Shipping options & calculations

Admin Control Panel: eCommerce Guide

Getting your shipping charges right can be one of the most difficult aspects of setting up your online retail store.

Charge too much for delivery and shoppers will feel like you’re trying to rip them off and will quickly move on to another site. Charge too little and you’ll find out the hard way just how big an impact shipping costs can have on your profit margins.

So it is important that you get your shipping charges right before you even start selling.

You will also improve your sales conversion rate by offering a choice of delivery options. This is because some customers will want their items fast, some prefer to track their order from dispatch through to delivery, whereas others want the cheapest shipping option available. And depending on the type of product you sell, you may have the opportunity to exploit a wider market by offering overseas delivery.

Therefore you will need to research the various delivery services and find out which options work best for your business, your products and your customers.

Once you’ve decided on your shipping service providers, you should then put a clear pricing structure in place that provides the right balance between charging too much and charging too little across the full range of your product catalogue.

You’ll then need to make sure that your choice of eCommerce system will allow you to implement your pricing policy. This is why it is so important to choose an eCommerce web design solution that offers an adequate range of built-in shipping calculation methods from the outset.

And if your pricing structure demands more complex shipping calculations then you should definitely consider the services of a bespoke eCommerce provider.

What you should look for

Most eCommerce systems fundamentally use a general method of shipping where, for example, you can set a flat rate per individual order or set tiered shipping rates that apply a specific flat rate depending on the number of items ordered or on the total order amount.

They also typically offer you the option of setting a flat rate per unit weight of item. To operate this method you then have to individually enter the item weight for every product in your catalogue. Most systems also accommodate free shipping, either on an individual item basis or across the board.

Some eCommerce solutions also offer an alternative shipping method whereby you enter the exact shipping you want to charge for each individual item.

In theory this is a great idea, as you can fine-tune your shipping so that the charge for every single product in your catalogue strikes the perfect balance between the actual cost of shipping for that item and the best price from a sales perspective.

However, unless you sell only a small range of items, this method is far too impractical. This is because calculating the precise cost of shipping for every individual item, including packaging and any other associated costs, can be a very time-consuming affair. On top of this, you’ll then need to enter these costs in the product administration page for every single item in your catalogue and repeat the process from time to time whenever shipping prices increase.

What you can expect from a Rapid Web Services system

An eCommerce solution from Rapid Web Services is designed to free you from the worries of calculating shipping charges. With the minimal amount of configuration, your eCommerce system will automatically apply the correct charges, wherever the destination.

Our powerful integrated shipping module offers you a range of built-in calculation methods and a high degree of functionality, including:

And because a Rapid Web Services package gives you the flexibility to add any bespoke feature you want, you can create the exact shipping calculation method to suit your own business needs.

It is important to keep your shipping charges up to date. So if you have a customer account with a carrier, make sure that you keep an eye on their email updates for price increase notices.