USPS Shipping Rates Module for Shopp: Step-by Step Set-up

If you need to build an an online store that sells hard goods you’ll need to choose a shipping method to ship your goods to other states or countries. I chose WordPress and the Shopp Ecommerce Plugin because it enables you to sell up to 50,000 items. Read my Review of Shopp

USPS shipping rates

The Shopp Shopping Cart doesn’t include a shipping option for selling hard goods so you’ll need to purchase USPS Shipping Rates Module for $25.00.

This add-on provides provides live shipping rates from the United States Postal Service using the USPS Web Tools API.

Steps for setting-up the USPS Shipping Rates Module for Shopp

1. Install the module

After purchasing and unzipping the file upload USPSRates.php to your Shopp installation folder under wp-content/plugins/shopp/shipping/ using FTP software such as FileZilla.

2. Register for a USPS Web Tools account

To gain access to the USPS Web Tools services register for a USPS Web Tools account You’ll be sent an email containing the USERNAME AND PASSWORD to integrate USPS Web Tools with your website.

3. Switch to production environment

To use the USPS production servers, call or email the USPS customer care center. When I called them I was surprised the phone got answered right away rather than being put on hold.
They will switch your profile to gain access to the production server and will provide you with the production URLS.

Warning – If the U.S. Postal Service discovers use of the same User ID from more than one web site, all users will be subject to loss of access to the USPS production server and/or termination of the licenses granted under the Terms and Conditions of Use.

3. Set-up Shopp USPS Settings

  • Login to your WordPress Admin Panel
  • Go to Shopp-Settings-Shipping
  • Under “Shipping Methods and Rates” select USPS Rates
  • Select the shipping service you want to offer your customers
  • Enter your USPS User ID and the postal code you will be shipping from
  • Save your changes

4. Select your shipping method

You have many shipping options provided in the USPS drop down box so make sure you select the correct shipping method for your products.

USPS shipping rates are based on the weight of the product you’re selling. Flat-rate allows shipment up to X pounds to any destination to the USA depending on the service.

I highly recommend selecting “Priority Mail” if you want to enable customers to purchase and ship multiple products at the same time. Disable the other shipping options. Priority mail may cost your customer a little more when shipping one item however you’ll avoid losing money when multiple items are shipped.

Don’t make the mistake of selecting a flat rate shipping method if you want your customers to purchase more than 1 item because they’ll just pay a flat rate and you’ll lose out on a lot of money. For example a product weighing 1lb may ship for a flat rate of $5.00. If the customer wants 2 of the same items shipped they’ll still pay a flat rate of $5.00.

Even though you may want your customers to choose the most affordable rate (ie flat rate shipping), it’s better not to use this service. For example a large picture frame won’t fit in a small flat rate box. Stick with Priority Mail.

Related Articles
Shopp – Review of Ecommerce Plugin for WordPress
How to customize the Shopp checkout.php template
Which Ecommerce Plugin Is Best To Build Your Online Store?
7 Steps For Building A Profitable Online Store
7 Ways to Generate Traffic To Your Online Store
Shopp Customization – How I Customized My Shopp Ecommerce Store

Need to Build an Ecommerce Website?
Visit: Ecommerce Web Design Maryland

Shopp Customization – How I Customized My Shopp Ecommerce Store

One of the most significant factors for deciding to purchase the Shopp Ecommerce Plugin is that it integrates seamlessly with WordPress Themes and is easy to customize. This may not be so apparent when reading the documentation or visiting the private forum so I want to outline the customizations I did to save you time when building your own ecommerce website using the Shopp Ecommerce Shopping Cart Plugin for WordPress.

How I customized my Shopp Ecommerce Store

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Shopp – Review of Ecommerce Plugin for WordPress

shopp ecommerce plugin for wordpress

Want to build a professional ecommerce website?

Want to sell 1000s of items or just a few?

Looking for an ecommerce plugin that integrates seamlessly with WordPress?

Then look no further than the Shopp Ecommerce Plugin for WordPress. Read about all the features in my article…Which plugin is best to build your online store

Here are my top 10 reasons for investing $55.00 to purchase the Shopp ecommerce plugin for WordPress

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7 Ways to Generate Traffic To Your Online Store

My last article discussed the 7 steps for building a profitable online store. Many website owners think that after their store has been built that it will attract traffic automatically. After several weeks of not generating any sales they realize something must be wrong but don’t understand why. Building an e-commerce website is just the first stage of making your store profitable. You must put a marketing plan into action to attract visitors.

7 Ways to Generate Traffic To Your Online Store

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Build Ecommerce Website: 7 Steps For Building A Profitable Online Store

I often get calls from prospective customers asking me to build them an ecommerce website to sell their products online. When I ask them what their goals are, how many products they wish to sell and how they plan to market their website, it’s obvious they don’t have a clue what’s involved. They want to know the costs right away without understanding the work required to build an online store.

I’m assuming you already have chosen a specific niche and know what products you want to sell on your e-commerce website.

7 steps for building a profitable ecommerce website

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Local Business Marketing: How (What) to Sell

Local Business Marketing

Is local business marketing now where the new gold rush is?
Can you sell anything to local businesses?
What mistakes do people make?

Some folks are saying that local business marketing is an easy way to make money online however can you sell anything to them? Local business people are very smart because they have already built a substantial professional business that generates profits and are primarily concerned about generating more profits.

Should you sell products or services

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How to Set up an Online Store Step by Step

How to Set up an Online Store

For anyone that has never set up an online store it can be very confusing. There are many choices available so it is difficult to select what is best for your online business. Before creating a store you must first look at your business goals such as how much money you wish to make each month, types of products you wish to sell, a marketing plan and how you will accept payments.

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How to Create Your Ecommerce Website

Ecommerce Website

So you want to sell something online but don’t know where to start. It’s easy to become frustrated with all the options available online as their are many companies that offer all-in-one packages who are willing to take your money. This article will show you what you need and how to create, promote and monitor your ecommerce website.

7 steps to create your own ecommerce website

1. Define the purpose of your website.

It’s easy to say “I want to make money” however try to think a little deeper about what you want the money for e.g. “I want to make enough money to quit my job, work from home and spend more time with my family”. A clear purpose provides a deeper motivation that keeps you going especially during difficult times.

2. Define your business goals

Make goals for how much money you wish to make with your website and how long it will take to achieve them e.g. “I wish to make $3000.00 a month within one year.” Realize that most businesses fail within the first year and many fail within 5 years so you need be determined to be successful.

3. Decide what products or service(s) you wish to sell

Select a product (or products) or service that is in demand. Have you heard the saying “don’t sell iceboxes to Eskimos.” Research your market first to determine whether your product or service will be profitable.

4. Ecommerce website design checklist

Here is what you need to build your ecommerce site:

  • domain name
  • software to design and build the site
  • web designer (if you’re not building it yourself)
  • web hosting service
  • list of products to sell
  • product variables e.g. size, color, price, sku#, tax, shipping costs
  • legal documents e.g. refund policy, terms and conditions, privacy policy
  • images of products
  • content for web pages
  • merchant account
  • payment gateway
  • SSL certificate
  • shopping cart software

5. Build your website

If you wish to create a customized website scan through websites online to see which ones appeal to you, then ask your web designer to create your site based on your choices. Alternatively select a ready-made template that you can use “as is” or be customized to your liking. A template will cost less however a customized website will have your own unique design and help brand your business.

If you’re selling 100s of products make sure you have the ability to maintain it e.g. add, edit, delete products and pages. This will save you from constantly paying your web designer to maintain it.

6. Create a marketing plan

Your website won’t become profitable if it’s not promoted. There are 1000s of different was to promote it however here are 10 very effective marketing strategies:

  • search engine optimization
  • link building
  • pay per click marketing
  • social marketing
  • article marketing
  • directory marketing
  • video marketing
  • press releases
  • email marketing
  • blogging

7. Track website visitors

Your web host usually includes site statistics that show how many visitors your website is receiving every day, week, month and year. It also displays where they are coming from (countries, browsers, website addresses) and what keywords they’re using to find your site in the search engines. Based on these statistics you set goals how much traffic you want to generate each month. The more traffic you receive the greater your profit potential becomes.

Related articles
How to Build an Ecommerce Web Site Using the PayPal Shopping Cart
Create Online Store – How to Quickly and Easily Create an E-commerce Store

To receive a free consultation on creating your own ecommerce website
please visit: Professional Website Design

Herman Drost is the owner and author of
Web Design, SEO, Article Marketing
7 Effective Ways to Build Your Own Web Site

Free Shopping Cart – Create an Online Store With Zen Cart

If you’re looking for a free shopping cart that has more features than many of the paid solutions look no further than Zen Cart. It’s a free download and is often included in your hosting plan. This means you can install it from fantastico within cpanel with one click.

Here are some of the main benefits I discovered:

1. Inexpensive

It’s free to install but you need to set up a hosting account.

2. Easy installation

Once you have unzipped and uploaded all the files to your server you just need to change permissions for several directories, insert the install URL in your browser then follow the instructions for installing Zen Cart.

3. Easy customization

If you’ve already designed your own template you can create a basic custom template first then customize it by editing the style sheet and using the admin panel that comes with your installation. The admin panel allows you to turn off the right or left columns, right or left sideboxes, banners etc.

It takes a it of time to learn how to do this but once you’ve done it it gets faster.


Zen Cart is not a backend solution ie you can’t just add some html code to your custom designed template. You must either use their own termplates or create one of your own. Zen Cart is a front end and back end solution for a creating a complete online store.

4. Manage pages, products, banners etc from the admin panel.

Pages can be created on the fly without having to learn HTML.

5. Helpful online forum

Response times to your questions on the forum are fairly fast…generally within an hour (according to my experience).

Here are more details of Zen Carts’ features

Easy Installation

* checks the database and server for requirements before installing
* installs using a built-in installation tool
* prepopulates the basic store information
* optional demo products

Global E-Commerce Ready

* multiple language support
* multiple tax support
* multiple shipping methods
* multiple currency support
* multiple payment methods

Customer Status Modes

* unrestricted shopping
* must register to view prices
* must register to view prices and merchandise
* showroom only

Catalog Status Modes

* showcase mode without prices
* showcase mode with prices
* normal shopping mode
* down for maintenance mode

Categories and Products

* unlimited category depth
* physical merchandise
* downloadable virtual products
* products can reside in multiple categories
* product options as dropdowns, radio buttons, checkboxes, and text input

Customer Retention Tools

* periodic newsletter in plain text or HTML
* order status emails and records in the customer account
* referral tools
* gift certificates

Promotions, Sales and Discounts

* individual special prices
* global sale reductions
* category-wide sale prices
* discount coupons
* customer group discounts
* quantity discounts
* one-time charges
* minimum and maximum purchases per product
* prices by attributes

Powerful Administration Tool

* configure your minimum and maximum values, image sizes and customer details
* choose which layout settings to use for the spotlight listings
* pick which details to show on your product details page
* edit your policies pages with HTML (if desired)
* add, delete, move, link or copy your products
* create and manage your product attributes
* manage product reviews, featured products, specials and store wide sales
* shipping and payment module installation and management
* price and taxation control
* banner advertising controls
* newsletter creation and sending
* content management tool, easily add new content pages

Fully Customizable Catalog Templates

* XHTML 1.0 compliant – nearly table-less layout
* change the colors, fonts and many graphics using Cascading Stylesheets
* add, move, remove sideboxes via the Admin Tool
* template overrides that do not get overwritten during upgrades
* override functionality without having to learn PHP
* create as many different looks as you would like and choose them from the admin

Get 1000s of NEW visitors to your website without spending
a dime on advertising.

Read my new ebook “Article Marketing Strategies“…
to learn one of the most effective ways to drive 1000s of visitors to your online store.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO

Create Online Store – How to Quickly and Easily Build an Ecommerce Store Part 2

Part 1“>Create Online Store Part 1

So you’ve completed the design of your customized template by having it reflect the image of your online business. Now you need to integrate the PHP Ecommerce Plus Shopping Cart Software into your template pages.

Here’s an example of an online book store I designed and built.

Step 1

Design your html template in your favorite editor. Make sure the design reflects your business image.

Step 2

Purchase the PHP Ecommerce Plus Shopping Cart Software for $140.00

Here’s an example of an online book store I designed and built using the software.

Step 3

Unzip the files you downloaded and place them in the root folder of your server e.g. public_html

Step 4

Create a database for your ecommerce software in the cpanel of your hosting plan. Here’s a tutorial on how to make the database connection:

Now you are ready to Intregrate the PHP Ecommerce Plus Shopping Cart Software With Your Customized Template.

Create Online Store Part 3

Attract 1000s of NEW visitors to your online store without spending
a dime on advertising.

Read my new ebook “Article Marketing Strategies“…
to learn one of the most effective ways to drive 1000s of visitors to your online store.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
owner and author of Web Design, Web Hosting, SEO