osCommerce Shipping Zones

Ever wanted to restrict a shipping module to a particular country?  It is easy using Shipping Zones.  But how do you set up a Shipping Zone?  Again easy, using the (Tax) Zones function.
What is  Zone?
A Zone is a geographic area.  It can be as small as a state within a country or as big as the rest of the world.
Under the Admin Locations/Taxes menu, countries are defined using the Countries function.  For each Country, you can then define its Zones (states, provinces, counties and so on).  Once you have all the Countries you want to deal with set up and all their Zones entered, you can then define your own Zones.
Generally you have some sort of Sales Tax Zone. It may apply to the entire country (VAT, GST) or it might apply to a State such as USA Sales Tax.  However you can define other (non-tax) Zones and a useful one is for Shipping.
How to define a Shipping Zone
You can define a local zone e.g. your own country. To do that you would add a new Zone called Domestic Shipping, click on the name to then add the Countries and whicg Zones to be included e.g. US and All Zones.  Then you might define an International Zone and add to it all international Countries you ship to and for each pick All Zones.
You can then edit your Shipping modules and restrict them to a particular Zone that you have set up. For example, you might offer free shipping for domestic orders and use UPS for international orders.  By restricting each module to a particlar Zone you can be sure customers only see what is applicable to them.
Restricting Shipping Service by Zone
Sometimes shipping gets more complex than that.  For some businesses, particularly food, the shipping service offered depends on the specific delivery address.  For instance if an order contains perishable goods, it can be shipped by ground to a small local area with all other areas requiring an air service.
If you need to restrict by shipping service by state or even zip code range then it can be done but it requires customizations based on your specific business rules and the carrier you are using.
We have done many shipping customizations, so if you need someone to customize your osCommerce Shipping module we can do it.  Give us a call!