Getting your online shop shipping-shape


If you’re setting up an online store something you’ll have to think about as early as you can in the piece is shipping.


The first thing you need to decide is how to price your shipping costs.

How are you going to deliver your products to your customers? How much is it going to cost you?

You’ll probably want to make sure that your product prices will either cover the shipping on their own or else you’ll want to add a shipping charge to your orders.

This means that your online store will need to anticipate how much a particular order is going to cost you to ship and charge your customers accordingly.

The second thing you need to do… is stop worrying.

I often have conversations with clients who are very anxious about getting their shipping price just right. They want to use Australia Post and they want the website to calculate the cost based on the sizes and weights of all of their products… but they don’t know what their products weigh and don’t have size information for all of them and some of their products are too large for AusPost and they’ll need to use a courier company and suddenly they’re telling me that they think this whole online shopping lark might be a bit too much trouble.

“Hold on!” I tell them. It doesn’t have to be this hard!

Let me ask you this: if you get an order through the website and your website charges two of your customers $7 each for shipping. The first order costs you $5 to post and the second one costs you $8.50…

Does this really matter? Is it of grave concern? Should you spend sleepless nights worrying about spreadsheets and scales and measuring tapes and mathematical formulae? Is this, in fact, a Big Deal?

Because most of the time it really (really!) isn’t.

We can spend the time  – we can implement immensely complicated shipping profiles and product profiles and dozens of rules and exceptions to those rules…   but before you do that I want you to think about whether you have anything more important you could be doing.

Your shipping rules need to do two things

  • Ensure that you, the business owner, are not losing money. You need to cover your costs
  • Appear reasonable to your customers and not discourage people from buying

If your shipping rules can fulfil the above; if your customers are happy to pay what you’re charging and you’re covering your expenses: then that’s really all you need.

Shipping is not somewhere you want to be making a lot of profit on – unreasonable shipping costs are generally fairly transparent and you’ll just discourage people from buying. You might lose on some orders and win on others. The point is to put rules in place that ensure that you don’t lose more than you win; and remember that you might be making enough on large orders that you won’t mind copping a bit on the shipping for those orders!

If you’re setting up an online store for the first time I highly recommend that you put in place some simple shipping price rules and try them out for the first few orders… and adjust them as soon as you feel they’re inappropriate. The simpler your rules are the easier they’ll be to change! If we put something complicated in place right off the bat and it turns out to be wildly wrong – well there’s a lot more time involved in tweaking it.

Start simple! We can always make it more complicated later if we need to.

If putting your shipping rules together is holding you back from going live then give us a call – we’ll work with you to put together a simple set of rules so that we can get your website to the point that it can start making you money!