We’ve talked about Lulu Direct before. Today we’re going to look at one specific aspect of this tool: Shipping.
What Is Lulu Direct?
Lulu Direct connects popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce for WordPress to your site. Using an App for Shopify integration and a Dashboard in your Lulu account for WooCommerce, Lulu Direct provides print-on-demand for your books.
Lulu Direct is free and offers numerous benefits, such as:
- Customize your branding with white-label packing slips
- Retain customer data to improve your marketing efforts
- Keep 100% of the profits
- Save inventory and storage costs with print-on-demand
- Automate print and fulfillment
Shipping With Lulu Direct
Lulu Direct connects your online store to our print network, but it also connects our shipping options to the ones you create. When you set up your product in your store, you’ll decide how your shoppers can have it shipped and how much they’ll pay you for shipping.
Then you’ll match the shipping options you created to the ones Lulu offers. When you sell a book, you’ll pay Lulu for shipping, so be sure your shipping rates match or are greater than Lulu’s!
There are two ways you can set up shipping for your Shopify store: using Lulu’s Live rates or manually defining the shipping cost for all methods.
Lulu’s Live Shipping Rates
This is the easiest and fastest option. When you use our Live Shipping Rates, we’ll match our shipping methods and costs to the options you give your customers. That way you’ll provide the most efficient shipping options without risking a change in shipping cost impacting your profits.
Manually Create Your Shipping Rates
To set your shipping rates manually, you’ll need to create a Shipping Profile in your Shopify settings and assign that profile to the Lulu Direct app.
Shipping zones correspond with each country you set up shipping options for. Create unique zones for your customers’ primary regions (USA, Canada, UK, etc.) You’ll also want to set up a Rest of World zone that will cover all other countries.
Not sure what to price your shipping options? Use the Lulu pricing calculator to find our rates and use those to determine how much you should charge.
Defining Shipping Rates
Each shipping zone can have unique shipping rates. To get started, click Manage rates next to the Lulu Books shipping profile, then select one of your shipping zones. Click the Add rate button and choose set up your own rates. Now you’ll be able to create a shipping cost that matches or exceeds the rate Lulu will charge.
The shipping price will need to increase if your customers decide to add more books to their cart. You can do this with rate conditions. Click on add condition below the rate name and price fields.
Note: You must be sure to set your Shopify Product weight to 1lb each. We’ll use this to define how much to charge for shipping based on the number of books.
The easiest way to do this is to base your shipping prices on the item’s weight. In the minimum weight field, leave it as 0. In the maximum weight field, put 1 lb. This will tell Shopify to charge your customer the shipping rate you set for a single book order.
You will repeat this step for all shipping options you would like to offer. In most cases, it is helpful to have at least one other shipping method besides Mail, such as Ground or Express. The process is the same for setting up those options.
PRO TIP – It can get tedious to add a shipping rate for every single instance. As an example, you can get so granular that you’re setting a rate up for 1 copy, 2 copies, 3 copies, and so on. One way to get around this is to group quantities together. For instance, set up a shipping rate for 1 copy, then a shipping rate for 2-5 copies (charging what Lulu would charge you for 5 copies). Then set up a rate for 6-10 copies, then 11-20, and so on.
Lulu Direct App Settings
The final step is in the Lulu Direct app. You’ll need to verify and update the shipping methods
Mapping Shipping Rates
Navigate to the app’s settings page and scroll to the bottom. The shipping options you just created will be visible. Lulu automatically maps your shipping option to our shipping methods (selecting from Lulu’s methods based on the nearest cost to the methods you create), but you should assign each one yourself to ensure your shipping costs match our rates.
For WooCommerce users, there are three commonly used ways to set up shipping rates for your Lulu Direct products. The most common is by Flat Rate, while some users find Quantity or Zone based shipping to be the most beneficial.
WooCommerce Flat Rate Shipping Settings
WooCommerce also uses shipping zones to define the cost to ship your books, but they offer a simpler method called Single Flat Rate shipping.
When you first connect your WooCommerce store to Lulu Direct, we default to using the least expensive available shipping method we offer. Activating the Single Flat Rate shipping will give your customers a single option for shipping when they check out.
Start by using our Pricing Calculator to determine the cost to ship a single copy of your book. If you believe your customers will likely buy multiple copies, check the cost for multiple books as well.
With shipping rates noted, go to your WordPress dashboard, select WooCommerce from the navigation, and go to Settings. Within the Settings menu, select Shipping. Click the hyperlinked text ‘Locations not covered by your other zones’.
This will allow you to create a flat-rate shipping option for any purchase outside of a shipping zone.
Click the Add shipping method button, and select Flat rate to create a shipping method. Now click Edit to add the rate you’d like to charge for shipping.
This method modifies your Flat Rate shipping by adding a formula to the ‘Cost’ box in your WooCommerce shipping settings.
The formula is: [base cost] + ( [fee] * [qty] )
The base cost is a minimum for shipping that gets applied to every order. Then the fee is added per item in the cart to increase the cost based on the quantity they order. Sound complicated? Yeah, I don’t love math either. Here’s an example, assuming you want to charge a minimum of $5 for shipping a single book:
- Shipping for 1 Book: $4 (base cost) + ( $1(fee) * 1(quantity)) = $5
- Shipping for 2 Books: $4 (base cost) + ( $1(fee) * 2(quantity)) = $6
- Shipping for 3 Books: $4 (base cost) + ( $1(fee) * 3(quantity)) = $7
And so on, adding an additional $1 per book to the order.
If you ship to locations all over the world, the rates may vary enough to warrant Shipping Zones based on your most popular locales. To set up unique shipping zones, select Add shipping zone from the WooCommerce Shipping menu.
From there, you’ll create a Zone Name and Zone Region before you click Add Shipping Method to add methods and costs for that region.
With all the information added, Save Changes, and your new shipping zone will be ready to use!
Lulu Direct And Shipping Your Book
Both WooCommerce and Shopify provide a number of options for shipping your books. It is important to carefully assign shipping costs and to monitor Lulu’s shipping rates to ensure you charge your customers enough to cover shipping.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.