What’s Wrong With Calculated (Real-time) Shipping Rates?

What’s Wrong With Calculated (Real-time) Shipping Rates?

There are several options concerning how to charge for shipping with your online store. We’ll take a look at the common solutions and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Common Shipping Solutions

  • Free shipping: You just don’t charge for shipping at all.
  • Flat rate shipping: A single rate for all orders
  • Price based shipping: The shipping price is based on the total price of the items being purchased. The price may go either up or down as the total price of the order increases, but the price tiers are defined by the price of the order.
  • Weight based shipping: The shipping price is based on the weights of the products ordered.
  • Real-time shipping rate calculators: The shipping rate is calculated in real-time with a particular shipping carrier such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS.

Sometimes you might want to combine a few of these options on your store. For example maybe you offer free shipping on orders over $100 but charge a weight based price for orders less than that.

Up Front vs Calculated Rates

In the end, all the different options for setting the price for shipping falls into one of two categories. It is either an up front price or a calculated price.

An up front price is one where the customer knows up front what the rate is going to be before checkout. Shipping options such as free shipping, or flat rate shipping are up front methods. During the shopping process your customers know click for info what it will cost to ship their orders. When they get to your checkout page the hurdle of the shipping price has already been cleared.

Calculated rates account for all other options for setting shipping prices such as weight based, price based, and real-time shipping quotes. With calculated rates we need to know exactly what products are being ordered and where to ship them before we can determine the cost of shipping. Continue reading “What’s Wrong With Calculated (Real-time) Shipping Rates?”