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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    202
    Plugin Contributions
    0

    Default Setting up Shipping - ADVICE needed please

    Hi there

    I need some advice and guidance please.

    I have installed zen cart and have a selection of products on their.
    These products come in different shapes and sizes - and weights too.

    Now, i need to set up the site to offer the best postage on items purchased.

    I thought that i can have 3 zones for postage.

    A- Zone 1 - United Kingdom (We are based in the UK)
    B- Zone 2 - Europe
    c- Zone 3 - Rest of the world.


    I am going to refere to Zone 1 as that will be easy to start with and then if that works i can copy the structure to the remaining Zones.

    My question is would you have a flat price for all the goods if it was your shop or would you have individual prices based on the weight with a maximum over all price limit (so the customer is not over paying on the postage) ?

    If you would go for the option where you are capping the postage costs and charging for individual postage for each product, would that be done on the weight of each item ?

    Just wanted to know how someone else would approach this issue ?

    At the moment i have the Royal Mail Postage pluggin installed which is great for UK postage etc but, when it comes to European postage or internation postage there are cheaper couriers.

    Any help, advice would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,286
    Plugin Contributions
    3

    Default Re: Setting up Shipping - ADVICE needed please

    Setting up shipping is quite complicated, and detailed.
    Also important, is doing setup in the correct order (or sequence).
    First... set up (select) the COUNTRIES to which you are OK to sell in. This involves "deactivating" all countries that you do not wish to sell to (in AMDIN - Locations/Taxes - COUNTRIES).
    Once you have deactivated countries that you do not intend selling to, it's a bit easier to set up the rest.
    What I do at this point is set up ZONE DEFINITIONS, and as I sell globally, I divided these into what are broadly Royal Mail zones.
    Mine are as follows:
    Zone Name Zone Description
    Asia Asia and China
    Australasia Australia and New Zealand
    Channel Islands Channel Islands
    Europe Certain EU and W Europe Countries
    North America N America USA and Canada Only
    UK United Kingdom

    ... then, I "allocate" my chosen countries to the relevant zone.
    (If you need to calculate and allocate tax rates, then you would set up these rates, applicable to the relevant zone).
    Also, if you need to apply UK VAT, then this has to be set up as part of this zone definitions process.

    SHIPPING MODULES
    Here, things can get complicated, and I have found that in order to apply rates that are relevant to both Royal Mail, and perhaps other courier services, additional MODULES (plugins) are needed.

    I use the BIG ROYAL MAIL plugin, and this competently covers UK Royal Mail (if that is your dispatch system), If you use courier services, then you are going to have to configure ANOTHER module to handle courier services. There is a ZONE-TABLES plugin that is useful here, as it combines "Table Rate" shipping with "Zone" shipping - so you can have different TABLE RATES for different ZONES. (If you use this module, it is VITAL you set up your ZONE DEFINITIONS and ZONES first, before installing and configuring this module, as it calls data relevant to these zone settings as they are set up initially in the database.

    PRODUCT CONFIGURATION
    Most postal/courier services apply rates based on WEIGHT (and sometimes package SIZE). The industry calls this "volumetric weight" to account for things like very large boxes that weigh very little, or conversely, smaller boxes that weigh a lot. This is very difficult to configure in Zencart, because there is no "generic" data on the SIZE of a package, and unless you do some custom coding (add a data field and a lot of PHP), calculating this is challenging.

    I ALWAYS apply a WEIGHT to my products when loading them into the system. Bear in mind that the DEFAULT zencart labels weight in pounds (LBS), but as I prefer living in the 20th century, I have RE-LABELLED this in METRIC.

    Despite the "label" (whether lbs or kg) the system applies decimalisation to weight. So re-naming the "label" to KG is actually better. (Changing the label requires editing of the relevant "DEFINE" lines in some language.php files.)

    Unless you manually change this label, your customers (and you) will see the weights of products and packaging as "lbs".

    NEXT
    Configure the SHIPPING variables in your admin (CONFIGURATION - Shipping/Packaging). This sets parameters for HOW you handle packaging (mostly) and how to factor in the weight of a packet, as well as the weight of a product.

    When the above are all done, you can start working with the shipping modules, and as I say, there are some PLUGIN MODULES that can be downloaded from zencart plugins area.

    I use BIG ROYAL MAIL and ZONE-TABLES.

    Install these modules to your server.

    Go to ADMIN and "install" them into your database.

    Then, CONFIGURE each module as necessary. BIG ROYAL MAIL applies current Royal Mail rates, so needs little changing here - but you will need to apply your own store policies when determining WHICH services are offered, depending on what a customer is ordering.

    (EG: it could be that a customer orders goods that weigh under 750 grams, and will fit into a Royal Mail PIP Large-Letter packet... Here, your setup could be configured to offer the customer 1st-class or 2nd class, and (by looking at WEIGHT) apply the rates applicable to the PIP Large-Letter format.)

    BEST way to do this is to try out various settings of how each shipping module works, according to the data you input when configuring any given module.

    =====================================

    Setting up ACCURATE postal costing is very important... Postal costs eat into profits, and if you don't somehow account for accurate postal charging, you could end up making no profits in your store.
    We host with Terranetwork.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    202
    Plugin Contributions
    0

    Default Re: Setting up Shipping - ADVICE needed please

    Quote Originally Posted by schoolboy View Post
    Setting up shipping is quite complicated, and detailed.
    Also important, is doing setup in the correct order (or sequence).
    First... set up (select) the COUNTRIES to which you are OK to sell in. This involves "deactivating" all countries that you do not wish to sell to (in AMDIN - Locations/Taxes - COUNTRIES).
    Once you have deactivated countries that you do not intend selling to, it's a bit easier to set up the rest.
    What I do at this point is set up ZONE DEFINITIONS, and as I sell globally, I divided these into what are broadly Royal Mail zones.
    Mine are as follows:
    Zone Name Zone Description
    Asia Asia and China
    Australasia Australia and New Zealand
    Channel Islands Channel Islands
    Europe Certain EU and W Europe Countries
    North America N America USA and Canada Only
    UK United Kingdom

    ... then, I "allocate" my chosen countries to the relevant zone.
    (If you need to calculate and allocate tax rates, then you would set up these rates, applicable to the relevant zone).
    Also, if you need to apply UK VAT, then this has to be set up as part of this zone definitions process.

    SHIPPING MODULES
    Here, things can get complicated, and I have found that in order to apply rates that are relevant to both Royal Mail, and perhaps other courier services, additional MODULES (plugins) are needed.

    I use the BIG ROYAL MAIL plugin, and this competently covers UK Royal Mail (if that is your dispatch system), If you use courier services, then you are going to have to configure ANOTHER module to handle courier services. There is a ZONE-TABLES plugin that is useful here, as it combines "Table Rate" shipping with "Zone" shipping - so you can have different TABLE RATES for different ZONES. (If you use this module, it is VITAL you set up your ZONE DEFINITIONS and ZONES first, before installing and configuring this module, as it calls data relevant to these zone settings as they are set up initially in the database.

    PRODUCT CONFIGURATION
    Most postal/courier services apply rates based on WEIGHT (and sometimes package SIZE). The industry calls this "volumetric weight" to account for things like very large boxes that weigh very little, or conversely, smaller boxes that weigh a lot. This is very difficult to configure in Zencart, because there is no "generic" data on the SIZE of a package, and unless you do some custom coding (add a data field and a lot of PHP), calculating this is challenging.

    I ALWAYS apply a WEIGHT to my products when loading them into the system. Bear in mind that the DEFAULT zencart labels weight in pounds (LBS), but as I prefer living in the 20th century, I have RE-LABELLED this in METRIC.

    Despite the "label" (whether lbs or kg) the system applies decimalisation to weight. So re-naming the "label" to KG is actually better. (Changing the label requires editing of the relevant "DEFINE" lines in some language.php files.)

    Unless you manually change this label, your customers (and you) will see the weights of products and packaging as "lbs".

    NEXT
    Configure the SHIPPING variables in your admin (CONFIGURATION - Shipping/Packaging). This sets parameters for HOW you handle packaging (mostly) and how to factor in the weight of a packet, as well as the weight of a product.

    When the above are all done, you can start working with the shipping modules, and as I say, there are some PLUGIN MODULES that can be downloaded from zencart plugins area.

    I use BIG ROYAL MAIL and ZONE-TABLES.

    Install these modules to your server.

    Go to ADMIN and "install" them into your database.

    Then, CONFIGURE each module as necessary. BIG ROYAL MAIL applies current Royal Mail rates, so needs little changing here - but you will need to apply your own store policies when determining WHICH services are offered, depending on what a customer is ordering.

    (EG: it could be that a customer orders goods that weigh under 750 grams, and will fit into a Royal Mail PIP Large-Letter packet... Here, your setup could be configured to offer the customer 1st-class or 2nd class, and (by looking at WEIGHT) apply the rates applicable to the PIP Large-Letter format.)

    BEST way to do this is to try out various settings of how each shipping module works, according to the data you input when configuring any given module.

    =====================================

    Setting up ACCURATE postal costing is very important... Postal costs eat into profits, and if you don't somehow account for accurate postal charging, you could end up making no profits in your store.


    Thank you so much for your detailed reply.

    You are corect about postage being accurate as any loss will eat in to your profits.

    As we will be selling small items weighing in around 500gm all the way to items weighing upto 2kg - plus collective weight of combined products purchased. the postage has to be accurate and not putting the seller our of pocket.

    So, let me run away and try to create some thing for the postage on my site.

    Thjank you very much for your detailed explaniantion.


    Thanks

 

 

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