Set up shipping

  • Updated on 2 July 2024
  • 1 min read

Getting started on shipping

Big Cartel offers two separate tools you can choose from to add shipping rates to your product listings:

Product-level Shipping: This is a great tool if your products vary in size and weight and require different shipping rates. Product-level shipping can be added to each individual product listing from your Products page.

Shipping Profiles beta: This is a great tool for creating store-wide shipping rates with customizable shipping methods that apply to all products in your shop. Shipping profiles can be set up on your Account page.

⚠️ The availability of your products to different locations is determined by the shipping settings; only customers in the areas you set shipping rates for will be able to purchase from your store. (no shipping settings = $0 shipping worldwide)

Determine your shipping rates

Shipping rates are not automatically calculated in your Big Cartel admin, so you’ll need to determine shipping rates for your products based on size, weight, destination and carrier.

U.S. sellers on a paid plan printing labels directly from the Big Cartel admin will want to pull their shipping rates from Shippo.

All other sellers can pull rates through any shipping carrier you plan to use, like USPS, FEDEX, Parcel2Go. You can also check out our 3rd party shipping integrations - any of our shipping integrations can also be used to find shipping rates and carriers.

💡Make sure your Big Cartel shipping rates match your shipping carrier’s rates so you don't end up paying more than the customer paid you for shipping.

⚠️ Product-level Shipping and Shipping Profiles beta can’t be used at the same time. Before you select which tool is right for you, determine the shipping rates for your products—see below for tips and tricks and check out this blog post, Set Your Shipping Course, that may help you decide which shipping tool will work best for your business.

Add shipping rates for individual products with Product-level Shipping

If most or all of your products need different shipping rates, you can find instructions for adding shipping rates to each individual product listing in our Product-level Shipping guide.

💡 Use our Bulk Edit tool to apply the same shipping rates to multiple products all at once. (premium feature)

⚠️ These settings are separate from Shipping Profiles and Product Shipping Profiles which are used to add storewide rates that apply the same shipping rate to all products in your shop; To set storewide rates, follow the steps in our Shipping Profiles guide.

Add store-wide shipping rates with Shipping Profiles

If each product in your store can ship for the same shipping rate, use Shipping Profiles beta to set store-wide shipping rates and methods that can be applied to entire regions or zones. These settings are added from your Big Cartel Account page.

If you're using Shipping Profiles but you have a few items that must ship separately, you can use Product Shipping Profiles alongside your default Shipping Profile rates.

Add flat-rate shipping

To charge flat-rate shipping using Product-level Shipping settings, leave the With Others rate set to $0.00. Customers will only be charged the highest Alone rate for the items in their cart and nothing more.

To charge flat-rate shipping using the Shipping Profiles beta, set the Each additional rates to $0.00. Customers will only be charged the First item rate and nothing more.

Offer free shipping

To offer free shipping using Product-level Shipping settings, set both Alone and With others rates to $0.00 for each country you’re offering free shipping to.

To offer free shipping using the Shipping Profiles beta, set both the First item and Each additional rates to $0.00 for each area you’re offering free shipping to.

💡 To offer free shipping to only specific customers, or as part of a sale, you can create a discount code for customers to enter on the checkout page. We have more information in our Add a Discount Code guide. Or you can change your shipping settings at any time to temporarily offer free shipping to certain areas.

Curious if free shipping is right for your business? Check out our discussion of the pros and cons of free shipping to help you decide.

Add a pickup or delivery option

Setting up options for customers to pick up their order or to have it delivered varies based on the shipping settings you’re using. Just remember, Product-level Shipping and Shipping Profiles beta can’t be used at the same time.

Using Shipping Profiles beta settings, you can add custom shipping methods specifically for “Pickup” and/or “Delivery”. Customers will see the description you add to each shipping method, so that’s a great place to include areas you deliver to, where to pick up orders, or indicate if customers will need to contact you for a pickup address.

With Product-level Shipping settings, a pickup option can be offered by creating a discount code for free shipping. Customers will need to enter the discount code at checkout, so using a simple discount code name, like PICKUPDENVER or LOCALATLANTA for example, makes it easy for customers to remember. Using a code with a specific name will indicate to local customers that the code is only for them.

⚠️ If you’re only offering pickup options, customers will still need to enter their shipping address at checkout to determine the correct sales tax for their location.

Add shipment tracking information

If you are on a paid plan, you can use our built-in order notification emails to send tracking information when you mark an order as "Shipped" in your Big Cartel admin.

We have more details about sending and updating shipping notifications, including images of that process, in our Send shipment tracking info guide.

Buy and print shipping labels

You will buy and print shipping labels using the shipping fees customers pay as part of their order totals.

U.S. sellers on paid plans can purchase and print labels directly from the Big Cartel admin using our Shippo integration.

Big Cartel offers shipping integrations that will import your completed order data into their system so you can get shipping rates, buy postage, print shipping labels, and more. Check out our top shipping integrations in the links below.

Once you've generated your shipping label, you can add tracking info when you mark orders as shipped on Big Cartel, regardless of which shipping service you’re using.

Dropshipping and integrations

Big Cartel has direct integrations with two companies that will sync up with your Big Cartel shop and fulfill orders as they come in: Printful and Art of Where.

Although you can set your own product prices and shipping rates for your store, make sure you're charging enough for your products and for shipping fees. You can view Printful's payment guide and shipping rates on their help site.

💡If you plan to fulfill your orders through a company that doesn't have a direct integration with Big Cartel, you can still use them, you'll just need to manually send them your order details, as orders come in, and they should be able to fulfill them.

Sell digital products

If you're only selling digital products, customers will still need to enter their shipping address at checkout to determine the correct sales tax for their location. Digital products are tax exempt in some states, but not others. See our US Tax Categories guide for more information.

💡To sell digital products in your Big Cartel shop, we recommend using our sibling-service, Pulley. You can learn more in our Pulley guide and on Pulley's help site.

Have questions?

Our support team is available Monday - Friday from 8am-6pm EST.