In the past, opening a WooCommerce store seemed easy – until you had to set up taxes and shipping. These often required a paid plugin or tedious setup.
WooCommerce now offers an automated taxes plugin, WooCommerce Shipping & Tax, powered by Jetpack. It hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but it’s free. The problems seem to lie with inaccurate calculation of the taxes and the requirement that you install Jetpack, which is a somewhat bloated plugin. However, Jetpack allows it to connect to the cloud services to bring you current tax information.
If you’re uncomfortable trying out this free plugin, the best option I’ve found is TaxJar. But it’s not cheap with prices starting at $19/month for up to 200 orders. And the lowest pricing level requires a CSV import rather than an API connection.
WooCommerce Shipping & Tax also helps with shipping labels, but unfortunately no longer automates shipping rates at checkout. This free plugin works with USPS & DHL, and let’s you print shipping labels at a discount. It includes a tracking number and even allows you to schedule a pickup. There is also Shippo and Pirate Ship to create discounted shipping labels, but if you’re already using the WooCommerce Shipping & Tax plugin, it seems like it’s easier to just use it for both. However, I haven’t compared rates.
As is, Woocommerce basically comes with two shipping options: free shipping or flat rate shipping. Yes, there are also shipping classes to help add extra shipping costs onto products that are more expensive to ship, but it requires a bit of setup. Another free option is table rate shipping with a plugin like Table Rate for WooCommerce by Flexible Shipping. This allows you to have shipping costs calculated based on weight or cart total. However, none of these take into account the cost of shipping things further away verses next door. In order to add that in, you really need an automated shipping option.
I usually recommend paying $79/year each for WooCommerce’s UPS and USPS plugins that automate shipping costs when you enter the products’ weight and dimensions. Yes, there are cheaper options out there but this plugin is supported by WooCommerce (owned by WordPress), and I doubt they are going anywhere soon. Having plugin support when you need it is very important as well as code and security updates that keep up with industry standards. The free shipping plugins that I have seen have some problem with them like not being supported and compatible with the latest version of WordPress, supporting only weight and not size of products, or not supporting international shipping, There are 63 different options through WooCommerce to help automate your shipping. Do you know a better way to to automate shipping prices through WooCommerce? If so, please comment below.