I love designing Web sites for clients. My favorite type of sites are e-commerce because I can see that the clients are selling products or services. Want to know more about the service? Go to our e-commerce page. In most cases, we use a shopping cart named WP-EasyCart and it will be used for the examples below. Other shopping carts will likely have similar options, though the implementation is different.
When we set up a site with WP-EasyCart, we typically set up the system and the client will handle adding products and handling order fulfillment. I’ll show some of the main screens below for adding products so you can see how they work. The downside is that if you skip a step, things may not work as expected. For example, a client recently contacted me because shipping costs were not being added to orders. It was because the product was setup incorrectly.
With WP-EasyCart, you click “Create New Product” when you are ready to add a new product. This presents you with the Wizard dialog box below with six types of products. Note that you can also duplicate an existing product. Often this works great as a saves a couple of steps. But if you duplicate a product that is configured incorrectly, the duplicate will have the same issue.
I’m only going to focus on two of the product types. “Retail Items” are typically physical items that must be delivered in some way to the customer. “Downloads” are an item that is virtual and it will be downloaded by customers. If we click on Retail Item in the Wizard, the next screen you see will be the one below. Note carefully that the Packaging options all have values even though those values are most likely incorrect for a specific item.
If instead you choose Download, the Packaging Options shows zeros in all of the boxes. This may be obvious, but downloads have no weight or dimensions. Any physical item will have some weight (even if really small) and some dimensions. You’ll note that next to the weight it says that a weight of zero indicates it is a non-tangible item. In short, it won’t be shipped. Since it won’t be shipped, there will be no shipping charge for customers.
In the case of the client who mentioned shipping costs were not being added to orders, it is because all of the packaging were set to zero. They were trying to save time as they didn’t feel the size mattered. The reality is that they’ll now need to go back and fix all of their products.
There is a way to have zero weight and size and still charge shipping. In fact, I’ve had this situation charge shipping on a downloadable product. Clicking the Set Advanced Listing Options will bring up a number of checkboxes, several of which are shown below. Note that one of them is labeled “This Product is Shippable”. If this is checked, shipping will be charged no matter the size.
When adding a large number of products you want to find the most efficient method possible. It may seem like skipping some data points may allow you to do it faster. But as I’ve shown above, it can cost you money (no shipping charged) and it can take longer because you’ll have to go back and fix each product. Take that extra minute or two when adding products and you’ll find the process works as expected.