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  • Shipping fees in Google feed

    I'm trying to figure out how to set the Google feed to satisfy their shipping fees. Google appears to give three options: flat fee, custom table, and carrier based. We really don't use any of the three. A few items are free shipping, but most use a flat fee set up in a custom method 'by quantity'. This is a fixed fee from 0 to 99999 items. Then, except for the free shipping items, each item has a shipping markup in the product listing. We did this to allow setting the shipping price for the small-heavy and large-light items, and to allow setting up a shipping price for multiple, but different, items in one order.

    How should I list the shipping for our Google feed? I wouldn't mind setting the shipping to either the sum of the flat fee plus the item markup, or list it as free shipping. How do I get to this combined shipping number without manually going through hundreds of items and manually adding up the shipping cost? Is this number available anywhere?

    Thanks,

    Tom

    Welcome to Yankee Surplus - Let US be "THE PARTS" in YOUR solution!
    Welcome to Ford Electronics - Ford Electronics

  • #2
    We couldn't (or didn't want to) put it in our feed. We met compliance for shipping and taxes over in our Google Merchant Center account. Have you checked there to see what is available?

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    • #3
      That's the whole problem. Setting the tax is easy in the Google Merchant Center. However, setting the shipping gives you three options: flat fee, custom tables, or carrier based. If I choose custom table, I have three options: price, weight, and number of items. Since we use a flat fee plus an item specific dollar amount markup, none of these options work. I guess we could change our shipping philosophy and go to 'free' shipping (i.e., mark up the item) or just use a flat fee for the order, but it's really hard to come up with a rational decision.

      Any suggestions gladly considered.
      Last edited by Yankee Surplus; 04-27-2012, 08:56 PM.

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      • #4
        Went to NAPA.com - forget that!!!

        Then went to Autozone.com. Ordered three items - 2 of the same - heavy hammers. One lightweight larger item. They are offering me shipping options and I selected "ground". They charged me by weight with the understanding that if I would order over $75 then I would receive free shipping. There were product pricing discounts if I ordered a number of the same item. Shipping was high and I felt I would be better off if I ordered more than $75. For every $100 I spend there I also get a $15 gift card.

        So at Autozone:

        1. Shipping by weight
        2. Quantity discounts
        3. Gift cards for spending $100 (and I mention this because as a customer I see this as a way to reduce my overall cost for the order.)

        I see what you are trying to do but shipping is complicated enough for you - even more so than for the consumer. By making it easy for the consumer to understand you should also be making it easier on yourself.

        All businesses are different and we are VERY different than you. BUT. In order to make it easy for the shopper we charge by order total and we do have some heavy items. We price accordingly and have a link on our home page that clearly describes how a customer's shipping will be calculated. If you can do a page like that then continue to try and find a way to satisfy Google. If you can't do an easy to understand page then consider - consider changing how you calculate shipping.

        Are there shipping services (yes, add-ons that you'd have to pay for) that will calculate shipping the way you currently do? If not then consider changing.

        One last thing - we struggled and I mean really cringed to come up with our solution and I know our situation is much simpler that yours.

        Just some random thoughts and I hope someone really smart comes in and checks-in with you.

        Jon at The G1 Gallery

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        • #5
          Same problem here. We haven't found the ability to accurately send the shipping charges to google with 3dcart. So we've had to default to one service, Priority, which means google shopping shows half our products with much higher shipping rates (the light ones that could go first class).

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          • #6
            It is difficult, to put it mildly. When I was setting up the site, I spent many days struggling with shipping. We currently do not sell to international customers (and are loosing business) due to the shipping issue. I try to think like the customer (and what I would like to see if I was ordering something) and set up the shipping so that the customers knows what the cost would be up front. I don't want to scare away customers by upping the prices enough to offer free shipping (but I'm leaning that way). We still sell on eBay and always try to combine shipping, but this is also difficult due to the different sizes and weights. I've seen one e-commerce site similar to ours that has a flat shipping fee - $7.50 per order, IIRC. I suppose that they up the price on some of their bigger/heavier items to make up for the higher costs. It just seems somewhat odd to charge the same price for one small transistor as for four 5 pound batteries, but that's what they seem to be doing.

            Thanks to all for taking the time to respond.

            Regards,

            Tom

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            • #7
              Hi Tom!

              Yes, difficult indeed.

              With respect to not charging enough for shipping on some items; what we have learned is that is really o.k with us. Over the course of a year we will always come out on top even though we "kick-in" some of our own to cover shipping.

              The challenge of course is determining which items and how much. Ultimately we settled on the 80/20 rule as a pilot and that work well enough that we've stayed with it. So on the heavier/bulkier items like a 40x60 canvas we have enough in margin (and still charge less than competitors) to cover free shipping (or in your case a portion thereof).

              My point in the previous post and not well presented at that; was that a combination of flat rate or "weight" rate shipping plus other incentives for your customers might make shipping costs easier and more palatable for your customers and less of a nightmare for you.

              If 3dcart can't handle shipping the way you want to (it's difficult for them as well) step back and look at the WIDER canvas (no pun intended) and look and check if you can see a different picture.

              RE: eBay. That my friend is a very different animal and probably not a mindset you want to bring to an e-commerce site. It's a great place to learn and to pilot test product but you're having to cover expensive fees and meet requirements set down by eBay. Essentially you are paying to be an employee. Amazon (them not their independent sellers) may be a better model. $2.98 PER ITEM I believe with the opportunity to get reduced or free shipping if one spends more. I've done it. All of us here at G1 have done it and frankly gotten used to it. Now, that is their forte, logistics. But we have found that we can play the same way because we don't have their overhead. (I wish we needed it!)

              All the Best to You,
              Jon at The G1 Gallery

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