 3. Scan the list for all Zone 1 -- to apply the next step


HOW TO: Setting up Shipping Zones in Bigcommerce:

Settings: GO TO Settings >> Shipping >> Add a Shipping Zone

Shipping Zone Name: you will be asked to name each zone you create.

TIP: choose something intuitive that will make sense from other screens later. For example, USPS Zone 1 for those zip codes that are considered Zone 1 per the USPS from your "ship from" address. We recommend that you match your zones to USPS if you plan t ouse USPS and intend to charge for shipping.

Shipping Zone Type: select 'This shipping zone is based on one or more postal or Zip codes.'

Country: select United States

Zip Post Code: Please refer to the Zone Chart that you printed earlier on the first page of instructions. This box you will specify all of the Zip Codes that you want to include in this particular Shipping Zone.

Example:if you are in Austin, Texas and want to include all Zone 1 per the USPS zone chart:

  • Zone 1: the following Zip Codes are Zone 1 per the USPS Zone Chart print out: 733??, 786??, 789??
  • Wild Cards Bigcommerce allows a "?" to denote a wildcard -- which allows any digit 0-9 in that number position



HOW TO: Next, add a shipping method to your new shipping zone on Bigcommerce

In the first step, you have set up a Zone to match USPS Zone 1 Zip Codes. Now, we can set up and assign the Shipping Method and specific rates for this zone.

Select Zone: Tick the box next to the Zone you would like to add a Shipping Method to first. We have selected USPS Zone 1, set up in the previous setp, in this example.

Action: Select Edit Method from the Action drop down.







Add a Shipping Method: Click this button at the top of the page to add a shipping method to USPS Zone 1 selected on the previous screen.

Select Method: Next, you will select the method you would like to apply to this Zone. In this example, we will demonstrate the most detailed option -- Ship by Weight. However, you might like to apply a Flat Rate to all shipments going to a nearby zone.

Display Name: This is what your customers will see on "Checkout" in your store. We recommend a name that specifies the service type (eg USPS Priority Mail) and the average delivery time. This provides the exact details your buyer is interested in and will minimize cart abandonment at this late stage.



Set up Weight Settings: You can be specific for any given weight range to ensure you recoup the cost of shipping. ShippingEasy can provide you with useful rate tables to simplify this task and ensure accuracy. Click here for a USPS rate guide.

Default Shipping Cost: You can also nominate a default shipping cost that will be applied when the weight of an order does not fit within any of the specified ranges. We have elected to apply a flat of $10 for all exceptions.

Increments: USPS breaks rates down in one pound incremends. Assuming your heaviest shipment to date is five pounds, you might set up five weight ties and input the corresponding Priority Mail rate for each weight tier. Once you've created the five weight tiers and input rate, click Save.

REPEAT: You will repeat this process for USPS Zones 2 - 9. Once you've created these steps for each of the eight USPS delivery zones, you'll be able to support shipping to everyone in the USA.




SUCCESS! Your customer will now see the Shipping Method name and rate set up in your Bigcommerce Admin console. The USPS only updates their rates once a year, so you are all set until January of next year when you'll want to eidt rates to reflect the most recent rates.



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