A Beginner’s Guide to Shopify Shipping

So, you've decided to set up a Shopify store- that's great! You have your products; you've chosen your niche, you have an idea of your target demographic…so far so good.

Now what?

You need to sort out your Shopify shipping settings. Urgh.

Luckily for you, it's nowhere near as complicated as you'd think. Nevertheless, we've put together a handy guide to help you navigate your way through the process. Let's dive in!

Where Do You Manage Your Shipping Settings?

First things first, head over to the Shopify admin panel. From here you can configure all your shipping settings.

However, before you put any wheels in motion, it's essential you understand the best way to ship your products to your customers.

Without this info, you can't receive your first order- which is a bit of a sticking point for generating profit!

Once you've decided on your shipping method(s), you can modify your settings so customers can choose from the list of delivery methods you offer. This will appear to them at the point of checkout.

Things to Consider

To correctly set up your shipping settings, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Your shipping rates
  • Your preferred shipping methods
  • The weights of your goods
  • Your ideal kind of packaging
  • Printing a test shipping label

This may sound like a lot, but never fear we're going to break this all down for you:

Sorting Shipping Rates and Methods

Before you settle on your shipping rates, there are several things to think about:

Do You Want to Charge Exact Shipping Costs?

By this we mean, billing your customer's the same price as couriers like USPS. If you're located in either the U.S. or Canada, you can utilize Shopify's resources to calculate these accurate shipping rates.

Top Tip: If you're on a strict budget, don't use these exact rates, it's a pretty easy way of watering down your expenses.

‘Exact shipping costs' differs to flat rate shipping. As the title suggests, this is where Shopify store owners charge their buyers a fixed shipping rate. These are calculated using either the products weight, the location of your customers, or the total value of the order.

For example, you may ask for a $3 postage and packaging fee for any orders placed and sent within the UK.

If this is the way you want to go, you'll need to consider the average cost of shipping your goods- that way you can set a reasonable shipping charge.

The challenge is establishing a shipping fee that doesn't eat into your profits while offering an enticing deal to customers. Only you as a business owner can make this call.

Top Tip: If you're located in the States, kickstart your first few orders by requesting a free USPS shipping kit. Their ‘Domestic Flat Rate Variety Pack' includes:

  • 1 x small box
  • 2 x medium box
  • 1 x large box

This is definitely worth using, after all, everything little helps when you're first starting out, right?

shopify shipping

What About Free Shipping?

Offering free shipping has become increasingly popular. More and more digital marketers are using free shipping as a way of securing new customers and boosting conversions.

More often than not, store owners offer buyers free shipping if they spend a certain amount in their digital store. For example, consumers can benefit from free shipping when they purchase $50 (or more) on products.

Not sure how to incorporate free shipping into your marketing strategy?

If that sounds like you, find out how much it'll cost you to ship your products and then add it to the overall cost of your goods- this gives you a bit of wriggle room to offer free shipping without losing out on profit- win-win!

You should note: this method typically works best for low-cost goods.

Add Product Weights

If you're not sure which shipping method to opt for, calculate the cost of shipping by plugging in the weight of your products and the size of the boxes you're going to use.

With this info, Shopify can work out an approximate shipping rate. This is amazing for giving store owners a better idea of how much postage will set you back.

Time-Saving Tip: If you're using the same box size for each order, set this as a default option, this is handy for speeding up the calculation of shipping rates.

Select a Type of Packaging

On the same Shipping Settings page you can save your preferred style of packaging:

  • Envelopes: These tend to be large, and flat. However, they can't be any thicker than 3/4 inches.
  • Boxes: This is best described as a ‘regular package.' However, the overall length, width, and height can't exceed 84 inches.
  • Soft Packs: This refers to- padded envelopes, bubble mailers, or plastic sleeves. If your package is thicker than 3/4 of an inch, it won't be eligible for USPS First Class Mail rates.
  • Carrier-specific packaging: for example, USPS Flat Rate packaging).

Did you know, in addition to USPS, most couriers offer business owners free packaging when you use their shipping services- for example, UPS and CHL Express?

This usually involves setting up a free account with them. Once you've done that, they can send the packaging over to you- how awesome is that?!

Top Tip: As most couriers set their prices on size and weight, it’s important to try and use the smallest sized packaging to save on shipping costs.

You should also note, Shopify doesn't accept the following kinds of package types (that's if you're planning on using their shipping labels):

  • Letters
  • Envelopes thinner than a quarter of an inch
  • Large packages
  • Non-rectangular and irregular shaped packages.

When a customer pays for shipping, you'll receive these funds (along with the rest of the monies for the order). However, if you print shipping labels via Shopify, you'll have to pay for the cost of the label as part of your Shopify bills.

You can buy and print all the following shipping labels:

  • USPS,
  • UPS,
  • DHL Express,
  • Canada Post,

The amount you spend on shipping labels largely depends on the Shopify plan you've opted for. You'll be pleased to hear; you can save as much as 60% in comparison to standard retail prices.

When you're at the stage where you need to purchase a shipping label, select which of your saved package types you, and follow Shopify's instructions from there- it's a pretty simple process!

shopify shipping

Now Let's Set Everything Up

Once you have all the above figured out, you'll need to complete the following steps to get your shipping settings up and running. Again, this can all be sorted from your Shopify admin panel:

  1. Register where you're shipping from. AKA your shipping origin
  2. Add your shipping zones (the places you're happy to send your products to)
  3. Add your shipping rates. Or, activate pre-calculated shipping rates for specific zones.
  4. If you want to use Shopify Shipping to buy and print shipping labels, you'll need to use and select a supported label printer and choose your default package types.

How to Add Your Shipping Origin Address

If you're shipping from somewhere other than your office, you can set a separate shipping origin. This ensures Shopify calculates your shipping rates and taxes correctly.

  1. Head over to your Shopify admin panel, select ‘Settings‘ then ‘Shipping.'
  2. Under ‘Shipping origin,' select ‘Edit address':
  3. Now, enter the address you're shipping your products from and hit ‘Save.'


shopify shipping

Shipping From Numerous Locations?

If you're shipping from more than one location, you'll need to opt for the setting that says you're sending goods from several sites.

Once you've done that, your shipping rates are calculated using the place you've selected as your primary shipping origin. You can change your shipping origin to any of your existing locations.

You should note: the cost of purchasing Shopify's shipping labels are also calculated using your order fulfillment location, not your shipping origin.

Want to Change Your Shipping Origin?

The steps are pretty simple:

  1. Head back over to your Shopify admin panel, click ‘Settings‘ followed by ‘Shipping.'
  2. Once you're in the shipping section, click ‘Change shipping origin.'
  3. From there you can choose a new location, then click ‘Save.'

Voila, you're done!

How Do I Add a Package Type?

Again if you're based in the US or Canada, you can save both the dimensions and weights of your favorite package types via your shipping settings on your Shopify admin panel.

How Do I Edit a Package Type?

Again, this is straightforward. If you want to modify or remove one of your existing packages, just follow the steps below:

  1. From your Shopify admin panel, click on ‘Settings' followed by ‘Shipping‘.
  2. Find the ‘Packages' section and select ‘Edit' next to the package type you want to change.
  3. Then, you'll have the opportunity to insert your changes and save them. Alternatively, you can entirely delete the package type.

Benefits of On-Demand Deliveries

If you've not heard of this shipping method, you should note you can do all the following:

Top Shipping Tips

Did you know, unexpected costs surfacing at the point of checkout is the primary reason customers don't complete their purchase?

Needless to say, shipping costs often fall into this category!  Therefore, we suggest making your shipping fees visible throughout the entirety of your store- that way customers don't get any nasty surprises!

Top Tip: As we've alluded to, your shipping strategy will massively vary depending on the kind of business you're running.  It’s often worth spending the time and effort testing various shipping options to see how this impacts your conversion rate.

Handy Hack: If you're managing and shipping inventory from numerous locations, you'll have to offer the same shipping rates from all your sites, so factor this into your budget as you set your prices.

Test for User Experience

Shipping isn't just a boring practicality- it's actually part of the overall experience you provide your customers.

So, we thoroughly recommend placing a test order so you can view exactly what your audience see's when they head to your checkout. Use this as an opportunity to ensure all the delivery options you want are there, and all the rates are listed correctly.

You should know: your customers can't view your shipping methods until they've submitted their delivery address. That way only the delivery options relevant to them appear.

Does My Shopify Plan Effect My Shipping Options?

In short, yes- but not majorly.

How much you're charged will vary depending on the Shopify plan (check out our Shopify Pricing guide for more info) you've selected and the courier you use. Shopify customers can enjoy reduced shipping costs from USPSUPSDHL Express, and Canada Post.

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Contena, Cake and Lace Blog, and Love You Tomorrow. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.