Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

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Martin
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Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by Martin »

Hey folks...

Having made inroads on the Royal Mail advanced shipping module and also started the process with Parcelforce (both UK services) I've realised that there is a big gulf between the current shipping system and the reality of how you actually pack items for dispatch.

Let me give you a run down... Take me for example... I have a store with printer ink, maintenance kits, and refilling tools. Some of these need to be (1) individually wrapped which bulks out their dimensions, while others (2) can be packed into a single container and then packaging provided around them. The difference here is that packaging on the first type of product increases the volume for each item, while the latter only increases the volume at the end. Mix them together and it gets a bit more confusing.

Ok... in real terms the first type is actually easier to account for as it is just a case of providing the packed dimensions when inputting the data. The latter is harder as it depends entirely on how much volume the final order uses. But we'll put that aside for a second as there's something else to consider.

What about irregular shaped/sized goods... What I mean is things like say a shelf bracket.. Using standard dimensions it takes up a full cuboid space but in reality you could put 10 of them together and the real volume would be around 2/10ths of that calculated using a basic equation.



Of course I've realised that I'm approaching this from a "raw materials" or OEM type of product view where there's no nice packaging already provided around a product so in that respect I may be slightly at odds with the "normal" online store product line..

Still, I'd be interested to see/hear if others have had any thoughts on this particular problem as I'm giving some serious thought to creating a detailed module that helps with the "shipping problem". :)

babyREFLUX
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by babyREFLUX »

Packaging for us is interesting. All our products are different sizes, weights and we have over 150 lines. Add to that - we could have in excess of 30 orders in a morning where the combination of products is different in every case.

We have 7 box sizes, 5 bag sizes, 4 different kinds of void fill and that multiplied by two different couriers who charge using different criteria.

There is no computer based process for this, just experience and a custom made shipping profile that suits all combinations that has evolved over 2 years. 8-)

Martin
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by Martin »

So, essentially you're figuring out a realistic normal curve type pricing system that takes into account the bulk of the orders and you allow a little give/take so you can price everything up online and then absorb the profit/loss without overall losing or making the customer angry?

Correct?

gaz
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by gaz »

That sounds like what we do, but in order to compensate for it all we go down the "free shipping" route and incorporate the cost of shipping individual items into the price.
That said we give healthy discount options on multiple item orders

Tony Barnes
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by Tony Barnes »

We just have flat rate per order value - the vast majority of orders cost us roughly the same to send out. Shipping is a pretty reasonable earner for us.

Martin
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by Martin »

Ok... so with all this in mind would you say that having a parcelforce shipping module might be considered a "waste of time" in this context then?

I ask because I'm in the process of writing this module but if it's not going to be of any use... well... not really a huge amount of point now is it.. :? ;)

gaz
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Re: Shipping : Getting to grips with the variables

Post by gaz »

It's just the whole volumetric weight side of things.

We tried to handle price via variations but you know how much that sucks right now.

Problem is some of our products are shipped in tubes, some in pallets, containers etc off all differents sizes and weights.

It's just a nightmare to set up

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