If you’re running a WooCommerce store, you know how important it is to have the correct shipping and fulfilment plugin. If done poorly, it can be a significant drain on resources and hinder the ability to provide good customer care. Selecting the right platform with an intuitive interface and key features can benefit you and your customers. This blog post will discuss the best shipping plugins for WooCommerce stores, key features, and how they can help your business.
- Benefits of a Shipping Plugin
- Selecting the Right Shipping Plugin
- WooCommerce: Conditional Shipping and Payments
- WooCommerce: Table Rate Shipping
- WooCommerce: Per Product Shipping
- Benefits of Purchasing via WooCommerce
Shipping and Fulfillment Plugins: at a glance
Conditional Shipping and Payments
Table Rate Shipping
Per Product Shipping
|Flexibility||Somewhat flexible||Potentially limited||Very flexible||Very flexible|
|Customer roles||Wholesale and membership||No||No||No|
|Additional Integrations||Many available||No||No||Many available|
|Scalability||Potentially limited||Good||Potentially limited||Potentially limited|
|Pricing Structure||Potentially complex||Good||Potentially complex||Potentially complex|
|Cost||$79||$99||$79||$0 – $365|
Benefits of a Shipping Plugin
Switching to a new shipping and fulfillment plugin may seem like a considerable undertaking. However, if done correctly, the positives can far outweigh the negatives. Here are a few reasons why it might be beneficial to switch.
Streamlining Internal Processes
Complex and counterintuitive internal processes can hinder organizations, requiring additional resources (such as time and money) to execute and maintain. You can automate the process, increase efficiency, and save money with the right plugin.
According to research by Baymard, 61% of shopping carts are abandoned due to additional costs such as shipping, taxes, and fees. While free shipping is an option for some businesses, it’s may not be viable for others. For some, shipping costs are unavoidable, so increasing transparency and providing reasonable prices based on relevant order attributes is key.
Establishing and Meeting Customer Expectations
Establishing and meeting expectations is vital for consumer retention within a competitive market. Providing the correct shipping information supports a smooth customer journey can put you ahead of competitors. This can help you to grow a loyal customer base.
Selecting the Right Shipping Plugin
With so many WooCommerce shipping and fulfillment plugins available, how do you know which one is right for your business?
Here’s a list of factors to consider when comparing different shipping plugins:
Ease of Use
The whole point of using a third-party plugin is to help you manage your business more efficiently. The software has to have the technical capability while being straightforward enough for non-technical employees to manage. The plugins explored within this article demonstrate the variety of software on the market and the surprising lack of a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, it’s essential to identify a platform and an interface that suit your business. A complex, time-consuming, or illogical solution could negate your efficiency gains.
It’s also vital to consider ease of use from a user perspective. A well-integrated, straightforward service will provide a positive user journey and experience.
Flexibility and Range of Services
To navigate the market and identify the best plugin for your business, consider your requirements and the desired outcome. While some plugins offer simple, straightforward features, you may find that this results in limited flexibility. In contrast, complex platforms may give unnecessary functionality, resulting in a challenging user interface.
Save yourself time and identify the pillars of your current shipping price structure. Clarify the fundamental features of your pricing framework and consider this when browsing for the right plugin.
It’s worth considering the scalability of each platform and whether this will work in tandem with the anticipated growth of your organization. While the annual renewal period provides yearly flexibility, switching to an alternative plugin will require additional resources. With this in mind, it’s favorable to invest in a solution that aligns with your long-term business goals.
The annual price of shipping and fulfillment plugins explored in this article ranges from $0 and $99. While free options are enticing, remember that a monthly cost of less than $10 is a small price to pay for seamless shipping solutions.
Now that we’ve covered some of the key criteria, let’s discuss a couple of platforms.
This plugin offers advanced shipping options on a conditional basis. This is achieved through the creation of rules within the payment gateway. Sellers can use variations such as product attributes, shipping methods, payment gateways, and purchaser details to establish the specifics of each rule.
For example, disable shipping options other than ‘Take Away’ when purchasing fresh foods.
Users can create various shipping options within this plugin, considering shipping class, product attributes, and product categories. If required, shipping and live rates can be restricted based on the shopping cart total, item count, and package weight. The locational settings offer refinement via countries, counties, and postcodes. Payment gateways can be restricted based on various rules such as shipping method/class, location/destination, order total/currency, product/product category, etc.
For example, hide ‘Cash on Delivery’ when shipping by Royal Mail.
Another key feature of this plugin is segmentation based on customer attributes. Meaning different groups (such as members and wholesale customers) can receive various rates on shipping.
In addition, this platform integrates with over ten different extensions, including gift cards, memberships, and subscription services.
While Conditional Shipping Payments allow for unique flexibility, it’s arguable that this may end up being a downfall in terms of scalability. As the rules accumulate, additional management time may be required, resulting in a poor user experience for both front-end and back-end users.
Annual cost: $79.00
- Unique flexibility via the conditions functionality
- Definition of customer roles (wholesale and membership)
- Subscription service options
- Additional integrations available
- Limited scalability
- Potentially complex pricing structure
This streamlined platform is straightforward in offering advanced yet uncomplicated shipping solutions. Users can define multiple shipping rates based on the location, price, shipping class, or item count.
This plugin supports the creation of a cost mainframe constructed in a table format. Users can add additional tables to create a multidimensional pricing structure with various rates. Costs can be added in rows, considering the location, price, weight, class, and item counts to calculate final rates.
Creating pricing structures can be a complicated, laborious task. The innovative interface is designed with a simple table format.
Annual cost: $99.00
- Straightforward pricing structure
- intuitive interface
- Creation of Shipping zones
- More expensive
- Potentially limited flexibility
This shipping platform is designed with the simple concept of pricing per product and product variation. If the store is of considerable size, this structure supports users in building an in-depth pricing framework. The shipping destination is an additional aspect that can be considered alongside product attributes. The final basket cost can total individual product costs, or per-cost products can be added to other shipping methods.
Scalability may be an issue as additional maintenance and resources could be required to use the system fully. For example, if you’re working with hundreds of products, it could take a long time to populate all necessary data. The CSV file upload allows for a quick and easy data import to simplify the admin process.
Annual cost: $79.00
- Creation of in-depth pricing structures
- Flexibility on basket totals
- Considerable data is required if used on a large scale
- Potentially limited pricing options
- Potentially limited scalability
This simple platform allows users to create rules based on the shipping destination, weight, product, and value. The system integrates seamlessly with external systems and printers to produce shipping labels. The interface is easy to navigate, and users can manage their orders and labels in one location. In addition, the software also offers a real-time dashboard to display shipping data, providing a beneficial tool for management and oversight.
Shiptheory also provides a service from automation experts to offer onboarding support and ongoing technical assistance.
Depending on the complexity of your shipping requirements, it’s possible that the creation of multiple, complex rules could become challenging to manage.
$0 – $356 (depending on the package)
- No starting fees
- Simple, user-friendly interface
- Potentially limited scalability
- Potentially limited flexibility
Benefits of Purchasing via WooCommerce
Three of the four plugins we’ve discussed are available directly via WooCommerce, which brings additional benefits worth considering. WordPress updates are frequent and often occur two to three times a year. Extension updates are included within the annual package hosted by WooCommerce, ensuring that the software is up to date and secure. This is an essential consideration for any software handling customer data.
The package also includes a whole year of support for installation, configuration, and use. Providing reassurance that customers will receive support if any bugs or problems arise with the software.
If you change your mind and decide that the plugin is not optimal for your organization, WooCommerce offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can test the software and have peace of mind that you made the best selection for your eCommerce business.
In conclusion, there are a variety of robust WooCommerce shipping plugins on the market and plenty of solutions based on your pricing structure. The challenge lies in identifying the appropriate framework and pricing structure for your organization. A clear understanding of your shipping process will help determine your requirements and support you in navigating the plugin market. Product demos, free trials, and money-back guarantees will also help to provide clarity and give confidence mind that you’ve made the best selection for your eCommerce business, even after the initial purchase.