Shipping rates are what you charge your customer in addition to the cost of the products that they order. The cost of any shipping rates are added to a customer's order at checkout.
You can choose a variety of shipping rates and methods to appear as options for your customers, or keep it simple and provide a single option.
When you create shipping rates, you can also specify any restrictions or rules around which shipping methods are available based on the contents of the customer's cart.
Flat shipping rates
Flat shipping rates are specific shipping amounts that you charge a customer based on their order.
For example, if you want to charge $5 for shipping each time a customer places an order, then you would set up a $5 flat shipping rate.
The benefit to flat shipping rates is that you have control over precisely what a customer is charged at checkout.
General rates provide a flat rate shipping cost regardless of what is in the cart.
For example, if you want customers to be able to choose between regular shipping costing $5 or expedited shipping costing $15, then you would set up two general flat rates, one for each option.
These two rates then appear as options in your checkout for any customer's order.
Priced-based rates let you set minimum and maximum cart values for your flat shipping rates.
For example, suppose that you wanted to charge different rates for orders below and over $50. Using priced-based rates, you could set a flat shipping rate of $4 for orders under $50, and a flat shipping rate of $10 for orders over $50.
Using the example above, a customer with a cart valued at $35 would have only the $4 shipping option appear at checkout.
Weight-based rates let you set minimum and maximum cart total weights for your flat shipping rates.
For example, suppose that you wanted to charge different rates for orders below and over 5 kg. Using weight-based rates, you could set a flat shipping rate of $7 for orders under 5 kg, and a flat shipping rate of $15 for orders over 5 kg.
Using the example above, a customer with a cart that has a combined weight of 7 kg would have only the $15 shipping option appear at checkout.
Free shipping rates
Any flat shipping rate can be made into a free shipping rate by setting the shipping cost to $0. For example, if you want to offer free shipping on all orders, then you can create a general flat shipping rate with a cost of $0.
Instead, if you wanted to offer free shipping on orders over $100, then set up a priced-based flat rate of $0 for orders over $100.
Calculated shipping rates
Calculated shipping rates are shipping costs that are provided by any shipping carriers or apps that you add to your store.
When a customer reaches checkout, their cart information is sent to the shipping carrier or app, and they return what you should charge for shipping.
The benefit of carrier-calculated shipping rates is that you can pass on the exact cost of shipping an order directly to the customer.
Calculated shipping rates from shipping carriers
Depending on your Shopify plan and location, there are certain shipping carriers you might be able to add directly to your shipping settings.
Shipping carriers could use any of the following when determining how much to charge for shipping:
- Shipping origin
- Shipping destination
- Weight of the shipment
- Value of the shipment
- Dimensions of the shipment box
- Dimensional weight
- Requested speed of delivery
For example, suppose that a customer from Washington D.C., USA reaches the checkout with a 1 kg order. Your store is located in Ottawa, Canada and your default box size is 5" x 7" x 7" weighing 0.375 kg. If you connect your Shopify account with Canada Post, then Canada Post calculates the possible shipping options for your customer based on the order criteria, and provides them at checkout for the customer to choose from.
Calculated shipping rates from apps
Apps can also provide calculated rates if the carrier that you ship through uses an app to integrate with Shopify, or you need a more advanced shipping setup.
To see all available shipping apps, visit the Shopify App Store.
Customer experience choosing shipping rates
The shipping settings that you use affect what your customers see at checkout.
After you've set up your shipping rates, you can place a test order using your own checkout to see what options your customers have and make sure that your rates are appearing correctly.
How your customers choose a shipping method
As soon as your customers reach checkout and enter a shipping address, their shipping methods are displayed. Although you can create many shipping options, each customer is shown only those applicable to their order. The cheapest option is shown as the default.
If your customer leaves the checkout page to change the contents of their order, then their shipping rates might change. Since most shipping rates are calculated based on an order's weight, any significant changes to its contents can make the original shipping rate inaccurate. When your customer returns to the checkout process after changing their order, they're redirected back to the same step of the checkout process. They won't receive the new, recalculated shipping rate until they're ready to complete their purchase.
Customers who enter a shipping address in a region that isn't included in your shipping zones receive a notice that there is no shipping rate available for their region:
Checking out with PayPal Express
If your customers are checking out by using PayPal Express, they are first taken to the PayPal page to enter their credit card information and billing address. After this step, they’re shown available shipping methods.
You might want to inform your customers that they will encounter this intermediate step if they’re using PayPal Express. An easy way to do this is to create an information page and link it to the footer of your store.