Best WordPress Shipping Provider and Plugins in Australia
The hardest part of any eCommerce solution is choosing the right shipping provider. It can seem overly complicated to find the best WordPress shipping provider and plugins and thats because it is. Rates with different providers and their level of integrations into an eCommerce solution is often very hard to understand. We’ll focus on WordPress + WooCommerce in this post with a look at some of the best providers in Australia.
Before I start all shipping costs are general estimates based on building 20+ eCommerce stores and currently running 3 of my own.
1. What are you shipping?
Are you shipping parcels, refrigerators, t-shirts, pallets or something else. Generally whatever you ship depends on the right carrier for you.
Bigger objects such as fridges, furniture and machinery are harder to quote and hence you get better rates with a company such as Mainfreight or Toll. They can provide you with a spreadsheet of weight vs destination customised to your products and pickup location. We’ve had quotes done by these guys for machinery and they actually take the time to genuinely understand how long things will take to put on the truck, the physical size of the object as well as the weight. If you’re shipping a bobcat or long poles, it’s not square so harder to estimate. If you have regular large objects or pallets, then a broker such as Transport Direct Australia would have access to a large range of logistic companies and can help save on shipping by finding niche bobcat transport companies or specialist furniture shipping companies. If you are going with any of these guys, you’ll probably get a spreadsheet of shipping costs with weight, size, handling and location vs destination so use as in a Table Rate Shipping Calculator. This is one of the most basic shipping types (other than free of flat rate).
If you are shipping products smaller than pallets but bigger than parcels you’d be best going with a company like Toll, Courier Please or Star Track. They do pickups when the quantity isn’t huge (which we’ll touch on later) their rates are very competitive and best of all they are easy to deal with.
Lastly, and probably why most of you are reading, if you ship parcels my best recommendation is to go with a combination of Courier Please and Australia Post. Courier Please are great for metro and well priced whereas Australia Post are cheaper for non-metro areas. Courier Please have recent’y released their Courier Please API but also can provide an easy to use table rate of shipping costs. Australia Post have and API as well yet I’ve always found it a little difficult to get access keys and mine tend to need resetting from time to time (god knows why but if you find out please comment below). It might seem unusual to use 2 different shipping providers when you’ve just started an eCommerce store or shipping only small packages but I do all my new eCommerce stores this way and it works very well.
2. How much do you ship?
What a lot of people don’t think about is how much they ship. Are you just starting out and doing a parcel or two a week? Or are you more established and doing 50 packages a day. Shipping companies (such as every one I have mentioned above) have rates for the public and also the ability to create a business account and negotiate rates. The more you ship the lower your price. Australia Post generally doesn’t shift too much however the others do substantially. If you are shipping a lot of products use Australia Post as little as possible (unless you have a lot of rural packages) and negotiate the rates with one of the other providers. A good thing about the other providers is they generally pickup from your warehouse or wherever you ship from but Australia Post (when you’re small) you have to go post it to save costs.
3. WordPress Shipping Plugins
Australia Post – $39 – doesn’t require a annual subscription. You’ll need an Australia Post API Key
Courier Please – FREE – this is a table rate shipping plugin and will take some time to add rates in initially
$77 – We haven’t tested this but looks promising
Mainfreight – FREE – this is a table rate shipping plugin and will take some time to add rates in initially
Toll – FREE – this is a table rate shipping plugin and will take some time to add rates in initially
Before building a new eCommerce store look to see if these shipping options work for you with WordPress. Shipping is one of the most complex parts from a business perspective and tech perspective on an eCommerce store and can make or break the business if it affects your profit margins too much. Aside from shipping costs, you need to think about how easy it is to pick and pack your product and get it to the courier instead of just what their rate is. If it takes 10 mins instead of 5 mins to get a product to a courier and off to be delivered but the courier charges an extra $1 it is well worth it.
If you have any questions or comments or anything you’d like to see added feel free to comment below.