Magento community edition offers flexible shipping options that are very useful. This article will look at some quick shipping options for your products and tips on when you should (or should not) use each method. The three main options that will be discussed here are Flat Rate, Table Rate and Free Shipping.
There is a quick check before you start adjusting your shipping options. If you go to System > Configuration > Delivery settings, you can see a tab called origin. Ensure that this is setup correctly to where your store is located. You will also see “allow shipping to multiple address” under the option tab. Generally, you want this to be set to “No” unless you allow shipping to more than one addresses in one order.
To start adjusting your shipping options, you can go to System > Configuration > Delivery methods. You should be able to spot the tabs called Flat Rate, Table Rate and Free Shipping.
Flat rate is pretty self-explanatory. If you set “Enabled for Checkout” to “Yes”, all of your customers will see the flat rate that you set after they go through the checkout process. The “Title”, “Method Name” and “Price” will be displayed at the checkout. By default, this will be Flat Rate, Fixed and 5. You can change these values to whatever you like such as Standard Shipping, etc.
The field “Sort Order” is to determine which shipping option takes the top priority in the order during the checkout process. For example, you enable Free shipping for the checkout process and put the sort order in free shipping “2” and sort order under flat rate “1”, you will see the flat rated displayed on the top before the free shipping option at the checkout.
This option is also quite straightforward. If you enable this option, your customer will not be charged extra for any shipping when they select the option during the checkout. You might want to apply this option for a certain transaction value to encourage higher average basket value (you can setup the minimum purchase amount to enable this option) or when you are running a special campaign where you want to discount your shipping fee.
“Table rates” is the option to use when you want to vary the shipping rates depending on factors such as distance, weight of the item or number of items purchased. This option a bit more effort to setup compared with the previous two options.
To get started with this table rates, you want to change the current configuration scope from “Default Config” to “Main Website” or whatever name that you set for your website, at the top left corner of the configuration screen.
Figure 1. Configuration screen
After you change the current configuration scope, you will see an additional export and import options under Table Rates.
Figure 2. Extra import and export options under Table Rate
The following steps are then required to setup the shipping rates:
Click Export CSV and you should have a new spreadsheet downloaded to your computer. Open this file and you will see something that looks like this:
Figure 3. .csv file for price vs destination
Note that you can select a different condition before exporting the CSV and you will get a slightly different CSV template. For this example, the condition that we use is the price vs destination which means that you can vary the price depending on where your customer is located.
You can populate the table the following way as an example:
Table 1. Example of price vs destination table rate setup
The above table will tell Magento that for UK region, customers will pay different shipping prices depending on the value of their transaction, “*” means a wildcard or “apply it to all conditions”. For example, if you put a “*” under “country” column, it means that the condition will apply to whatever countries your customers order from.
When you do “country” column, remember to use the 3 letter country code to make it work. You can get 3-letters code from this website.
After you populate the cells, save the CSV file and it is now time to import it to Magento. Under import section, choose the CSV file that you have just saved and that’s all you need to import the rate. The rest of the options under “Table Rates” works the same way with the options under “Flat Rate”, so you should be able to configure it easily.
If you have a simple structure to your shipping options, the three basic options above will be a quick and easy solution to setup your shipping rates. Magento also has extensions available to integrate directly with most of the major shipping companies directly if you have that requirement.