Understanding shipping options and delivery zones


Sellers can offer a variety of shipping options for different States and regions ("rate areas"). 

Each store comes with a default shipping option being set to "Call the Manager", with the shops phone number (as entered in the store profile being shown at the checkout).

Shipping Options

Shipping options are the different ways of deliverying the product to a customer, it includes the option of providing store pick-up, other collection options (e.g., pick up points) and delivery methods. 

Sellors may wish to base their shipping charges on speed (e.g. standard, express), carrier (e.g., FedEx, UPS, DHL), or type (e.g., warehouse pickup, local delivery). Each shipping method comes with its specific rates, which can be defined in a variety of ways. 

The Farmers Lot shipping options include:

Pick up:

Sellers may offer free pick-up. We provide a sellers directory with you opening times and store location (optional). 

Our premium option allows sellers to display a map to the pick-up location with any opening times and instructions specified in the shipping method set-up.

Free Shipping:

Sellers can mark a product for free shipping by ticking that option on the product shipping tab. Premium sellers can also create promotions where free shipping triggers at a certain amount. 

Product level charges: 

You can also set a charge for shipping at the product level. This should be thought of as a product surcharge because the fee is added on top of all other shipping charges (even if you advertise free pick-up). 

Need to know: If a shiipping charge is added to the product shipping tab this is a per item charge i.e. the total shipping charge would be 

product quantity x $product shipping charge + $shipping method charge = Total shipping charge 

It's a great option for bulky, hazardous and hard to ship items.

Other Shipping options:

The amount of shipping charged can be pre-set, based on a vairable such as weight or even a "real-time" charge (usually obtained from a shipping company via an 'API'). 

The Farmers Lot include two standard shipping methods for all sellers ("Call the manager" and "Australia Post". Our premium offering allows sellers to create or intergrate other shipping methods.

Shipping opptions can be based on,

  • A flat charge
  • Vairable third party "real time" rates e.g. DHL, Australia Post
  • Weight of items
  • The quantity of items
  • The location of the customer

Sellers need to be careful that the correct rate is charged, this means making sure that, rate areas, shipping method settings and product details are correct. Wrong or missing data can result in no, incorrect or unplanned shipping methods being offered.

Australia Post:

Sellers can request activation of our Australia Post plug-in. Available free of charge the plug in adds Australia posts current rates to the order (if the customer selects this option). Australia Post has size and weight restrictions, this option won't be offered if any of the items in the customers shopping cart exceed this.

Call The Manager:

This is the default shipping method that all sellers get when they first open the store.

Delivery Zones/Rate Areas

Rate areas are geographical zones that you define for applying different shipping rates, a rate area can be thought of a shipping zone. The Farmers Lot have set rate areas for a regional and metopoliton shipping zone for each state. Not all post codes are assigned at state level, we also have "remote" and "unmapped" rate areas. Rate areas allow greater flexability in pricing pick-up and delivery zones.

ACT, Norther Territory - Metro, Queensland - Metro, Queensland- Regional, Remote, South Australia - Metro, South Austraion- Regional, Tasmaina - Metro, Tasmania - Regional, New South Wales - Metro, New South Wales - Regional, Remote, South Australia - Metro,  Unallocated, Victoria - Metro, Victoria - Regional, Western Australia - Metro, Westerna Australia - Regional

Creating Shipping Methods

'Shipping methods' are a combination of the shipping methods you offer and the rate areas you serve. For example, you might decide to offer 'standard shipping' within Australia and 'express shipping' only to certain metropolitan areas within each state of Australia. Each of these combinations of shipping method and rate area constitutes a 'shipping option'.

The process of building 'shipping options' involves:

  1. Defining your shipping methods.
  2. Creating rate areas.
  3. Associating each shipping method with one or more rate areas and defining the rates for each.

Example Creating a Rate Area for Australia

This example illustrates shipping methods and rate areas concepts, only The Farmers Lot can create rate areas in practice. Our premium sellers can create delivery methods, Let's walk through how you might create a rate area for Australia, and then define regional and metropolitan rate areas for each state of Australia.

Step 1: Defining a Country-wide Rate Area

To create a country-wide rate area for Australia:

  1. In your vendor dashboard, navigate to Shipping & Taxes > Rate Areas.
  2. Click the + button to create a new rate area.
  3. Name the rate area, e.g., "Australia".
  4. In the Countries tab, select "Australia" from the list.
  5. Click Create.

Step 2: Defining Regional and Metropolitan Rate Areas for Each State

Next, you'll need to create a regional and metropolitan rate area for each state within Australia. This step involves a little more detail as it requires you to define each regional and metropolitan area. We'll use Victoria as an example:

  1. Navigate to Shipping & Taxes > Rate Areas.
  2. Click the + button to create a new rate area.
  3. Name the rate area "Victoria - Regional" (for regional areas in Victoria).
  4. In the States tab, select "Victoria" from the list.
  5. In the Zip/Postal codes tab, enter the postal code ranges for regional areas in Victoria. For instance, if regional areas have postal codes from 3000 to 3999, enter "3000-3999".
  6. Click Create.

Repeat these steps to create a metropolitan rate area for Victoria, adjusting the name and postal codes accordingly. Do the same for each state in Australia.

Remember that the zip/postal code ranges are examples and should be replaced with the actual postal code ranges for both regional and metropolitan areas within each Australian state.

Once you have set up the rate areas, you're ready to associate them with your shipping methods to create your 'Shipping Options'. Assign each shipping method to a rate area and define the shipping rates.

CAUTION: Be sure to validate the shipping methods and rates to various delivery zones to ensure they are calculated and displayed correctly during checkout. Misconfigurations can lead to incorrect shipping costs or a shipping method not being offered as expected.

Remember, shipping plays a significant role in customer satisfaction and your business's profitability, so it's crucial to evaluate and test your shipping options and rates regularly. 

Don't forget to take into account the cost of packing materials, handling, and possible returns when calculating your shipping costs. You can make an allowance (a charge in additon to any shipping method) by setting the shipping option at the product level.