With shipping rules or restrictions, you can personalize the rates and methods you offer customers online

As a merchant, you probably face unique shipping rules and requirements around getting your products to your customer.

Maybe you sell fireworks and can’t ship via certain carriers due to legal restrictions. Or you sell frozen food and need your shipments to arrive at your customer’s door before things get messy in-transit. 

No matter the case, crafting custom rules and restrictions for your products is a way to keep you compliant with industry regulations. And, make your shipping experience as smooth as possible for your customer.

In this blog, we’ll discuss why it’s so important to take control of your particular shipping rules, and how you can customize the experience to streamline your business’s shipping processes.

Shipping Rules and the Law, Explained

For the most part, shipping rules help merchants stay compliant with the laws and restrictions that regulate their industry.

In particular, rules for products imported and exported from abroad. There may even be rules for regions within your own home country. 

Markets in the US and around the world are highly regulated.

Not only are there many laws around the usual suspects such as firearms and alcohol, but there are also restrictions around some items you wouldn’t expect.

For example, you can’t ship playing cards to customers that live in Denmark. And Canada has banned the importation of baby walkers (though, curiously, not strollers or carriages). 

In other cases, some items can only be transported via certain shipping methods. For example, batteries over a certain capacity cannot legally be transported by air for safety reasons. 

If you sell online, chances are you have found yourself dealing with some of these rules and restrictions.

This can be a complicated process. 

How to Stay Compliant with your Shipping

First, you want to make sure buyers aren’t given a shipping option if they live where your product is restricted. Or, that they aren’t shown rates and delivery times for restricted shipping methods or carriers.

Allowing customers to complete an order on something they’re not allowed to buy can cause a negative customer experience.  Same goes if you promise them delivery by a date that you can’t logistically guarantee.

Not to mention, create administrative headaches for both you and your sales and fulfillment teams when cancelling the order.

Worse, if nobody catches the error and the item ships, you can face huge fines and penalties for what often amounts to breaking the law.  

International Military Antiques uses ShipperHQ’s Shipping Rules as their first line of defense to stay compliant when selling antique firearms and other weaponry online.

With customers all around the world, they have to be extremely careful not to break rules and laws around shipping potentially dangerous items. 

“ShipperHQ keeps us legally compliant. I rest easier at night knowing they have our back.” Alex Cranmer, CEO, International Military Antiques.

Shipping Rules and Saving Money, Explained

The second main reason why online sellers use shipping rules is to stay competitive in the marketplace without losing money on shipping. 

For example, a merchant who offers free shipping may use rules to only show this offer to buyers in the same region. Or only offer free shipping on lightweight items shipped via ground. 

ShipperHQ allows online sellers to customize and take complete control of your shipping. Not only do ShipperHQ’s robust tools allow you to rein in shipping costs, they allow you to streamline the entire shipping experience.

One of the ways you can take charge of your shipping is by setting up automated Shipping Rules in ShipperHQ.

8 Ways Online Sellers Can Save Money and Streamline Operations with Shipping Rules 

Shipping Rules allow you customize your shipping rates and delivery options.

For example, you can set live shipping methods, add surcharges or override your store’s usual shipping methods in unusual situations. 

Business operations are different depending on what you sell and where you’re located. Let’s take a look at a few common use cases for using Shipping Rules in ShipperHQ.

1. Product-based Rules

Maybe you want to create shipping rules or restrictions around hazardous products like chemicals or firearms.

With Shipping Rules in ShipperHQ, you can limit the type of shipping methods and carriers offered for these products. You can also prevent shipping from being available to customers located in certain countries, if a product ban is in place.

A couple other common use cases for product-based Shipping Rules include setting up restrictions around weight or for oversized goods.

2. Handling and Packaging Surcharges

If you ship products in special cartons that cost more to purchase and assemble, or sell products that require extra handling, charging your customer a shipping surcharge is common practice.

In ShipperHQ, you can use Shipping Rules to manage surcharges in these situations, so you are never losing money on the time and attention it takes to get a product to your customer. 

3. Minimum and Maximum Charges

Perhaps you’ve found the golden shipping price that alleviates pressure on your bottom line and is competitive.

With Shipping Rules, you can set rate minimums and maximums.

For example, you can set up a shipping rule to charge $1 per pound in shipping, but no more than $10 on a single shipment.  

4. Origin-based Rules

Say you fulfill some items from your own warehouse, but others from a dropshipper who charges you a $1 surcharge per order.

By using Shipping Rules, shipping surcharges can be passed on to a customer if their order is dropshipped.

5. Marketing-based rules

Maybe you want to create promotions and discounts for specific products (jewelry), cart quantities (2 or more) or shipping zones (US 48).

With Shipping Rules, you can choose to offer a flat shipping fee on light items, discounts like 50% of shipping on orders going to Canada or free shipping on items with high profit margins.

6. Free Shipping-based Rules

Want to prevent your customers from paying shipping all together?

With Shipping Rules you can create promotions such as “Free shipping on orders over $x.”

You can also set up various limitations around free shipping, like preventing bulk orders, certain products or specific delivery locations from receiving the same deal.

For example, it’s not in your best interest to ship 100 refrigerators cross-border for free.

7. Date-based Shipping Rules

It’s pretty common to come across shipping promotions around holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

Maybe your sales revolve around a certain holiday, like you sell turkeys and Thanksgiving is your biggest sales season.

If your fulfillment team is overwhelmed around certain dates, Shipping Rules allows you too set up shipping surcharges leading up to a holiday.

This can offset the extra fulfillment costs (overtime, temporary employees, etc.) that you incur during your busy period.

8. Address Type-based Rules

Shipping to a PO Box or APO address? Shipping Rules can guarantee you always show rates for shipping there via USPS.

Is the customer’s address in another country? Ensure you only offer shipping via your preferred international carrier. 

Take control of your shipping rates and options with ShipperHQ

As you can see, setting up shipping rules can be as granular as you want it to be. Not only does it keep you compliant with the authorities but allows you to create shipping margins you’re satisfied with. 

Through Shipping Rules in ShipperHQ, you can have full control over your eCommerce shipping experience. That means regulating how much you charge your customers for shipping and the type of options you offer in your customer’s cart. 

If you’re not customizing your shipping as much as you’d like, there’s no better time than to start now.

Want to test out Shipping Rules yourself? Sign up for a 15-day free ShipperHQ trial today.