Shipping is one of the most critical components of any online store. But it can pose several challenges. Each e-commerce store has its own rules and regulations according to the products that they sell and their customer base when it comes to shipping. Offering free shipping in the WooCommerce store is something you should consider.
Because it’s an essential part of customer loyalty, businesses need to find ways to ensure that clients receive their orders on time. Offering free shipping is a great way to improve customer retention.
Free shipping can also encourage customers to spend more money at your store. For instance, you can offer free shipping on orders that are above a specified amount. You can also provide free shipping for particular products, etc.
Free shipping is a great way to encourage purchases and to compete in larger national and international markets. Customers have a choice when it comes to who they do business with. For example, say that you’re shopping online and see an item that you want on two different websites. One site offers free shipping and the other charges for shipping, but the price on both is similar. From which site are you likely to buy?
Small to medium-sized businesses should incorporate free shipping as part of their practices. I’ll use this article to describe in greater detail how to offer free shipping in your WooCommerce store per product, for orders over a particular amount, set free shipping on everything, etc.
Why Offering WooCommerce Free Shipping Can Be Tricky?
Shipping merchandise from one location to another is expensive. You can either ship products to customers yourself, or you can hire a third party shipping service to do the job for you. The process may seem simple, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.
Free shipping is something that most customers expect nowadays. Especially when it comes to less expensive or smaller items. AliExpress is an excellent example of that. On AliExpress, you can opt to get your product using a free shipping option on most product listings. But in that case, you will need to wait up to 30 days or more to receive it.
Keeping track of shipping costs in WooCommerce isn’t always easy. Charging your customer’s shipping according to product weight or size doesn’t always help. No one’s going to buy a product for $7.99 if it costs $10 to ship the item. People will gladly shop elsewhere if they have to pay more in shipping charges than what the items ordered are worth.
Managing your shipping methods is essential. As you can see from the example above, it’s important to know the calculated shipping costs for certain items and offer free WooCommerce shipping for other items, if possible.
NOTE: If you need good WooCommerce shipping plugin be sure to check my posts regarding shipping via FedEx (FedEx WooCommerce shipping plugins), DHL (DHL WooCommerce plugins), and UPS (WooCommerce UPS shipping plugins).
Why Should You Offer Free Shipping?
Free shipping can help you gain and retain customers, but it’s an expensive option for many online retailers. However, shipping costs can sometimes make the difference between a sale and cart abandonment (see tips to reduce shopping cart abandonment).
Research has indicated that more consumers prefer free shipping over coupon offers, even if the price remains the same for both options. They don’t mind waiting longer for the items that they ordered if it means not having to pay shipping charges.
Some surveys state that 61% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they discover that shipping charges have been added to their orders. Most consumers don’t view shipping charges as a favorable portion of the online shopping experience.
However, certain clients don’t mind paying premium shipping charges to have their items delivered faster. This option can be used to improve your profit margins and reduce the impact that free shipping has on your business.
Another reason why people abandon online shopping carts is that stores sometimes don’t have enough quality shipping options to choose from.
How To Offer Free Shipping Without Losing Money?
Free shipping can be offered in many ways. One of the best methods is offering free shipping on all items in your inventory. But that is not economical smart.
Another popular method is offering free shipping only at certain times of the year, such as during holiday seasons or for any seasonal sales that you may have. The best method would be to offer free shipping on orders over a specific amount.
Small to medium-sized businesses may not always be able to offer free shipping. It’s an option that can be very difficult to offer on higher-priced merchandise. People who ship internationally regularly know how expensive shipping can be. It is hard to provide free shipping if you sell abroad.
One alternative is to offer free shipping “with conditions.” You can offer free shipping to customers who buy a certain amount of merchandise from your site. This can help you offset shipping costs while driving more business to your site at the same time.
You can configure your WooCommerce site to allow free shipping once clients reach a specified money amount for their orders. It can help incentivize customers to spend more than usual to get free shipping.
You can even offer free shipping to customers who buy multiple copies of the same products or limit free shipping to items that don’t cost much to ship anyway. You can also offer free shipping to members of your social media, loyalty program, or customers who have subscribed to your email list.
How To Set Up Free Shipping In WooCommerce?
WooCommerce has a built-in free shipping feature. You don’t need to activate and install a separate plugin for that option. All you need to do is visit the shipping section and determine the shipping zone that the free shipping method will be applied to.
How to set free shipping on everything you sell in WooCommerce store?
Start at the main WooCommerce menu. From there, go to “Settings” and select the “Shipping” tab. If you don’t see the shipping tab, you will need to enable shipping under Settings > General look for Shipping location(s) and select either Ship to all countries, Ship to all countries you sell to, or Ship to specific countries only.
Choose the shipping zone you want and click on the “Add shipping method.” If you don’t have a shipping zone created, create one. A shipping zone is a geographic region where a certain set of shipping methods and rates apply.
- Local zone = California ZIP 90210 = Local pickup
- US domestic zone = All US states = Flat rate shipping
- Europe zone = Any country in Europe = Flat rate shipping
Add as many zones as you need – customers will only see the methods available for their address.
After you have created the shipping zone, click on the “Add shipping method” button and then select “Free shipping” from the menu that appears.
Make sure that you save your changes when you’re done. Every order that your clients make in your online store will now be shipped to them for free. If you want to set free shipping everywhere in the world, just add all countries to zone regions.
How to set WooCommerce free shipping for orders over a particular amount?
To set free shipping for orders over a set amount, from the Shipping menu in your WooCommerce dashboard, choose your shipping zone. If you don’t have a shipping zone, create one as well as add a shipping method. Next, click “Edit” under your shipping method title.
The new option tab will appear. Here you’ll be asked to give a Title and under “Free shipping requires…” you will have options “A valid free shipping coupon,” “A minimum order amount,” “A minimum order amount or coupon,” and “A minimum order amount and coupon.”
Choose “A minimum order amount” and set value. This is where you’ll need to enter the minimum amount that customers will need to spend to qualify for free shipping.
Save your changes, and that’s it! Consumers will receive free shipping on their purchases when they spend above the specified minimum amount.
How to set free shipping using coupons in WooCommerce store?
To offer free shipping using coupon, you have to enable the use of coupon codes under WooCommerce > Settings > General. Click on the checkbox that appears next to the “Enable the use of coupon codes” selection.
Now you’re ready to use coupon codes on your site. Create coupon by going to your WooCommerce menu and click on the Coupons tab. Select “Add Coupon” and configure settings.
Here are some of the settings that you’ll have to configure:
- Coupon code: Customers will need to enter their coupon code at the checkout to claim free shipping.
- Description: This is an optional choice that only you can see. This setting can be used to add any notes that you would like to include, such as the subscriber list, starting or ending date, or any other promotional information.
- Discount type: Here, you can add a fixed cart discount, set percentage discount for specific products, or a fixed product discount.
- Coupon amount: Set the amount of the discount you want to offer. You don’t need to enter a percent or currency symbol—just basic number. WooCommerce will adjust your clients’ shopping carts automatically according to the discount applied. For example, 15 can be set for either a 15% or $15 off discount.
- Allow free shipping: Click on the “free shipping” option in your settings menu to enable this feature. Once this is activated, your customers will receive free shipping for their orders.
- Coupon expiration date: This setting allows you to determine a date, after which the particular coupon will no longer be valid.
Here you can also set usage restrictions and usage limits. You must enable “Allow free shipping” here so that anybody who applies that coupon will be eligible for free shipping.
A free shipping method must be enabled in your shipping zone and be set to require “a valid free shipping coupon” (check how to set WooCommerce free shipping for orders over a particular amount where I have explained how to do that).
You can decide if you want to exclude certain items from free shipping. For instance, you may want certain products or discounted items to be ineligible for free shipping.
How to apply free shipping per product in WooCommerce? How to assign free shipping to a single product?
How to enable free shipping on a per-product basis in WooCommerce? There are several methods to accomplish this.
Method #1 – Virtual Products
Go to the WooCommerce product that you want to enable free shipping for. Go to “Product data” and change the product type to “Virtual.” This is usually used for companies that sell downloadable files. Once this setting has been changed, there won’t be any shipping for this particular item.
This is usually the simplest way to add free shipping for a particular product/s in WooCommerce.
However, it has advantages and disadvantages. It will not state that shipping is free. It just removes any mention of shipping methods altogether. This is what you’d expect to see for most digital products that are sold.
Only the billing address is displayed, which may cause confusion for some of your customers. This happens because WooCommerce only allows billing addresses, and not shipping addresses, to be displayed for virtual products.
Method #2 – Shipping Classes
From the WordPress dashboard, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping > Shipping Classes.
Click on “Add Shipping Class” (found right corner below). Call it “Free Shipping” or whatever you like and click “Save shipping classes.”
Edit the product that you want to set free shipping for by going to its Product Data. Select Shipping and under Shipping Class assigning the “Free Shipping” class to it. Update the product.
Then go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping > Shipping Zones. Click to edit the desired shipping zone. Click the “Add shipping method” and add the Flat rate shipping option. Click edit on Flat Rate shipping method and in settings that appear, make sure:
- Cost is $0
- “Free Shipping” class cost is $0
- “No shipping class” cost is whatever it would be for other products
- “Charge per class” is enabled
Now the particular product will be set up for free shipping. Free shipping will only be set up for that particular item if you’ve set everything up properly.
Method #3 – Plugins
There are also several convenient plugins that can help you set free shipping for your WooCommerce store. They tend to vary in terms of price and the features that are offered. Some of the better shipping plugins to look into are:
- ELEX Hide WooCommerce Shipping Methods Plugin
- WooCommerce Advanced Free Shipping
- Advanced Flat Rate Shipping Method WooCommerce
- Per Product Shipping (Official WooCommerce extension)
Testing Free Shipping In WooCommerce Store
There are several ways that you can test free shipping to see if it can benefit your business. To start your test, you’ll need to know the profit margins and base costs for each item in your product inventory.
You should also figure in the normal shipping costs for each of those products. Have the weight and size ready for each item so that you can find more accurate shipping pricing information from your respective shipping companies.
You can then establish an A/B test where free shipping is only offered on particular items. For instance, you might want to offer free shipping for your best selling merchandise. You can then compare the order conversion rates for products with and without free shipping.
If you’ve selected “free shipping with conditions,” you could gradually raise the minimum amount for each order to qualify for free shipping. Each time that you do this, you can evaluate the data to review your margins.
Another alternative for offsetting the costs of free shipping is to increase the retail price for all of your products. You can then compare sales and order conversions. The only major downside to this tactic is that you could make your products too expensive for customers over time.
Testing free shipping methods will take some time. The time spent is usually well worth it because you’ll know which methods work and which ones don’t. Shipping often plays a key role in many people’s buying decisions. Having effective shipping options for your customers is something that’s too important to ignore.
WooCommerce Free Shipping Conclusion
Most online shoppers don’t like unexpected or unpleasant surprises in the checkout process. Free shipping can help maintain order conversion rates and minimize cart abandonment.
Customers are usually more likely to make larger purchases if they know that their order will qualify for free shipping. Offering free shipping with longer delivery times means that you don’t have to hurry all the time to have orders delivered. You can also partake in some of the various lower shipping costs offered by different shipping companies.
Many consumers will only purchase from stores that offer free shipping. This makes sense when you consider the vast number of online stores that are available. Marketing free shipping to your target audience can help to improve conversion rates and create long-term loyal customer relationships.
Default WooCommerce free shipping method is very simple, and it doesn’t support features like product size or weight. It’s probably not the best solution for companies that sell products with varied weights and sizes.
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