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Choosing the right shipping strategy for your store

Before your first order, you must decide how you want to send your products to customers and how much to charge them for shipping. In other words, you have to choose your shipping rates.

In Ecwid, you can go with real-time rates, flat rates, free shipping, or custom rates based on weight or price. For real-time rates, shipping costs are calculated automatically. For any other type of rates, it’s best to calculate your shipping costs first.

After deciding on shipping strategy, you can proceed to setting up shipping rates. You can combine several shipping strategies in your store in order to cover all of your products and delivery locations.

Free shipping

Recommended for:

  • High-profit stores who can offer to cover shipping costs
  • Stores with a local pickup option
  • As a limited time offer during the Holiday season

Statistically, shipping cost is among the main reasons why shoppers abandon shopping carts. Consider offering free shipping whenever you can to increase conversion in your online store. Usually the cost of shipping is almost negligible for domestic orders, especially if your margin is high and you’re shipping products that do not require extra packing or handling. To compensate for your shipping expenses, you can slightly increase your product prices.

You can also offer free shipping on orders over a certain subtotal amount to encourage customers to buy more. Or you can offer free shipping to certain customers by giving them a discount coupon code that they can redeem at checkout. You can also tell your customers that you run some special offers related to free shipping by adding this information to your storefront or in other store pages.

Learn how to set up free shipping in your store →

Charging exact shipping cost (real-time rates)

Recommended for:

  • Stores with heavy or oversized products, e.g., Christmas trees.
  • Stores where the items size and dimensions vary. For example, if you sell cans of paint and wall posters.
  • Stores with products that have a high cost of shipping that depends on product dimensions. For example, furniture.

If you use a popular service like USPS, Fedex, UPS, etc. to ship your products, you can charge your customers the exact rate that you are paying these carriers for each order. For this, you can set up your store to receive automatic online shipping rates from carriers at checkout.

You can ask your shipping carrier for lower prices for your store. If you negotiate lower shipping rates, you can offer these rates at checkout by adding your account information when setting up real-time shipping.

If you are using the service of a carrier that is not integrated with Ecwid for live rates (for example, Sendle or Mondial Relay), you can manually add this carrier’s shipping rates for various order weight ranges.

Learn more about how to set up a shipping method with a real-time rates →

Flat-rate shipping

Recommended for:

  • Stores that sell small but high-value products like jewelry.
  • Stores where all products are roughly the same weight and size, e.g., dishware.
  • Stores that deliver themselves.

Flat-rate shipping means that you charge customers the same amount of money for shipping or delivery regardless of destination or the total number of items in order. For example, you can charge $5 for the local delivery.

You can inform your customers on how shipping costs are calculated in your store and if there are any minimal requirements to the orders by describing your shipping policy.

To understand how much to charge customers, you need to calculate your shipping costs. In your shipping policy, you can inform your customers on how shipping costs are calculated in your store and if there are any minimal requirements to the orders.

Learn how to set up flat rate shipping in your store →

Custom rates

Recommended for:

  • Stores that want to encourage customers to spend more by offering lower shipping costs for bigger cart values. For example, free shipping over $300 subtotal.
  • Stores that ship large orders by freight and need to cover shipping expenses.
  • Stores that use a shipping service that is not integrated with Ecwid for real-time rates.

You can manually set up rates based on order amount and order weight. It’s more flexible than flat-rate shipping and allows you to charge different shipping costs for different order subtotals, or charge for any other shipping setup you may want to have in your store.

In your shipping policy, you can describe how shipping costs are calculated in your store and any minimal requirements to the orders.

Learn how to set up custom rates in your store →

Local pickup for free or for a small fee

Recommended for:

  • Brick-and-mortar stores
  • New stores that want to save on shipping
  • Hand-made businesses that combines crafting places with showrooms

If you have an offline store, you can offer a local in-store pickup to those customers who prefer to purchase online and then pick up orders themselves. It’s actually a good idea to offer a local pickup even if you do not have an offline store.

You can offer a free pickup, charge a small fee (to compensate for delivering products from your warehouse to the pickup point), or give a discount to customers who have chosen pickup at checkout (for example, you can give them a discount coupon with their order).

Learn how to set up local pickup in your store →

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