Plan your shipping strategy

Choosing what shipping rates to offer your customers is an important part of setting up your business. Before you take your first order, you need to decide what shipping strategy you want to use, and then set up how your customers can choose a shipping method.

Shipping strategies

Your shipping strategy will probably change over time as your store grows. One of the first decisions you will need to make is deciding how much to charge for shipping.

Free shipping

Offering free shipping usually has a positive impact on your cart conversions. There are a few ways to offer free shipping, even if your business is just getting started. One way is to include the shipping fee in your product prices. Find out what the average cost to ship your product is, then add the buffer into your prices.

Another way is to offer free shipping on all orders over a certain dollar amount. For more information, refer to Create free shipping rates.

Charge exact shipping costs

If you are located in the U.S. or Canada, then you can use Shopify Shipping to display calculated shipping rates to your customers at checkout. If you have a new business and have limited resources, then passing on the exact rate can be a simple way to reduce costs.

Flat rate shipping

Another way to charge for shipping is to offer a flat rate for every package, or flat rates for weight ranges, destinations, or cart totals. When deciding on a flat rate, you will need to consider your average shipping cost to send a package so you don’t over or under charge. An example of a flat rate is to charge $5 for all domestic shipments.

Remember that your goal is to balance your own shipping and handling costs with attractive pricing for your customers. Different shipping strategies might work better at different stages of your business. It’s worth testing out a few different options to see how it impacts your sales.

Optimize shipping rates

You can also offer shipping rates that are calculated directly by various shipping carriers. But if you add calculated rates to your checkout, then you should make sure the rates that the shipping carrier provides back to your store are accurate. There are a few different things that you can do to make sure that you're getting the most accurate rates at checkout:

If you don't have an account with any shipping carriers, then Shopify Shipping is a service available through Shopify to receive discounted rates. If you are located in the United States or Canada, then Shopify Shipping can calculate shipping rates for you based on the cart weight, box size, and shipping services you choose to offer.

If you're using Shopify Shipping, then make sure that you have added weights to each of your products and have measured the size of the box you will be shipping. If you use the same box size each time, then add it as the default package for accurate rate calculations.

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