34.2. Shipping Methods and Classifications
Before enabling e-commerce for retail items, it is important to define shipping methods and classifications.
Shipping methods and classifications enable accurately grouping items into shipments, determining applicable shipping methods and calculating shipping costs.
A Shipping Method defines how you will ship an item (for example, you might create shipping methods for USPS, UPS, or FedEx). These can be set up with a base rate, per pound rate, and/or per item rate, and can have conditions applied to determine destinations where the provider can ship items (for example, USPS can only ship domestically).
A Shipping Classification determines what set of shipping methods apply to a specific retail item. All items that are available for purchase via the e-commerce site must have a shipping classification defined. All items with the same shipping classification are assumed to be shipped together, and the shipping methods selected for the shipping classification will be presented to the guest.
Both are needed for Arctic to be able to present shipping choices and calculate any shipping charges when a guest purchases items online.
If you have a simple flat rate shipping scheme, you can configure just a single shipping method and shipping classification.
Configuring a Shipping Method
For each method of shipping you offer, you will create a shipping method. When defining methods, you may want to explicitly state the provider, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL; or you may want to provide more generic shipping methods such as "domestic flat rate" and "international flat rate" to provide more flexibility on your end when determining how to fulfill an order.
Begin configuring a shipping method by naming it. Provide a range of days to help Arctic to estimate delivery time.
Next, configure how you want Arctic to calculate the cost of shipping. Cost can be calculated as a base amount (flat rate), per item, and/or by weight. If shipping is taxable in your location then you can also specify the appropriate tax rates.
Further down the page, you can determine what sort of shipping addresses this shipping method can be used to deliver to. You can enable or disable shipping to post office boxes (since non-USPS carriers generally are not able to ship to post office boxes). In addition, you can configure additional conditions to narrow down the acceptable list of destination addresses. By default, the initial conditions limit shipping to US addresses. You can add further conditions to restrict the shipping method to the current state, or you can remove the country condition to make it applicable to all addresses.
Configuring a Shipping Classification
A shipping classification determines what items are shipped together and what shipping methods apply to those items. Each retail item available for e-commerce purchase must have a shipping classification specified.
Many companies can use a single shipping classification that exposes all shipping methods offered. But if you sell heavier or bulkier items, or more fragile or perishable items, it may be helpful to have multiple shipping classifications. For example, heavier items may have a shipping classification that only expose slow, bulk shipping options. Perishable items may have a shipping classification that only exposes sufficiently fast shipping options.
For a shipping classification, you must provide a name (only visible to you on the backend) and select what shipping methods apply for items in this classification.
A shipping classification also includes the option for guests to pickup their items on-site with the Can Pickup field. The option "Yes, can pickup" means the item can be picked up without any restrictions. Otherwise, the "Yes, with activity purchase" option allows you to set conditions to restrict what sort of activities allow the item to be picked up on-site.
The Electronic Delivery field allows you to give your guests the option to receive digital items, like gift certificates, electronically. This field only needs to be enabled if you wish to give the guest the option to have their digital item delivered electronically in addition to offering them physical delivery options. If you only wish to offer physical delivery of the items, this field should be left blank.
Note: It is best not to add electronic delivery to existing shipping classifications that are also used for items that can only be physically delivered, like t-shirts, hats, and stickers. Adding electronic delivery to a shipping classification that is used for such items will create confusion for your guests. It is best for items that can be delivered digitally as well as physically to create a specific shipping classification for them. This will ensure that electronic delivery is only offered for items that can be electronically delivered.