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Shipping rates for weight and physical dimensions


Meddysong
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We have a rather silly system here in the UK for our shipping rates. As you might expect, they're banded by weight. As the package weighs more, the price you pay to ship it increases. That side of things is fine.

However, we have a complicating factor: if your product exceeds certain physical dimensions, then you have to start from a different band. Large Letter in this diagram applies only to packages which don't exceed a certain physical size. If they do, then they're not Large Letters but Small Parcels, even if they don't weigh very much.

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In my example, I have a book which weighs 184g. Ordinarily, you would think that the cost would be £1.40 for 2nd class postage.

Not in this case, however; once it's in an envelope, the book's width slightly exceeds the permitted dimensions to be classed as a Large Letter, and is automatically considered to be a Small Parcel, the starting rate of which is £3.10. (Even though in the official price matrix, a small parcel starts at 1kg. As I said, this is a silly system. So silly, that the firm can't even tabulate it.)

So, how can I handle this in Commerce? One situation might be to set up a new matrix for these oversized items where the categories Letter and Large Letter aren't present. The problem there is that if a consumer buys this oversized good and a normal good with the usual shipping rate, then this happens:

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The poor customer is now paying two lots of £3.10, even though the combined weight of these two means that she should only expect to pay that once because the total package is under 2kg. She's not to know that there's a complicating factor here.

Does anybody have any idea how to work around this scenario within Commerce? I know that @Mark is a Brit so I'm half-hoping that he boy-geniused this with our silly system in mind when developing the app.

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There is no “intelligent plausibility check“ to merge different shipping options if possible. Either you use different options with individual payments or some kind of “average cost” system that ignores the specific prices (which is what many online shops do). 

I certainly know the problem. In my Commerce store I sell posters and smaller items like books. If someone buys a poster and a book, they will have to pay twice for shipping, since the long poster doesn’t fit in the book package and book doesn’t fit in the thin poster package. But this system can also lead to situations where two items could be combined into one package but the system just can’t know it and charges twice. 

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1 hour ago, opentype said:

But this system can also lead to situations where two items could be combined into one package but the system just can’t know it and charges twice. 

Ah, it's not just us then. Thank you for taking the time to drop me a line.

1 hour ago, Mark said:

There's no particular reason you have to give Commerce the correct weight. For example, for any items which exceed the "large letter" dimensions, just tell Commerce that it weighs 1kg, even if it weighs less.

Yes, that would work. (Except for the scenario where people want to buy multiples of them, I suppose. 10 copies would still weigh under the 2kg cut-off for Small Parcel ordinarily.)

EasyPost looks dauntingly impressive, but I'm afraid I wouldn't have the faintest clue where to start. Setting the weight to 1kg seems to be the way we'll have to go.

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I've just had a thought, Mark. Since Commerce knows a user's location in order to provide the appropriate shipping rates to a product, I could add something to the description to explain to our UK-based customers why we've done what we've done, inviting those who want multiple copies to contact us. What would be the snippet I would need to run the location check, please?  

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4 hours ago, Meddysong said:

Ah, it's not just us then. Thank you for taking the time to drop me a line.

Yes, that would work. (Except for the scenario where people want to buy multiples of them, I suppose. 10 copies would still weigh under the 2kg cut-off for Small Parcel ordinarily.)

EasyPost looks dauntingly impressive, but I'm afraid I wouldn't have the faintest clue where to start. Setting the weight to 1kg seems to be the way we'll have to go.

It's very easy! Just create an account with them and then go to AdminCP > Community Enhancements > EasyPost and pop your API key in.

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