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Google says I offer free shipping but I don't.

 
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:20 pm    Post subject: Google says I offer free shipping but I don't. Reply with quote

Hello, I'm setting up a group of products, and testing Google search results. In general, I'm pleased that Google is finding me, but when they display a picture of my products, they indicate "free shipping" when I'm actually using the USPS calculator. My listings (only 15 so far) behave correctly on the site, and add shipping, which makes me wonder what's causing Google to indicate shipping is free? Anybody know? Thanks.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6951

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why don;t you provides link to one of your products that is exhibiting this behavior. Then some of us can look at it to figure out what's up.
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 16301

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that the problem is the calculated shipping doesn't show an amount for the shipping so Google perceives it as free. Do these magazines have any advertising in them? If they don't, they would qualify for media mail and that Media Mail shipping price is the same whether it goes across your street or to the furthest reaches of Alaska and Hawaii as well as Guam and PR.
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmicray wrote:
Why don;t you provides link to one of your products that is exhibiting this behavior. Then some of us can look at it to figure out what's up.


Thanks for looking.

The store, still under "some construction" (famous last words) is here:
https://thingery.ecrater.com/
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MoonwishesStore wrote:
I believe that the problem is the calculated shipping doesn't show an amount for the shipping so Google perceives it as free. Do these magazines have any advertising in them? If they don't, they would qualify for media mail and that Media Mail shipping price is the same whether it goes across your street or to the furthest reaches of Alaska and Hawaii as well as Guam and PR.


I've thought about flat-rating them, and I still might, thanks for the suggestion. I use Media Mail at my own site and a couple other platforms (for record albums) and I'm actually not sure whether USPS considers a page that encourages subscriptions as advertising or not.

Doesn't really matter though-they mail at 3 or 4 ounces (TBD, depending upon my packaging) and I can do that First Class Package at a rate that's similar to a Media Mail result. There's a slight problem with MM vs. First Class in that MM is destroyed if it happens to dead-end, and I've learned that one the hard way in the past.

I tried sticking in a "shipping" attribute and corresponding value at which point the system informed me that eCRATER automatically submits that attribute. That makes me wonder if I need to just wait a little while since these listings are only a few days old, and I was actually surprised that Google is already finding them.

I have somewhere over 100 of these magazines, I think, and don't intend to add other types of products, but maybe other similar publications, so maybe I'd be just as well off to change 'em to flat rate. I was just surprised when Google saw them as free shipping, and I want to pause and ponder before I slug in a bunch of stuff.

Other than that, this a pretty narrowly focused line of stuff not offered by many other merchants, and I'm pretty pleased with how this is going.
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 16301

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think all you have to do since they are rather lightweight is charge whatever you do for 4 ounce FCM and you will have solved your problem.
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MoonwishesStore wrote:
I think all you have to do since they are rather lightweight is charge whatever you do for 4 ounce FCM and you will have solved your problem.


I think so too, and that way I can build in a nominal handling charge as well. Thanks for the help
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 4061

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two primary methods of shipping, eCRATER shipping OR USPS Calculated Shipping. The eCrater shipping can be Free Shipping, Flat Rate per item, or shipping matrix. The eCrater checkout system looks first for Calculated shipping, then looks for free shipping, then flat rate shipping and last it looks to the shipping matrix. You can have some items with Flat Rate shipping and others with the matrix.

When you use the USPS Calculated Shipping you need to create an eCrater backup shipping method which will be used if the USPS website is down AND as a method of shipping for the feed to Google Shopping. If you don't have an eCrater backup system in place, the Google Shopping feed will show $0.00 shipping which will be translated by GS as free shipping.
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:

When you use the USPS Calculated Shipping you need to create an eCrater backup shipping method which will be used if the USPS website is down AND as a method of shipping for the feed to Google Shopping. If you don't have an eCrater backup system in place, the Google Shopping feed will show $0.00 shipping which will be translated by GS as free shipping.


I appreciate that information, thank you. So, in other words, since I don't see a specific option referring to backup shipping, does this mean that I can specify USPS calculated shipping but also have a Flat Rate option in place through the weight matrix?

I'm fairly sure that I can get by with nothing but Flat Rate as the shipping option UNLESS somebody orders five or more items, since they all weigh the same thing.

I promise, I'm near the end of my questions. I rarely see orders for five or more items...........but I'd rather that Google didn't show free shipping when I don't do that.
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 4061

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I promise, I'm near the end of my questions.
Laughing Then you are doing a lot better than the rest of us! Laughing We all have questions from time to time and the community forum is a great place to get answers, suggestions, and different ways of doing things.

When you select USPS Calculated shipping, it will always be used first when a customer checks for shipping and checks out. When USPS Calculated shipping is selected, any choice you make on the item page (free shipping, flat rate shipping, or weight matrix) will only be used if the USPS Calculated shipping is not available, like for the GS feed or if the USPS site times out.

The flat rate sounds like a good option until the shipping company changes their rates and every item in your store has to be updated. Then you'll be wondering if maybe there is a better way.

If you are only going to sell back issue magazines in the store and they are all about the same size, the weight matrix may work better for you. You enter each item weight as a whole number (1) and set the first column as the current shipping price for one item. Then the 2 column would be the shipping price for 2 items, the 4 column the shipping price for 4 items, etc. The advantage to this system is never having to update the shipping on each item, you only have to update the matrix. The down sides are you can't quickly switch back to USPS Calculated and there are no columns for 3,5,7,9, etc.

I have two stores using the matrix method and it works well. One store sells postcards and one sells sewing patterns so it was easy to set-up. My Treasures store has items with weights all over the board so it uses the USPS Calculated. I use the matrix as the back-up for every item that has a weight of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, pounds. For the items less than a pound or items that ship at 3, 5, 7 pounds, I use the Flat Rate and keep them flagged in my personal database. When the new shipping rates are changed the USPS Calculated comes from USPS so it is automatically correct. I can quickly change the matrix, then run a report on the other items in groups that need to be changed.

The thing to remember with eCrater that is sometimes different from other marketplaces, the shipping is a storewide choice rather than everything based on the individual item and we have a number of tools we can use to create a system that works best for our own store.
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:


The flat rate sounds like a good option until the shipping company changes their rates and every item in your store has to be updated. Then you'll be wondering if maybe there is a better way.

If you are only going to sell back issue magazines in the store and they
are all about the same size, the weight matrix may work better for you.




Oooh, I completely forgot about that. Editing a bazillion things when USPS changes a rate is exactly what I'm trying to AVOID.

I did set up a matrix last night which I see may ask for a little honing. I got far enough that I started to wonder about using synthetic weights, but I need to build some test packages before I do that.

Something which I think is confusing me from the very beginning is the checkbox:

Code:
account: options: (set store options) Enable USPS Calculated Shipping Instead


If that box is CHECKED, then does that mean use ONLY USPS CS, or does it mean that that's the default?
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SheilaDeesPostcards



Posts: 4061

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the box is CHECKED, then USPS Calculated Shipping (USPS CS) will be used for EVERY item in your store. When the customer checks the shipping for an item when browsing and when they check-out, the system makes a call to USPS and returns the correct RETAIL shipping for the weight based on your zipcode and the customer's zipcode. Every option you select when you select USPS CS will be offered on every item except the First Class options. The First Class options are only offered when the listed weight is 13 ounces or less. Once in a blue moon, the USPS site will time out and the system will fall back on your back-up eCrater system (free shipping, flat rate, or weight matrix). Also, when eCrater does the feed to Google Shopping (GS) the shipping is sent to GS based on your back-up.

The next question is often regarding those items that could be shipped First Class Parcel Commercial that weigh over 13 oz. but under a pound. Some sellers (self included) simply enter 0.8125 (13oz) for those items to force the system to offer the 13 oz RETAIL rate. On eCrater, the customer will ALWAYS be charged the USPS retail rate using USPS CS. Of course, the seller can use Commercial rate and the difference helps with cost of packing. This works great for the USPS CS, but when you think of your back-up you're probably going to want to use the Flat Rate because the weight matrix starts at 1 pound.

You mentioned using synthetic weights, HOWEVER, this is only possible if you DON"T use USPS CS. Using USPS Calculated requires the weight listed for an item be the correct shipping weight. The weight must be entered as a decimal of a pound when using the USPS CS. There is a handy chart to convert ounces to decimal in this topic https://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?t=2461, just scroll down near the bottom of page 1.

If the majority of the items in your store are going to be less than 1 pound, the weight matrix may be the better answer using a synthetic weights. You decide the amount you put in each column and enter the item weights based on the matrix you've created. When creating your own matrix system, just remember that when the customer orders multiply items the system is going to add the "weights" of all items and return the shipping in that column. If you add an item that is heavier than average, you just add a weight that will return the correct shipping in your weight matrix system. AND, when the shipping company changes their rate, you only have to update your shipping matrix rather than the individual items with Flat Rate.
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Thingery



Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SheilaDeesPostcards wrote:
If the box is CHECKED, then USPS Calculated Shipping (USPS CS) will be used for EVERY item in your store.

The next question is often regarding those items that could be shipped First Class Parcel Commercial that weigh over 13 oz. but under a pound.


I surely appreciate all this advice. So first, thanks again for that.

For the time being, and realizing that nothing is ever static and also "sort of" realizing that I ought to be paying attention to the January 21st rates, I've settled on a matrix that works ok.

I had forgotten about that little gray area between 13 oz and 15.99 ounces (I use calculated shipping on my site, powered by Zen Cart and they solved that little conundrum), and I do have a little rough spot in there where the customer is going to be forced into Priority shipping and I can still actually use First Class, but in my situation, that's an order of 8 magazines and I rarely see those.

So I think I'm probably good to go. I'd be completely comfortable if eCRATER had sent another feed last night and I could see that Google ISN'T identifying my shipping as free, but they apparently didn't, so I might just sit still and wait for that since it was the "original problem" (more famous last words).

This isn't a really high volume line, and I'm not going to get hurt if I learn a couple of things the hard way. There aren't a lot of other guys offering the same merchandise and I'm already getting search results with which I'm happy and I suspect that's mostly the key to success here.

So, onward and upward. I'll probably discover a few little tweaks I think I need yet, and ultimately get my inventory loaded and then I already know what's going to happen next.

I dabble in a lots of stuff, and a lot of lines aren't really related to each other, and it's inevitable that I'll wake up one morning and think: hey, I need another store or two Very Happy
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MoonwishesStore



Posts: 16301

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never used anything but the matrix for my store and it works out well and especially for combined multi-item orders. Because of the way I have it set up, I don't have to worry about that 13-15.99 ounces as that is already taken in. Because most of my items are on average 4 ounces, if I list something that weighs 6 ounces, I will list is as a weight 2 with the matrix and that returns the shipping amount of what I need if I am shipping two regular items.

Because I want to encourage multi-item sales, for my US shipping, I stop adding in more shipping costs once I get past 16 ounces since you can ship Priority-flat rate, etc.. Even if the cost of the Priority is way more than what I collected, I am still ahead of what it would have cost me to ship 10 items individually as I would to ship 10 items in one package. Individually, think of all those initial 30 cents for PP/Stripe, times 10. That is $3 saved. My biggest ever sale was 27 patterns. The customer paid s&h as if she had bought about 6 patterns and I remember the actual cost of shipping was $10.xx. PP always charges 30 cents for each payment processed and then some % of the whole bill. So instead of paying $8.10 if the person had bought each of these separately, I only paid the initial .30 and then the rest of the cost that PP collects. I saved a lot of money in the long run as did my buyer. Instead of paying an initial $7.80 for 27 individual orders, I paid 30 cents. I'm sure customers appreciate seeing that after a certain point there is no more shipping costs included in the order. While I offered shipping somewhat like this for international orders originally, with the skyrocketing international costs, it just doesn't work anymore. I can't afford to pay $10-20 out of pocket to try to get them to buy more. Hope you can understand that Smile

I really do like using the matrix.
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cosmicray



Posts: 6951

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thingery wrote:
I had forgotten about that little gray area between 13 oz and 15.99 ounces (I use calculated shipping on my site, powered by Zen Cart and they solved that little conundrum), and I do have a little rough spot in there where the customer is going to be forced into Priority shipping and I can still actually use First Class, but in my situation, that's an order of 8 magazines and I rarely see those.

USPS Retail FCP only goes to 13 oz. USPS Commercial FCP goes to 15.999 oz.

eCRATER uses USPS Retail rates with USPS Calculated, so parcels in that window get bumped to priority.

You have to use fixed/free/matrix if that window is important to you.

You may want to study the formula I posted here ...
https://community.ecrater.com/viewtopic.php?p=316033#316033
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