How To Force Preferred Shipping Method For Wholesale (Best Practices)

How To Force Preferred Shipping Method For Wholesale (Best Practices)

If you run an online store that caters to both standard and wholesale customers, you likely already know that shipping costs and processes can vary greatly from order to order. Therefore, you may be looking for a way to set up a preferred shipping method for your wholesale customers in WooCommerce.

Fortunately, when you use the Wholesale Prices Premium plugin, you can easily force a preferred shipping method for your wholesale orders. This way, you can optimize your wholesale shipping pricing model and improve your delivery process.

In this post, we’ll explain why you might want to force a preferred shipping method for wholesale. Then, we’ll show you a few best practices for doing just that. Let’s get started!

Why You May Want To Force A Preferred Shipping Method For Wholesale Customers

According to the research, shipping fees are the most important factor when it comes to cart abandonment rates in your online store. Slow delivery comes in third on the list.

These numbers apply to all e-commerce stores. That means it includes wholesale businesses.

When it comes to customers buying wholesale, they likely expect lower prices and affordable shipping for their large orders. However, due to the high costs of these orders, seasoned wholesale customers probably won’t expect free shipping.

Still, if you give your wholesale buyers the treatment they expect, you’ll be more likely to turn them into repeat shoppers and hopefully lifelong customers. That means establishing reasonable wholesale shipping rates and delivering orders in a timely fashion.

Furthermore, WordPress allows you to use beginner-friendly plugins to expand your site’s functionality, so there’s little excuse not to enable these custom wholesale features in WooCommerce. You can use a free tool like Wholesale Prices and its premium version to get multiple new wholesale shipping settings:

The Wholesale Prices plugin (free)

This way, you can reap all the benefits of a preferred shipping method for wholesale customers!

How To Force A Preferred Shipping Method For Wholesale Customers (3 Best Practices)

Now that you know about the benefits of setting up required preferred shipping methods for wholesale customers, we’re going to show you a few ways to do it! Keep in mind, for this tutorial, you’ll need to install and activate the free Wholesale Prices plugin.

After that, you’ll need to pick a plan and sign up for Wholesale Prices Premium. It’s also best if you have a good understanding of wholesale user roles and WooCommerce shipping zones. Now, let’s get to it!

1. Enable free shipping for all wholesale orders

Wholesale customers are very different from retail customers. As such, they likely won’t be expecting free shipping. Still, if you’re just getting started and your business model allows for it, it’s a nice perk to provide. It might set you apart from your competitors.

To get started, navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Then, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices and click on the Shipping tab:

Wholesale Prices settings in a WooCommerce store
(click to zoom)

On the following screen, under the Shipping Options section, you can check the box next to Force Free Shipping:

Forcing a preferred shipping method in WooCommerce (free)
(click to zoom)

As explained in the description next to this setting, this will automatically force all wholesale roles to use free shipping. That means all other shipping options will be removed by default.

It’s as simple as that! However, as we mentioned, at some point, you may want to disallow free shipping for wholesale customers.

2. Force map wholesale shipping methods

One of the great things about WooCommerce is that it allows you to create and manage advanced shipping zones out of the box. Then, you can add unique shipping methods and rates to each zone and assign them to all your wholesale users.

To begin creating your custom shipping flows, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping. This will automatically take you to the Shipping zones tab:

WooCommerce default shipping zones
(click to zoom)

As you can see, you likely already have some shipping zones in your store by default. In the example above, we already have United States (US) as our main shipping zone.

Here, you can add a shipping zone, but we’re going to hover over our pre-existing zone and click on Edit:

Editing shipping zones in WooCommerce
(click to zoom)

Then, we’ll click on Add shipping method:

Adding a shipping method in WooCommerce
(click to zoom)

Next, we’ll select Local pickup and click on the Add shipping method button. This will save changes automatically, so you should now see your new additional shipping method at the bottom of the screen:

New WooCommerce shipping method
(click to zoom)

You can repeat this process for as many shipping zones and methods as you’d like.

To then restrict wholesale customers to your preferred shipping method, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices. Then, click on the Shipping submenu. Scroll down to the mapping settings:

Wholesale shipping mapping settings
(click to zoom)

In the dropdown menu for Wholesale Role, select any relevant wholesale customer tiers. After that, use the additional dropdown menus to choose your shipping zones and methods:

Update wholesale shipping settings
(click to zoom)

Then, click on Add Mapping and repeat this process as needed. You should see your new settings populated at the bottom of the screen:

Updated wholesale user role shipping mapping
(click to zoom)

When you’re finished, make sure to click on Save Changes. Now, your wholesale customers will have no other choice but to choose between the preferred shipping methods you’ve established!

3. Hide mapped shipping methods from non-wholesale customers

Now that you’ve created these custom shipping methods, wholesale customers will be ‘forced’ to use them. However, they will also appear as visible options for your retail customers (if you have any).

This might not be ideal if you want to set separate shipping methods and rates for your wholesale users. So now we’ll show you how to hide these preferred shipping methods from non-wholesale users.

Once again, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices and navigate to the Shipping submenu:

Hide preferred shipping methods for non-wholesale customers
(click to zoom)

Simply check the box next to Wholesale Only Shipping Methods followed by Save Changes at the bottom of your page. That’s it!


If you want to keep your wholesale customers happy, you’ll want to incentivize them with certain exclusive shipping benefits. However, you might now know how to configure this in your WooCommerce store.

Fortunately, you can use the Wholesale Prices Premium plugin to easily set this up. To start, you can enable free shipping for all wholesale shoppers (this can be done in just one click). Alternatively, you might want to take advantage of the WooCommerce shipping mapping feature to create special wholesale delivery methods. Then, you can hide these exclusive settings from your non-wholesale customers to avoid any issues.

Do you have any questions about how to force a preferred shipping method for wholesale in WooCommerce? Let us know in the comments section below!

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