How to Calculate WooCommerce Shipping per Item?

how-to-calculate-woocommerce-shipping-per-item

I’ve seen several variations of this query many times from both experienced and new WooCommerce store owners: 

‘Can I charge for shipping based on the number of items in the cart instead of just a flat fee?’

It is certainly doable. You can charge WooCommerce shipping per item. The best part? You don’t even need any plugins to do it. 

Before We Get Started

When a customer checks out the items in their cart, WooCommerce looks at the destination of the items. After that, it uses the shipping methods you constructed to calculate the total shipping cost. 

Each destination can have its own rules based on your shipping requirements.

Calculating shipping costs requires thought and planning. To figure out shipping costs correctly, you need to create shipping zones and shipping rules first. 

Before you get started with our tutorial, you have to ensure that you’ve done the following tasks:

Then, let’s get started.

How to Charge WooCommerce Shipping per Item?

Many WooCommerce store owners utilize the built-in shipping rates and zones to construct their shipping fee structure. 

By default, this charge a flat-rate fee for a region, such as $10/order. However, you can do much more! Follow the instructions below to know how to use the flat-rate shipping method to calculate WooCommerce shipping per item.

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping.
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  1. Choose the zone name you want to charge Woocommerce shipping per item.
  2. Click on the Add shipping method button at the bottom left of the table.
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  1. Choose Flat rate from the drop-down menu. After that, click on the Add shipping method button.
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  1. A new shipping method will be added. Click on its title. A pop-up window will appear.
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  1. Fill in your preferences for this new shipping method.
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  • Method Title: This is the name of the shipping method shown to your customers. For example: “Ground“, “Expedited“, etc.
  • Tax Status: Determines whether tax is applied to the shipping cost.

Click on the question mark on the right of the Cost text. It’ll tell you that you can use advanced shortcodes, such as quantity-based and total-price-based costs.

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  1. You can utilize this to include item amounts in your shipping cost formula with the shortcode [qty]. For example:
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This means instead of charging $3/order, now I charge $3/item in the cart. 

  1. Remember to click the Save changes button when you’re happy.

You should see something like this in the front-end:

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The Downside of the WooCommerce Flat-Rate Shipping per Item

Imagine a situation where you charge $2 for shipping a hoodie. And a customer orders 100 hoodies. According to the default WooCommerce flat-rate shipping per item, the shipping fee applied to 100 hoodies will be $200.

Do your customers bear this additional cost? Certainly yes! What will its consequences be? Your buyers will be very likely to abandon the cart and find another online store where they can buy the same product at a reasonable price.

In short, your online store does not draw bulk buyers anymore, which is definitely not good. And you don’t want that, do you?

You may want to charge lower fees for bulk orders, as multiple items are shipped to the same place. All popular online stores offer reduced shipping fees on bulk orders.

How to Resolve the Problem of WooCommerce Shipping per Item with a Plugin?

While more complex shipping rules like this are impossible with the core tools, you can do so with the Table Rate Shipping plugin by WooCommerce. It only costs $99/year.

The plugin allows you to create rates per item total. Therefore, you can create a rate table like this:

woocommerce-shipping-per-item-9

Note that each store is one of a kind, with its own products and shipping needs. Therefore, every setup may be a bit different. 

Install the Table Rate Shipping plugin

  1. Buy the Table Rate Shipping plugin.
  2. Download the .zip file to your computer from the WooCommerce website dashboard.
  3. Go to Plugins > Add New.
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  1. After that, navigate to Upload Plugin > Choose File
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  1. Select the .zip file you just downloaded.
  2. Next, click on the Install Now button. Wait a moment for WordPress to install the plugin. Finally, click on the Activate button.

Set up a Table-Rate Shipping Cost

To use the Table Rate Shipping plugin, it must be added to a shipping zone.

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping.
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  1. Click on the zone name you want to add table rates.
  2. Click on the Add shipping method button at the bottom left of the table. A pop-up window will appear.
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  1. Choose Table rates from the drop-down menu. After that, click on the Add shipping method button. 
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  1. A new shipping method will be added. Click on its title. This will open a new screen.
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  1. Fill in your preferences for this new shipping method.
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  • Method Title: This is the name of the shipping method shown to your customers. For example: “Ground“, “Expedited“, etc.
  • Tax Status: Determines whether tax is applied to the shipping cost.
  • Tax included in shipping costs: Determines whether the shipping costs specified in the table include tax or not.
  • Handling Fee: This is an extra fee. It can be a fixed amount or blank for no fees.
  • Maximum Shipping Cost: A maximum cost can be specified. If the shipping cost is more expensive than this amount of money, the price will drop to the maximum cost.
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  • Calculation Type: Inform the plugin how to calculate shipping on a customer’s cart. For our purpose, choose ‘Calculated rates per line‘. The plugin will look at each line in the cart and check that against the table. Multiple identical items are on the same line.
  • Handling Fee Per Line: Add a fixed additional fee to the cost of each calculated line.
  • Minimum Cost Per Line: Set a minimum cost per calculated line.
  • Maximum Cost Per Line: Set a maximum cost per calculated line.
  1. Now, it’s time to start adding rates. The plugin will compare the items in the cart with the table rate to calculate the total shipping cost. To calculate WooCommerce shipping cost per item, you may not have to bother with ‘Shipping class‘, ‘Abort‘, ‘Item cost‘, ‘lbs cost‘, and ‘% cost‘ columns.
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  • Condition: Inform the plugin which product information it should use to calculate the rates. For our purpose, choose ‘Item count‘.
  • Min/Max: The minimum and maximum quantity of an item. For example, you might want one price for 1-20 items and another for more than 20 items.
  • Break: If this option is checked, this plugin will stop the calculation from going any further when reaching this row. We recommend you check this.
  • Row Cost: The base cost to ship this item. This can include your packaging costs.
  • Label: Add a label for each rate. For example: ‘1-20′, ’20-50’, etc.
  1. Finally, click on the Save changes button when you’re happy with the result.

You should see something like this in the front-end if successful:

woocommerce-shipping-per-item-19

Final Words

That’s it! There are multiple ways to charge WooCommerce shipping per item. You can use the built-in shipping method. It’s somewhat limited, but free.

If you have some money to spare, you should purchase Table Rate Shipping by WooCommerce to extend your online store’s functionality.

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