# Thread: UK Shipping by postcode

1. ## UK Shipping by postcode

To all UK zencart stores !!!

I am looking at initiating a project to develop a sophisticated shipping module that calculates shipping by postcode.

I know this has been discussed before... and that Ryk has been active in getting something like this off the ground, but what I'm thinking of is far more extensive.

Heres the outline:-

UK Postcodes comprise TWO elements:

1. The OUTBOUND CODE
2. The INBOUND CODE

eg: CB1 10RE

CB1 is the OUTBOUND part of the code
10RE is the INBOUND part of the code

These postcodes can be GEO-MAPPED, meaning that if we know the postcode of the WAREHOUSE (or shop distribution point), we can calculate the distance to the customer's postcode.

Now, to base a module on the WHOLE postcode (while possible) will require a significant level of input, to base it on just the OUTBOUND part is a little less complex.

My vision is this:-

The shop's location is identified by its postcode.

This set's the "bullseye" for the shipping calculations.

Through the geo-mapping, the module configures five or six shipping zones:-

eg:

1. 10km from shop
2. 20km from shop
3. 50km from shop
4. 100km from shop
5. 200km from shop
6. more than 200km from shop

The geo-mapping can work out exactly what postcodes fall into each of these 6 zones - RELATIVE to the shop's postcode.

When a UK customer signs up, he/she gives us their postcode.

The shipping module looks at whether the customer is UK.

If TRUE, module is ACTIVE.

Shipping module looks at OUTWARD portion of customer's postcode.

Algorithm calculates and determines ZONE, based on Postcode of shop.

Shopkeeper can determine RATES for each zone, depending on personal preferences and bespoke shipping policy.

-----------------------------------------

THIS CAN WORK !!!

Take a look at the following example of how geo-mapping works (based on the relationship between POSTCODE ONE and POSTCODE TWO:-

http://www.homeworkerzone.co.uk/home...rch.member.php

We just need to port this concept across to zencart and we will have the ability for UK zenshops to calculate shipping using the customer's postcode.

----------------------------------------

If anyone else is interested in this concept, add to this thread, and let's see if we can find someone to build this for us.

2. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

If you are going to make such a module - why not make it flexible enough for the rest of the world to use too?

3. Totally Zenned
Join Date
May 2005
Location
Cheshire, UK
Posts
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Plugin Contributions
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## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

@schoolboy

Whilst I agree this would certainly be a useful feature, be mindful the UK postal system is based on weight and size of package, not based on distance within the UK. So there is not really any added advantage creating this module to be solely UK aside from the obvious "neat and flashy" sleight of hand.

As far as I am aware, couriers also base their deliveries on weight not on distance travelled.

All this said however, developing one for the UK as a base starting point will have its practical uses. Firstly, once it works within the UK, it should be relatively straightforward to hook it into a pan-european system. This is where it would prove most valuable. From the GEO base in the UK you would be able to instantly quote accurate postage based both on weight and distance - all from the postcode of the store (or one entered by the customer).

The biggest issue would be where to get the accurate postcode data both for the UK and each country in Europe. You would then need to hook into individual carriers and work up a matrix of prices for each carrier based both on weight, distance and destination country.

In my opinion this is a lot of work but if you put it together as a European Geo solution I think it would be invaluable to every single zencart user. You would be extending the shipping capabilities of zencart 1000%.

If you do decide to do this I suggest starting with one country (UK) then extend from there. I also suggest you build in a tracking system per parcel where the user can enter the package number and track the parcel. This should be available to admin and also to the account owner in My Account. Provided you worked with individual carriers in the UK the same model will work for each country with minor alterations only needed to take into account the differences between each carrier's systems.

I hope this gives you something to work from and please do keep me updated on progress. I think it is a great idea.

4. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

There is no reason why:-

A. it can't be "adaptable" to other regions in the world where postcodes interface with geo-mapping.

B. it incorprates a component that factors weight into the equation.

UK Postal charges are notoriously complex (Royal Mail), but we have recently conducted negotiations with several (8 actually) private couriers, who calculate their rate principally on DISTANCE.

As we all know... shipping calculation remains one of the most hair-pulling aspects of modern catalogue-based commerce.

Short of praying for a solution from above, I think a concerted effort to look at how we can amalgamate the core variables in shipping:-

Volume
Weight
Distance
Value

into a functional, customizable module. we'll be addressing some of the most pressing concerns of e-shop owners world wide.

Zen Cart - leaders in e-commerce would significantly enhance their (already gilt-edged) reputation if they could get their heads around effective shipping configuration...

There must be hundreds of zen cart users with appropriate technical ability to get this in motion. By working in collaboration with the core team (and all users helping to fund it) we could nail shipping issues down once and for all...

5. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

There are over 2500 OUTBOUND postcodes for the UK - full list available here.

And you want to calculate the distance of each one from your dispatch location?

I take it you've discovered the secret of eternal life?

6. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

Originally Posted by Ryk
There are over 2500 OUTBOUND postcodes for the UK - full list available here.

And you want to calculate the distance of each one from your dispatch location?

I take it you've discovered the secret of eternal life?
Hello Rick!

Eternal life is an easier secret than this, I'm sure! I'm currently looking at a php code that successfully does the mapping calculation off the outbound postcode.

The dbase contains the outbound code and the latitude and longditude co-ordinates. Using cartesian principals, the algorithm looks at the two postcodes' latitude and longditude co-ordinates, then calculates distance. (it's "as the crow flies", but that's good enough for me).

What I now need to do (or get a much more clever lady or gent to do) is work out how we parse the result of that calculation into a shipping option...

7. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

To see how this geomapping works using a core postcode, then calculating distance to relative postcodes:

go HERE

Enter ANY UK outward postcode...

Now, I have the PHP code instructions that make this stuff work, and I have the postcodes geo-co-ordinates file.

I can PM these to interested programmers, but they are subject to COPYRIGHT.
Last edited by schoolboy; 9 Mar 2007 at 10:28 AM.

8. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

...And here's another link:

9. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

Hi,

Originally Posted by schoolboy
I am looking at initiating a project to develop a sophisticated shipping module that calculates shipping by postcode.
We have developed a basic table rate shipping module which allows setting of differing prices for anywhere in the UK based on the outbound part of the destination postcode.

It works just like the normal table rates module, i.e. the rates are based on price or weight falling within specific ranges.

It isn't geomapped but it may be a useful stop gap solution for you as it allows setting specific outbound ranges to be accepted or denied for a particular table of rates.

The more tables of rates (zones) you set up the more specific you can be about what the prices for a particular country/postcode combination are...

E.g.

Having

"GB:BT1-10,GB:BT24-27" for the first zone and

"GB" for the second zone

will mean that a customer at BT100JX will have the first zone's table rates applied whereas a customer at BT134JF will have the table rates of the second zone applied (GB is basically a catchall/fallover for the UK in this case).

The module also works with Portugese, Spanish and French postcodes (E.g. FR:21-23 covers part of Corsica 21000 - 23000).

It will take some time to bring this module to release status so yesterday I made this post about this module.

All the best...

Conor
ceon

10. ## Re: UK Shipping by postcode

Hi,

Forgot to mention that the module automatically enables/disables itself based on the customer's postcode so you don't get any "We don't ship to your Country/Postcode" error messages... nasty things! :)

It also allows the defining of specific messages for each zone in the language files. For example, from our client's config:

PHP Code:
define('MODULE_COUNTRY_POSTCODE_TABLE_TEXT_TITLE_3''Flat Rate or FREE!');
define('MODULE_COUNTRY_POSTCODE_TABLE_TEXT_WAY_3''Free if Order Total Over &pound;50, £2.95 if Under');

define('MODULE_COUNTRY_POSTCODE_TABLE_TEXT_TITLE_5''Flat Rate');
define('MODULE_COUNTRY_POSTCODE_TABLE_TEXT_WAY_5''Standard Shipping to Madeira/Azores');
These language definitions also use fallbacks (if you don't define definitions for zone 4, as above, the definition for zone 3 is used).

Think this would be a nice module to bring to release status but we'd need a few people to be interested... can't spend a day off work writing something only 1 or 2 people want (unless someone wants to donate)!

All the best...

Conor

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