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In this article, you will learn how to configure WooCommerce USPS shipping method with live cost calculations using the free WooCommerce plugin. I’ll explain why you should use automatically calculated real-time shipping rates, and guide you through it.
Providing accurate and reliable shipping cost for all the available shipping options is crucial when it comes to ecommerce. Most customers choose their shipping method based on the cost. That’s why getting the right shipping cost in WooCommerce can be crucial when it comes to the difference between an abandoned cart and a successful conversion.
This is why real-time WooCommerce shipping plugins like Live rates for USPS and WooCommerce are gaining so much popularity in the WordPress community. They provide exactly what online store customers need – individual approach, even if it is only simulated. The clients see shipping methods with automatically calculated shipping cost based on their address and the exact products they order. This may seem like a small detail, but based on current ecommerce trends, they can be a significant factor.
They are the opposite solution to flat rate shipping and table rate shipping, where the store’s owner set all the shipping cost by himself. This solution saves a lot of time when configuring shipping costs, and also reduces the worry of updating these costs each time the courier’s rates change.
When you think about shipping in the US, the obvious answer is USPS. The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas like Puerto Rico. That’s why the USPS has a monopoly on “letter” delivery within the United States. What’s more, the Post Office has exclusive access to letter boxes marked “U.S. Mail” and personal letterboxes in the United States.
All of this means that USPS shipping can become a huge advantage for any store offering US shipping. Of course, the USPS has a lot of competition in the form of UPS and FedEx, but it’s still a tried and reliable brand that a large number of potential customers are willing to choose.
Live rates for USPS and WooCommerce is a new WooCommerce services plugin from Flexible Shipping. That WooCommerce extension allows you to display automatically calculated USPS shipping cost for each order. Display the available USPS services automatically in the cart and checkout based on the customer’s shipping address and cart weight.
Most of all, it’s completely free, and you can download it now from the official WordPress repository. Download it and install it in your store if you want to go next in this tutorial.
As you can see on the plugin page linked above, this free WooCommerce USPS shipping plugin lets you offer a full range of USPS shipping options. Integrating the plugin takes only 5 minutes. Your clients will see every USPS shipping option in the checkout of your store with its real price.
This plugin is based on the same foundation as the very popular and well received WooCommerce UPS shipping plugin that’s have more than 9,000 active installations.
Maybe you are wondering how that works. Understanding how each tool works helps you decide whether to use it, and I completely understand that. So, I will try to present in the simplest possible way how the . calculates the
All the “magic” happens in three steps:
– The plugin creates API request based on the customer’s cart (cart weight and address) and plugin’s settings. Then sends it to API.
– services and rates. API return API response with all available
– The plugin interprets data returned by the API and displays available services with all the costs.
The key element is the API request. That’s why it is so important to configure the plugin settings correctly. No worries, it is not difficult. I’ll show you everything step-by-step.
A customer visiting your WooCommerce store will be able to see the shipping rates for all the WooCommerce USPS shipping services that you have enabled in the USPS shipping plugin’s settings. To display live , it is necessary to install and activate the . After configuring the plugin and adding the , customers visiting your rates for all the services that you have enabled in the ‘s settings. will be able to see the
In order to offer your customers the available USPS shipping services, you need to own a USPS account and your credentials (USPS User ID) acquired during the registration process.
To reach the plugin General settings, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping → USPS Live Rates. To connect your WooCommerce store with the USPS API, you have to enter USPS User ID in the appropriate field.
Once you enter the login credentials, click on Save changes button. The API Connection Status should change to OK and turn green. If for some reason, the plugin is not able to establish the connection with the USPS API, you will see the error message coming from the API with the detailed information on the cause of the problem. In that case, make sure that the User ID is correct or contact the USPS support directly.
You can also enable the debug mode. Remember to use it only when you have any issues with displaying the rates. When it comes to the shipper’s address, that will be added to API’s request, the address you’ve entered at WooCommerce → Settings → General → Store Address will be used by default.
If you have successfully connected to the USPS API, you can proceed to the next step, which is to add and configure the USPS shipping method.
Adding the WooCommerce USPS shipping method uses the same mechanism as the WooCommerce default shipping methods, and the USPS Live Rates can be easily added the same way.
In order to create a new USPS Live Rates shipping method, simply go to WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping:
Next, click the name you want to add the Live Rates method within or add a new one.
You can set the shipping zone to whole countries or strict it to smaller parts based on a postal code. Remember that WooCommerce USPS shipping plugin allows you to offer domestic and international shipping, so it can be also used for countries other than US.
Once you are in, hit the Add shipping method button at the bottom of the shipping methods table:
In the popup window which should appear, select the USPS Live Rates from the dropdown list and confirm your choice with Add shipping method button once again:
Right after it is added, click its name to reach the Live Rates method’s configuration screen.
When you have your USPS shipping method, it’s time to configure it. You can set the Method Title that will be displayed in the checkout page for your customers. The plugin allows also to enable the Fallback. It’s the flat rate cost for shipping so that the user can still checkout if the API, for some reason, returns no matching rates. A very useful option that also allows you to increase conversions in your store is to set Free over the amount.
The most important part of the shipping method settings is the option to select available USPS services. The most important part of the shipping method settings is the option to select available USPS services. By default, all the services are available, but when you want to limit them, just check the Services option.
Please mind that the Services Table may be divided into two sections – Domestic Services Table like priority mail express and International Services Table with priority mail express international, depending on the way how the shipping zone was configured. In both cases, enable all the services that you want to use in your WooCommerce store. You may also change their names here and set the order of how they are displayed in the cart and checkout.
Last available shipping options are USPS Commercial Pricing and Insurance. Check them if you want to use them in your USPS shipping method.
If everything is configured, click on Save changes button. Now, the shipping method should be displayed for all the customers matching that shipping zone.
If you need more advanced shipping options, you can also use the PRO version of the UPS Live Rates WooCommerce plugin.
Main features of the PRO plugin: