The number of online buyers as well as service providers is rising with every passing day, which means the industry is in desperate need of the most fast, cost effective and reliable delivery options. The cost effective, in fact, is the major concern of a consumer who is more interested in as low as possible shipping options.
At this point, the only options for determining shipping rates is to use either cost or weight. This is a major flaw that prevents many to buy online products.
Carriers – USPS, Canada Post, FedEx, 24-7couriers, etc. all use volumetric/dimensional weight to calculate shipping rates, however few like Shopify does not offer a method for inputting the dimensions of a product. While this might not matter to a e-commerce store that sells a limited range of very similar products (an online T-shirt shop for example), it’s completely impractical for anyone who wants to sell a wide assortment of products of different weights and sizes.
Using an item’s cost to determine shipping isn’t helpful because a wooden wagon that costs £50 has a totally different shipping cost than a £150 piece of jewellery. Likewise, weight isn’t very useful either because a small object weighing 5kg has a different shipping cost than a much larger item that is also 5kg.
The only workaround we’ve discovered is to manually calculate the volumetric weight of each item and then enter that as the product’s physical weight. It goes without saying that this is a clumsy method that involves more than a little bit of math.
While upgrading to the Unlimited Plan with real-time carrier shipping might solve the problem. Not everyone needs the Unlimited Plan, but every e-commerce owner needs to be able to calculate reliable, reasonably accurate shipping costs.
If you’re building an online store and planning to sell products with a wide variety of weights and sizes, we would recommend taking a good, hard look at these limitations and understand how they will affect your business before committing to it. Either that, or consider the £179/month Unlimited Plan.
Perhaps, what seems to work best for an e-retailer is free shipping with a minimum order. They have a 100% margin on most products and determined that anytime they shipped a product above £50 or so they always made a profit, even if they had to partially subsidize the cost of some shipments. However, it can be conditional by purchased volume to increase the average size of an order to make up for any losses.
Customers may think twice about ordering from you if they get the shock of additional clearance costs.