Etsy and WooCommerce might do basically the same thing—give you a platform to sell goods online—but they do a lot of things very differently. One of those things is how they approach shipping. Etsy has Shipping Profiles that can be applied to individual products, while WooCommerce sets up everything under Shipping Zones, each containing different Shipping Methods that can be customized with Shipping Classes. Is your head spinning yet? Well don’t worry: in this article I’m going to give you a tour of WooCommerce’s shipping settings and show you how to migrate Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce.

Let’s start with a look at how WooCommerce’s shipping configuration works. WooCommerce 2.6, released in June of 2016, included a new model of how shipping options are grouped and related. Here’s a diagram that attempts to make the Shipping Zones model a little clearer:

Diagram: The WooCommerce Shipping System Explained

The fundamental “container” of shipping settings is the Shipping Zone. The Zone can be set to include either a list of countries, or a list of zip/postal codes.

Inside each Shipping Zone are any number of Shipping Methods. These can be one of three types: Flat Rate, Local Pick-Up, or Free Shipping. Each Shipping Zone’s Shipping Methods are unique to that Zone; you can’t create a single Shipping Method and apply it to multiple Shipping Zones.

Finally, we have Shipping Classes. Shipping Classes can be applied to multiple Shipping Methods, and they are applied on a per-product basis like Etsy’s Shipping Profiles.

How to Migrate Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce, Step-by-Step

Now let’s walk through the process of reproducing an Etsy Shipping Profile in WooCommerce. Unfortunately, there’s no slick plugin you can use like there is for migrating your product listings. But (hopefully) you have far fewer Shipping Profiles than you have products!

The first step is to log in to the Admin interface of your WooCommerce store and click on “Settings” under the WooCommerce section of the left-hand sidebar. Then, on the Settings screen, click on the “Shipping” tab to bring up the list of Shipping Zones:

The "Shipping Zones" screen in the WooCommerce Shipping Settings Tab

This screenshot shows some Shipping Zones already set up. If this is a brand-new WooCommerce installation, you’ll only see the “Rest of the World” Zone. This Zone can’t be deleted, and is used for any physical shipping address that isn’t included in other Shipping Zones that you might have set up.

If you don’t assign any Shipping Methods to the “Rest of the World” Shipping Zone, customers will only be able to get items shipped to the specific Zones you define.

Use the “Add shipping zone” button to create a new Zone, or hover over the name of an existing Zone to reveal the Edit link.

The interface for adding a Shipping Zone in WooCommerce

As you can see, you can define Shipping Zone regions either as a list of countries, or a list of zip or postal codes. In the example above, I’ve created a zone for Denver-area zip codes, which all start with “802”. The asterisk (*) is a wildcard character, and means that any order to a zip code starting with “802” will only have access to the Shipping Methods in the Denver Local Shipping Zone.

Likewise, the “US Domestic” Zone has the entire United States assigned to it. But it’s important to note that more-specific Shipping Zones always override Shipping Zones that are less specific. So even though Denver is in the United States, orders from Denver zip codes will get assigned to the Denver Local Shipping Zone.

When you migrate Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce, you’ll need to create a WooCommerce Shipping Zone for each group of countries you defined in your Shipping Profiles. Once you’re done it’s time to create your WooCommerce Shipping Methods by clicking on the gray “+” icon on the right side of the entry for the Shipping Zone you’re working on. You will see this dialog box:

The "Add Shipping Method" dialog box in WooCommerce

WooCommerce’s three default types of Shipping Methods are Flat Rate, Free Shipping, or Local Pickup. Flat Rate and Local Pickup can be assigned a cost. Free Shipping can be triggered either by a minimum order amount, a coupon, or a combination of the two.

Let’s look at the Flat Rate method, since it is the most complicated and will be the one you’ll need to use in order to migrate your Etsy Shipping Profiles.

Creating a Flat Rate Shipping Method in WooCommerce

At the top are the basics: Title, Tax, and Cost. Check to see whether shipping is a taxable portion of purchases in the Zone that you are assigning this Shipping Method to.

When it comes to figuring out shipping costs, you can use tools from carriers like the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS to estimate shipping based on package size, weight, and destination. Be sure to take into account the weight and expense of your packing materials as well.

Shipping Classes are groups you can assign individual products to in order to add specific costs. In this example I’ve created Classes for products that need insurance, and products that are classified as Oversize by the carrier. You can assign different costs for each Shipping Class in each Shipping Method. The Shipping Classes will only show up at checkout for products that they are assigned to, otherwise they aren’t shown or applied to the shipping cost.

The last setting, Calculation Type, lets you choose whether Shipping Class costs should be added up, or if only the most expensive Class should be applied. Again, in this example “Per Class” would add $10 for the “Insurance Required” Class and $25 for the “Oversize” Class. “Per Order” would only add $25 for the “Oversize” Class.

Finally, for completeness’ sake, here are the “Shipping Options” and “Shipping Classes” tabs:

The Shipping Options screen in WooCommerce

The Shipping Classes screen in WooCommerce

Free Download: dbdc’s Etsy to WooCommerce Shipping Method Migration Cheat Sheet

There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re migrating your Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce. This one-page cheat sheet will help you remember where to go in WooCommerce to enter all the settings in your Shipping Profiles. Get it now!

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    What About…?

    There are a few other shipping-related items that Etsy offers that don’t have exact equivalents in WooCommerce:

    Processing Time

    In Etsy Shipping Profiles you can enter a Processing Time to let the customer know how long it will take for you to prepare the item for shipping. WooCommerce doesn’t include this in its shipping settings; instead, when you migrate Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce that information should be added in the descriptions of individual products, your shop policies page, and/or on the checkout page, to make sure customers see it.

    Real-Time Shipping Cost Calculation

    US-based Etsy sellers can use Calculated Shipping to show buyers the cost of shipping via USPS on the checkout screen. With WooCommerce, you have a couple of options for calculating carrier shipping costs in real time at checkout. WooCommerce Services provides real-time shipping quotes for USPS and Canada Post for free. If you need other carriers the UPS, and/or FedEx Shipping Method extensions from WooCommerce are $79 per year each.

    An option I like better is AuctionInc’s Multi-Carrier Shipping Calculator plugin. It covers domestic and international rates for USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL and costs $19.95 per month. They also offer single-carrier plugins for $9.95 per month each.

    Note that at time of writing, WooCommerce Services and the WooCommerce USPS Shipping Method extension does not support insurance on packages.

    Label Printing

    Etsy gives shops using Direct Checkout or PayPal the option of printing shipping labels, with the cost of the shipping added to your monthly bill. In WooCommerce, there is no built-in shipping label generation, but third-party services like Shipstation and ShippingEasy offer extensions to integrate them into WooCommerce seamlessly.

    If you do print your own labels, do yourself a huge favor and follow Abby Glassenberg’s advice: buy a real label printer!

    A Zone, Method, and Class for Every Need

    Like the rest of WooCommerce, its shipping options are flexible and extensible, making it possible to serve the needs of almost any business. All those options might seem overwhelming the first time you migrate Etsy Shipping Profiles to WooCommerce, but they’ll make it possible for you to set up your store’s shipping options just the way you want them.

    If you’re making the move from Etsy to WooCommerce, don’t forget to download my Shipping Method Migration Cheat Sheet to make the process straight-forward and confusion-free. Get it here!

    Free Report for Etsy Sellers: Build Your Own eCommerce Online Store Today

    Migrating your listings from Etsy to WooCommerce is only one piece of building your own eCommerce store. Download my free guide to all the tools and services you’ll need to build yourself an amazing website and eCommerce store. These are the very same tools, programs, and services I use to build sites for my clients. With this report you’ll be all ready to take your business beyond Etsy and into its next phase of growth:

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