The Shipping Methods section is where you set your shipping rates and the various rules around how they do or don't make themselves appear to customers during checkout. You can set rates in a large variety of ways, from flat rate prices, to use a table with your own criteria or live rates from popular shipping providers.
The following prerequisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:
- Have access to your Hotcakes store administration
- An understanding of how to manage products and shipping zones
- An idea of how you prefer to charge shipping
- (Optional) Shipping accounts with the live rates provider(s) you wish to use
If you haven't already done so, you should probably take some time to think through how much it will cost you to package and ship products. You should also take note of whether that effort increases or decreases when using the different providers available.
Shipping Methods Administration
The Shipping Methods configuration is found in the Admin drop down menu.
A list of shipping methods already configured in the system might be shown, but the first time, you'll need to create your first shipping method.
The grid listing allows you to see and manage the various shipping methods you already have saved.
|(no title)||This colum visually indicates that you can re-order the shipping methods to work together with the shipping rules discussed below. This doesn't affect the customer's view at all. Customers will continue to see shipping rates sorted in a way that displays the least expensive rate first.|
|Name||This is the language-friendly name that the customer will see during the checkout process. You set this when editing the respective shipping method.|
|Show When...||This column contains a link that when clicked, allows you to define when or if the specific shipping method will be available to customers.|
|(no title)||This column contains two icons. They allow you to edit or permanently delete the respective shipping method on that row.|
Available Shipping Methods
You can click the Add Shipping Method to add a new method to your list. Doing this will open a new page, allowing you to specify the settings for the selected shipping method, very much in the same way as if you chose to edit an existing shipping method.
The available shipping methods are discussed below. You can have one or many created of any or all them in your store.
|Flat Rate Per Item||Allows you to charge a standardized shipping fee for each product in the order.|
|Flat Rate Per Order||Allows you to charge a standardized shipping fee for each order, regardless to any other attribute of the order and its products.|
|Rate Table Per Item||When you use this, you can charge shipping rates based upon pre-defined quantities of items in your cart. For example, there might be a rate for 1 item, and then you could increase shipping for 2 products, then 5, then 10, etc. Each quantity would result in a different shipping rate applied to each item in the cart.|
|Rate Table By Item Count||This is very similar to the Rate Table Per Item method, but in this case, the shipping rate you specific is charged once for the entire order, instead of per line item.|
|Rate Table By Total Price||Here, you can build a table to specify shipping rates that will be charged based upon how much your customer is spending in their order. You might charge a base fee for shipping orders of $0 or higher, but then have a different rate when the order subtotal is $20, then $50, then $100, etc.|
|Rate Table By Total Weight||This shipping method is similar to Rate Table by Total Price, but this one will base the rates on the total weight of the line items in the cart, versus the price.|
|Rate Per Weight Formula||You can generate a formula to dynamically calculate the shipping rate based upon the weight settings of the products in the cart at the time. This allows you to define weight ranges dynamically, instead of building a rate table.|
|FedEx||We have a built-in integration with FedEx, which allows you to dynamically retrieve and display shipping rates in an instant, using the rates that you might have negotiated with FedEx.|
|UPS||If we have FedEx and USPS, of course we have UPS. This works the same as the others to retrieve and display shipping rates instantly, but using UPS as the shipping provider.|
|US Postal Service – Domestic||If you want to use USPS to ship products to and from U.S. locations, this is the perfect shipping method to use. It also allows you to calculate and display your shipping rates to customers instantly.|
|US Postal Service – International||This is the international version of the other USPS shipping method above. Use this for orders that either have a source or destination address outside of the U.S.|
Shipping Rules Engine
There is a shipping rules engine that is represented by the "Show When..." column you see in the shipping method list (when at least one shipping method is configured). When you combined this with the ability to short your shipping methods, this gives you a lot of power to define your shipping strategy.
When you click on the linked text, it will open a popup that allows you to define when this shipping method is displayed.
You have your choice of strategies to select from.
|Always||When selected, this shipping method is always enabled and will always attempt to look for and return shipping rates (provided that there are rates to return).|
|Never||This choice allows you to disable a shipping method temporarily.|
|Methods Above Returned No Rates||This can be a powerful choice for you to use in some instances. Imagine you have FedEx configured as first choices due to a rate contract you have. You might always want to use these. This setting would allow you to have UPS return rates, but only if FexEd didn't return any rates.|
|Subtotal >||If you choose this option, the shipping method will only look for rates when the subtotal of the cart has reached a specific threshold. Once selected, you'll have the opportunity to enter in the desired amount.|
|Total Weight >||This rule is very similar to the previous rule, only it uses the total weight of all line items in the order to determine whether or not this shipping method is enabled or disabled.|