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Drop Shipping and Shipping Costs

Dealing with shipping costs on a web site while using drop shipping...



6:00 am on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi All!

I was really happy to come upon this disscussion forum. You guys are positively loaded with helpful information, but I digress. I'm currently in the process of setting up an online store. I'm using the web site to primarily direct customers to EBay auction items that I'm selling. Eventually I plan on having the site include a standard inventory of items as well. However, for the near term I'm focusing on EBay sales. I'm using a wholesale distributer who does offer drop shipping services and I intend on using those services. My problem is I'm uncertain as to how to handle the shipping charges. The wholesaler would ship out the products to my customers while I would pay for all associated costs including shipping fees. Since I would be using an automated online shopping cart on my site, I'm not sure how I should set up the shipping charges in the Shipping/handling settings. I should mention I haven't settled on a shopping cart package just yet, though I have been trying out various demos. Still I have this one issue that I'm trying to resolve before I go full steam ahead. The wholesaler would charge shipping fees based on weight. Does anyone have a reliable system/method for conveying the shipping costs to their customers? The only way I could see doing this is if I handled every transaction manually, calculating shipping for each order and such, which kind of defeats the purpose of having some fancy automated shopping cart (kind of impractical too). Thanks for the help.




7:01 am on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Could you do just so:

1) Calculate an approximate average single item weight you are selling (total weight of 10 typical items div 10).
2) Set an approximate 'per item' shipping cost. For lighter items, you'll be a little in plus, for heavier -- a little in minus.

Additionally, you can set a fixed extra for 'oversized' or 'overweighted' items.


7:33 am on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Have you asked the distributor if they can make the weights available to you? Armed with that (my preferance would be a spreadsheet) you can set up your cart and calculate accurate shipping costs. If they won't provide that information then it may still be possible to get it from their web site.


10:51 pm on Jul 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you both for your ideas. I suppose a lot depends on the Shopping Cart package I decide to go with. I've noticed quite a few don't have options to calculate shipping by weight, instead going with number of units or percentage of the cost. That does by the way seem kind of odd to me that their wouldn't be an option to caculate by weight considering one would be dealing with something like shipping costs. I've also found that a number of these shopping cart packages don't even have fields to insert a product's weight and thereby allow for those numbers to be figured into a shipping calculation. I was reading in an older messge on this forum about a shopping cart service found on ultracart.com. That one seems like a pretty nice one and does include options to calculate shipping weight. That will be the next demo I try out, assuming they have a demo. I'll certainly be taking both ideas into consideration Thank you again for your help.




2:22 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah your definitely gonna need the weights to pull this off. I've written a weight based algorithm that is so close to the actual freight charge it's scary and I'm not taking dimensions into account either.


6:19 am on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A lot of shopping carts have a built in link with UPS/FedEx/USPS and such for real time shipping calculations based on weight. And you enter in your zip code, method of pick up and can add in a handling charge. I don't see how this is a big deal. You MUST be looking at cheapie simple carts if they don't have this feature built in. And many do factor in dimensions.


4:32 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Shopsite actually has a great shipping system based on weight, or what ever else you want to use. Highly recommended. Although a tad expensive for license, well worth the money.



7:15 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi Rebook - good luck on your venture. I'm using dropshippers as well and it gets more complicated if you carry products of varying weights and dimensions, or even multiple drop shippers. ;) In terms of shipping cost, those based in the mid-west are best. :)

The products being sold:

1) What is the min, max, and average weight for your widgets?
2) What is the retail cost of products?
3) Are packages Oversized
(i.e. over 30 lbs, total dimensions over 84 inches, or (W+H)x2 is over 108 inches?)4) Who are you clients? Domestic 48 states? All 50 states? International?

Give us an idea of what kind of widgets you ship (without being too specific) and I think we can offer targeted advice.

> automated online shopping cart

You can either use a shopping system with real-time shipping calculator, or roll your own catalog using a remotely hosted shopping cart service (i.e. AmeriCart or CartManager). If you decide to use a calculator based on per item or percentage of item cost, then you need to build the shipping costs into the price of the product.

> wholesaler would charge shipping fees based on weight

Is s/he charging you a "handling" or "dropship" fee? If so, you could possibly add that into the shipping cost as "shipping & handling", or add it in to your retail cost. This might also be a good time to factor in Paypal, Credit Card, and other costs associated with the transaction.


5:54 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Sun818,

<1) What is the min, max, and average weight for your widgets?>

Weight of products I'd be selling range from anywhere between 20oz and 15lbs I'd say on average, the weight might be about 7lbs. These are fairly rough estimates as I haven't yet sat down and done all the math.

<2) What is the retail cost of products?>

Hmmm, the retail costs on items could be anywhere between $15 and $2000. Again, this is another estimate.

<3) Are packages Oversized?>

Nope, no oversized products.

<4) Who are you clients? Domestic 48 states? All 50 states? International?>

I'll be selling to those living in the continental United States, no international sales.

I'll be focusing on selling various computing devices (e.g. notebook computers) and accessories as well as consumer electronics, toys, and games.

I don't anticipate having to pay any outragious shipping costs based on seeing the weight of some of the items. However, I do want to nail down a reasonable estimate so as not to hurt myself financially. The same would certainly be true of my customers.

I know that UPS offers shipment calculating services that can be included on one's web site but I have my doubts as to it being able to integrate well with any of these shopping cart packages. In a previous post someone mentioned something about cheapy shopping cart packages. I have to agree there are some fairly crappy ones out there. Since I'm fairly new to all this, I'm making a diligent effort to do some shopping of my own. Trying all these packages out has really helped me learn a lot. Thanks.



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