Best Shipping tips for Shopify merchants in 2024!!

By Mona Sohal
May 20, 2024
Best shipping tips for shopify merchants

You’ve got this amazing store, but how do you get your products to happy customers? Don’t worry we’ll be covering you up with all the best shipping tips for Shopify merchants in this blog.

Don’t worry, we’ll make shipping a breeze! We’ll show you how to pick the perfect way to send your stuff, pack it safe and sound, choose the best delivery company, and even track your packages closely. Plus, we’ll show you how to keep those shipping costs under control and explore different delivery options. 

So, without any delays to your business dreams, get ready to turn your shipping process into a smooth ride for you and your customers!

Common Strategy for Merchants

Imagine someone visiting your online store at Shopify, loves a product, and adds it to their cart. But then, at checkout, they see the offered shipping price and hesitate. Suddenly, that great deal seems not-so-great. What happens next?

  • They might pay: They decide the product is still worth it, even with shipping.
  • They might leave: More often, they abandon their cart and leave your store empty-handed.

Studies show unexpected shipping costs are the number one reason people ditch their checkout carts.

Due to the high rate of shopping cart abandonment caused by unexpected shipping costs, shipping transcends a mere operational expense. It becomes a strategic lever capable of influencing your entire business. By implementing an effective shipping strategy, you can achieve several key objectives:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience 

Transparency regarding shipping ensures consistent and positive experiences for customers. This includes clear communication of potential delays due to unforeseen circumstances. Circumstances such as COVID-19, natural disasters, carrier issues, peak season impacts, or any other factors that may affect delivery timeframes.

  • Increased Average Order Value (AOV) 

The use of strategic shipping promotions and incentives can encourage customers to increase their purchase value. 

This can be achieved through targeted offers like free shipping above a minimum purchase threshold on select items or for limited durations.

  • Business Expansion 

A well-defined international shipping strategy allows you to reach a wider audience and expand your customer base globally. This opens doors to new markets and creates business growth.

  • Improved Conversion Rates

When customers are presented with clear shipping costs which they think are fair. They are more likely to finalize their purchases. 

By offering a range of options, such as carrier selection, speed variations for delivery, and even fulfillment methods like local delivery or curbside pickup. Carriers will be more prone to going through the purchase.

The Importance of Proper Shipping

Growing your e-commerce sales can make shipping more complicated, especially when it comes to getting your products to customers safely and on time. It’s perfectly understandable to be worried about your shipping options. Especially since you want to make sure your customers are happy. 

You can control how quickly you pick, pack, and ship orders, but the shipping company you choose is responsible for getting the package to your customers on time and in good condition.

It is this selection of a reliable courier that directly impacts the customer experience and shapes their thoughts of your online brand. Fortunately, proactive measures exist to allow you to exert greater control over your overall shipping strategy.

What To Keep In Mind When Choosing Shipping Options

How you charge for shipping is a big deal for your online store. It affects how many people buy from you and how much profit you make. Here are the most common ways to charge for shipping:

  • Free Shipping: Some stores offer free shipping on everything, while others offer it only if you spend a certain amount, like $50 or more. Remember, “free” shipping isn’t really free – the store pays for it.
  • Exact Cost Shipping: This uses real-time rates from shipping companies, so customers see the exact price (like $8.36)
  • Flat-Rate Shipping: This is a single price for all orders, no matter where it’s going or how heavy it is (like $5 to ship anywhere in the US).

In the US, about 1 out of 5 small stores offer free shipping all the time. But this might not be a good fit for your store, especially if you’re just starting out. It depends on how much profit you make on each sale.

Here’s what to do if you’re new:

  • Check your profit margins: This means figuring out how much money you make after you pay for everything, including shipping.
  • See what your competitors charge: This will help you get an idea of what’s normal in your industry.
  • Start with a free shipping offer, but only if they spend a certain amount: This is a good way to test it out and see how it affects your sales.

As you sell more, you’ll learn more about your customers:

  • Who are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they buy?
  • How much do they typically spend (average order value)?
  • How much does it cost to ship different products?

This information will help you decide what shipping strategy is best for you in the long run. For example, if your free shipping offer increases the amount customers spend, then it might be working well. But if it doesn’t, you might need to raise your prices, change the minimum amount for free shipping, or try a different shipping strategy altogether.

What to do if you offer free Shipping?

Free shipping can be a powerful tool to attract customers and boost sales, but it’s important to do it right, if you want to stay profitable. Here’s how to do it:

  • Know Your Numbers

Before diving into free shipping, understand your profit margins and typical shipping costs. Consider your average order value (AOV) and how much it costs to ship your most common products. This will help you see if free shipping is currently feasible. Remember, international shipping is usually more expensive than domestic, so factor that in too.

Tip: Shopify users can add product costs directly to each item to easily track profit margins and make informed decisions about shipping and promotions.

  • Build It Into Your Prices

If free shipping is essential in your industry, consider including the cost when you price your products. Remember, pricing involves many factors, including your niche, competition, and how often you ship internationally.

  • Free Shipping to Increase Average Order Value

A common strategy is to offer free shipping on orders above a certain amount. Once you have some sales history, calculate your AOV and set the free shipping threshold slightly higher (e.g., free shipping on orders over $100 if your AOV is $87.90). This encourages customers to add more items to their cart, increasing your average order size and potentially offsetting some free shipping costs.

Real-World Example: A beauty brand noticed many customers abandoned carts due to high perceived shipping costs. They lowered the free shipping minimum from $80 (average abandoned cart size) to $45. This resulted in doubled revenue and nearly tripled sales!

  • Optimize Your Packaging

Packaging weight significantly impacts shipping costs. Find the right balance between protecting your products and minimizing weight. Consider using lightweight options like poly mailers for clothes and sturdier cardboard boxes for delicate items. Take advantage of free packaging options from carriers like USPS whenever possible.

  • Get Competitive Shipping Rates

Shop around for shipping options in your area. Negotiate if possible to get lower rates than retail pricing on mail services you need. Reducing the cost per shipment makes free shipping more sustainable.

  • Run Free Shipping Promotions

Free shipping doesn’t have to be permanent. Use it strategically during promotions to boost sales. For example, offer it to clear out older inventory during slow periods, but end the promotion before peak seasons with carrier surcharges.

  • Selective Free Shipping

Large or heavy products may not make sense for free shipping due to high costs. Analyze shipping costs for each product, competitor pricing, your AOV, and profit margins to make informed decisions.

Should You Offer Free Shipping?

Whether to offer free shipping on all orders depends on your profit margins, industry, and competitor behavior. Customer expectations also play a role. While free shipping might not be expected for luxury items, it might be a dealbreaker for everyday products in a competitive market.

In some cases, absorbing a portion of the shipping cost might be necessary. Carefully consider all options to find the best strategy for your business.

Alternatives to Free Shipping

Free shipping isn’t always the best option. Here are two other ways to charge for shipping:

Charge Exactly What It Costs

This lets customers choose the shipping speed that fits their needs. Someone who needs something fast might pay extra for faster shipping, while someone who doesn’t mind waiting can choose a slower, cheaper option.

  • Real-time shipping calculators: These tools show customers the exact shipping cost upfront, building trust and showing you’re not hiding any fees. This is a good option for heavy or bulky items that wouldn’t be practical for free shipping.
  • Negotiate good rates: High shipping costs can scare customers away, so try to get the best deals from shipping companies. Shopify Shipping can help with this in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Flat Rates: Simple and Easy

This means charging a single price for all packages, or having different prices based on weight or order total.

  • Figure out your average shipping cost: This helps you set a flat rate that’s fair and doesn’t lose you money. You might overcharge a little on some orders and undercharge on others, but it should even out in the long run.
  • Test different flat rates: Try different prices for weight ranges or order totals to see what works best for you.

Bonus: Offer Local Delivery and Pickup

  • Curbside Pickup: Customers order online and pick up their items at your store, often without even leaving their car. This is convenient and popular, especially during the pandemic.
  • Local Delivery: Deliver orders yourself to customers in your area. This cuts out shipping companies and can be cheaper. It’s also a great way to connect with local customers.

What About Returns?

There will always be some returns, so you need a plan for how to handle them. Here are some options for return shipping costs:

  • Charge the exact cost: The customer pays what it costs to ship the item back to you.
  • Offer free return shipping: This is popular with customers, but can be expensive for businesses.
  • Flat-rate return shipping: A set price for all returns, like flat-rate shipping for outgoing orders. This is a good compromise that sets clear expectations for customers.

How to choose a return shipping option:

  • Consider your budget: How often do you expect returns? What are your profit margins and shipping costs?
  • What’s good for your customers? Think about your competitors and your overall customer service strategy.

Whichever option you choose, make sure your return process is clear and easy for customers to understand. If you’re charging for returns, let customers know upfront so there are no surprises.

Proper Return Strategies

Great products and descriptions are key, but some customers might change their mind after buying. In that case you need a solid plan for those returns!

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for return shipping costs. Here are the options, similar to how you charge for regular shipping:

  • Charge the exact cost: Customer pays what it costs to ship the item back.
  • Free return shipping: Popular with customers, but expensive for businesses.
  • Flat-rate return shipping: A set price for all returns, just like flat-rate shipping for outgoing orders. This is a good middle ground.

How to choose?

  • Think about your budget: How many returns do you expect? Can you afford free returns?
  • Consider your customers: What do your competitors offer? What fits your customer service style?

Make it clear!

No matter what you choose, explain your return shipping policy clearly. If customers pay for returns, let them know upfront to avoid surprises. An extra email reminder can help too!


In the ever-changing world of online retail and dropshipping business ideas, Shopify empowers merchants to navigate challenges with confidence. 

A seamless shipping experience goes beyond simply moving products. It’s about building customer satisfaction throughout the entire buying process, from the moment they click “buy” to the excitement of receiving their order. By exploring our “Best shipping tips for shopify merchants”  best practices it will become clear to you that shipping is not a minor operational detail, but rather a crucial element of the e-commerce customer journey.

And with our best shopify merchant tips for success, ship confidently and grow your sales!


How Do I Set Up Accurate Shipping On Shopify?

  1. Head to Settings > Shipping and delivery.  This is where you’ll control all your shipping options.
  1. Choose the shipping profile you want to edit.  This lets you customize shipping for different products or groups of products.
  1. Find the rate you want to adjust and click the “…” menu. This will let you edit specific details of the shipping rate.
  1. Set your handling fee in the “Handling fee” section. This covers any costs beyond just the carrier’s shipping charge.
  1. Click “Done” then “Save” to finalize the changes. Now your shipping rate is more accurate!

What Is The Most Efficient Shipping Method?

Do your goods require urgent delivery across continents? If so, air freight represents the optimal solution. Air freight boasts the fastest transit times available for intercontinental shipping, ensuring your cargo reaches its destination with unmatched speed. And thanks to modern tech, tracking your shipment with reliable air freight companies is now easier than ever. You can follow your cargo’s journey every step of the way.

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