Step-By-Step Guide: Configuring WooCommerce for Weight-Based Sales

How to configure WooCommerce for weight-based sales

Selling products by weight in WooCommerce can be beneficial for store owners, but many avoid it. The reason? Weight-based sales are not straightforward and need some research and creativity to set up.

However, they open up a world of opportunities for:

  • Grocery store owners who offer bulk food purchases
  • Butchers who weigh their cuts to the last ounce
  • Garden centers that measure out soil and mulch by the kilo 
  • And many more businesses! 

While WooCommerce does not offer direct weight-based sales configuration out of the box, you’re in luck. 

This article will provide you with a thorough, step-by-step guide to both set up and optimize weight-based sales. 

Understanding weight-based sales in WooCommerce

For numerous online businesses, from supermarkets to craftspeople selling handmade wares, weight-based sales play an integral role. And just like with any other type of sales strategy, weight-based sales come with some key considerations:

Calculating shipping costs

Sending heavy items often costs more than sending light ones. Include shipping calculators in your e-commerce store to dynamically adjust shipping charges according to the weight of the products in a customer’s cart. We’d recommend a plugin like WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping for the job, but if you are interested in more details about shipping calculator plugins, keep reading, as we’ll dive deeper later on in this article.

Example of a shipping calculator

Dynamic pricing adjustments

Weight-based dynamic pricing lets sellers implement flexible pricing that adapts to the weight of the product chosen by the customer. 

You can even create pricing rules that encourage customers to purchase more by offering discounts for bulk purchases.

Customer experience

To ensure the customer understands what they’re purchasing, you’ll need to clearly display the price per unit weight and show how prices change based on the selected weight. 

Remember to address common customer concerns, like why shipping prices fluctuate with weight, to maintain trust and credibility. To do that, you can include a disclaimer in the description of every product that is measured by weight.

Example of a disclaimer for price changes depending on weight

Inventory management

Inventory management with weight-based products is a challenge in itself and another aspect you can’t control efficiently in default WooCommerce. Thankfully, real-time stock updates provide solutions to these issues. We’d recommend using a free plugin like ATUM WooCommerce Inventory Management and Stock Tracking.

With updates based on the weight of products sold, both sellers and customers have access to accurate information, preventing overselling situations and improving customer satisfaction.

Setting up product weights and variations

Basic weight setting with default WooCommerce

WooCommerce’s standard configuration is to sell products by quantity and not by weight, but there is a way around it. 

Here is what you need to do: 

  1. Access your WooCommerce dashboard and navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → General.WooCommerce general product settings
  2. Within the Measurements section, select the desired weight unit for your products from the Weight unit dropdown menu. This will set the unit of weight measurement for all your products.Adjusting the measurement units for all products
  3. To define the weight of individual products, you need to create the different weight categories as product attributes. For example, if you want to sell oranges by the kilogram, you have to transform them into a variable product and set the weight options. Adding weight as product variations
  4. After that, generate the different variations for the attributes and set their individual prices. Generating variations based on attributes Setting price for individual product variations
  5. Next, you need to set the weight for each variation individually, so that Google can read the product properly and understand that you’re selling items by weight. Scroll down in the variation settings and set the relevant weight. Adjusting the weight for variations of a variable product

Note that, by default, WooCommerce primarily uses the weight you set here for shipping calculations, so this does not directly affect the product’s price or display. 

While these steps can help establish a basic weight-based selling system on WooCommerce, for more advanced control over selling by weight, you should consider using a plugin. Plugins can offer extended features such as automated weight-based price calculations, dynamic pricing displays, and more.

Advanced use cases with Advanced Product Fields

Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin homepage

Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce (APF) is a powerful solution for store owners who require advanced functionality, including those dealing with weight-based sales. It brings a wealth of features facilitating decimal quantity management, which is a crucial need of businesses selling goods by weight or volume.

Let’s see how you can implement this versatile tool.

Simulation of weight-based sales and weight calculators

Let’s say you have a store selling raw gold by the gram. With APF, you can create a field allowing customers to input the exact weight they wish to purchase. Then, the plugin’s ability to add complex pricing formulas lets you calculate the correct cost for the product based on the weight entered.

Here is how you can do this: 

  1. Create a simple product in WooCommerce. Creating a new product in WooCommerce – title, description, and product image
  2. In the general product settings, in the Price display field, choose Replace WooCommerce price with text. This will allow you to put the price per gram for the gold grains for full transparency.Replacing WooCommerce price with text to show the price per gram for gold grains
  3. Go to the Custom fields tab and add a custom field. Adding a new custom field to a simple product
  4. Configure the general settings:
    1. Select a name – in this case, Grams 
    2. The custom field type – Number
    3. The caption for that field
    4. Whether the field is required or not
    5. The number typeGeneral settings for a custom field in WooCommerce
  5. When you reach the Adjust pricing field, select Yes and choose the Formula based pricing option.Adjust the pricing field in product settings

For the formula to work, you’ll need to create a custom variable

  1. Scroll further down until you reach the Custom variables field and add a new one. 
  2. Here, we will adjust the base price for 1 gram of gold grains. Creating a custom variable for a base price
  3. Now, you can go back to the Adjust pricing field and create your custom formula. Formula to calculate the final price based on the amount entered by the customer

You’re done! Your product should look like this: 

Fine gold in grains product front end

Now, users can input any number, and the formula will automatically calculate the final price so they can add it to their cart. 

You can use this base to create weight calculators for many other products, including those that are sold by kilogram or pound. These can include: 

  • Vegetables and fruits 
  • Coffee 
  • Pet food 
  • Plant soil 

⚠️Important: While this approach effectively mimics “weight options,” it’s essential to understand that this is not indeed “real” weight from WooCommerce’s perspective. For instance, if a customer purchases 4 kg of gold, the product stock won’t decrease by 4 kg as WooCommerce does not manage stock by weight. 

WooCommerce’s real weight setting

The second approach integrates the APF plugin with the real weight setting in WooCommerce. Using APF, each field or individual option within a field includes a “weight” setting allowing store owners to define additional weight. 

Here is what you need to do: 

  1. Create a simple product, for example, potatoes, and repeat the previous steps until you get to the custom field. 
  2. This time, we will create a custom field that is a Select list, which will allow us to create multiple options and then add actual weight to each one of them. Weight field in a custom field with optionsWhen customers select either of the options, the relevant weight will be added to the cart.
  3. The current unit is kilograms, but you can adjust it to whatever you need from the general WooCommerce settings we mentioned at the beginning of this guide.

From the store owner’s perspective, this approach is particularly beneficial when combined with a shipping plugin that calculates shipping costs based on weight. This strategy ensures that shipping costs are proportionate and accurate. 

Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce is not just about weight management; it also offers a wide range of price adjustment capabilities. 

You can choose from: 

Top WooCommerce weight-based shipping plugins

While APF is a reliable solution for setting up product weights and managing dynamic pricing, meeting more advanced shipping needs requires harnessing the power of specialized plugins, such as:

1. WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping

The WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping plugin download page

The WooCommerce Weight Based Shipping plugin is a simple but powerful solution. It calculates shipping costs based on the overall weight of the order and comes with a flexible pricing format. 

The plugin’s standout features include the option for conditional free shipping and progressive pricing for a broad weight range, alleviating the typical complexities of e-commerce shipping. 

2. Multi-Carrier Shipping

The Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin download page

The Multi-Carrier Shipping plugin integrates with a wide range of popular shipping carriers including FedEx, UPS, and DHL, ensuring comprehensive worldwide coverage. 

It’s a robust solution for real-time shipping cost calculations based on product weight, and it helps store owners handle complex international shipping requirements. 

3. WC – APG Weight Shipping

WC – APG Weight Shipping download page

WC – APG Weight Shipping offers a lot of flexibility in setting up shipping costs. Whether you need costs determined by weight, price, or item count, the plugin provides the setup options you need. 

Uniquely, this plugin supports Product Shipping Classes, making it easier to manage weight-based shipping rates for different product categories. 

Leverage weight-based sales today

Weight-based sales in e-commerce are essential for businesses dealing with products sensitive to weight variations, such as grocery stores and health food shops. 

By adopting weight-based selling techniques, businesses can benefit from improved accuracy in pricing – minimizing losses on shipping – and boost customer satisfaction with transparent billing. 

The Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin makes weight-based sales easy to implement through features like dynamic price adjustments per unit of weight and real-time cost calculations for shipping, enhancing both the shopping and selling experience.

Try out Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce today and enjoy streamlined shipping costs, customizable pricing, and enhanced customer experiences!