Free, Fixed Price or Real-time shipping charges – which one is for you?

Having a shipping solution at checkout on your site is vital. Buyers won’t want to email you to find out the shipping cost to their destination (and then wait for your response). Quite often they’ll simply leave and go to a competitor that has a shipping solution in place.

The right ‘Shipping’ pricing can help increase your sales. There are a variety of shipping/postage options to consider:

  • Free shipping
  • Discounted/ free shipping for orders over a certain value
  • Fixed price shipping
  • Same Day Delivery
  • ‘Real time’ shipping pricing

You can also combine one or more shipping methods.

Example: Free shipping for local metro deliveries and ‘real-time’ shipping pricing for all other areas Australia-wide. This is something you can discuss with your web developers. If you need assistance we can recommend web development companies that can help.

Free Shipping

Free shipping is very popular with many online merchants and their customers. It’s a great enticement for buyers knowing there is no further to pay for delivery of their purchases.

Generally most buyers will be located in ‘major’ centres so delivery costs under a ‘free postage’ strategy can be factored in. However as a website owner or merchant, please be aware that delivery to ‘remote’ or regional locations can be very costly, particularly for larger or heavier shipments.

Example: Where a delivery cost to a local or ‘nearby’ capital city address may be $20, the same shipment to a ‘remote’ location could be 5-10 times that price.

Fixed prices for items under 5KG

Goods under 5kg (deadweight or cubic weight) can receive ‘fixed pricing’ to most areas Australia-wide with some carriers.

Generally the pricing categories are:

  • 0-1kg
  • 1-3kg
  • 3-5kg

Please note once the charge weight is over 5kg the pricing can increase considerably for ‘express/overnight’ services so be careful not to be caught out under-declaring the weight/dimensions on your shipments.

If you adopt a ‘Fixed Price’ shipping policy, also be careful of the potential ‘remote’ locations issue (as explained above under the ‘Free Shipping’ section).

‘Real time’ shipping pricing

  • Many solutions available and usually they are free to use.
  • Can be included in a website or an eBay store.
  • Improves buyer purchase rates and customer satisfaction as buyers know the delivery cost to their location instantly via your checkout or eBay listing.
  • Real time shipping pricing ensures your shipping costs are covered, even if the customer is located in a remote or rural area (as you will be quoting them the correct price to their location).


Smart Send ‘Shipping’ solutions for checkouts

Smart Send has a number of solutions for your website and checkout based on your budget and expertise.

Smart API

  • Real-time shipping quotes
  • Automated booking processes
  • Produces carrier compliant barcoded consignment labels
  • Real-time ‘Tracking’ services for your website
  • Generally utilised by skilled developers or web development companies
  • Free for Smart Send VIP clients


  • For use with ‘open-source’ carts (these carts are usually free or can be sourced at little cost to merchants)
  • Plugins are great for less experienced technical users
  • Plugins are free to download and use instantly
  • Provide Real-time shipping quotes
  • Plugins available for WordPress, Opencart, Magento, Prestashop, Oscommerce, Virtuemart and Zencart (new plugins being developed regularly)

Smart Shipping Calculator

  • Real-time shipping quotes for web-pages or eBay listings
  • Simple solution anyone can set up within minutes via the Smart Send site (no programming experience required)
  • Colour customisation with your webpage or eBay listing
  • Free for Smart Send customers
  • Ability to add ‘extra’ services and ‘mark-up’ pricing displayed to buyers