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Adding and managing shipping zones

A destination zone, or a shipping region, is a geographical area that you ship to. With zones, you can define where you sell and how much you charge for delivering orders to various customer locations. For example, you can offer free shipping in your city and charge for shipping to other locations. You can choose to use only a local delivery and sell in your city only. Besides, you can use zones to set different tax rates for different areas if you set up taxes manually in your store.

How to define a shipping region depends on your business goals. It can be a center of a city, a state, a country, or a specific zone that includes several states and towns.

Intro to shipping zones

You can set up a destination zone after you’ve added a shipping method. You can set up different shipping zones for different shipping options, edit, delete them or add new ones.

When you set up a shipping method in your store, it gets assigned to the No limitations zone by default. That means customers from all over the world can choose this shipping option. To offer a shipping option to a certain area, you can restrict its shipping region to a particular area. You can create a shipping region by country, state/province, ZIP/postal code, or simply draw a zone on a map. We’ll cover both ways in the sections below.

It’s up to you to decide how to create destination zone:

  • For local delivery, it’s better to create a zone on a map.
  • For shipping goods across the country or to particular states, it’s better to create a zone by ZIP codes/states/countries.

You can create several destination zones. For instance, create a free local delivery option. For this delivery method, draw a zone on a map near your store or stock and deliver to the nearest customers for free. You can charge customers who live outside this zone with flat rates. Simply create another shipping method and set up a shipping region to the rest of a city.

Similarly, you can create other shipping methods and define shipping zones by state, country, or region. You can also mix shipping zones in one shipping method. For instance, you can deliver to particular states excluding particular cities or even streets.

If you are from the UK, read the extra about ways you can set up a destination zone in the end of this article.

Adding a shipping zone using Google map

This method is useful if you run a local business and want to focus on local delivery. You can also use this method to offer free delivery to the nearest area, along with custom rates for shipping outside this zone.

To create a zone on map (for delivery):

  1. Go to Shipping & Pickup and click on the shipping method you want to create a zone for.
  2. Scroll to the Shipping region block.
  3. Select Limit by zone on map and click Create zone.
  4. You will see a polygon on the map. Use the drag handles of polygon to resize the zone you deliver to with this shipping or delivery method. Example:

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    If you’ve specified an address as your Shipping Origin on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page, that address will be pinned on the map. Right-click on the created polygon to see how far you deliver in kilometers.
    In case you have the same delivery rate for different locations, click + Add new zone on the map and use additional polygon to define another area for your shipping option. You can add up to 20 polygons per zone.
  5. Click Save and Finish.
When you create a new shipping zone you can then re-use it in another shipping method. To do so, in the Shipping region section, click the Copy setting from existing zone dropdown and choose the ready zone.

If you need to start over, or you want to use other limitations, you can click the Trash icon to delete the zone:

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After deleting the drawn map area, the shipping method will get the No limitations zone option. After that, you can start over and shape the zone the way you need to limit this shipping method to a certain area.

When a customer enters an address that is within a zone, they see all your shipping options available for that zone and can choose how they want you to ship their order. Otherwise, if a customer address doesn’t fit any of your zones, they’ll see the “Sorry, we don't ship to this location” message and couldn’t place any order in your store.

Please note that the available shipping methods will be shown based not only on the shipping address and zones, but also on other parameters like order weight, order total, etc.

Creating a shipping zone by country, state, or province

If your business is bigger than a local one and you deliver across the country or abroad, it’s better to create a shipping zone by country, state, or province depending on the size of your business. Once you set up a shipping method for a specific country, it will be available for all its states. The same way, a shipping zone covering the state or province will be applied to all the cities, towns, or territories within.

You can use this method to set different shipping rates for different states. For example, you can create a shipping method with a flat shipping rate of $20, limit its shipping zone to Alaska and customers from Alaska will be charged $20 for their orders. For other customers, you can create another shipping method with lower shipping rates.

To create a zone for a delivery method or a tax rate by using country, state, or province:

  1. From your store admin, go to Shipping & Pickup and click on the shipping method you need to set up.
  2. Scroll to the Shipping region section.
  3. Click Limit by country or region and select countries from the list. You can start typing the name of a country or a region in the field to find it quicker:

    image2.png

  4. To select a particular administrative division, click on the country, then select states, regions, or provinces.
  5. Click Apply Selection.
  6. Click Save.

If later you need to change the list of countries or states where you deliver to, click Edit Zone and make changes.

The created zone can be reused for other shipping methods. You can choose it when adding or editing those shipping methods by clicking the Copy setting from existing zone dropdown and choosing the ready zone.

When a customer enters an address while checkout, they see all your shipping options available for that zone and can choose how they want you to ship their order. Otherwise, if a customer’s address doesn’t fit any of your zones, they’ll see the “Sorry, we don't ship to this location” message and couldn’t place any order in your store.

Creating a shipping zone by ZIP/postal code

You may want to limit the destination area to a specific city, block, or street. For example, if you don’t want to ship to remote towns. Or if you offer in-store pickup and want to exclude from the shipping region the same ZIP code as your store has. In that case, you can use ZIP codes and wildcards to set up your shipping region.

To create a zone for a delivery method by ZIP code:

  1. From your store admin, go to Shipping & Pickup and click on the shipping method you need to set up.
  2. Select Limit by ZIP or postal code, then enter the zip code. For several ZIP codes, keep adding them one by one in the list:

    image1.png

  3. Click Save.

Using wildcards

To add zones more quickly, you can use wildcards. Wildcard is a special symbol that helps you quickly add dozens of ZIP codes or exclude particular areas. You can create more flexible shipping zones by using the wildcard symbols that match numbers and spaces:

Wildcard symbol What it does Example
? Matches any single character 9722?
will include all ZIP codes starting with 9722
* Matches any number of characters, including zero. Spaces will be ignored 97*
will include all ZIP code starting with 97* (97207, 97035, etc.)
_
(it’s a low line)
Matches any number of spaces (at least one) M1_*
will include all ZIP codes starting with M1 and space.
^ Excludes certain ZIP codes ^432011
will exclude only the ZIP code 432011. And ^432* will exclude all ZIP codes that start with 432

Here’s how you can use it:

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The created zone can be reused for other shipping methods. You can choose it when adding or editing those shipping methods: in the Shipping region section click the Copy setting from existing zone dropdown and choose the ready zone.

Use cases: Setting up multiple delivery zones

Delivery zone creation is incredibly flexible. You can not only deliver to several states or cities but create mixing delivery zones. For instance, you may want to ship all over the country, excluding several states or cities. Or you can deliver all over Canada + northern US states.

Here are some examples to better understand how the specific delivery zones work:

Shipping abroad and to particular regions within your country

Let’s say you want to ship all over Canada and to northern states in the US. To do so, you set up the “Canada + north of the US” shipping method where you specify the US states, and then select all Canadian provinces:

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Now, this shipping method will work for all provinces in Canada and 3 states in the US.

Shipping all over the country except few cities (using wildcard symbols)

Let’s say you want to ship all over the country but exclude a few cities that are too far away, for example, Atka and Bethel in Alaska.

In that case, you can use the wildcards. Wildcard is a special symbol that you can add to the ZIP code to quickly add dozens of postal codes or exclude particular areas.

To exclude particular cities, you need to add their ZIP codes with a ^ symbol:

  1. Go to Shipping & Pickup and click on the shipping method you need to set up.
  2. Scroll down to the Shipping region and select Limit by ZIP or postal code.
  3. Make sure in the Country above the field, you have United States selected, and then specify ZIP codes of cities you want to exclude:

    image9.png

  4. Click Save.

Shipping to particular states, except several cities

You may need to be more specific about where you deliver to. You can include in your shipping zone as many cities from one state as you need.

Let’s say you want to deliver to California, Idaho, and Oregon. But in Oregon, you want to ship items only to Portland and Salem. If you add California and Idaho as states and then ZIP codes for Portland and Salem, this shipping method will work only for customers from Portland and Salem.

To set up the chosen shipping method properly, you need to specify all ZIP codes of Portland and Salem and then all ZIP codes for California and Idaho states.

Instead of adding hundreds of lines of ZIP codes for California, you can use the wildcard symbols. Wildcard is a special symbol that you can add to the ZIP code to quickly add dozens of postal codes or exclude particular areas. You can check all the symbols in the section above.

With wildcard symbols, you can add all California addresses by just 16 lines:

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The same way, use the wildcards to quickly add Idaho ZIP codes and then Portland and Salem ZIP codes.

Alternatively, you can create several destination zones — one that includes California and Idaho, and another zone with the selected ZIP codes of Portland and Salem. For this, you need to create a new shipping method and choose California and Idaho as shipping zones. Then create another shipping method and select Portland and Salem by ZIP codes as a shipping region.

Setting up destination zones for the UK

Since there is no standard and a finalized list of the UK counties that should be used in online stores, it is advisable to calculate a shipping rate for the UK based only on a County name and a Postal code.

At checkout, when the UK is selected as a “Ship to” country, the State (County) is displayed as a text field, not a drop-down list that requires selection. Customers have to input their county name to the State (County) field. If you calculate shipping rates based on County and your customer mistypes at checkout, they will see a warning that there is no shipping to this location till they enter the county name correctly.

To minimize the negative effect of such mistypes at checkout, we recommend you to use the postal codes for restricting the delivery zones within UK:

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If you ship across the UK, just choose the UK in the Limit by country or region option:

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