Essential Shipping Considerations for E-commerce Stores

When launching a new e-commerce store, one of the most crucial aspects to consider is how to effectively offer shipping services to your customers. A well-planned shipping strategy can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and streamline your operations. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what new e-commerce stores need to consider regarding shipping services.

Domestic vs. International Shipping

Domestic Shipping

Focusing only on domestic shipping can simplify logistics, reduce costs, and ensure faster delivery times. It’s an excellent choice for stores starting small or those with limited resources. Benefits include:

  • Lower shipping costs: Domestic shipping is generally cheaper than international.
  • Faster delivery: Shorter distances mean quicker deliveries, which can enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Simplified logistics: Fewer regulations and paperwork compared to international shipping.

International Shipping

Expanding your reach to international customers can open up new markets and significantly increase your customer base. However, it comes with challenges such as higher costs and complex logistics. Consider:

  • Customs and duties: Be aware of the customs regulations and potential duties in different countries.
  • Shipping costs: International shipping can be expensive; ensure you factor these costs into your pricing strategy.
  • Delivery times: Longer delivery times can impact customer satisfaction; provide clear expectations.

Shipping Methods

  • Live Shipping Rates
  • Flat Rate
  • Free Shipping

Live Shipping Rates

Live shipping rates are the most common and highly recommended method for new e-commerce stores. Using a shipping plugin such as Shippo Shipping Pro, EasyPost Shipping Pro or ShipStation Shipping Pro that calculates live shipping rates based on the package dimensions and weight offers several significant benefits:

  • Accurate shipping cost: Live shipping rates ensure that you do not undercharge or overcharge for shipping. The rates are calculated in real-time and are based on the actual dimensions and weight of the package, which provides a fair and precise cost.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Some shipping integration services offer estimated delivery date information. When customers see live shipping rates along with an estimated delivery date, they get a clear idea of when the package will arrive. This transparency can significantly increase the likelihood of customers completing their purchase.
  • Competitive Edge: Offering live shipping rates can make your store more competitive as it provides a professional and reliable shopping experience.

Flat Rate Shipping

If your products have similar sizes and use similar packing, offering a flat rate for shipping can simplify your pricing structure and make it easier for customers to understand their total costs.  However, it might not always be the best choice if your products vary significantly in size and weight, especially when shipping larger or heavier items.

Free Shipping

Free shipping can be a good incentive for customers. You can offer it conditionally, such as on orders above a certain amount. This strategy can:

  • Increase average order value: Customers may add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.
  • Enhance competitiveness: Free shipping is a popular option among online shoppers and can make your store more attractive.

Learn how to configure free shipping

Fulfillment Options


Handling shipping yourself gives you complete control over the process but can be time-consuming and require significant resources. It’s suitable for stores with smaller volumes of orders.

Multiple Warehouses

If you have multiple warehouses, you can ship products from the location closest to the customer, reducing shipping times and costs. However, this requires an advanced inventory management system.

Simplifying Shipping Options

To avoid confusing customers and complicating your operations, it’s crucial to simplify your shipping options. Aim to provide no more than five shipping services. 

Consistency is key. If you’re using vendors, ensure they all adhere to the same shipping methods, such as live shipping rates. Avoid different shipping rules for different vendors, as this can create confusion and be challenging to manage.

Other Factors to Consider

Shipping Insurance

Offering shipping insurance can provide peace of mind for both you and your customers, protecting against loss or damage during transit.


Invest in quality packaging to ensure your products arrive safely.


Providing tracking information helps customers feel secure about their purchases and can reduce inquiries about order status.

Seasonal Demand

Prepare for peak seasons by adjusting your shipping strategy. Ensure you have enough resources to handle increased order volumes.

Choosing the right shipping strategy is critical for the success of your e-commerce store. By considering these factors and simplifying your shipping options, you can enhance customer satisfaction and streamline your operations. Focus on providing clear, consistent, and reliable shipping services to build a loyal customer base and ensure smooth management of your store. Offering free shipping can significantly boost sales, while flat rate shipping can simplify cost calculations if most of your products are similarly sized. Each shipping method has its own benefits, so choose the one that best fits your business needs.

Live shipping rates, in particular, is especially beneficial if your products vary in size and require different shipping boxes, making cost calculation more complex. In such cases, a shipping plugin becomes invaluable, simplifying the process and ensuring accurate pricing.

With a shipping plugin to help, customers can easily see live shipping rates when they add items to the cart. For admins, they can simply follow the shipping plugin’s pre-selected shipping boxes, pack items, purchase shipping labels within the plugin, and ship the products. This eliminates worries about undercharging or overcharging for shipping, ultimately improving efficiency and saving time for the store to focus on making more sales.

The best part is we offer a free version of all our shipping plugins. Whether you use Shippo, ShipStation, EasyPost, ShipEngine or ChitChats, we’ve got you covered.

Find more information via links below

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