Shipping your products to customers is an important part of your online business. But before you can actually ship a product, you should plan your shipping strategy, and identify the locations you want to ship to, decide how you're shipping, as well as think about the shipping costs that would apply. In this article you'll get a general overview about shipping zones and shipping methods.
- Shipping zones - Where are you shipping to?
- Shipping methods - How are you shipping?
- What your customers will see at checkout
Shipping zones - Where are you shipping to?
A shipping zone is a geographical area, region, or a group of countries that you ship items to. Defining your shipping zones gives you a good overview of the areas you prefer to deliver your goods. You define the countries of origin from which your customers can make purchases. You can add as much shipping zones as you like and do what suits your business best.
Shipping zones are required to allow different shipping methods and shipping costs for these zones.
Defining shipping zones is an internal grouping only; they don't appear in the checkout.
Here's a visual of our example business world:
- United Kingdom is preset as the default shipping zone as we are based in the UK.
- We decided that we'd like to ship to Canada and Germany (just one country each).
- What's more, we'd like to ship to South America (a group of countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Colombia), as well as BENELUX (a group of the three countries Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).
- The South America and BENELUX shipping zones each cover several countries. These countries thus will receive the same shipping methods and prices.
Shipping methods - How are you shipping?
Shipping methods are services and shipping carriers used to ship your goods. They also determine the shipping costs that a customer pays at checkout. That's what your customers actually see when they reach your checkout.
Shipping can be free of charge, weight-based, or have a fixed price.
At least one shipping method is required for each shipping zone to being able to use it.
Here's another visual of our example business world:
- We'd like to offer free shipping for UK, as it is our home country.
- Canada received the options Overnight Shipping and Premium, both with a fixed price.
- Whereas for Germany we chose DHL as our main shipping carrier with a fixed price.
- South America got weight-based shipping, as in our example world there's no other shipping carrier option in place.
- BENELUX received an ECO shipping carrier with a fixed price.
You see what we're getting at, don't you?
What your customers will see at checkout
Our example customer is from Canada and can choose between Premium and Overnight Shipping at checkout.