Why you should seriously consider using ShipStation with WooCommerce for shipping
While selling physical products on WooCommerce, there are many decisions you have to make, and among them is how you will get your products to your customers. What company is going to give you the best shipping rate? Is that company going to give you the best rate for every delivery? In this article, we discuss using the WooCommerce ShipStation integration solution to not only take care of all your shipping needs, but how you can use ShipStation to optimize your shipping strategy.
Shipping in WooCommerce
There are many integral decisions you make while running a business, and the finer details in how you choose to ship can be very easily overlooked. Some business owners choose a single shipping carrier and often put the full cost of shipping, no matter which method, on the customer by using a convenient woocommerce shipping calculator plugin. We have found this can be extremely easy as a business owner to do, but have found that it can hurt your sales. Customers typically do not know, or care, which carrier their package arrives from. All that matters is that it arrives within the estimated time range for which shipping method they chose, and for an inexpensive shipping cost. It is often said to shop around for goods and services to make sure you are getting a good deal, so why wouldn’t we apply that to your store’s shipping decisions?
Shopping around for shipping rates
The major players in American shipping are UPS, USPS, Fedex, and DHL. These companies also have many different service levels within their domains ranging from overnight, to the scenic route (not really, but you get the picture). All of the shipping information is honestly overwhelming, and manually finding the best rate for each package would be a painful experience. Luckily for all of us, there are companies which specialize in making our lives easier! One such company is ShipStation. They have created software that is amazingly efficient with great reporting tools and awesome customizations. ShipStation’s software can connect to all the major shipping companies (UPS, USPS, Fedex, DHL), and it doesn’t stop there! ShipStation not only offers discounted rates to all their customers due to the agreements they have in place with the shipping companies, but also lets you print all of your labels, lets you change shipping options on the fly, and even lets you connect to multiple selling channels! ShipStation has made it very easy to shop around and get live rates for all your shipping needs, no matter the shipping speed, or carrier.
If it sounds like we are fans of ShipStation, its wholly due to the fact that we are seriously impressed with their software. As much as we are trying to make our customers entire experience be within their own domain on their WordPress install, some tools are worth the separate tooling. The good news is, the WooCommerce team at Automattic has created a plugin that ties into the ShipStation API to bring some amazing functionality to WooCommerce.
Interacting with ShipStation
When an order is placed, ShipStation will automatically receive the order, to which it will sit in a queue waiting to be shipped. From the ShipStation screen you can now use their interface to see which service would be the best for you and your customer to use. Seeing all the live rates now that your package is complete with product(s) and packaging materials, you can remove all estimation and guess work! This is a very powerful capability, and can really help keep your shipping costs down. Once the order is packed, weighed, and label is created, ShipStation sends WooCommerce the “order complete” signal, and writes the tracking information to the order, as well as optionally sending the tracking information to the customer’s email.
In the goal of letting our customers have the best tools right on their domain, we have actually written a FREE plugin that extends this functionality and also writes the true cost of shipping charged to you at the time you printed the label! We call this plugin WooCommerce Cost of Shipping, and you can find it on our website or on the wordpress.org plugin directory. We have also created reporting tools that bring this new data directly into your WooCommerce Reports interface. Our reporting plugin, WooCommerce Net Profit analyzes your sales and takes into account your cost of goods, like many plugins do. Our plugin uniquely identifies that a huge cost to vendors can often be the cost of shipping your product. To find out more about why this matters, check out this article!