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WooCommerce Shipping Classes 101 – Everything You Need To Know

Does your WooCommerce store sell products that vary in weight and size? Do you charge different shipping rates for products based on weight, size, and other criteria? If yes, then you can make the best use of WooCommerce Shipping Classes. 

Shipping is a crucial element for the success of any eCommerce business and a way to standout from your competitor. WooCommerce is very flexible so that you can implement almost any kind of shipping strategy for your eCommerce business.

One of the important ways you can make use of flexible shipping options is by using WooCommerce shipping classes. 

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about using WooCommerce shipping classes.

What is a WooCommerce Shipping Class?

WooCommerce shipping class is a way to group products that are similar with regards to shipping like weight, size, require costly packing, require refrigeration, etc.

You can use the WooCommerce shipping classes to cover additional costs along with the cost applicable to the shipping method like Flat Rate Shipping.

Then you can add the shipping classes to each product. Shipping classes are not necessary for all of the products. It is only applicable to the product that has an additional shipping charge.

Note: You can separately configure the Shipping Rates, Shipping Zones and also add a Shipping Class cost for each shipping method on the WooCommerce Settings.

How to Add WooCommerce Shipping Classes?

To add a WooCommerce shipping class, go to your WordPress Dashboard,

  1. Here go to WooCommerce –> Settings –> Shipping –> Shipping Classes
  2. Give the shipping class a Name, Slug (what you to display in URL) and add a Description
  3. Add all of your shipping classes and click “Save Shipping Classes” button

You can edit or delete the shipping classes and add as many shipping classes as you want. But don’t create too many of them, then you could get confused.

How to Assign Shipping Classes to Products?

  1. In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Products –> All Products
  2. Here click “Edit” for the product which you want to assign shipping class
  3. In the product page scroll down to ‘Product Data’ section, and go to Shipping –> Shipping Classes
  4. Assign the shipping class you want for the product and click the ‘Update’ button

You could only add 1 shipping class (not more) for each product or leave the shipping class empty.

How to Bulk Edit WooCommerce Shipping Classes

When you have hundreds of products that you want to assign shipping classes you do it easily by bulk editing them. 

  1. To bulk edit or assign WooCommerce shipping classes to products go to Products → All Products
  2. On this page select the products that you want to edit by ticking boxes on the left-hand side. 
  3. Then select Edit from the Bulk Actions dropdown, then click Apply
  4. A new screen will appear resembling the picture below. 
  5. Here you can find the ‘Shipping Class’ option, Add the respective shipping class and click Update to save the changes.

How to Apply Different Shipping Methods for Different Products

One of the easiest ways to apply different shipping methods and shipping rates for various products is by using the WooCommerce shipping classes in combination with the shipping methods. 

Since a Shipping Class is a group of products you can use them to apply different shipping methods for your products.

WooCommerce comes with shipping methods such as,

  • Flat Rate – Charge a flat rate (fixed fee) for shipping
  • Local Pickup – Allow customers to pick up orders themselves at a point
  • Free Shipping – Offer free shipping for purchase above a certain amount or using coupons

Though it seems like there are only 3 shipping classes you can do plenty of customizations with these shipping methods. Let’s see how to do them.

Using Flat Rate Shipping with Shipping Classes

Let’s say that most of the products in your WooCommerce store have a flat shipping rate, but there are 2 groups of products that have an additional cost due to their size. So let’s name the 2 groups of products as “Medium Shipping‘ and “Small Shipping” and create respective shipping classes for them.

Now, go to Shipping Zones and create a new shipping zone if you don’t have any already. If you have a shipping zone setup, then click ‘edit’.

If you haven’t setup any shipping methods, you will see the ‘Add shipping methods to this zone’ screen. Here click ‘Add a Shipping method’ and choose Flat Rate and add this method.

The Flat Rate shipping method will be added to the zone and then click the Flat Rate’s ‘Settings’ and a setting page will open for you that will look like the picture below.

On this page, you can see a range of different options available, along with the shipping classes that you’ve added. But before going to the classes first check out the options above. 

  1. In this setting first, you have the title, you can create an appropriate title to show your customer such as ‘Flat Rate Shipping Fee’.
  2. Then there is Tax Status if you apply tax with shipping cost you can add it here or leave this option as ‘None’.
  3. Next, there is the Cost option. This option is useful if you charge a Flat base shipping fee and will add an additional fee with the shipping class. If you are not charging any basic charge you can leave this option to ‘0’.

Assigning Shipping Class Cost

Now we move on to the Shipping Class Costs section. Here there will be 4 options. We will see them all.

  1. First, you can see the Medium Shipping Class Cost, a shipping class that we have added. Here you can add a simple Flat shipping cost for the medium-sized products. 
  2. Then there is another Small Shipping Class Cost that we have created and given a cost for small-sized products, lesser than medium-size products.
  3. Next, there is the No Shipping Class Cost option. This cost will be applied to all the products that do not have a shipping class assigned to them. Do a Flat rate fee here so that all other products will be charged with is cost.
  4. Finally, there is a Calculation Type option, which gives you 2 options ‘Per Class: Charge Shipping for each Shipping Class Individually’ and ‘Per Order: Charge Shipping for the most expensive Shipping Class’
  5. If you have a class called ‘Heavy’ or ‘Bulky’ that has expensive shipping like $100, then you can choose the 2nd option that adds charges ‘Per Order’ so that the customer is only charged the shipping cost of the most expensive class.
  6. When you have classes like ‘Medium’ and ‘Small’, where shipping is relatively cheaper you can add shipping charge for each product individually, so choose the 1st option ‘Per Class’.

Power of Flat Rate Shipping method

In the first look, the Flat Rate Shipping method in WooCommerce may seem to be very simple and less flexible. But it is actually a very powerful tool with which you can make complex shipping cost formulas. It will be to understand if you have experience in using spreadsheets like Micro Excel.

In the Cost option, you can add formula like, 

10 + ( 2 * [qty] ) – A base shipping cost of $10 plus $2 for each item in the cart.

To know more about the WooCommerce Flat Rate Shipping method you can read their documentation here.

Note: Shipping Cost formula and calculations can be a little tricky so think of all the customer scenarios and choose the best shipping cost calculation.

WooCommerce Shipping Classes by Weight

One of the main applications of WooCommerce shipping classes is adding shipping costs based on weight because many shipping companies charge you based on the weight of the product being shipped. 

For creating shipping classes by weight you need to create a spreadsheet listing the weight of all the products in your WooCommerce store and cross-reference it with the shipping cost given by the Shipping service provider such as USPS service. 

Then you need to create the Shipping Classes based on the weight categories provided by the Shipping service and assign the products to the respective classes based on their weight.

Finally, go to the Shipping Zones and add the respective shipping cost for the different shipping classes as we have explained above.

If you want to apply conditional rules for weight-based shipping, you can make use of a free WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping plugin. 

WooCommerce Shipping Rates by City

Generally, the weight-based shipping costs vary for different areas and cities, If you are shipping for multiple cities and areas you would want to add shipping rates based on the regional pricing. 

First, get the prices of regions where you are shipping from the Shipping service and add them to the weight-product table you already have. 

Now club the shipping areas with the same or similar shipping cost and name them as Zone 1, Zone 2, etc.,

  1. Now create go to WooCommerce → Shipping → Shipping Zones. 
  2. In this page click ‘Add Shipping Zone’ and create ‘Zone 1’ by adding the regions that you have clubbed.
  3. Do the same for ‘Zone 2’, ‘Zone 3’, etc., and then add shipping methods for each of the zones with the weight-based shipping rated using the classes as explained in the previous section.

How to Offer Multiple Shipping Options?

In WooCommerce, by default, you can only give 1 shipping option for your customer and it is most enough for many eCommerce stores. But if you want to give your customers multiple shipping options you can do so by extending WooCommerce with extensions such as WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping plugin and some other shipping extensions. 

There are also other 3rd party plugins that allow you to add multiple shipping options. Check out our post on the best WooCommerce table rate shipping plugins.

If you have questions, you can reach out to use. Also share your thoughts in comment section below!

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