Shipping rates again

Maybe I’ve missed it, maybe it was covered in the old forums, or I forgot…

  • Is there a priority assigned to shipping rates? Think multiple products with different shipping rates in shopping cart. Which one is chosen? Or is is treated separately (2 or more shipments)?

  • Most of my stuff cannot be sent in envelopes due to the insane fee structure (weight / thickness) of German postal service. Luckily one of their non-envelope products fits most of my orders, be it one item or many.
    There is one exception though, which I’d like to address here as it constantly annoys me: bare circuit boards. These things are usually small and lightweight, so I could send them out in an envelope without having to charge as much as for thicker / heavier items. Unfortunately the current shipping-rate model doesn’t allow this to happen. Reminder: base rate + fixed additional charge per item. Having to work with my postal service, I could send out 1 or 2 small circuit boards for about $2 (depends on weight), and then basically as much as anyone could order (up to 2 kg) for 5$. Essentially this cries for a range-based shipping rate (1-2 items: X total, 3-whatever: Y total). Of course there is the approach to over-under charge, but in my case there is no grey zone, it is all black and white. Either over-charge massively or under-charge massively. It just doesn’t fit, so it won’t happen either way. All of this a a non-issue if people order other stuff as well, as then everything goes into a little box for 5$, which links back to the shipping-rate precedence (if it exists).

To sum up the previous post: I’d like to offer more bare circuit boards, but the current shipping-rate model prevents me from doing just that. I cannot reasonably adapt it to the fee structure of my postal service.

Right so for low volumes, it works. For larger quantities is where it breaks down. Yes?

How many high volume PCB orders do you get? Overall (and last time I checked), Bare PCB hasn’t done very well as a vertical but you might be exception. My brain only backs up so far :slight_smile:

I’m going to offer up a straw-man to ensure we’re both on the same page. If I understand correctly you have two classes of product PCBs and other. I’ll propose a few scenarios.

  1. A) $2 + $0 and B) $5 + $0 You assign A to the PCBs and B to everything else.
    i) 1 PCB $2 ii) 2 PCBs $2 iii) 3 PCBs $2 iv) PCB + other $5 iiv) 2 PCB, 2 other $5
    Slight undercharge on a multiple product order that grows with larger orders

  2. A) $2 + $0.50 and B) $5 + $0.50 You assign A to the PCBs and B to everything else.
    i) 1 PCB $2 ii) 2 PCBs $2.50 iii) 3 PCBs $3 iv) PCB + other $5.50 iiv) 2 PCB, 2 other $6.50
    Depending on the exact mix, this could be over or under

  3. A) $2 + $1 and B) $5 + $0, Again assign PCBs to A and everything else to B
    i) 1 PCB $2 ii) 2 PCBs $3 iii) 3 PCBs $4 iv) PCB + other $6 iiv) 2 PCB, 2 other $7.00
    This hurts PCB buyers somewhat but allows other components to be combined at no extra cost.

I’d also argue that shipping and handling fees are more than just postage, so the goal shouldn’t be to match postage exactly but to reflect the time, materials and cost it takes to ship a package. Last time we looked at shipping details most sellers were dealing with single item orders. I’ll agree the current system isn’t perfect but I think with a little tweaking scenario 2 could be fair. What do you think?

How is this calculated? Which rule dominates when? I need to understand how shipping rules are mixed / combined.

My suspicion is that my current shipping rates, which are made to prevent harm coming my way, are a big deterrent for someone who just wants one board. You don’t want to pay more for shipping than for the board itself. I need to implement something that works for 1 or 2 boards and is rather cheap, but doesn’t bite me or the buyer in the ass if someone should order 5 or so.

Each product can only have a single rate assigned to it for a given destination and service. When combining rates for multi-product orders we choose the largest base rate and then use the per product assigned addon rates.

Lets break down example 2, with a slight change to aid readability.

A rate, PCBs Base $2 Addon $0.50
B rate, Others Base $5 Addon $0.75

iii) 3 PCBs $3, only use A rate, $2.00 + $0.50 + $0.50
iv) PCB + other $5.50, use both rates. We choose Base B and then use Addon A. 5.00 + 0.50
iiv) 2 PCBs and 2 Others, $7.00, Use Base B and then the correct addon rates. 5.00 + 0.75 + 0.50 + 0.50

By setting B addon to $0.75 you need to ship up to 6 Other items in a box before you have enough extra shipping to pay for a second box. Larger addon rates would mean fewer items need to be packed together.

Does that help?

So to sum it up:

If the shopping cart contains items with different shipping rates, the highest base-rate “wins” and is used as the base-rate for the whole shipment. Add-on rates are then just added to that on a per-item basis, using each item’s individual add-on rate.

That vital piece of information should go into an easy to find shipping FAQ or HOWTO.

Now I feel better. There’s only so much you can do, given only half the information. All of this may seem obvious, but it isn’t.

1 Like

Yes, that is correct. You are also right that we need to do a better job documenting it. For the record here are the best shipping related documentation we have at the moment.

Aha. That is the first time I’ve ever seen these posts. I don’t think the “blog” is the first place to look for that kind of information. I would expect such vital information to be listed / linked on the HELP page, which as of now it isn’t.

FYI, Until we have a better solution in place we’ve added links to those posts on the shipping rates page. Thanks for letting us know it was missing.

How does a customer choose shipping for “one consignment” ?

this post from 2014 suggests what I am looking for, but its been a long time.