Many Whiplash customers use flat rate shipping, often with one rate for domestic and one for international. You can add complexity (and accuracy) by building a matrix of rates for regions, weights, or both. Often, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to predict postage costs 100% accurately in advance. If the average cost is $8.85 for your US orders, charging the customer $8 or $9 is an attractive approach. Any strategy should be re-evaluated every few months as rates slowly change over time.
Communicating shipping costs to your customers
You have a number of options.
If you are keeping things simple—for example, Free Shipping or $5 Flat-Rate Shipping —we'll by default ship the cheapest method available.
For more information from Shopify specifically, read Understanding Shipping.
Getting postage data for a rate matrix
There are two main ways to estimate postage and build a matrix:
Exporting shipped orders
Using your own historic data saves you the trouble of generating mock shipments. Exporting too many orders will take a long time without adding much benefit, so we usually use 100.
If you're looking for something specific—like "What does shipping cost for all the available methods for a 1lb package to the US?" you may only need 10–20.
Edit the Shipped search in Orders view. You can narrow it down by weight, origin, or any other criteria, or just export all orders. Your goal should be about 100 orders at most; this is a great amount of data compared to how long it takes to export. If you have too many orders in your search, filter by date to narrow it down.
Export the orders by selecting Download CSV, and selecting "Compare shipping rates." This may take some time—Whiplash is querying our up-to-date carrier rates for every order and making postage estimates.
You now have rates for every valid shipping method for every order in your search. You can find out the average cost to ship 2 units of SKU-001 to Lithuania or see what the price difference would be if you upgraded every USPS First Class shipment to FedEx 2-day. Hint: it's substantial.
Generate the matrix
Use this data to generate average costs in as granular a matrix as you'd like—commonly, sellers will create a different rate every 1lb for a few regions (e.g. USA, North America, EU, and ROW).
You can tweak this average over time as shipping rates fluctuate; holidays tend to be more expensive for most carriers, and things like fuel surcharges change over time. Many sellers opt to make a bit of money on shipping or subsidize.
Don't forget to account for pick & pack rates, as well as packaging!
What about tiered pricing?
- Shipping Options such as Saturday Delivery or Signature Guarantee
- Insurance requested
- Dimensional weight of packages are calculated as follows:
Bags and Packs use the contents' dimensions. We stack in the shortest dimension (height), and use the maximum of the remaining widths and lengths. So, a package with two items 12"x12"x0.5" and 5"x15"x1.0" would result in total dimensions of 12"x15"x1.5".
Bubble Mailers, Envelopes, and Flats have a fixed length and width, but the height can expand to fit multiple items.