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Shipping

Introduction

SparkLayer offers two ways to manage your B2B shipping:
  1. 1.
    Using Shopify shipping: you can use your pre-existing shipping methods as set up on your Shopify store, even if you're using a third-party app to manage this (such as Intuitive Shipping). This is useful if you want to keep your shipping configuration within Shopify and/or you have complex shipping requirements
  2. 2.
    Using custom shipping via SparkLayer: you can use SparkLayer to set your own B2B shipping rules that you can vary based on the B2B customer group. This is useful if you're running B2C and B2B on the same store and you want a simple way to differentiate your B2C versus B2B shipping rules.
Configuration
Advantages
Disadvantages
  • Uses the Shopify shipping admin
  • Handling for more complex shipping rules
  • Doesn't support B2B-only shipping methods, unless using an app
  • Define B2B shipping rules that vary based on customer group type
  • Handling for rules based on order total and weight
  • Support for only basic shipping types
  • Managed outside of Shopify shipping admin

1. Configuring shipping using Shopify

Out of the box, SparkLayer uses the Shopify shipping setup. If you need help with setup, we recommend reading their guide here or contacting Shopify support. Shopify live shipping rates or apps which provide shipping rules can also be used and the information will be pulled through.

Varying shipping for B2B / B2C customers in Shopify

Shopify has limitations in how shipping can be customised meaning that it's not possible natively to vary Shopify shipping methods and rules based on different customer types. For example, you may want a special 'B2B shipping method' to show when a B2B customer starts the checkout process.
The solution to this is to use a recommended Shopify app to achieve the desired effect.
Within the Shopify app store, there are a number of tools that include powerful functionality to enable more customer shipping on your Shopify store. One such is called Intuitive Shipping.
The app works by allowing you to set up special shipping rates and rules based on customer tags. For example, when a B2B customer signs in (i.e. one assigned with a customer tag of b2b), their specific B2B shipping methods can then be applied successfully.
Please note: If you're using Intuitive Shipping, we may need to enable a special setting to ensure the full shipping rates load within the SparkLayer widget. Please contact us if you're having any issues or require further information.

Changing shipping rates after an order is placed

You may want to change the shipping charges after the order is placed. If orders are left as drafts within Shopify or the customer uses the 'Request a Quote' payment option, it's possible to adjust the shipping rate to a custom amount. You can learn how this works here. This means that you could technically allow customers to select your standard Shopify shipping methods and then simply edit the shipping amount once they've placed an order.

How shipping works in the SparkLayer Frontend

When a customer adds items to an order, the SparkLayer Frontend will automatically display their shipping rates as defined in your Shopify Shipping admin, giving them an accurate overview of their order cost. The user-journey works as follows:
  1. 1.
    The customer adds products to their order
  2. 2.
    When they're ready to checkout, they select their preferred shipping address
  3. 3.
    On the summary screen, they'll then be given their available shipping method to select (as you've set up within your Shopify shipping admin)
  4. 4.
    One they select a shipping method, they'll be given their final total, including tax
If you'd like more details on how shipping works on Shopify, please contact us.

Enabling an alternative to local pickup

Shopify allows merchants to enable a special shipping method called 'local pickup' that allows customers to choose a store (or location) to pick their order up from. If you're using this feature on your Shopify store, unfortunately SparkLayer doesn't yet have direct support.
An alternative that can work for merchants is to simply create a new shipping method within Shopify called 'Local pickup' that allows B2B customers to select during the checkout process on SparkLayer. Setting this up works just the same way as you would do when creating/editing other shipping methods with Shopify. Simply go to the shipping admin (yourstore.myshopify.com/admin/settings/shipping) and follow the steps to create a new shipping method and associated rates.
Once added, this will then display within the SparkLayer interface.
Please note: unless you're using an app to hide/show shipping methods for B2B customers, this shipping method will show for regular (retail) customers placing orders via the standard Shopify checkout process.
To make this show only for B2B customers, you can configure your shipping rates directly in SparkLayer (see below).

2. Configuring custom shipping via SparkLayer

SparkLayer has support for a variety of different shipping rules, allowing you to offer your B2B customers customised shipping rates that will show when they place an order on your website. To get started, within the SparkLayer Dashboard go to Configuration and click Shipping and you'll see the Shipping section.

How Shipping Rates work

Within your eCommerce platform, it's likely that you already have a variety of Shipping Rates set up. The Shipping section within SparkLayer is designed to replicate this set up ensuring that shipping rates synchronise correctly between systems.
For example, your backend system may have a shipping rate set up whereby customers from the United Kingdom get free shipping when spending over £100. Within SparkLayer, this exact rule can be replicated allowing the customer to have a seamless experience when using the SparkLayer Frontend and using the checkout.

Shipping Method & Shipping Bands

Broadly speaking, when configuring your shipping it's important to understand the following terminologies:
Type
Details
Shipping Method
This is the shipping method the customer will see in their order summary and during the checkout process, e.g. Standard Shipping
Shipping Methods are assigned at a Country level
Shipping Band
These are the specific rules you have within each Shipping Method. e.g. for orders under £100, shipping costs £20. For orders over £100, shipping is free.

Shipping Methods

To create your first Shipping Method, click the Create new method button and you'll then see the following screen:
Item
Details
Method Name
This is the name the customer will see during checkout process so should be clear and easy to understand (e.g. Standard Shipping, Next Day Shipping, etc)
Shipping SKU
This can be anything as long as it's unique across your shipping methods. For example, if the shipping method is called "Express Shipping", you could use express-shipping.
Note: if you're using our API, this ID must match the corresponding shipping SKU in your backend system (e.g. ERP)
Priority Order
If you are using multiple shipping methods, you can set which order they show in. e.g. enter "1" to make it show as the first, "2" as the second, etc. You will need to apply this to all Shipping Methods
Available countries
Which countries will trigger this shipping method during the checkout process
Customer groups
Which B2B customer group(s) the shipping method applies to
Once you've completed this information, you'll then be prompted to Save your changes and then begin adding Shipping Bands

Shipping Bands

Shipping bands let you define rules for the shipping method you've just created, allowing you to create different charges based on criteria being met. Currently, SparkLayer has support for:
  • Shipping bands based on order total (NET)
  • Shipping bands based on order weight (in grams)
Click Add new band to get started and you'll then see the following screen:
Item
Details
Shipping Band Name
This is an internal name you can give the shipping band, e.g. Orders under £99
Shipping SKU
If your backend system has support for shipping band SKUs, you can enter it here
Shipping Cost Type
You can choose from:
  • Free
  • Fixed price
  • Percentage
Applicable Conditions
Here you can set how the shipping band gets applied, e.g. based on a net total or a total order weight
For example, if you're looking to set up a shipping band that charges £20 for orders under £99, this would look like the following:

Testing your Shipping Rates

Whether you're using the Shopify shipping methods or custom methods via SparkLayer, once you've created your Shipping Methods and assigned Shipping Bands, you will then see these reflected in the SparkLayer Quick Order and checkout process.
We recommend trialling a few scenarios during your testing to make sure the shipping methods display as required.
If you're having issues, please check our guide on diagnosing common issues