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GLOSSARY

Shipping method

A way to deliver the goods that your customers purchase


An essential part of your online business administration is managing the delivery of products to your customers. You should have set up the shipping zones where you want to ship. You have differentiated the shipping categories of products that need special handling for shipment. Now you can define the shipping methods available in your market.

Each shipping method and a Stock Location may then define a specific Delivery Lead Time .

A Commerce Layer’s shipping method is defined by:

  • a name (the internal identifier for this resource within your organization),
  • a Market,
  • a Shipping Zone
  • a Shipping Category.

Besides, you have also to specify a Price amount and an optional Free Over amount. They are both expressed in cents. The currency derives from the Price List associated with the market. The former represents what gets charged for the shipping method. The latter is the order amount (i.e., the amount of all the items included in the order) beyond which the shipping method is free.

In summary, within a particular market, many shipping methods can be available. However, a specific shipping method applies to only one market.

Last but not least, the shipping methods we’re talking about here are just needed within the checkout process. They won’t necessarily coincide with the service provided by the shipping carriers. In most cases, they don’t. See the Shipment glossary entry for details on how to choose the real carriers’ services.

Examples

As mentioned above, a shipping method can be associated with only one shipping zone and one shipping category. It’s quite easy to understand that you should make multiple shipping methods when: you need to ship to different zones, you need to handle different categories of products.

Multiple shipping zones

Due to accessibility, logistical or fiscal reasons, shipping items to certain places can be more expensive or could take more time. If you want to ship to these places you need to define different shipping zones. Each shipping zone applies to customers whose addresses are within that zone. The related shipping methods determine the corresponding shipping rates.

Multiple shipping categories

If your products require special shipping arrangements, you need different shipping categories. So, if you sell dangerous goods, perishable food or oversized items, you need to define different shipping methods.

Multiple delivery lead times

Let’s suppose you want to provide your customer with different service levels. For example “1-day delivery” more expensive shipping vs. “3-day delivery” cheaper shipping. Thus, you need two shipping methods, associated with the related delivery lead time.

Free shipping

The quickest way to provide free shipping to your customer is to set a Free-over-amount. If you need to handle more complex free shipping options, have a look at the glossary entry related to Promotions.