Understanding shipping

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Before starting selling, you need to decide what shipping methods you want to use, and then set up shipping in your store so that your customers could select a delivery method at checkout.

Ecwid allows to set up different shipping methods as well as various types of charges like per item/per order/flat fee, etc. or get the shipping rates from UPS, USPS and other major carrier companies.

Why set up shipping

If you sell physical goods, you need to ship them to your customers. The shipping methods you set up will be shown on the checkout and your customers will be able to select the shipping option they prefer. The rate for shipping will be added to the order subtotal automatically.

Main things to consider when setting up shipping

Defining your shipping strategy is one of main tasks when setting up your online store. The strategy might change over time as your business grows. One of the key decisions you need to make about shipping is how much you will charge for delivering the goods to customers. The strategies can be different:
- free shipping. You do not charge for shipping.
- flat rate. You charge some fixed amount per order or per product.
- rates calculated depending on weight and subtotal. Rates are set to be calculated automatically by shipping companies (UPS, USPS, etc) or according to the rules you set.

You should also take into account the areas you will be delivering to and set the corresponding rates for these delivery zones.

If you will use the rates calculated by shipping companies or your custom rates depending on weight, you need to add the weights to your products to get the correct rates.

How shipping methods work in Ecwid

In your Ecwid store you can set up any of the shipping strategies listed above. You can offer free shipping, flat rates, or rates calculated depending on weight and subtotal.

In all these cases a customer is asked to fill in their shipping address on checkout. Ecwid detects if there is a delivery zone the address falls into. If there is a zone for the address and there are shipping methods set up for this zone, these shipping methods with rates are shown to the customer. The customer selects the shipping option they prefer. The cost of shipping is added to the order subtotal.

If you are using rates calculated automatically by shipping companies (carrier-calculated rates), Ecwid sends the information about the order (origin and destination addresses, package weight and value, etc) to the shipping company and it returns the rates that are shown on checkout.

Next steps in setting up shipping

Before you can start shipping your customers orders, you need to:

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