We are struggling with shipping costs on our e commerce site.
I've researched this in the past and am wondering what people think about the following scenario:
We are a national niche wholesaler using a proprietary warehouse/sales software. Part of this software is an e commerce module. It is not possible (as far as I know) to use a third party shopping cart system. They only allow one shipping zone (we ship to eight from the east coast) with shipping prices controlled by a weight table. The software company is not very interested in supporting the product anymore (they bought the original company to get something else), but there is a reasonably large and active user base, so minor improvements do happen occasionally.
Because of the large and varied inventory we carry, it is very difficult to estimate shipping costs based solely on item weight, even dimensional weight, due to the need to bundle multiple items into one box or strap together multiple boxes as one.
Currently, we do not quote a shipping charge at checkout. We recognize that this is not a good business practice and has probably lost us many orders. There seem to be only a few options at this time:
1) Do nothing – keep telling people there will be a charge for shipping but not telling them how much it will be.
2) Create a Rate Based Table that uses actual or dimensional weight for a specific zone (we have to pick one zone – can’t use all 8)
3) Create a Dollar Based Table that uses the selling price of each item to calculate the $ amount charged for shipping
4) Use some combination of B & C to calculate the $ amount charged for shipping.
Any opinions on the best option and why would be appreciated. Can you think of an option we are not considering? Thanks.