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SHIPPING MATRIX - By Ounces Pounds Whatever you need
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olyguy



Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:

Under options, each seller has the choice to check "Enable USPS Calculated Shipping Instead". It would be unreasonable to expect eCRATER to be responsible for the speed of the USPS website, which you are choosing to use when you enable USPS Calculated Shipping.


Why is it unreasonable to expect a feature supplied by eCrater to work? Other sites have shipping calculators that work. It can be done. If the people who write code for eCrater can't do it, hire someone who can or else get rid of the shipping calculator.

Quote:
The reason I'm spending time on this is to make sure new seller's understand the choice they are making when they choose USPS Calculated Shipping.


The reason I'm spending time on this is I want to see it fixed. I, and several other sellers I know, will keep complaining and hope the day comes when the shipping calculator works as well as the others we use.

Quote:
BUT the up side is your USPS calculated shipping is auto updated when rates change.


All shipping calculators I use on other sites update USPS rates immediately.
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sheila,

I tried to use that zip code chart; it does not work - perhaps it is my Mac.

I did match my zip with Zone 4. There are charts associated with USPS.

I believe the difference is our own zone number vs the zone difference when we ship, as you say. They are two different things.

I apologize if I am am wrong and misunderstood it that way.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6020

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

olyguy wrote:
SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:

Under options, each seller has the choice to check "Enable USPS Calculated Shipping Instead". It would be unreasonable to expect eCRATER to be responsible for the speed of the USPS website, which you are choosing to use when you enable USPS Calculated Shipping.


Why is it unreasonable to expect a feature supplied by eCrater to work? Other sites have shipping calculators that work. It can be done. If the people who write code for eCrater can't do it, hire someone who can or else get rid of the shipping calculator.

I think you misunderstand the issue. The problem is related to how the various websites speak to each other, and what happens when one part of the chain is slow responding. When a customer goes thru checkout (and assuming that USPS Calculated is turned on for the store), the payment acceptance software determines what address the customer has entered, and asks eCrater for the shipping cost. eCrater has a finite amount of time to respond to that request. Any lack of response causes the payment sequence to abort. As USPS Calculated takes in account zones, classes of service, weight, and (in some circumstances) package dimensions, there is a very large number of permutations to come up with the correct result. USPS has an API callback that does all that, does it correctly, and (normally) does it very quickly. The problem arises when the online sales world is heavily inundated with an atypical amount of orders (and hence an unusually large number of sites requesting that information from USPS). The USPS site gets overloaded, and cannot meet the maximum response time needed by eCrater, eCrater then goes to the fall back to get a usable shipping cost. Typically that involves the matrix (but could be a sum of fixed shipping as well). That is why the matrix is needed to cover those rare instances, when we are all making good sales.

Note that eCrater will always look at the matrix (or fixed costs as indicated) when need be. If you choose to not enter values, then the default values are zero, and that is what the shipping will be charged at. It behooves you to put something in there.
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olyguy



Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmicray wrote:

I think you misunderstand the issue.


I don't misunderstand the issue. I understand how the eCrater postage calculator works. What I don't understand is why does eCrater insist on using the system they do when it fails for me, and I'm sure others, maybe one time out of thirty?

Other sites are able to have a postage calculator that doesn't need a matrix type backup. If little webstore can have a postage calculator that works, why can't eCrater? Can you name one other site with a postage calculator that uses a backup?

This ends for me here and now. I'm a firm believer in the squeaky wheel gets the grease....eventually. I'd love to squeak more about the calculator but have other things that need doing. Thanks for the discussion.
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

olyguy wrote:
adriennesretropolis wrote:

we MUST use the matrix


You don't gotta MUST use the matrix. If you don't want to use it....don't. If you want to use calculated shipping only...only use calculated shipping. It is just that simple. The only thing that might happen is once or twice a year you might get a sale without shipping added. Email the buyer and explain eCrater, for some reason known only to eCrater, didn't add the shipping. Please try buying the item again. Most will.


Thanks, olyguy.

That will be one of my considerations, especially right now, until I understand the matrix better (if at all! Embarassed ). Good to know I do not have to use USPS, though.
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:
@ MemoryLane and Adrienne, I'm puzzled as to how you have decided you are in "Zone 4". USPS zones are determined based on the zip code you are shipping from. For example, if I ship from an area that has a zip code starting with 325, I could be shipping to every zone from 1 to 8. Zone 1 is determined to be zipcodes close to your shipping zone. If I ship from a zip code starting with 968, I only have two zone options Zone 1 or Zone 8. Zip Codes starting with 968 are in Hawaii, so any thing shipped to another Hawaiian address is zone 1 and all other zip code addresses are Zone 8.

To get a current correct USPS ZONE CHART, go to the USPS website http://postcalc.usps.gov/Zonecharts/ and enter the first 3 digits of the zip code from which you are shipping.


Holy cow, Sheila!

I found on USPS that my zip was Zone 4 - but, I misunderstood it, somehow.
I went back and found you are correct!
I am zone 1 when shipping to whatever zone, distance defined, I am shipping to! Embarassed

Sorry. Although Memory and I are not too far away from each other, at least we are in the same "ball park".... all I really have to do would be to tweak the prices an little bit.

I think I need to have a few stores to make my matrix work best. I think.

One store is most convenient, but I am finding that using pounds from Priority, that I get gypped when I sell something for say, 4oz. (0.25).
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3183

PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So glad you found the USPS zone chart because it's really important to figure your shipping rates for either the shipping matrix or flat rate.

Make sure you really need separate stores before you open more. Trust me, it's more work. But sometimes it's the only way to get the results you want, just be sure the results justify the additional work.

Quote:
One store is most convenient, but I am finding that using pounds from Priority, that I get gypped when I sell something for say, 4oz. (0.25).
I'm not sure I understand this. If you are using USPS calculated, just add First Class Parcel as a method. It will only be offered to the customer when the total weight is 13 ounces or less. If you are talking about the shipping matrix, there are some options for handling items less than 1 pound. If you only have a few, you could use the flat rate method for those items. The checkout system looks to the flat rate method first. If it's blank, then it looks to the shipping matrix. If you are using the USPS Calculated system, this would only apply when the system time out. Without USPS Calculated, the system still looks to the flat rate first, then the shipping matrix.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6020

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

olyguy wrote:
Other sites are able to have a postage calculator that doesn't need a matrix type backup. If little webstore can have a postage calculator that works, why can't eCrater? Can you name one other site with a postage calculator that uses a backup?

That's a valid point. eCrater could, in theory at least, run USPS Calculated based on the tables that are available from USPS. But those tables have to be constantly updated, whenever USPS changes anything. Beyond that, I can't speak for eCrater's workload or intent.

One example was last holiday season, when USPS (rather quietly) suspended Dimensional rates for Priority Mail. Pitney Bowes (a/k/a/ PP postage) picked it up, but I could barely find any mention of it at USPS.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6020

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adriennesretropolis wrote:
I found on USPS that my zip was Zone 4 - but, I misunderstood it, somehow.

Zone are relative to what your zip code is. Your zip code, shipping to your zip code, is always zone 1. Zip codes progressively farther away from you will be zones 1-8.
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AtMemoryLane



Posts: 510

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheila - I know you were only trying to help because you are always very helpful on the forums. Something I wholeheartedly appreciate. But I do understand about the postal zones. I am in zone 4.

Sheila - I got it. My mistake. As Cosmic and you have said, you start w Zone 1. Up until very recently, I could swear it was done differently. but either way, I'm good.

I am not confused over the shipping on eC or the matrix backup. Sometimes there is something to complain about, but I do not feel the shipping on eC is one of them. Is it perfect? - No. But, there are few things that are.

So thanx again, Sheila (and Cosmic). I appreciate it.
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have set up my matrix; I have pounds set according to USPS from my zone 1 to Zone8 zips, with the help of both MaryAnn & Sheila.

I signed out, and tested the cart and the results were:

1- Using USPS, the weights combined ok, as I was used to before.

2- Removing the USPS option, I had the matrix on and put flat rates on my First Class items to correct their costs, so they would not be charged the full 1 pound off of my matrix. BUT!!!! --- when I went through the motions of a mock sale without intending to complete, my charges through PayPal showed just the total of the two prices, and NO SHIPPING OR SALES TAX.

I do have the ST ticked and the matrix on, since it shows in both listings.

What could I have done wrong, here? Thank you!
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oops
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3183

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With PayPal Direct, the shipping and tax is not shown until you've added your address and/or signed into your PayPal account and you are returned to eCRATER checkout. At that point you are shown the shipping and tax and given the option to confirm the sale or abort the sale.

Is that what's happening?

adriennesretropolis wrote:
Well, I have set up my matrix; I have pounds set according to USPS from my zone 1 to Zone8 zips,
The shipping matrix, when used as a backup for USPS Calculated shipping, does not use zones. You MUST add shipping cost for each weight. For example, what will be your shipping for 1 pound, 2 pounds, 4 pounds, 6 pounds, etc all the way to the last column. That column, 16+, is the amount to be added to the 16 pound amount for each pound over 16 pounds. If you have 25.00 in the 16 pound column, and you put 2.00 in the 16+ column, when a package weighs 17 pounds the customer will be charged 27.00. With the matrix based on actual package weight, you have to look at your cost to ship a 4 pound package to zone 1 and zone 8 and determine a figure you can live with. Yes, the close customers will be over charged and the distance customers will be undercharged, but that's how it works. There is also one other headache, there's a 1 pound column, a 2 pound column, but then it jumps to 4 lb, 6 lbs, etc. If someone's item weights 3 lbs., they will be charged the amount in the 4 pound column.

The only way around this, is using the Flat Rate system where you add the cost of shipping for each item. You will be able to add the exact amount you want to receive for shipping this one item. HOWEVER, there are 2 problems with this system.
1) The shipping costs are added together in multiple item shipments. If item A has 5.00 shipping, Item B has 5.00 shipping and Item C has 5.00 shipping, when the customer buys all 3 items, they will be charged $15.00 shipping.

2) Items don't expire on eCRATER, they stay listed until either they sell or you remove them. With this system, you will need to adjust the shipping on every item when the cost of shipping increases.

The good news is that both systems can be backup systems for US seller. The USPS website rarely times out, so your backup system will not be used that often.
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tigercreekgifts



Posts: 6286

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of people get zones confused. I did too several years back when I first started trying to learn the different types of shipping methods. But your zip code is always considered as zone 1. The USPS has a zoning chart you can use and type in your zip code and it will change based on your location and tell you what states are in what zones depending on where you are.

I would post a link to it, but I am working on a very old mobile device that glitches like crazy and when I switch to a second tab to copy the URL, when I switch back to ecrater everything I typed in gets erased. So maybe someone here can find and share the URL to that chart.

But for example the areas of NY, NJ, MD, CT, ans so forth could be zone 1 to those who live there but for someone that lives in Ohio those states could be zone 2 or zone 3, and for someone that lives in California those states could be zone 8. So it just depends on your location.
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adrienneszat



Posts: 225

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheila, got it! Smile

I guess with a shop full of varied weights from ounces to pounds, there is no easy matrix answer. Yet, I see how over time, I might find other ways of setting it up.

When I said zone to zone; I meant from me to the furthest U.S. location away from me. I did enter actual shipping costs from my location, with MaryAnn's help. You both have been a great help to me - it would have taken a century before I would get it by myself!

I did not want to go any further past my PayPal checkout, so I wouldn't make the mistake of perhaps actually checking out! Shocked TY - good to know all is well with shipping & taxes being charged.

It's too bad that the Christmas Season will be the time when most have experienced the USPS to be down; I think I will post in my terms a squib about returning any gross overages, should they occur in any case.

Thank you all, again! I think I can fly now; hopefully...
Rolling Eyes [/u]
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