There are several options and factors to consider when shipping your products to customers. You will need to select the right packaging materials and decide what shipping methods and speeds to offer customers when they buy your products on Foraged.
Foraged offers the following shipping options for all stores to utilize:
- Live Rates: Powered by Shippo™. Automatically have the power of highly discounted shipping rates from all major carriers in an instant. Customers pay for shipping during checkout and you print the label right from your Vendor Dashboard.
- Flat Rate: Set a basic fee for your products based on the destination.
- Free Shipping: Add an average price of shipping to your product and offer free shipping.
To set up your Foraged shop shipping options, click on the Shipping tab your Vendor Dashboard.
What are Live Rates?
As a vendor on Foraged, you have the option to let customers select from Live Rates at checkout, an option which factors in the size/weight of your package, how soon they want the package to arrive, and the distance to the destination, and shows the customer the different speed and pricing options available from one or several of the major shipping carriers.
You are free to set any sort of limitations on these as you wish – for instance, if you are selling a perishable product, the Live Rates will update based on the quantity selected by the customer, but would not allow them to use a shipping method longer than 2 days, for example.
To learn more about setting up Live Rates for your shop, click here.
What is Free Shipping?
You can also set your shipping rate as free shipping. Free shipping means that you incorporate the cost of shipping into the list price of the item, and it works particularly well if you are working with products that you know you can ship successfully with a slightly longer timeline (i.e., non-perishable products). As you have probably experienced as a customer, free shipping can often be a difference-maker in convincing a customer to purchase your product.
To learn more about setting up Free Shipping for your shop, click here.
What is Flat Rate Shipping?
Flat rate shipping is when you set a single, fixed shipping rate for the product you are selling. It is a good idea to set your flat rate at a level below the full cost of the item, so that your customers will not be put off by seeing that the total price in their cart is substantially higher than the listed price of the item (e.g., don’t set your shipping at $15 per item for a $10 product).
To learn more about setting up Flat Rates for your shop, click here.
What shipping carriers and speeds can I use?
There are several options of carriers from which you can choose. While you may be inclined to choose the carrier that is most accessible to you, we recommend offering shipping via multiple carriers because different carriers have specialties and offer varying rates based on shipment size and package destination.
- USPS – Good rates and fast delivery for small packages less than 0.5 cubic feet or 5 pounds or international packages less than 4 pounds. Good rates to HI, AK, PR, and other U.S. territories. Great rates for packages less than 1 pound.
- FedEx – Good rates for large or heavy deliveries to residential addresses. Expensive to HI, AK, PR, etc. FedEx Home Delivery is consistently less expensive than UPS for residential deliveries.
- UPS – Good rates for large or heavy deliveries to businesses. Good rates for shipments of more than 4 pounds to Canada. Expensive to HI, AK, PR, etc.
Additionally, these are the different speeds that are offered:
- Next Day Air
- 2-day (or 2nd day) shipping
- Ground shipping
What if I'm shipping fresh?
Examples include: fresh Chicken of the Woods, fresh Chanterelles, fresh huckleberries, etc. For these we recommend using Expedited/Expressing Shipping.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for shipping fresh, perishable goods. We know of several ways that work and lots of ways that don’t. Of course, the priority is to have it arrive at the destination in good condition.
We recommend setting up Live Rates for your fresh product listings and offering express delivery options through USPS, FedEx, and/or UPS. To learn more about setting up Live Rates for your shop, click here.
What if I'm shipping non-perishable?
Examples include dried mushrooms, packaged products such as jerky or coffee, grow kits, seeds, etc. For these, we recommend using USPS Flat Rate/Free Shipping.
Shipping non-perishable goods provides a bit more flexibility in determining your shipping methods, and thus the rates that you charge customers for shipping. We recommend offering your customers a faster and a slower option, at a minimum, to cater to different customer needs without inflating prices for everyone.
We recommend offering free shipping or setting up Flat Rates for your non-perishable products, and shipping through USPS. To learn more about setting up Free Shipping for your shop, click here. To learn more about setting up Flat Rates for your shop, click here.
Notes on buyer preferences
It’s no secret that buyers love free shipping. We highly recommend that you offer free shipping, or having free shipping as a slower-speed option, if at all possible.
Online shoppers have also come to expect clear delivery estimates when they go to purchase a product. Setting your shipping processing time and sticking to that timeline when filling your orders is an important part of running a successful shop on Foraged. Sellers that offer a low processing time (1-2 days) and fast delivery options see more frequent sales, and shoppers are less likely to abandon their shopping cart when buying products from these sellers.
Successful Foraged sellers take the time to plan out their shipping process, select the right materials, and meet their customers’ expectations when they receive an order. As your experience shipping your products grows, the process will become increasingly smooth, and you will gain more confidence knowing that your diligent efforts upfront will yield satisfied customers.
We have found a few helpful resources to guide you in shipping perishable goods. Check out the following to get started:
- TasteProfit’s A Small Business Guide to Shipping Perishable Food: this is the most comprehensive guide we have found, and walks you through various options for temperature control, packaging, setting your shipping rates, and more.
- ShippingSchool’s How to Ship Fresh Produce: a good primer on packaging, temperature control, preventing spoilage, and online software options