Shipment setup examples

Your store's shipping setup may range from a simple, singular shipping rate to a set of more specific shipping categories and rates.

Simple setup

In this example setup, you run a store that sells t-shirts to the United States and Europe and ship from a single location. You work with two carriers:

  • USPS Ground (to the US)
  • FedEx (to Europe)

Because you only sell t-shirts, you can easily anticipate the shipping costs of any order. Instead of using live shipping calculator to estimate each order's shipping costs, you offer a flat rate to your customers and pay the carriers directly.

Your pricing is as follows:

  • For USPS shipments: $5 for the first item. Then, $2 for each additional item. (Flexible rate per package item.)
  • For FedEx shipments: $3 for each item, regardless of the quantity. (Flat rate per package.)

To achieve this setup you need the following configuration:

  • One shipping category: In this example, you only sell type of product (t-shirts), so you only need to define one default shipping category. Each product would use this shipping category.
  • One stock location: At least one stock location is required. You are shipping all items from the same location, so you can use the default stock location.
  • Two shipping methods: In this case, USPS and FedEx.
  • Two zones: Because your shipping methods are bound to specific geographical regions, you can assign one zone for the United States and another for Europe. This way, customers from either region cannot mistakenly choose the wrong shipping method for their region.

For this example, the shipping methods should be configured as follows:

Name Zones Base calculator
Name
USPS Ground
Zones
US
Base calculator
Flexible rate per package item ($5, $2)
Name
FedEx
Zones
EU_VAT
Base calculator
Flat rate per package ($3)

Summary

  • Any shipment to a United States address is automatically charged for USPS Ground shipping.
  • Any shipment to a European address is automatically charged for FedEx shipping.
  • The customer does not need to pick a shipping method.
  • The customer can see the shipping rates for the shipping method they have been assigned.
  • If the customer is outside of the United States or Europe they will not be able to complete their order.

Advanced setup

In this example setup, you run a store that sells t-shirts, mugs, and kayaks. You only sell within the United States, and you ship orders from two different stock locations (New York City, and Los Angeles).

Zones

Because you only sell within the United States, you only need to set up a single zone for the United States.

If a customer tried to enter a shipping address that is outside of the United States, they will not be able to complete their order.

Stock locations

You need to set up two stock locations, which will help you keep track of your inventory and prepare for shipments.

In some cases, multiple shipments might be required for a single order. For example, if one product in the order is only available from your Los Angeles location, while all the other items are only available from the New York City location.

Carriers and shipping methods

You use three different carriers: FedEx, UPS, and USPS. You use solidus_active_shipping to get shipping estimates from all three carriers. (When you have the solidus_active_shipping extension installed and set up, you can select a specific shipping estimate calculator for any supported shipping method.)

In order to get estimates, you require developer access to those shipping services. (This article does not go into detail about using solidus_active_shipping. See its documentation for more information about usage.)

Note that three carriers does not mean you will only be setting up three shipping methods. Oversized items require a different shipping method, even though they use the same carrier.

In this case you will set up four shipping methods: FedEx, UPS, USPS, and an additional FedEx shipping method specifically for oversized items.

Shipping categories

Your store's products can be classified into three shipping categories:

  • Default: For any product that can be shipped using your regular shipping methods.
  • Oversized: For large, heavy items like kayaks that have special shipping needs.

For most products, you just use the default shipping category. This means that the products can be shipped by any carrier. Products that are assigned to the Oversized shipping category can only be shipped via FedEx.

However, because the items are oversized and have special shipping requirements, you need to create an additional shipping method that better takes into account how an order with oversized items should be handled. For example, how should a customer be charged when they order multiple kayaks?

Shipping configuration

Now, we have detailed the shipping configuration required in this example. To summarize the information above:

  • One zone: The United States.
  • Two stock locations: Now York City and Los Angeles.
  • Two shipping categories: Default and Oversized.
  • Four shipping methods: FedEx, UPS, and USPS, and a FedEx variant for oversized items.

Because you will use the solidus_active_shipping extension to create shipping estimates, you do not to set your own shipping rates.

When you set up each shipping location, you can choose which shipping categories are available to each method:

Default Oversized
FedEx
Default
Yes
Oversized
No
FedEx (Oversized)
Default
No
Oversized
Yes
UPS
Default
Yes
Oversized
No
USPS
Default
Yes
Oversized
No

Now, you have ensured that any time that one of your oversized kayak products are ordered, the customer can be charged reasonably for special oversized shipping specifically—while regular products can be delivered at normal rate.

You have determined that the "FedEx 2 Day Freight" method that FedEx offers gives you and your customers the best value for kayak shipments. When you set up your "FedEx (Oversized)" shipping method, you can use "FedEx 2 Day Freight" as the base calculator thanks to the solidus_active_shipping extension.

Summary

  • The customer can pick from a FedEx, UPS, or USPS shipping method for regular items like t-shirts and mugs.
  • The customer who orders a kayak is assigned your special oversized shipping method.
  • All of your shipping charges are automatically estimated using the solidus_active_shipping extension and your developer accounts with FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
  • The customer can see the shipping rates for the shipping method they have chosen or been assigned.
  • If the customer is outside of the United States they will not be able to complete their order.

Feedback

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