Shipping 101: Start Here

What are my shipping options?

There are several options and factors to consider when shipping your products to customers. Shipping is not as simple as throwing your products in a box and finding the nearest post office. You will need to select the right packaging materials and decide what shipping methods and speeds to offer customers when they buy your products.

What Should I Choose?

What Shipping Speeds Are There?

  • Overnight shipping
  • 2-day (or 2nd day) shipping
  • Ground shipping

What Types of Shipping Rates Are There?

  • Live Rates
  • Flat Rate
  • Free Shipping
  • Per-Product Shipping

To set up your Foraged shop shipping options, click on the Shipping tab in Store Settings.

What Are Live Rates?

As a seller 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 works 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 probably have 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 is Per Product Shipping?

When listing a product, you have the option to select whether your shipping rate should be charged once per order, or should be applied based on the quantity of products in the order. You can set a maximum shipping cost per product in your shipping settings in order to limit the shipping charge for larger orders.

To learn more about setting up per-product shipping, click here.

What Shipping Carriers Can I Use?

You have several options of carriers to choose from. It makes sense to start with whichever carrier is most easily accessible from your location, but ultimately it is a good idea to offer shipping via multiple carriers, as they each have different specialties and may offer more or less favorable rates depending on the size of your shipment and where you are shipping to. For instance:

  • 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.

Learn more about adding/removing shipping carriers for your shop. 

What should I choose?

What if I’m shipping fresh?

Examples include: fresh Chicken of the Woods, fresh Chanterelles, fresh huckleberries, etc.

  • Expedited/Express 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 most important thing is to have it arrive at the destination without having been warmed up too much, or damaged, in transit.

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.

To learn how to add/remove shipping carriers 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.

  • USPS Flat Rate/Free Shipping

Shipping non-perishable goods provides for 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 minimum, so that those customers who need something right away can be taken care of, without requiring everyone to pay a higher price.

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. You should consider offering 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 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.

Bottom Line

Successful sellers take the time to plan out their shipping process, select the right materials, and meet their customers’ expectations when they receive an order. Once you have some experience shipping your products, the process will get smoother and you will gain more confidence that the hard work you put in on the front end will lead to more satisfied customers as a result.

How Do I Get Started?

To get started with Free Shipping for your shop, click here.

To get started with Flat Rates for your shop, click here.

To get started with Live Rates for your shop, click here.

To get started adding/removing shipping carriers for your shop, click here.

Additional Resources

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

What’s Next: Shipping 201: How to Ship Fresh Products