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USPS Calculated Shipping - 1st Class Package and Media Mail

 
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zBay



Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:27 am    Post subject: USPS Calculated Shipping - 1st Class Package and Media Mail Reply with quote

Hi,

I am in the process of changing all of my listings to include the weight so I can ship internationally and offer fairer shipping costs to Buyers overall.

The problem is, that if I offer First Class Package and Media Mail rates, Buyers choose those when they check out even if the item does not qualify for First Class (under 13 ounces) or Media Mail (Books, Media, etc.). Since the shipping choices are a Store-wide option, I've had to remove those options. I have a lot of items that fall under the 13 ounce weight and a lot that fall into the Media Mail category, but removing those options means that the Buyers can't get the lower cost rates, which can be substantial. As a result, my sales are suffering.

Can anyone offer help with this situation?
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3926

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you enter your weights in decimal form, calculated shipping will only offer First Class Parcel as an option with the weight is 0.8125 (13 ozs.) or less. You must enter a leading zero with a decimal in the weight field. If you have a couple of items that weight 0.25 and 0.50 the system will add the two and return the First Class Parcel rate for 0.75 as an option. There is a chart with all the ounces in decimal form in the FAQ here: Solutions to Common Questions - SHIPPING MATRIX & MORE https://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?t=2461. Personally, I add the weight of some items as 0.8125 (13 ozs.) when I know the actual packed weight will be 0.9375 (15 ozs) just so the customer can choose First Class Parcel. The USPS Calculated Shipping always returns the RETAIL shipping which is limited to 13 oz. Since I use online postage and pay the commercial rate, I can "fudge" the weight and still offer the First Class Parcel for some items.

For your Media Mail items you only have two choices, you can either include the Media Mail shipping in the price of the item OR open a second eCRATER store for your Media Mail items only.

As you switch over to calculated shipping, keep in mind that you must have a backup shipping system in place. The shipping price sent to Google Shopping for your item on the eCRATER feed will be the amount you've entered as flat rate or shipping matrix. If you don't have one of those in place, your items will show Free Shipping in Google Shopping which is really annoying to customers when they click through to your item and see the actual shipping. You can just leave the system you have in place now as a backup when you add USPS Calculated shipping UNLESS you've used an artifical weight with the shipping matrix.
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zBay



Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:10 pm    Post subject: Thank you! Reply with quote

I recently started looking through the Forum in an effort to do something with the shipping issue and I was HOPING that you would respond to my questions after reading your posts. Your posts are a pleasure to read, full of great information and this was NO EXCEPTION! Thank you very much for the quick, informative response. I will be following your advice to the tee!
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 15591

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you! Reply with quote

zBay wrote:
I recently started looking through the Forum in an effort to do something with the shipping issue and I was HOPING that you would respond to my questions after reading your posts. Your posts are a pleasure to read, full of great information and this was NO EXCEPTION! Thank you very much for the quick, informative response. I will be following your advice to the tee!


I see questions on this forum that I also HOPE that Sheila will answer Laughing We love her here and I appreciate her knowledge so much!
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3926

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your kind comments. I really enjoy helping other sellers when I can.

I have 4 stores here on eCRATER and each one uses a different method of shipping. In my postcard store I wanted to charge one shipping price no matter how many postcards were purchased at one time. I have one store that only sells items that can be shipped via Media Mail. Normally I use the shipping matrix and only offer Media Mail, however I've entered the weight correctly so I can switch to USPS Calculated shipping for the holidays and offer First Class Parcel, Priority Mail and Media Mail. One other store uses the shipping matrix only with a few items using Flat Rate. In SheilaDeesTreasureFinds I use the USPS Calculated with the backup being a combination of the Shipping Matrix and Flat Rate Shipping. I really like the flexibility of the eCRATER shipping.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6648

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZBay, If you decide to use the shipping matrix, one thing you really need to wrap your head around is that the number being used for weight is just merely a number. You can, if that works better for you use it to represent a weight, but there is no system requirement that it be a real weight. It can be any number that allows you to build a matrix based array of shipping charges that get you to where you're trying to get to. The advantage to using the shipping matrix, is that it allows you to vary shipping calculation methods from listing to listing (excluding USPS Calculated Shipping, which overrides all other choices in the store).

I have written about this in the past. Search for 'synthetic weight'.

HTH
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DoYouReadMe



Posts: 132

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shipping Matrix is great when you do figure it out....I do not use thee USPS calculator at all.

https://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?t=38420

Also another helpful thread to understand what happens if you have some items you want to provide free shipping for while other items in the same store have shipping costs, and a buyer purchases both at once, or a combination of USPS and matrix shipping occurs......

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:
cosmicray wrote:
What does eCRATER do if you have USPS Calculated OFF and some listings use fixed shipping, and others use the matrix. If a customer adds two items to their cart, one that has fixed shipping and the other matrix based, how does eCRATER calculate a shipping cost ?
The system will look at the weight of the item using the weight matrix and determine the shipping from the matrix. Then the system adds the shipping from the matrix Plus the flat rate shipping from the second item for the total charge for shipping.

Take a look at this topic FAQs and Solutions > Solutions to Common Questions - SHIPPING MATRIX & MORE https://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?t=2461 and scroll down about 1/2 way to an answer written by ACRead and posted by BT. AC did a great job of explaining the shipping when using a combination of weight matrix and flat rate (with USPS Calculated OFF). She gave several examples to explain how the system works.
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 15591

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely correct Cosmic. I use the matrix and my 'weights' are numbers representing the number of patterns sold and what their approximate weight would be to ship and the amount listing for each is usually just about right on. A bit more difficult now with the zones for FCM, but I have rarely been off and that was when I missed an extra heavy pattern and instead of listing it as a weight of '2' I listed it with a '1' so my shipping amount was off. Not to bad if I am shipping it 100 miles, but all the way to CA the price starts going up!
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DoYouReadMe



Posts: 132

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait........Here's more.....

SETTING UP SHIPPING FOR NEW SELLER

http://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?t=38420&highlight=SETTING++SHIPPING+FOR+NEW+SELLER

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:
Here's something I wrote a while back to try to help. Maybe it will make your shipping options a little more clear.

Information to Help Explain the eCRATER Shipping System

There are two different shipping systems in use on eCRATER, the eCRATER Shipping System (Free Shipping, Weight Matrix, and/or Flat Rate Shipping) and the USPS Calculated Shipping. If you are not based in the USA, the USPS Calculated Shipping is not available. If you are in the USA and you use USPS Calculated Shipping, you will still need the eCRATER Shipping System as a backup which will be explained below.

How the shipping is calculated at checkout depends on selections a seller makes on the individual item page and their selection in their admin for Accounts > Options > Enable USPS Calculated Shipping Instead. Please note the word “Instead”. If this box is checked, every item in the store will be charged shipping based on the USPS Calculated shipping.

1) First, a discussion of the shipping options when the USPS Calculated Shipping is NOT enabled.

On each item page a seller must
1. complete the weight field and
2. select the type of shipping to be used with that item.

* The weight field should be the packaged weight of the item based on the decimal system. (See decimal system for more information.)

* The field will accept a value of 0.00 but this value should be used only when the item will not be shipped, such as an item that will be sent digitally.

* It is also possible to use a synthetic weight with a weight matrix that is designed by the seller. (See Using synthetic weights with the weight matrix.)

Here’s what happens with each selection.

Free Shipping to United States:
If the buyer is located in one of the 50 states, their shipping will be 0.00. The item page will state free for the US-mainland. If the customer checks for other destinations and enters a US zip code for Alaska or Hawaii, the shipping will be 0.00. The item will be shown as free shipping on the feed to Google Shopping.

If the customer checks the shipping weight for an international location, they will be shown the shipping for their country as shown in the Weight Matrix based on their country and the weight of the item.

Weight Matrix
The shipping charge will be based on the Weight Matrix. The shipping charge shown to the buyer on the item page will be the shipping from the Weight Matrix for the US-mainland based on the weight entered by the seller on the item page. This shipping charge will also be submitted on the feed to Google Shopping.

Alaska and Hawaii are listed separately to accommodate US sellers who may use one shipping service for the mainland and a different shipping service to the other 2 states.

Flat Rate Shipping to:
The shipping charge will be based on the buyer’s location and the shipping amount shown by the seller on the item’s admin page. Currently sellers are allowed to select up to 10 locations using the Flat Rate Shipping. The US-mainland, Alaska and Hawaii are automatically added to a seller’s Flat Shipping zones because sellers are required to ship to all 50 US states. A seller can add 7 additional zones to their Flat Shipping Zones. When Flat Rate Shipping to: is selected on an item page, a seller will see boxes for each location in their Flat Shipping Zones. The seller should complete the shipping for that item for each zone. If the item can be shipped at a lower rate if combined with other items, then the lower rate would be shown in the second box. If the item must be shipped alone, add the same rate in the second box rather than a reduced rate.
* If the seller enters the rate as 0.00, the buyer will be charged $0.00 shipping for the item.

* If the seller leaves the box blank, the system will look to the Weight Matrix for the shipping charge based on the buyer’s country and the weight of the item.

* The amount shown for the US-mainland will be the amount on the feed sent to Google Shopping.

The checkout system will look for the shipping on the item page checking first for Free shipping, then checking for Flat Rate Shipping. If both are blank, the system will check the Weight Matrix.


2) Second, a discussion of how the USPS Calculated Shipping works when it IS enabled.

When this option is selected on the Account > Options page, you will need to select the methods of shipping you will allow the buyer to select. All of the options selected will be offered to the customer for every item in your store. The one (1) exception is when you select any form of First Class. If you select First Class Parcel, this service is only available for orders that have a total weight of 13 ounces or less. If the order weighs over 13 ounces, the customer will not be offered First Class Parcel. In other words, if any item in your store can not be shipped in a Priority Flat Rate Padded Envelope, you shouldn’t offer Priority Flat Rate Padded Envelope. If the customer pays for Priority Mail, you select the type of Priority Mail you wish to use.

When the customer is ready to check out, the eCRATER checkout will send a computer call to the USPS website to get the cost of shipping. If there is a glitch in the communication or if the USPS site is running slow and times out, no shipping will be reported by USPS. At this point, the eCRATER checkout system will fall back on the eCRATER shipping systems and follow the rules already outlined above.

The USPS Calculated system uses the USPS Retail rate. This can not be changed and nothing can be added to the shipping! A seller is allowed to ship using the USPS Commercial rate. The difference in the 2 amounts can be used by the seller to help off set the cost of shipping materials. It is helpful that the USPS Priority Mail now includes some insurance and it includes tracking.

If a customer purchases multiple items, the item weights will be totaled and the shipping charged will be based on the total weight. Currently this may result in an overcharge because packing weight is normally included in the item weight of each item. Since most customers are accustomed to other sites charging a handling charge also, this usually doesn’t cause a problem.

When items are sent to Google Shopping by eCRATER, the system will look to the backup eCRATER shipping system to determine the amount of shipping to show in Google shopping. If the seller is using USPS Calculated Shipping and does not have a backup system, the shipping will be submitted to Google Shopping as Zero (or free). The USPS Calculated Shipping can not be determined until the checkout system knows the buyer’s zipcode, therefore, the feed eCRATER sends to Google Shopping uses the backup eCRATER shipping system.



Using synthetic weights with the weight matrix

Some sellers prefer using the weight matrix with a synthetic weight. This is very easy to use if all or the majority of products sold are a similar weight. The weight matrix would be based on the cost to ship based on the number of items sold. For example, if it cost $3.50 to ship one item, $6.00 to ship 2 items, $8.00 to ship 4 items then you would enter $3.50 in the 1 column, $6.00 in the 2 column and $8.00 in the 4 column. On each item page, the weight would be entered as 1. If a customer ordered 4 items, the weight would be totaled to 4 (weight of 4 items at 1 each) and the customer would be charged the shipping cost in the 4 column. If the seller wanted to sell a different item that had a shipped weight that would cost the amount in column 4, the weight of 4 would be entered for that item. One downside to using this type of synthetic weight system would be the inability to switch to an actual weight based system without editing every item to correct the weight.


General Comments on the eCRATER Shipping system:

1) The more items that have the shipping listed on the individual item pages, the greater the work load when the shipping rates change.

2) Items with weights of 3 lbs, 5 lbs., 7 lbs, etc could have their shipping weights listed on the item page. The eCRATER system will always check the item page for a Flat Rate shipping before checking the weight matrix. This would be true even if you are using this as a backup for USPS Calculated shipping. IMPORTANT: If you use a combined system, it is strongly recommended that you keep your own record of these items as you list them or you will have to review every item in your store to find these items to update after a shipping increase.
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 3926

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey folks, apparently you missed the first statement made by zbay, "I am in the process of changing all of my listings to include the weight so I can ship internationally and offer fairer shipping costs to Buyers overall."


The OP is an established eCRATER seller whose feedback goes back 10 years. Looking at their store, they've worked well with the eCRATER shipping system, but they want to switch to USPS Calculated Shipping. When you use calculated shipping, you MUST use correct packaged weights. Synthetic weight is NOT an option if you are using calculated shipping which the OP desires.

I do appreciate everyone adding the extra information for the benefit of newer sellers who may be reading this topic. Thanks!
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 15591

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Synthetic weight is NOT an option if you are using calculated shipping which the OP desires.


Precisely right. For years I handled my international shipping by use of the matrix. Then the last shipping nonsense and it was too much trouble to guesstimate the cost of postage. I had never had trouble in the past using the matric which was set up basically like my US one. But no more. When being off by 1/10th of an ounce can cost you $3-5. Too rich for my blood and with over 8000 items in inventory, I didn't have the time or energy to weigh everything just to be sure.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6648

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:
The OP is an established eCRATER seller whose feedback goes back 10 years. Looking at their store, they've worked well with the eCRATER shipping system, but they want to switch to USPS Calculated Shipping. When you use calculated shipping, you MUST use correct packaged weights. Synthetic weight is NOT an option if you are using calculated shipping which the OP desires.

Where the shipping matrix has lost traction is with USPS implementing zoned shipping (I.e. Distance based), initially for Priority Mail, and more recently for FCPS. In addition, shipments to Canada are also now being calculated based on distance. The utility of the shipping matrix, for packages with any appreciable weight/dimensions, has faded somewhat.

An enhanced shipping matrix, that takes into account distance/zones, could be quite useful. I'm not expecting that to happens tho.
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