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Step 2 - Choose and configure shipping methods

Once you've added products to your store you need to choose and configure which shipping methods you want to use when shipping your orders. This article will explain what shipping methods are, how you can choose which shipping methods are available to your customers, and how you can configure each shipping module as needed.

What are shipping methods?

If you sell physical products from your store then you'll need to choose and configure at least one shipping method before customers can buy from you. Shipping methods allow you to define how a customer can receive the products they buy from your store. There are two different shipping method types in Interspire Shopping Cart, and they are mutually exclusive, meaning if you choose one then you can't choose or enable the other:
  1. Real-time shipping quotes. All real-time shipping quotes retrieve shipping rates in real-time from the shipping companies web site when someone is in the process of buying from your store. For example, if I enable and configure the UPS real-time shipping method then when it comes time for a customer to checkout and buy from my store, he/she will see a list of real-time shipping quotes that are retrieved from UPS based on the weight and physical dimensions of the products they are trying to buy, like so:

    You can enable multiple real-time shipping providers (more on this shortly) and then the customer can choose which shipping method he/she would like to use. For example, here's what the customer would see if both UPS and USPS were enabled:

  2. Fixed shipping methods. All fixed shipping methods are priced and configured from the shipping settings page and they do not need to retrieve shipping quotes from third parties, which makes them faster than using real-time shipping methods.

How can I choose and configure different shipping methods?

You can choose and configure different shipping methods for you store by clicking on the Settings menu and then choose the Shipping Settings option:

You will be presented with the Shipping Settings page, which allows you to configure not only shipping methods, but also other shipping settings, including:
  • Your location. All real-time shipping methods require you to enter your complete address from the Your Location section of the Shipping Settings page. When it comes time for a customer to choose a shipping method, both your location and their location are passed back to the third party shipping providers (such as UPS or FedEx) so that they can generate an accurate shipping quote.
  • Available countries. You can restrict which countries you will ship to by selecting the countries from the Available Countries list. If a customer tries to ship an order to a country that isn't available then he/she will be told that your store doesn't ship to that country.
  • Free shipping. If you tick the Yes, enable free shipping options checkbox and click Save, you will see a new tab that allows you to configure free shipping options for your store. You can specify a dollar amount, and once a customer's order total reaches that dollar amount they will qualify for free shipping
  • Handling settings. You can add an optional handling fee to each order and you can choose whether to show the handling fee as a separate cost or instead bundle it into the shipping cost
On the Shipping Settings page you will also see the Shipping Methods box, which lists all available shipping methods. To enable a shipping method, just follow these simple steps:
  1. Click the checkbox for the shipping method you want to enable from the Shipping Methods box
  2. Click the Save button
  3. You will now see that a tab appears for the shipping method you enabled:

  4. Click on the new tab and you will be able to configure the selected shipping method. A full step-by-step help guide is shown on the page which explains everything from creating an account with the shipping company to filling out the shipping companies details:

  5. Follow the instructions, fill in the required details and click Save
  6. To test the shipping method after you've clicked Save, scroll down the page and you'll see a Test Shipping Method link, which when clicked will open a window that allows you to test the real-time shipping quotes system for each shipping provider:

Interspire Shopping Cart includes a powerful module system that allows you to create and integrate your own shipping modules as required. To learn more about this please go to the developer's guide help section.

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