Calculating shipping charges when multiple drop-shippers are involved

One thing we’ve learned over 10 years of developing “small business” e-commerce software is that the needs of small businesses are not small at all. And rightfully so. They need and want to run a store that competes with every other online storefront, large and small.

An area where things get very complex is shipping. At Early Impact we’ve worked hard trying to tackle a lot of needed features, such as printing fully functional UPS and FedEx shipping labels directly from the ProductCart Control Panel, and more work in this area is being done “as we speak”.

However, we can’t get everywhere. For example, so far we had not found a good solution to the issue of calculating “sensible” shipping charges when multiple origination points exist within the same order. This happens when a store uses multiple warehouses or multiple drop-shipping partners, and the same order can therefore end up containing items that are shipped from different places.

Shipping Add-on

For example: a customer buys 3 products: one ships from California, one from Florida, one from Texas, and the customer lives in Michigan.

  • How do you calculate shipping charges?
  • Should the customer pay for the sum of the three shipments?
  • Should the merchant pick up some of the cost, so the customer is not scared away?
  • If so, how much?

As you have probably heard, many believe that shipping charges are the #1 reason for people not to complete a purchase. So finding the right balance in the example above is crucial.

Certified ProductCart Developer Red Leaf Development decided to step in and developed a new add-on for ProductCart that attempts to find a sensible and flexible solution to this thorny issue.

  • ProductCart detects where products are being shipped from and calculates all shipping charges
  • A smart algorithm is used to figure out how much to “discount” the price shown to the customer
  • The merchant can therefore decide how to “split” the cost of shipping with the customer, protecting his/her margins while at the same time trying to minimize checkout abandonment.

At Early Impact we’ve always believed in the power of building a network of knowledgeable resellers and developers around our software. It’s why we have always pledged never to compete with them (e.g. we don’t offer Web hosting, Web design, and custom Web development services). Red Leaf Development is one of the many companies active in this great network.

Note: At Early Impact we have not directly tested this new add-on. So do not take this article as an endorsement or a product review, but rather just for what it is: a way for letting you know that this new add-on exists.
Note (2): Early Impact does not receive any compensation of any kind related to the sale of partner add-ons.

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