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Selling Tips: Setting up Shipping Rates for an Online Store

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Setting up shipping rates for your online store can be done in many ways. These options range from simple flat shipping rates that require no technical implementation, to dynamic shipping rates that vary based on order weight, size, starting address, ending address, and the type and speed of delivery chosen by the customer. This makes setting up something like live, real-time carrier rates complex, however some merchants can find value in providing them to customers.

One thing to remember, is that your actual postage printing is separated from your store’s shipping rate calculator, if you choose to implement one. The actual postage price of your order can be higher or lower than what you charge your customers or what a tool estimates. Don’t overspend on shipping and waste money, but also don’t underspend and have your shipments rejected.

Examples of ways to set up shipping rates for customers:

Free Shipping: Simple solution that requires no technical implementation. All shipping fees and costs are handled by the seller.

Flat Rate Shipping: The same shipping rate on every order. Requires setting the shipping price on your store platform per order. Requires almost no technical knowledge to implement, just read your platforms documentation on how to implement it.

Tiered Flat Rate Shipping: Different shipping prices depending on order price from your customer. Requires setting the tiers within your shopping cart solution. Requires almost no technical knowledge to implement.

Real-time carrier shipping rates:

Depending on your store platform, there may be software services already available to help you calculate dynamic shipping rates based on order variables, or you may need technical programming knowledge to implement a proper functioning shipping rate calculator.

Some examples of guides available for implementing a real-time carrier shipping calculator:

Shopify’s page on setting up a shipping rate calculator

Bigcommerce shipping methods guide – Details flat shipping rates and real-time carrier rates along with individual guides for each carrier.

Volusion shipping guide – Covers live carrier rates as well as other various ways to offer shipping policies to customers.

If you can’t find a specific guide, check your store platform’s app store, as they typically have services available to help install a real-time shipping rate calculator. If you go this route, note that many of these services cost money and usually still require some technical knowledge to run properly.

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