Dynamic Shipping Charges Computation Module for Web to Print Stores

An online web to print shop is all about expansion and reaching out to newer customers and prospects. As a 24×7 online print shop, your portal should be geared-up to receive and fulfil orders from any part of the world.

The challenge, however, stems from the various dynamic (real-time) factors. From print sizes, materials and volumes to Print package weight, freight rates and consignee location/s. The final print ‘Shipping Charges’ computation has to take into consideration, tens of variables often involving multiple parties.

While the previous article highlighted the need for an online calculator/ quote module for hosting an online print shop, this article focuses on meeting the challenges related to computation of Shipping Charges based on size and weight of the Print consignment (including packaging material), for a desired delivery address.

Different Locations, Different Rates

Most geographically vast countries have variable freight rates for different zones/ areas/ states. Also, some regional courier companies might offer variable pricing and discounts for specific locations (based on their network strengths).

In case of overseas orders, the Print consignment might pass through more than one logistics provider, requiring multiple quotes. Hence, an online web to print store has to be able to decipher the complete order and compute the most competitive shipping charges, in real time.

Here Is How It Is Done

We know that logistics companies offer quotes based on two variables – location (of the consignee) and weight of the Print consignment (actual product + packing material). When your customer places on online Printing order, the system collects/ computes this data.

In order to make the most of the information provided by the customer, your web to print portal should allow you to enter a database (matrix) of weights of single products (for example, the weight of one business card/ one flyer/ one envelope/ one letterhead, etc.). In addition, other variables like weight of packing material, facility to enter quotes (zone-wise rate matrix) of multiple courier companies, etc. should be available.

All this information facilitates the system to automatically calculate the most competitive courier charges – based on the product, quantity ordered and delivery address.

For example: When a client places an order for 100 business cards, this is what happens:

  • The system multiplies the know weight of one business card by 100 to get the total product weight
  • The system then adds the weight of the packing material (predetermined) to arrive at the Gross Product Weight
  • Now it looks-up the courier rate matrix to pick up the most economical rate for the given weight – zone combination
  • The charges are automatically added to the invoice
  • In order to add flexibility, manual intervention is allowed through an Admin access. Hereby, a user can add/ delete or modify various values like weight of product, packing material, zone, rates, etc.

If you generate a large volume of consignments, you probably have a tie-up with a logistics solutions provider who offers you some special discounts. In such a case, calculating the Shipping Charges requires your online store to pass the weight and location details to the logistics provider who will revert with the special rate based on your contract.

Hence, it is very important to ascertain that your web to print platform allows external API (Application Programming Interface) from a courier company to calculate the final rates. This saves you the trouble of entering zone-wise courier rates or modifying the same every time the courier company changes your rates.

At Flexi we believe that “Our Solution is Flexible enough to suit your need”. We have a built-in dynamic courier module as well as provisions to connect to an API provided by your courier company. Learn More

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