In this post, I will cover shipping zones within Canada only.  

WooCommerce is a cost-effective way to add an online store to your WordPress website. The WooCommerce Plug-In can be easily installed on your WordPress website when selling physical products on your website. Here is a quick step-by-step tutorial on setting up shipping for makers using Canada Post. 

1. Before making changes – Backup and Update Your Website

If your website is currently live, it is best to backup your website before making any changes. Backing up your website will ensure that you won’t lose all of your hard work if something goes wrong! If your website host doesn’t offer backup services. WooCommerece recommends using Jetpack – The Best Backup and Restore Plugin for WordPress.

Jetpack has two different plans: automatic daily backups for once-daily snapshots, or real-time backups, which update every time a customer places an order, or you make a website change. You can also manually back up your website and restore it right from your store’s dashboard.

Once you have backed up your website, ensure that your WordPress, WooCommerce, theme, and all current plugins are up to date to ensure that any updates are compatible. 

2. Navigate to Shipping Settings

Before we can edit the shipping of our online store, we first need to find out where to go to do so. 

  1. Navigate to WooCommerce on the left-hand menu 
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Click on the Shipping Tab

3. Adding Shipping Zones

WooCommerce allows you to set up Shipping Zone. A shipping zone is a geographic region where a particular shipping method is offered. WooCommerce will match a customer to a single zone using their shipping address and present the shipping methods within that zone to them. Every customer can only fit into one zone. Every customer will only see the shipping options available for them. 

  1. Click the “Add Shipping Zone” button.
  2. Input the Zone Name – for your reference only (ex. Local, Ontario, National)
  3. Specify the Zone Region 
    1. A Zone Region can be as specific as a Country to a Post Code depending on the zone you specify. 
    2. Start by typing the country in the input box.
    3. You can be more specific by adding the Province.
    4. And lastly, get even more specific by adding the specific Postal Codes of the area you wish to target. 
      1. To find the different postal codes, you can use a tool such as Postal Codes in a Radius Map.
      2. Once you list all the postal codes in the area you want to target, you can paste them into the input box. *One postal code per line.

4. Setting Shipping Methods

Now that you have the specific area you would like to target created as a shipping zone.  You can offer multiple shipping methods within each shipping zone (the customer’s location).

WooCommerce, by default, allows you to set up the following shipping methods – Flat Rate Shipping, Free Shipping and Local Pickup options for your online store. Every method can only show based on the customer’s postal code. 

Local Pickup 

Setting up a local pick-up option is a great way to allow for curbside pickup at your business.  Allow customers to pick up orders themselves. By default, base taxes will apply when using “local pickup” regardless of customer address.

To set up local pickup option: 

  1. Select “Add  Shipping Method”
  2. Choose “Local Pickup” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the “Add” button.
  4. Now that it has been added to the Shipping Zone, you can edit the method by clicking “Edit” below the method Name. 
  5. A pop-up window will appear, and you can add the cost of the shipping method, specifying if it is taxable and the title of what the user will see. 
  6. Click “Save Changes” to make all changes permanent. 

Free Shipping

“Free shipping is a special method triggered with coupons and minimum spends.” 

To set up Free Shipping: 

  1. Select “Add  Shipping Method”
  2. Choose “Free Shipping” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the “Add” button.
  4. Now that it has been added to the Shipping Zone, you can edit the method by clicking “Edit” below the method Name. 
  5. Choose what “Free Shipping requires…” from the drop-down menu
    1. N/A – Nothing, free shipping can be chosen without any prerequisites
    2. A valid free shipping coupon – You can create a Free Shipping Coupon code, which must be put in to receive a free shipping option. You can learn more about adding coupons here.  – Coupon Management 
    3. A minimum order amount – The customer must reach a minimum amount in their cart before the free shipping option is available. The minimum order amount will be able to be specified once you click this option. You can also choose if it is before or after the coupon amount. 
    4. A minimum order amount OR a coupon – can choose either B or C
    5. A minimum order amount AND a coupon – must of both B & C 
  6. Once you have selected how you would like to offer free shipping to your customers. Click “Save Changes” to make all changes permanent. 

Download Free Browser to Customer Checklist 

To bring your eCommerce product pages to the next level. 

Flat Rate Shipping 

Flat rate shipping is based on per order, not product. This allows you to create a fixed cost for your products found in the shipping zone. This method works well if most of your products are roughly the same size.

How to Calculate and set up Flat Rate Shipping: 

  1. Use Postal Price Calculator for Letters and Parcels to get a rough estimate of what it will cost to ship your product to this shipping zone. You will need to know the package details, such as the size and weight of your final package (including your products.) It is best to use your best guess based on the trends you see when people buy your product or your experience. For example, if you find that many people buy a couple of your products simultaneously, estimate your shipping cost. 

PRO TIP: Shipping in Canada can be pretty expensive since we are such a large country. To help save some costs to your and your customers, apply for the Small Business Program to save on shipping costs. 

  1. Now that you have your shipping rate add a little bit for a cost buffer (only $1 -2), just if the customer does buy more than you expected to save yourself. 
  2. Once you have that price, it’s time to add your shipping method.
  3. Select “Add  Shipping Method”
  4. Choose “Flat Rate Shipping” from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click the “Add” button.
  6. Now that it has been added to the Shipping Zone, you can edit the method by clicking “Edit” below the method Name. 
  7. Here you can edit the name that appears to the user (ex., Regular or Expedited Shipping) 
  8. Add the price that you calculated above. 
  9. Click “Save Changes” to make all changes permanent. 

At this point, you are almost ready to start shipping items to your customers.  Optionally you can follow step 5, or skip right to step 6. Do not skip step 6.

5. Optional: Weight Shipping (Additional Plug-in Required)

In addition to these ways of shipping, you can also download an additional plug-in that works directly with Canada Post Pricing. 

I have listed a few below recommended by Canada Post and WooCommerce. 

Depending on which plug-in you choose, please follow the instructions carefully.  

6. Test your Shipping Setup

It is best to test anything new to your website before it is available to your customers. Here is a pre-launch checklist to go over: 

  1. Check a product with each shipping class and zone you have created. Are the rates calculated correctly in the Cart and Checkout pages?
  2. Check discounts and free shipping qualifications with different combinations of products and cart sizes. 
  3. Go through the entire checkout process a couple of times to make sure any third-party tools and plugins are working.
  4. Are you tracking numbers attaching to customer emails and available on account pages if set up?
  5. Suppose you are using by weight shipping. Do the rates displayed to customers match Canada Posts rates?
  6. Are your shipping and return policies easy to find?
  7. Are discounts or free shipping based on order size visible to your customers if you’re offering discounts or free shipping based on order size?

You are now well on your way to getting your online store up and running! WooCommerce is easy to use and very customizable to offer your customers a fantastic experience, just the way you like it. 

Download Free Browser to Customer Checklist 

To bring your eCommerce product pages to the next level. 

Browser to Customer - 10 Points to create converting product pages checklist | Broadbent Studio

Sources: 

How to Set Up Your WooCommerce Shipping Strategy 

Setting up Shipping Zones 

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