What shipping strategy should I use?

Let Freshy help you navigate the confusing landscape of eCommerce shipping.

Are you a merchant concerned with how much you should be charging for shipping?
You are not alone.

Below we have collected the most popular shipping strategies and broke them down so you have a better idea on which one is the best fit for your business.

of merchants surveyed identified shipping costs as their biggest operational challenge*

What are the different shipping strategies I can choose from?

Any of these can be conditional based on the customer’s shipping address. For example, if you are using CCS in the US, you can change it up when shipping to Canada by increasing the CCS rates or using a different strategy altogether.There can be as many different setups as you need!

Also you can do a combination of strategies like offer free shipping for orders $50 or more, and do a flat rate for orders under $50.

Free shipping

Free shipping is a huge influencer on the buying decisions on consumers. Here are just a few statistics to consider**:

consumers say free shipping is the number 1 incentive to shop online more
of US Amazon Prime customers signed up for Prime because of Free shipping
of orders from the top thirty ecommerce merchants were shipped free of charge

How do I offer free shipping without losing money?

There are a number of ways you can go about offering free shipping, such as:


Raise the price of your product to cover shipping


You pay the full price of shipping out of your margins


Raise the price of your product slightly, and you cover the rest out of your margins


Offer free shipping with a discount code for select sales or select customers (loyalty program)


Offer free shipping for a minimum order amount

In the growing business of online selling it has become critical to offer free shipping to stay competitive. As of 2017, 29% of online retailers do not offer any form of free shipping — a significant drop from 40% in 2016*.

Carrier-calculated shipping (CCS)

WooCommerce, the eCommerce platform we use to build eCommerce websites, has the capability to integrate with the top shipping carriers such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx to provide the customer real-time rates based on their shipping address. Knowing the weight and dimensions of your packaged products is key to getting accurate shipping rates returned in the cart. You can choose to use any number of carriers, you are not limited to just one.

How do I choose a carrier?

Believe it or not, there are differences between the carriers! Especially if your products qualify for special rates:

Special rate Best used for
USPS Regional Rate Packages shipping short, regional distances.
USPS Flat Rate Packages going long distances domestically, that are small and heavy.
USPS Media Mail Shipping educational materials, like books or DVDs
Discounted USPS Shipping Labels USPS shipping — WooCommerce offers discounted shipping labels
FedEx One Rate Flat rate, time-sensitive deliveries
General distinctions
USPS Shipping smaller, lightweight packages that are sent to residential addresses
FedEx & UPS Larger, heavier packages or rates that are time-sensitive like 2-Day or 3-Day shipping.

To see comparisons for yourself try these shipping calculators:

You will need to know the weight and dimensions of your packaged product, and you can use this tool to get a random address to input into the “Ship to” field.

Flat rate

Consider a flat rate if your products don’t vary too much in size or weight. It’s a standard, average rate, no matter where the package is being shipped. Use the calculators above to try and find an average shipping cost that could work as a flat rate.

Tiered rates based on price or weight

This option is most widely used in conjunction with a free shipping offer over a certain dollar amount. For example, free shipping for orders over $100.

You would also consider this strategy if you would prefer, for whatever reason, not to integrate with a CCS. Just keep in mind that this method does not take the customer’s shipping address into consideration, only the total price of the cart or total weight of the cart.

In-store pickup

If you own a storefront and a portion of your consumer base is local, offering in-store pickup is a no-brainer. It can give you a competitive edge over the larger retailers like Amazon and attracts shoppers who are more likely to make an additional purchase.

of shoppers who have used In-store pickup say they are likely to make an additional purchase***

Below are the top reasons why your local consumer would choose to purchase with you if you offer in-store pickup***:

Bring able to see product before taking it home
Avoid shipping costs
Being able to return the product instantly

What else should I know about shipping?

I have only touched upon the different shipping strategies to consider but there is so much more out there, like how to create a branded unboxing experience (very important!) and the best type of packaging to use. Below I’ve collected a few guides that I found most helpful for the other concerns that you may have:

1. Shipping trends of 2019

An overview of where we were and where we are heading in the ecommerce world with tips and statistics such as the top 3 best tips for ecommerce store growth, the top destination countries from the US, and trends to watch for to stay competitive

2. The ultimate e-commerce shipping guide: solutions, strategies, & more

The biggest, most thorough guide I found on everything you need to consider regarding eCommerce shipping.

3. What is dropshipping and would it work for your business?

What if you can avoid the hassle of handling inventory and warehousing altogether and give it to someone else? This guide talks you through what that entails and the pros and cons.

4. Creating a branded unboxing experience and other packaging concerns

What is an unboxing experience and why is it so important?