In this video, I’ll cover the steps for charging customers for shipping fees.
You can bake the shipping costs into a product’s retail price. But I want you to rethink that for a second here. It may be more strategic for you to list your product at its normal value and then add shipping costs to your order form.
Why do that? Long story short, lower prices lead to higher conversions. On your website and in your marketing material, you can list the cost of the product without listing the shipping fees. By the time your leads hit the order page, they’re invested — an extra fee for shipping likely won’t scare them away.
Adding shipping fees later on can also be a ‘pro-customer’ benefit because you’re giving people options about how quickly they want this thing. Overnight shipping? Slower and cheaper? The world is their oyster because you’re offering your customers a choice.
Let me show you how to add different shipping options to your order forms.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a shipping method. Open up the Sales dropdown menu, click “Settings” and “Shipping Methods.”
As you create more shipping methods, they’ll all be saved in this shipping types collection. Now click “Add New Shipping Type” to create a new one. You’ll be presented with two simple fields: “Name” and “Price.”
One important thing to note: the name you enter here is what will appear on your order forms! So make sure you use a name that’s both appropriate and will make sense to your customers.
For example, you might name your shipping methods “FedEx 2-Day,” “Overnight,” or “USPS Priority.” People generally know what those mean.
You can add as many shipping methods as you like on your order form, but let’s first think about how to decide what to charge for your shipping. There’s a bit of strategy and thinking this through in this step.
Obviously, the price of shipping is based on the location you’re sending the product to and how fast someone wants it. It’s up to you to decide how many options — called shipping types — you want to provide your customers. But it’s not just about them… it’s also about you and your bottom line. It’s important that you’re collecting the right amount of money to cover your own costs for shipping each item to wherever your customers live.
This is easy to understand if you consider a pretty broad way to break down your shipping prices: domestic versus international shipments. Let’s say your business is located in Montana. At a minimum, it makes sense to have these as two shipping types so you can charge more for shipping overseas and less for sending stuff a shorter distance. And your customers will expect this, too — to pay, say, $5 to send their stuff to Colorado or $20 to send it to Sweden. That just makes good sense.
But you also may want to get a bit more granular and create more shipping options that accurately reflect what you have to pay for shipping. I mean, it doesn’t really cost exactly $5 for you, the seller, to ship your products to Colorado versus Massachusetts versus Hawaii. For you in Montana, it’s cheapest to send them off to Colorado for, say, $3 a pop, and a bit more expensive to Massachusetts for, say, $6, and a lot more to send it to Hawaii — for maybe $12. On average, shipping across the 48 states might cost about $5, but clearly there’s a jump for Hawaii.
You could set up shipping by region, such as charging one rate to deliver to the 48 contiguous states and two more for delivery to Alaska or Hawaii. So at this point, you’d have an international rate of $20, a flat rate of $5 for all states except Alaska and Hawaii, and the Alaska/Hawaii rates of $12.
The next thing to consider is providing customers some flexibility on delivery speed. Think expedited shipping, overnight and so on. So you’ll tack on an additional $10, say, for expedited shipping. Just make sure you’ve researched these fees and prices accordingly.
Remember to click save to add each of your shipping types to your collection.
Now that you’ve built your shipping methods, it’s time to add them to your order forms.
Navigate to your order page and open it up. Locate your “Order Summary” element. If you don’t have an order summary, you’ll need to add one. As much as I’d love to talk about building order forms, we already have a whole lesson on that called “Creating order forms.” So if you need to, go check out that video and then come back to this one!
Click the “Add or Edit” product button from your order summary to edit your product’s settings. Then mouse over your product line that you want to include shipping on, and mouse over the gear icon on the right side. Then click “Add to shipping and packing slip.”
You’ll see in the lower right a section labeled “Shipping.” Click “Add” and select a shipping type that you want to add to this order form. Repeat this step for each of your shipping types. Remember, you should definitely have more than one!
Now that you’ve added your shipping options, decide if you need to add any shipping conditions. These will automatically restrict a customer’s options for shipping types based on the conditions set. For example, if there were conditions around location, customers would only see shipping options available for the location they entered in the order form.
Using shipping conditions prevents someone from Alaska from being able to select your local shipping option instead of their more expensive shipping.
When your customer, Fred from Alaska, decides to buy your stuff, he shouldn’t even see the option for the $5 shipping — you want him to see the $12 Alaska rate. Let’s set that up.
You’ll find the shipping conditions next to your shipping method price in the shipping section. Look for the “Conditions” header in the table. Click where it says “ADD" and you’ll see a pop-up that lets you create field conditions for your shipping costs.
You don’t have as many options here as many other conditions in your account, because you can only create shipping conditions around the fields that are on your order form.
Buyers will only see shipping methods that apply to the parameters you set. So, if there’s only one shipping type option, that will be added to their order. If you set up two methods with the same conditions, say US standard shipping and US expedited shipping, your US customers can choose between those two methods.
Back to Fred. You’ll need to make sure the shipping state field appears on your form. That way your condition can say if “State is equal to Alaska,” that $12 rate will be applied to Fred’s order. You can add conditions to any of your shipping types.
When you’re done, click “Done” in the upper right-hand corner and save and publish your page.
Doing all this lets you do two things:
Allow your customers to choose a shipping method, such as standard or expedited.
Allow you to automatically charge different rates based on location. That way if a package costs more to send to one location, you don’t have to eat that loss.
And you can combine both to give your customers their choice of shipping options, and make sure that you’re charging actual shipping costs.
One last quick note before we wrap up.
Depending on your situation, you may be required to charge taxes on your shipping fees in addition to your products. This is a rabbit hole that I'm not going to go down right now, so make sure you check out our video on taxes for more information about how to set this up.
Now that you’ve learned how to create shipping methods and attach them to order forms, you’re ready to start charging for shipping and covering your costs!
The step that comes after this is actually fulfilling the shipping promise made on the order form using fulfillment lists — stay tuned.