If you have not considered using automated shipping
calculation, you may want to do so. If you specify one of the automated
shipping calculation methods, the cost of shipping is displayed in the shopping cart to
your customer and they will approve it while processing their order. Using automated
shipping calculation generally will improve your order conversion rates.
It's a great way to avoid that opportunity for "buyer's remorse"
where a customer gets an email from you and decides after the fact that
they don't want their order.
Your storehas four possible methods of automatic calculation:
Per-item and per-order flat charges
The shipper calculates the charges based
on the weight of the shipment and the destination (Currently
available from the US Postal Service and UPS)
Sliding scale (shipping is calculated on the basis of the value of
Table-based rates (this is a custom option that is
not suitable for most sellers)
If there are multiple items in a shipment, their weight
and/or value is added together and the shipping is calculated on the total.
You can combine the charges from method 1 (per-item and per-order) with either method
2 or method 3 and get a combination of rates. This is commonly done as a method
for recovering packing and handling costs.
In your shipping configuration, you can define certain countries
as 'preferred' countries and then specify that the automated calculation shall be
performed only for preferred countries. At your option, shipping to other countries
can be custom quote. Additionally, you have the option of defining a list of countries
that you will not ship to.
So what are the options?
Quote Shipping After Order is Placed: The customer is
notified that you will contact them after they place their order and that you
will quote the shipping then.
Add only per-item and per-order flat charges:
This option allows you to define a fixed amount to be added to every
order. You can also define fixed amounts for individual items, if you are
so inclined. The amounts are added together and shown as a single charge to
the customer. One common implementation is to set up automatic calculation is to have a
basic rate for each order and then specify additional charges for specific
items that are large or bulky. The elements:
A base shipment charge --essentially a charge per
order -- in your site customization options (on your site maintenance
A charge per item. This is defined
during inventory maintenance and should reflect the additional flat
charge (if any) for shipping a particular item.
For instance, if you sold postcards, cannon balls and
teacups, you might want to have a per item charge of $0.10 on the
postcards, $10.00 on the cannon balls (because of extra weight) and $5.00
on the teacups (because of the extra packing required to keep them whole.)
The two charges are added together and shown as a
single amount to the buyer.
Per-order and per-item shipping charges can be combined
with the other methods.
Shipper's calculation method: If you use
this method, you need to be able to specify the packed weight of every
item. You will also specify all the shipment methods that you are willing to use
(for instance 'parcel post', 'priority mail' and 'EMS'.
When the customer enters their zip code, the system will add up the
weights of the item in the cart and send an inquiry to the shipper giving:
The shipper will
respond with the shipment charge for each method that you have selected. The
charge is added to any per-item or per-order charges that would apply to the
item or to the order. The customer views the list of method and the combined
charge for each method and is allowed to select the method
and price that they wish to pay. The amount is which is added to the order and
displayed to the customer. Some special rules:
- the zip code from which you are shipping,
- your pickup or service characteristics (if appropriate),
- the customer's zip code
- the combined weight of the items.
If you have a weight entered for an item, the
shipping will be calculated. Note that this should be the
estimated packed-out weight -- that is including an average
amount of packing for the item;
If you set a weight of 0 on the item, it will be
treated as an item with free shipment;
If you don't put any value at all in the weight field, the
shipping will NOT be calculated and the customer will see a message
telling them that there are special shipping considerations and that
you'll contact them to discuss the matter. Note that 0 is a value and it means
"FREE"; wen we say "don't put a value" we mean that the field is empty
and no value at all is shown in it.
For instance, if you sold postcards, cannon balls and
tea cups, you might want to have 0 set as the weight for the postcards
(free shipping -- or where you have the shipping charge really included in
the price per item); the actual estimated packed-out weights on the
teacups and nothing set on the cannon balls (because you need to discuss
the issues of shipping ammunition with the purchaser and make sure that
they are over 18). Any shipment that contains only teacups and
postcards would show shipping charges; any shipment containing cannon
balls would require your approval and discussion with the purchaser.
Sliding scale shipping: Sliding scale
shipping allows you to define an amount to be charged based on the
merchandise price and/or shipping method for on an order. Sliding scale is
commonly used in catalog applications where you want to state something
We will ship to the U.S.; the shipping and
handling charges are as follows:
|Orders up to $ 5.00:
|Orders between $ 5.01 and $15.00:
|Orders between $15.01 and $25.00:
|Orders between $25.01 and $50.00:
|Orders between $50.01 and $75.00:
|Orders between $75.01 and $100:
|Orders between OVER $100:
You can set up different scales for different methods
so you have different charges for 2 day shipping, for overnight, for
tortoise- or hare-mail (should you wish to use these alternatives!).
You can also set up different scales for US domestic and
international rates (you can tell which rates are international rate because it shows the word
'International' when displayed in the shipper list.) If you define sliding scale rules that use an international rate,
this will be shown only to international customers; scales that use domestic rates
are shown only to domestic customers. You may select methods and not define a sliding scale rules for them. The
methods are displayed to customers as appropriate, but if there is no rule, the customer sees the rate name plus the message "We'll calculate and contact you for approval".
select this method, you may also enter per-item and per-order charges, but
this is optional; you are not required to do so.
Table-based rates: These rates are useful
if you have (for instance) different fixed-rate shipping plans for
domestic as opposed to international shipment. They are not commonly used
and require custom programming. Contact support for more information about
You can combine methods -- for instance, you can use
sliding scale shipping for your basic rates and add per-item charges for
specific items. If you are selling more than one of an item, the per-item
charges are calculated multiplicatively.
This sounds complicated -- how about some
Using these options, you can set up some very sophisticated choices and
everything will be automatic when your customer sees it. For
example, one dealer asked:
The way that I charge shipping on my items is based on a sliding scale except
for jewelry where I only charge $3.50 for the first jewelry
item on the order and .50 each additional piece. I also have items
that I need to charge shipping on based on price (they are large and
heavy) but the more expensive items are heavier, so price is a good
way to estimate the shipping cost. I would also like to be
able to charge a premium for priority shipping.
1. Sliding scale ( charge for order value) is
charged only on items that have the weight set on. If you want to exclude
an item from the sliding scale calculation, simply set the weight of that
item to 0. In your sliding scales, you need to be sure to set
up a price to be charged for items that don't have any value.
The same is true, incidentally of the USPS and UPS
calculation, except that you don't set the rates there, they do.
2. If you want to simply have a per order charge of $3.50 (always), put
that in the section titled "Fixed ('Base') Shipping / Handling Charges' in the 'site
customization options' page on your site maintenance menu. This charge will be
added to whatever method you've chosen (or you can chose a method where
only that is added, nothing else. First, for any automated shipping to
work, you've got to select a method.) If you select the method titled 'Add
only Per-Item and Per-Order Flat charges' is selected and you only enter a
flat fee of (say) $3.00, the buyer will see this as their choices on the
shopping cart if they pick an item with no individual item shipping
charge. (in this example, there are six shipping methods defined):
3. If you want to have a charge of 50 cents for certain
items, put it on each item where you want to charge it. Use the field
'item specific shipping charge'. As with (2), you can combine this with
other methods or you can charge just this. In the example, if
there is a charge of 50 cents per item, when the shopper puts an item into
the cart, they will see this:
As they put more things in the cart, the price they see
will increase by the amount you have in the individual shipping/handling
One possible use of sliding scale is to charge a premium for priority
shipping and to do custom quotes on international shipping. If you
wanted to do this, here is how:
Select your calculation methods: In
your site customization options, select the method you want to add to.
this can be either sliding scale or shipper's calculation method if
what you are doing is adding a handling charge to the basic UPS fees
or something. There is one primary method per store -- either
Shipper's Calculation Method rates + Per-order and per-item
adders, or sliding scale + the adders; you cannot mix Shipper's
Calculation Method and Sliding scale.
Select your shipping methods: On the
same menu, select the shipping methods you'd like to give the customer
the choice of using. For the sake of this example, sliding scale is
used. But it might be something like USPS priority mail insured
or USPS parcel post.
Set the rate scales you are using if
If Shipper's Calculation is your
primary method, you need to set the rate scale(s) you are using
(this is done on the same place in your site customization
options). This is where you select your counter options etc.
In the case of Sliding Scale, the setup
is a bit more elaborate. After you choose sliding scale for an
option, you'll find an entry on your site maintenance menu called
'Set Sliding Scale Rates' (it only appears if you have the
preference set on). Select that. Then:
For those methods where you want to have
sliding scale figured, you need to enter a method. In our
example, we want to add an amount to all priority shipments,
here shown as an extra charge of $15 for priority shipments. So
we create a scale where the rate for USPS Priority Ins has a
rate that of $15 for all shipments up to $1,000,000.. Note that
sliding scale supports price breaks, so you could set it up to
be $5 for priority shipments valued up to $25, $10 for ones
between $25.01 and $99 and $15 for bigger ones. In this demo, we
set up the $15 for each priority shipping methods, $0 for
the standard ones, and for your overseas methods, we did not
enter a scale. This last action (no scale) causes the
message 'contact seller' to be displayed on the order form so
you can quote the price after determining the buyer's location
It is very important to note that you don't have to calculate
sliding scale on all items. If you want to have it
calculate, the item needs to have a weight. (Note that this is
true of UPS also -- you must have an approximate weight for the
item so their rate calculator will work). If there is no weight
and you have a scale for $0, then no extra shipping will be
added. If, however, you omit the $0 entry, the shipping
will be. This latter feature allows you to add premium
charges to all items in a certain method, if you want to.
Set your item weights: Item weight
tells the system whether you want shipping calculated for an item or
In the case of sliding scale, the weight
is just used to tell the system to do the calculation so it does
not have to be accurate. There is a button on the sliding scale
maintenance page to set weights 'on' for all your items.
In the case of shipper's calculation method,
you can use the batch optiones when maintaining inventory to do so
or use the special program on your inventory maintenance menu called
'Set Wt/Shipping Charges' to update 50 items at a time. Remember:
If you have a weight entered for an item,
the shipping will be calculated. Note that this should
be the estimated packed-out weight -- that is including
an average amount of packing for the item;
If you set a weight of 0 on the item, it
will be treated as an item with free shipment;
If you don't put any value (0 is a value),
the shipping will NOT be calculated and the customer will see
a message telling them that there are special shipping
considerations and that you'll contact them to discuss the
Having made these choices, the table of
shipping options now looks like this:
You can also define free shipping for items over a
certain price range. This is effective for your whole store, so
you need to do this in the Site Maintenance menu choice 'site
customization Options' There are several choices involved:
The free shipping threshold:
Whether free shipping is offered to only to
customers who shipping country is the same as yours;
What the free shipping method is.
If you are using free shipping, the shopping cart will
tell the customer this several times during the order process as part of
the routine "up-selling" process and invite them to increase
their order to get the free shipment.
Its really pretty flexible, down to the individual item
basis, but it may take some experimentation to understand. We
recommend, setting it up and trying it on several items to make sure
that it is really doing what you want it to.