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Anyone using Priority Flat Rate boxes?

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  • Anyone using Priority Flat Rate boxes?

    I have searched the forums for some kind of workaround for our situation, but haven't figured anything out.

    The situation:
    We ship mostly small-but-heavy items, and currently ship UPS or USPS Priority.

    A customer could order about 30 of these items and they would still fit in a flat-rate box. We'd love to use flat rate boxes to lower shipping costs for our customers, rather than the standard Priority weight-based price which is high because of the heavy product.
    However, not ALL of our items are small. So, if we create a flat-rate shipping option and someone orders one of the large items that won't fit in the flat rate box, we are going to get hit on the shipping cost to send it regular Priority when they've only paid for flat rate.

    There seems to be no way to exclude the larger items from the flat rate ship method.

    Does anyone have some other workaround?

    [ In case this hasn't been clear, here's an actual example:
    Customer A orders 24 of our 2 oz products, for a total weight of 3 lbs. We can fit his order in a flat rate box costing $12.35.
    But if we create a flat rate shipping option allowing the $12.35 cost, this can happen:
    Customer B orders 3 of our 1 lb products, for the same total weight of 3 lbs. But his 3 products won't fit in a flat rate box because of their dimensions. So his $12.35 shipping charge won't cover the actual Priority Mail cost of shipping his order (over $15). ]

    Thanks for any help!

  • #2
    We use flat rate shipping on several websites. For items I know won't be able to ship in the flat rate box I add additional shipping per item based on my calculation of how much additional it will cost to ship the item. Enter this amount in the product's shipping options section...box labeled "shipping". Then set up the flat rate shipping amount for a base rate that will be used for most items and this additional amount gets added when one of the items that cannot ship in flat rate box is selected. So, say you want to charge $6 for all items under 3 lbs. and call the shipping method Priority Mail, you would set up your custom, by weight shipping method for that. Then go to the specific items that cannot ship in the flat rate box and add the amount extra that it costs to ship that item (example: if it costs $8 to ship that item vs $5 for flat rate box = $3 extra). Now when that item is added to the cart it will add $3 to your $6 base rate and show the customer $9 for Priority Mail shipping. Only problem with this method is that it will add the $3 for each item, so if the customer selects 2 of them it will add $6 to the shipping. Hope this makes sense!

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    • #3
      Thanks, shopgirltx. That does make sense, and is a decent solution.

      The problem is exactly what you outlined in your last sentence, and I'm afraid it will happen often for us. Customer will order perhaps even 3 or 4 of the item that doesn't fit, and the surcharge will be multiplied by 3 or 4, making the total cost really high.

      I'd love to find another solution, if there is one.

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      • #4
        Have you tried using dimensions instead of weight?

        Ive been meaning to see how that changes calculations from USPS but have never gotten a chance. We currently do by weight and take the hit. For us if it wont fit in flat rate the value is usually high enough to make the loss worthwhile.

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        • #5
          We have tested using dimensions instead of weight a few times, and were dismayed to find that it made things significantly worse. Our UPS expedited quotes in particular, were as much as $30.00 LESS for our large items than if we used weight only. This makes absolutely no sense at all, because using extra large or multiple boxes obviously raises the shipping cost, not decreases it, but that is what has happened. Support basically had no answer for this at all, saying that it isn't their fault, because that is the quote their system pulls from UPS. When we get the quote directly from UPS, though, it is way higher than the quotes returned through 3dCart. This doesn't help you any with your flat rate problem, I know, but I would be curious to see how using dimensions would change your rates in this situation. My only other input specific to your issue is to say that in similar situations we just about always switch to shipping UPS, which is way cheaper than USPS unless the package is under 1 or 2 pounds at most.
          Laura Z
          Brass & Silver Traditions
          www.brassandsilvertraditions.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by brassandsilver View Post
            We have tested using dimensions instead of weight a few times, and were dismayed to find that it made things significantly worse. Our UPS expedited quotes in particular, were as much as $30.00 LESS for our large items than if we used weight only. This makes absolutely no sense at all, because using extra large or multiple boxes obviously raises the shipping cost, not decreases it, but that is what has happened. Support basically had no answer for this at all, saying that it isn't their fault, because that is the quote their system pulls from UPS. When we get the quote directly from UPS, though, it is way higher than the quotes returned through 3dCart. This doesn't help you any with your flat rate problem, I know, but I would be curious to see how using dimensions would change your rates in this situation. My only other input specific to your issue is to say that in similar situations we just about always switch to shipping UPS, which is way cheaper than USPS unless the package is under 1 or 2 pounds at most.
            Not sure if our issues are the same, but I did find out what the problem was on my site, bmikarts.com.

            We have a lot of larger items that require dimensional shipping charges (not just weight) by UPS to get an accurate shipping. We also have a lot small items that do not need the dimensions applied.

            What I found is for any item that I want to be calculated with the dimensional rate I have to mark as "Ships by Itself". If not a customer can add a larger item with dimensions and small item without dimensions and the UPS calculator in 3dcart will only calculate a rate based on weight.

            Hence why we were getting shipping quotes up to $50 less than they should of been.

            Hope that helps.

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            • #7
              Thanks, I'll try that. None of our items are large enough for dim weight to apply, but even so that may fix the problem. It's certainly worth a shot!
              Laura Z
              Brass & Silver Traditions
              www.brassandsilvertraditions.com

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              • #8
                Thank you.

                I do wish 3dcart would publish a KB on exactly how the program calculates shipping weight/ size / number of boxes, maximum weight, etc.. There are so many variables but no detailed explanation on how it all fits together.

                The exact logic is important to know for the accurate setup of shipping.

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                • #9
                  Well, I tried the Ships by Itself setting, and that is not the solution for us. It jacked the prices so high that I almost choked - like $250 for 2nd Day Air when the actual price would have been about $90. Back to the drawing board.
                  Laura Z
                  Brass & Silver Traditions
                  www.brassandsilvertraditions.com

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                  • #10
                    Laura. Three things to consider:
                    1. When figuring out 2nd day air in your system (Worldship or otherwise) are you entering the package dimensions.
                    2. Do you have negotiated rates setup in 3dcart?
                    3. Are both the dimensions in 3dcart and the dimensions you use for figuring out the $90 charge the same?

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                    • #11
                      Hi there. Thanks for your questions. Since my problems are a bit off topic from the original post, I will start a new thread to answer your questions. Here is my long winded explanation of my issues: http://forums.3dcart.com/general-con...lculation.html
                      Last edited by brassandsilver; 04-21-2013, 10:49 AM.
                      Laura Z
                      Brass & Silver Traditions
                      www.brassandsilvertraditions.com

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