Carrier Calculated Shipping Options for Small Business Shopify Merchants in Australia & New Zealand

Posted on

Today, we’re going to banish the monster that sends your customers running from their cart in terror: unexpected shipping fees.

There should be a scientific graph somewhere on the web showing how each extra dollar included in delivery costs lowers a customers’ opinion of the store.

Customers view those last minute shipping costs that crop up just before the “pay now” button as deceitful little beasties. Perhaps they chose a store because of the competitive prices only to be hit with a shipping bomb that is twice the price of the product. And we are aware that this is a big issue for all you Australian and New Zealand eCommerce stores, especially since customers shipping expectations are ever increasing.

Using Manual Shipping Rates in Shopify

Most small business merchants start off by manually setting up their shipping rates based on total order weight or order value, for the locations they ship to. Whilst this is a great way to start, it can be difficult to offer competitive shipping rates which can ultimately lead to high cart abandonment.

However, it can be cumbersome because you can’t factor in the exact costs that shipping will have on your business…

The solution: carrier calculated shipping

Even the smallest of Shopify stores can use carrier calculate shipping. So, instead of popping down to your local post office with an estimated shipping cost for your customers, you have the ability to create a more fluid, enjoyable customer experience and prevent you losing leads at the very last hurdle; the checkout page.

Once you’ve set up your shipping zones on Shopify, you can then begin to provide calculated shipping costs for your customers. There are so many options you can provide for your customers which we’ll now get about to breaking down.

Be aware that you will need to access to the Third Party Carrier Calculated Shipping feature which is available on the monthly Shopify Advanced plan, or a lower tier plan if you pay an annual fee.

Which options will my customers want?

Preferably free.

However, they are happy to pay more for expedited shipping. Many online stores now incorporate their shipping fees into their product pricing to deliver a smoother customer journey. The other option is to provide free shipping above a certain amount.

You may want to stick to providing shipping fees separate to the product’s price, let’s say, to appear more competitive in your market. If that’s the case almost two-thirds (59%) of customers in this survey said their attitude to delivery cost (and/or speed of delivery) varies according to the value of the item they’re purchasing. Larger items tend to have an expectation to come with free shipping. Though with smaller items, customers appreciate that retailers have to make a profit and shipping will be separate.


Sendle is well known and appreciated for its service with a smile shipments. This is the only human interaction that your customers have with your store, and even though the service is outsourced, it’s essential that the experience is a positive one.

Sendle might work for you because:

  • Picks up your parcels at your door
  • Provides next day delivery
  • Guaranteed to send your 500g, 2kg, 5kg, 10kg and 25kg parcels in Sendle's same-city and national zones for less than standard Parcel Post rates.
  • Prices include e-deliveries, Return to Sender, comprehensive tracking and parcel insurance
  • Uncomplicated, flat-rate prices which you can check out below:


They’ve also got a nifty pick-up promise:


StarShipIT supports the largest range of couriers across Australia, so if you’re looking for flexibility in which delivery service you need, there's plenty of choices here.

Their couriers include:

  • Australia Post
  • eParcel & International
  • StarTrack
  • DHL Express
  • DHL eCommerce
  • Fastway
  • Sendle
  • CouriersPlease
  • Toll Priority
  • Toll IPEC
  • TNT
  • Hunter Express
  • CourierPost
  • NZ Post

StarShipIT really stands out against competing delivery service providers in its mission to save merchant time. Getting packages and parcels out of their hands and into the couriers needn’t be labour-intensive and can be a real sinkhole in your team’s working day.

They’ve covered a lot of areas from batch generating labels to autocorrecting addresses. And there’s the option to import orders from multiple sales, meaning orders from all your eStore’s channels can be managed from one dashboard.

StarShipIT might work for you because:

  • Works with loads of couriers which gives a lot of flexibility
  • Can be integrated with 20 other apps
  • Autocorrects addresses to prevent parcel delivery mishaps
  • Also supports Magento and WooCommerce
  • Branded tracking page - with the option to upsell
  • Speeds up fulfilment: Connect to your courier accounts, bulk print labels and create pick lists

It’s definitely a popular and well-regarded choice amongst merchants. With a 4.9 score on the Shopify apps store, they score highly on providing patient and kind customer service as well as a time-saving logistics app that has never caused reviewers to look back.


We’ve listed all of these options because, for shipping, it won’t be a one-size-fits-all for online stores. Unlike Sendle, Shipstation is a third-party logistics app, meaning you can work with your current couriers, but with a lot more automation to save time on fulfilment.

And this one’s great for anyone does a lot of business with UPS or FedEx. You can avail of discounts for these couriers through Shipstation, which saves many Shopify stores a lot on shipping fees.

Shipstation is an intuitive service, that can be set up really quickly. There’s no clunky installation and orders from all your selling channels can be imported easily.

Another factor you may want to consider is how portable a service you need. Shipstation is a more suitable option that StarShipIT as it comes with an app suitable for iOS and Apple. It also provides real-time data and more management options for inventory, purchase order and purchasing.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to batch print hundreds of address labels at once, split your orders up between different couriers, and print labels in a few clicks. ShipStation also provides a free 30-day trial, with no credit card needed. We like this transparency as the no-strings-attached trial speaks volumes on how this company attains customers through loyalty as well as providing a high-quality service.

After this, prices start at $40 per month unless you have less than 50 orders in which case it’s free. So, if you’re starting out this is a sound option.

Shipstation might work for you because:

  • Works with loads of couriers which gives a lot of flexibility
  • Includes order processing and management features
  • Real-time data tracking
  • Can be integrated with 82 other apps
  • Speeds up fulfilment: Connect to your courier accounts, bulk print labels and create pick lists

How to set up carrier calculated shipping on Shopify

The basic procedure for offering a calculated rate for calculated shipping looks like this:

  1. Once you’ve decided on the best carrier for your shipping needs, register and set up an account with them.
  2. Now gather your carrier account credentials and activate the carrier service in Shopify.
  3. Make sure your shipping origin address is correct.
  4. And finally, double check your products have accurate weights. Add rates for this carrier to each of your applicable shipping zones.

We have a lot of inside knowledge that has helped our clients overcome hurdles in optimising their Shopify store for success. If you feel that your business could do with the Elkfox treatment this a lovely link here for you to get in touch.

Our blog is also THE go-to space to solve your Shopify conundrums!