The site I am building for a small business owner will have products that he sells online, but he also sells through a brick and mortar store. He wants to have the same prices on his products regardless of channel. For online sales, he is going to have costs for shipping materials - the box, padding, etc. He wants to include a flat amount in the shipping calculation to cover these costs but when I look at the settings for shipping when setting up the product attributes, I do not see any fields for this. Does anyone know if there is a way to include a flat amount with the calculated amount for shipping?
I own a brick-and-mortar as well so I fully understand the problem. The quick answer is yes. There are several good plugins that allow for shipping customizations. Check the wordpress repository and carefully review your plugin selection. On the business owner side, I look at it from 2 points of view.
1. I can assign a handling fee to any item based on size/weight and all of those characteristics. Then I have to setup the shipping classes/categories, make sure the product is correctly assigned to these parameters, then within Woo align these parameters with the Woo "automatic shipping and tax calculations." Then I have to pay the developer/designer/programmer to include all of the contingencies. Keep in mind, that 95% of the shipping problems can be caused by the 5% of situations you didn't consider!
2. I can also stand back, take a look at the cost of the per item shipping, run an average, and set a single flat rate. Period. For items that fall outside of the "normal" size, note it and ask the buyer to call the store so the best arrangements can be made or something similar. If you are a brick/mortar owner perhaps this is an opportunity to invite the customer into the store for a discount and then you have an upsell opportunity. Yes, you are playing a bit in the laws of averages, but it may be a simple solution.
So basically, you can pay a programmer/designer to cover every aspect of packaging/handling or minimize the impact of handling by building into the cost of the item AND a good flat rate charge. The charge rate is very dependent upon the company to get volume discounts from their shipping provider. Basically, while this is one of those things that can be technically done, one might consider if it should be done. The issue isn't really a technical one, but rather one in how much you (the business owner) want to manage the data and process of getting information the shipping fields.
More and more, I'm moving to use my online presence to get customers into my physical store. I'm currently in the middle of a MAJOR overhaul. I'm setting up a "pick-up-and-pay convenience store", and some special offers, etc., but I am not even going to begin to try to list the entire store inventory. These days that can be pretty expensive. As far as them buying online, I have on very significant figure that is driving my decision. Number of items sold. When I get customers into the store, the number of items sold and the value is almost double. How to use an online store is more than a difficult decision for a brick/mortar operation!
Just thought I'd throw that out for consideration.