I am trying to add a free shipping rate for orders more that €50 and limited to regions including Europe and North America.
The shipping set up is confusing.
I want all products to default to this rate unless order is less than €50 or unless a product falls in to a different category that needs additional profiles.
Ideally I'd make the GENERAL SHIPPING RATES the default for all products and then have specialized profiles for certain products as needed. This doesn't seem like an option since a product can only belong to a single shipping profile.
The only way I see to do it is add the free shipping above €50 to every region in every profile. Clearly this is painful.
There appears to be a lot of articles/help on shipping business strategies but no real help on setting up different shipping scenarios.
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This is an accepted solution.
Shopify's shipping profiles are designed for simple use-cases, so it does require a lot of manual work to get everything configured to your liking. Even then, there are limitations.
It sounds like what you need to do is:
We guide a lot of merchants through configuring their product dimensions for Intuitive Shipping and Smart Boxing (both offer dimensional shipping rates), and one thing that helps is to have a document that you amalgamate products together that have the same dimensions. The same is true for Shopify's shipping profiles. If you have two products that don't fit in your 'General' profile but have the same shipping cost, these products can be in the same shipping profile. Only you see the backend of your setup. Your customers only see a shipping charge at checkout.
I know there is a lot of upfront work to get this configured, but the good news is that once it's set up, you don't have to touch it again unless your shipping costs increase or you realize you're undercharging for shipping on some products.