Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Free Shipping Restrictions In WooCommerce

Ultimate Guide Free Shipping Restrictions

Free shipping is a great promotional tool you can offer your customers (both retail and wholesale) as an incentive to order more in certain scenarios.

The free shipping function in WooCommerce is good for basic use, but there are very few options for restricting the way users can use it and this presents a problem for store owners needing more control over their free shipping.

Beyond the most simple of setups where you restrict it via coupon or via a $ amount threshold, there’s not a lot you can do with it.

In the course of developing client websites in the past and also with making recommendations about shipping setups to our Wholesale Suite customers over the support line, we’ve come across some pretty nifty ways of setting up shipping so today I’m going to give you a rundown on how we recommend setting up the following scenarios:

  1. Free shipping when a subtotal is achieved (with the option to do it including tax or excluding tax)
  2. Free shipping when cart contains a certain product
  3. Free shipping when cart contains a total quantity amount
  4. Free shipping that gets deactivated when the order exceeds a certain weight
  5. Free shipping for users in a specific geographic location (zip, state, country, etc)
  6. Free shipping for users in a specific user role
  7. Free shipping if products are in a specific category

There are many more scenarios of course, but this list showcases a few common ways to set up and restrict your free shipping with special conditions.

So What Plugin Should You Use For Free Shipping In WooCommerce?

One of the most remarkable free plugins for WooCommerce of late is the Advanced Free Shipping plugin by Jeroen Sormani. For a free plugin, it has a surprising array of options and is a solid solution for those wanting more fine-grained control over their free shipping.

It’s definitely become one of my most recommended plugins in my toolkit and we are going to use it today to show how we can set up free shipping in a range of conditions.

Before embarking on these options, please install the plugin (login to your WordPress, go to Plugins->Add New and search for it by name), and activate it.

Then go to WooCommerce->Settings, click on the Shipping tab and navigate to the Advanced Free Shipping method’s settings area.

You’ll be adding a new free shipping method, so click the button and you’ll see a screen similar to the screenshots below. Just follow the screenshot to set up your free shipping in the same way as the method you need.

1. Free shipping when a subtotal is achieved (with the option to do it including tax or excluding tax)

This can be achieved with the standard WooCommerce free shipping option as well as the Advanced Free Shipping plugin.

If you need to set up two different free shipping methods or want more control over whether the tax is included in this threshold, this is where you’re using the Advanced Free Shipping plugin.

Update: You can also achieve this even more easily with the WooCommerce coupons plugin Advanced Coupons with a simple Cart Condition.

2. Free shipping when cart contains a certain product

You can set up free shipping when the cart contains a certain product or the opposite scenario where it’s only activated when the cart doesn’t contain a particular product.

The latter can be handy if you want to grant free shipping to everyone. Unless they’re ordering one specific product that is really large and will definitely require shipping.

Keep in mind that conditions can also be combined together. This setup works really well for creating free shipping scenarios that aren’t activated under certain conditions.

3. Free shipping when cart contains a total quantity amount

This next scenario is good for ensuring customers are ordering a certain quantity of products to activate their bonus free shipping. I recommend using the “Greater than or equal to” operator to activate this condition.

Free Shipping When Cart Contains Certain Quantity Or More
Free Shipping When Cart Contains Certain Quantity Or More

4. Free shipping that gets deactivated when the order exceeds a certain weight

Important when the cart can contain a mix of non-bulky and bulky items. You really wouldn’t want to give free shipping if they order something really heavy. It will end up costing you more than the profit of the order to ship it.

A good example of this is a past client who ships dog treats, but he also sells dog food in big bags as well. For his site, he wanted to turn off the free shipping if the order weight exceeded a certain amount (as some of the dog food bags were quite heavy and cost a lot to ship).

Free Shipping Under Weight Limit
Free Shipping Under Weight Limit

5. Free shipping for users in a specific geographic location (zip code/postcode, state, country)

To restrict by zip code or postcode you will need to specify a list of the codes to include. This is best done in Excel (one per column, not per row). Then save as a CSV and open it up in Notepad (Windows)/TextEdit (Mac). This will then give you the comma-separated list you need to paste in.

You should end up with a config like this for zipcodes/postcodes:

Free Shipping Based On Certain Postcode
Free Shipping Based On Certain Postcode

State and country type restrictions are much easier, it’s just by drop-down list. You can add additional states or countries by adding an ‘Or group’.

6. Free shipping for users in a specific user role

Restricting free shipping by certain user roles will be of great interest to customers of the Wholesale Suite as the most common two scenarios are;

  1. Only wholesale customers on a certain wholesale level should get free shipping; OR
  2. Only retail customers should get free shipping, not wholesale roles

Combined with our shipping mapping feature you can easily do either.

Free Shipping By Certain User Roles
Free Shipping By Certain User Roles

7. Free shipping if products are in a specific category

Last but certainly far from the final type of restriction combination you can do with this plugin is to offer free shipping if products are in a specific category.

Free Shipping By Certain Product Category
Free Shipping By Certain Product Category

More Likely Scenario: Combining Multiple Conditions

Even though we’ve only described how to set up the exact condition for each of the above scenarios, in most cases you’re more likely to actually combine conditions to make a more complex set of free shipping restrictions.

After you’ve entered your condition, click the + button next to that line and you will be able to add another line so it needs match both conditions to grant the free shipping.

This is especially handy when you combine subtotal restrictions with things like the Country the user is from.

Don’t forget, if you go back to the shipping settings page you can actually add multiple free shipping methods with this plugin. This makes it very powerful and easy to create free shipping methods for all the complex scenarios you need.

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3 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Free Shipping Restrictions In WooCommerce

  1. Work great but what do you do with the default WC shipping tab. If you leave it blank this message comes up:

    There are no shipping methods available. Please ensure that your address has been entered correctly, or contact us if you need any help.

  2. hi,
    I have free shipping products and paid shipping products in my website. paid shipping products are configured as per weight based shipping as am selling some heavy items. So i need the following scenarios to be configured.
    1. Free shipping method should be applied when only free shipping products available in cart,
    2. Weight based shipping method should be applied when a customer add any other products along with free shipping products.

    Hope my idea is clear to you. Any help would be apreicated

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