The Best Table Rate Shipping Plugin for WooCommerce in 2024

  • Updated on: February 10, 2024

One of the best ways to optimize your delivery fee calculations is to have a table rate shipping option available for your customers.

Shipping is one of the most complex operations for business owners, and equally complex is determining a fair and accurate price for your deliveries. 

While things can be simplified by having a “one-size-fits-all” transport cost for every delivery, in the long run, you will end up undercharging your customers for deliveries by not taking into account parameters such as weight, distance traveled, quantity, etc. 

As a result, you will take losses on all of your deliveries, which can lead to an unsustainable business.

To overcome these losses, you can make use of table rate shipping to provide your customers with a fair transit price that won’t eat your profit margins.

Therefore, in this article, we will tell exactly what table rate shipping means. In addition, we will show you how you can add this method to your WooCommerce store.

Types of Shipping Options

Before we get into the main topic, let’s take a look at some basic delivery options so that you will be better able to appreciate what tabular shipping has to offer.

1- Local Pickup

Often classified as a “delivery” option, even though there is no actual delivery involved.

Local pickup refers to having your customers come and collect an order that they placed from one of your pick-up locations.

The main benefit of local pickup is that it is free for both you and your customer. In addition, you are also saved the headache of arranging an order for delivery.

2- Flat Rate Shipping

The most basic and easiest way to price deliveries is by using a flat shipping rate.

So every delivery or shipment you make will have a fixed fee added to it. 

For example, you could charge a flat fee of $10 for each shipment. In many cases, you and your customers will be quite happy with this $10 shipping fee. However, there will still be some outliers, and you can run into the following problems:

  1. If you are transporting a lot of heavy products across unusually long distances, then the $10 shipping fee will not be enough to cover your expenses, and you will incur a loss
  2. Some customers might find the $10 transport fee too expensive, especially if they are ordering items in small quantities. So a person will not be willing to pay a $10 delivery fee if their total order also equals $10. Because, in this case, 50% of their total cost is being spent on transport fees. As a result, of the flat rate fee of $10 you will lose this customer.

As you can see, flat rate shipping may be favorable for some of your customers, but there will always be instances where it will be too expensive for your customer or too low for you.

In this case, you will need a system where the delivery fee is adjusted based on parameters such as weight, distance, quantity, etc.

What is Table Rate Shipping? 

As you found out, a flat rate transport fee is not the ideal solution if you are moving products with variables such as weight, quantity, etc. over long distances.

The solution is to create various “rules” that will determine the shipping cost of a delivery based on:

  • Product Weight
  • Product Quantity
  • Total Distance (or Displacement) traveled
  • Cart Total
  • Etc.

Once these rules have been created, all of your transportation costs will be adjusted according to these rules. Furthermore, the shipment fee will be automatically calculated according to these rules. As a result, you will not have to worry about overcharging or undercharging your customers.

These rules are displayed in a table format, hence it is known as table rate shipping

For example, let’s say 2 shipments of the same weight and price are due to be dispatched, one to a location that is 20 miles away and one to a location that is 50 miles away.

If you were charging a flat rate of $10, you would only get a total of $20 shipping fee for both deliveries, despite one delivery being further away. Moreover, you may end up spending more than $10 on the delivery that is to be made 50 miles away.

To have more consistent and fair shipping fees for you (and your customer), it would be better to charge slightly more for the shipment that is traveling further.

Similarly, you can create various rules to account for different transportation parameters and conditions. As a result, you will always provide a delivery fee that is fair for both you and your customer.

Factors in Table Rate Shipping

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Now that you have a good idea about what tabular shipping is, let’s now talk about what factors are taken into consideration when making the rules that determine the shipping fee calculations.

1- Weight

The first and most important parameter to account for is weight.

The heavier the shipment is, the more transportation carriers will charge you to transfer it. Therefore, if you do not charge a higher delivery fee for heavier shipments, you will incur a loss.

You can set an upper and lower limit for shipment weight to make calculations easier for you.

Here is a table with rules based on shipment weight

ConditionRangeBase CostCost/ lb
Weight0-1042
Weight10-5085
Weight50-100129
Weight-Based Rules

From the above table, the delivery cost is determined based on the shipment weight. If, for example, the shipment weighs 20 lb, then the base cost of the shipment will be $8, plus an additional cost of $5 per lb.

2- Product Quantity

Another factor that needs to be considered in product delivery is the total product quantity.

The number of products in a shipment can affect the overall delivery fee.

Ideally, you will want to determine a minimum and maximum limit of products per shipment that is cost-effective for you. Any quantity below your minimum and above your maximum level will need an additional cost to remain economical.

Delivering just a few products may be less profitable and cost-effective than delivering large quantities. For your business, the opposite may be true.

For example, let’s suppose your business is most suited to deliveries that have 5–20 products each. So for any deliveries that have 5–20 products, you can charge a normal fee. However, it may cost you more to deliver less than 5 or more than 20 products per shipment. In this case, you will need to create a rule that charges extra for shipments of less than 5 products and more than 20.

The table below demonstrates shipping rules for product quantity.

ConditionRangeBase CostCost/ item
Quantity1-442
Quantity5-2083
Quantity21-40124
Quantity-Based Rules

3- Distance

An obvious parameter to consider for shipping products is the total distance.

The greater the distance for delivery is, the more it will cost you. Therefore, it is only fair to charge a higher delivery fee for shipments that have to travel longer distances.

By using tabular shipping, you can create rules to determine the shipment cost based on distance. So for deliveries that are going further away, you can charge more for them.

Moreover, you can substitute “distance” for “displacement” in your rules if it suits your delivery operations.

The table below shows delivery rules based on the total distance traveled

ConditionRange (mi)Base Cost ($)Cost/ mi
Distance0-1040.5
Distance10-5081
Distance50-100121.2
Distance-Based Rules

4- Cart Value

The delivery fee can also depend on the cart value (or order total) that is due for shipment.

When it comes to cart value, it is usually the opposite conditions that apply when compared to other factors.

For some businesses, it is cheaper to ship orders with a high cart value, while transporting orders with a low cart value can be seen as inefficient. Once again, it all depends on your business model and delivery methods.

To encourage your customers to buy more and increase their cart value, you can give them discounts on delivery fees if they reach a certain order value. Moreover, you can even consider offering free shipping once a specific order value is reached.

Below is an example of how cart value rules look like.

ConditionRange ($)Base Cost ($)Cost/ Unit
Order Total5-4020.15
Order Total41-9910.25
Order Total100+00
Order-Total-Based Rules

5- Location or Address

The last factor that we will discuss is the delivery location or address.

For certain businesses, it may be easier to ship products to specific locations or addresses, and it may be difficult to ship to others.

In this case, shipping rules can be created to adjust the shipment fee based on the final destination.

The table below shows delivery costs that are based on the location of the delivery.

ConditionStateAdditional Cost ($)
LocationNew York0
LocationVirginia4
LocationOhio7
Location-Based Rules

Benefits of Table Rate Shipping

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Now that you have seen how this method can take into account many factors associated with moving products from one destination to another and how it uses multiple rules so that each delivery is priced according to these factors, let’s see what benefits it can provide.

1- Calculate Accurate Shipping Costs

With this shipment calculation method, you can easily account for many factors such as distance, weight, location, etc. while calculating shipping prices. As a result, you will always quote a price that is economically viable for your business.

If you account for all these factors manually, you will find yourself getting overwhelmed trying to determine every single possible outcome. However, by having a table of shipping rules, you will easily be able to determine the final shipping cost while accounting for all necessary parameters.

2- Automate Shipping Cost Calculations

By using a table rate shipping plugin, you will be able to automate the entire process of calculating the right transportation fee based on the rules you created. As a result, you will no longer need to manually calculate the final shipping fee.

Once an order is placed, the plugin will determine the shipment cost based on the following factors:

  1. The order parameters (value, weight, etc.)
  2. Location and address
  3. The rules you created

After looking at all these factors, your customer will be provided with a tabular shipping fee that will be displayed alongside other shipping options.

3- Customizable Shipping Rules

Once a shipping rule is created, you are not restricted to it forever. The shipping rule can be customized or tweaked according to market conditions.

In summary, the main benefit of table rate shipping is that it can provide you with an easy way to calculate variable delivery costs based on the “rules” you define.

Using a flat rate shipping fee for all your shipments can lead to problems because the fixed fee will sometimes not be suitable for all your shipments. You may end up overcharging and undercharging both yourself and your customer.

With table rate shipping, you can create “rules” that will act as a flowchart for you to determine a fair shipping fee. By doing so, you will be able to account for all unforeseen expenses to your shipping operations

How to Use Table Rate Shipping? – Multi-Store Addons for WooCommerce

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By now, you might have realized how valuable tabular shipping can be. The question you may be asking yourself now is, “How can I make use of table rate shipping?”

If you are an online business owner, then you may already be using shipping plugins to help you manage your deliveries. 

Similarly, you can use a table rate shipping plugin to give your website the ability to use this type of delivery fee calculation method. As a result, you will easily be able to integrate tabular shipping into your day-to-day operations.

One such plugin that comes to mind is Multi-Store Addons for WooCommerce, which is one of the best table rate shipping plugins for WooCommerce.

Multi-Store Addons for WooCommerce is a plugin for Agile Store Locator that allows users to manage multiple WooCommerce stores.

One of the features of Multi-Store Addons for WooCommerce is the ability to calculate shipping charges based on distance, weight, and other parameters. This feature is known as “Distance-Based Shipping” which is similar to tabular shipping.

Using “Distance-Based Shipping”, you can set certain rules that will automatically calculate the delivery fee for an order based on the following parameters:

  1. Distance
  2. Weight
  3. Order Total
  4. Displacement

You can even set the following parameters for your transit rules:

  1. Base Cost – Assign a fixed fee for your shipments
  2. Cost/Metric – Enter the charges per metric (distance, weight, etc.) of the shipment
  3. Multiple Cost/Metric – Add a multiplying factor if multiple products are being shipped
  4. Priority – Determine which rule takes priority
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Other Key Features of Multi-Store Addons for WooCommerce Include:

  1. Inventory Management Across Multiple Stores
  2. Location Picker at Checkout
  3. Distance Rate Shipping Calculator
  4. Location-Wise Shipping Methods
  5. Location-Wise Payment Methods

For a more detailed guide on how and what Agile Stores Addons for WooCommerce does, please refer to the following guide: Multi Stores Addons for WooCommerce: An Ultimate Guide for Beginners.

Conclusion

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Figuring out the right transportation fee for your orders can be difficult, especially if the deliveries all have different parameters such as weight, distance to travel, order value, etc. 

With so many variables to consider, a “one-size-fits-all” transportation fee will not be the best solution for your shipments. 

Table rate shipping is one of the best ways to determine fair and accurate shipment fees on a case-by-case basis. By using a plugin, you can add this shipping method to your business operation. As a result, you will be able to charge your customers with fair shipping fees that will not lead to losses for your business.