How to Use Cutoffs, Lead Time, and Blackouts for Delivery Date/Time in Transit

Overview

If you’re using ShipperHQ to show estimated delivery dates, times in transit, or a shipping calendar you’ll want to ensure that you have the correct Cutoff Times, Lead Times, and Black out Dates and Days set. That way you are showing accurate information to your customers.

First, ensure that you’ve enabled the calendar-based features of ShipperHQ, then review the following to ensure that you have the calendar-related information set correctly.

Origin Settings

Once ShipperHQ’s Delivery Date & Time advanced feature is enabled, you’ll find an additional tab on your Origins, called Date & Time.

Within the Date & Time tab, you can set the base Cutoff Time for Same Day Shipping, as well as Lead Time and Blackout Dispatch Dates and Days for this origin. This information can vary origin by origin so be sure to verify the settings on each origin reflect that origin’s information.

Cutoff Times

Cutoff Time is used to define what time you stop dispatching orders same day. Origin cutoff time is found under the Date & Time tab.

Cutoff Times for same day dispatch can be set on the Origin, Carrier, or Shipping Group levels.

Lead Time

The Lead Time setting defines how many days are required to prepare an order for shipment.

Lead time can be set on the origin, carrier, or shipping group, and are applied in this order. Lead times can be overridden by other calendar settings at the carrier or shipping group levels as well (see ‘Carrier’ and ‘Shipping Group’ sections).

  1. Origin lead time setting is found at Origins > Date & Time tab
  2. Carrier lead time setting is found at  Carriers > Date & Time tab
    • This will override any lead times set on the Origin
  3. Shipping Group lead time setting is found at Shipping Groups > Advanced

    • This will override any Lead times set on the Carrier or Origin

If you ship the same day, as long as the order is placed before a cutoff time, this should be set to zero. If you ship on the next business day after an order is placed, this should be set to “1”, etc. On Table Rate Carriers, you can optionally set a different Lead Time for different shipping method types.

Lead Time Overrides Cutoff Time

Cutoff Times are used in addition to lead time if “Lead Time Overrides Cutoff Time” is set to “No” on your Date and Time settings. If “Lead Time Overrides Cutoff Time” is set to Yes, cutoff time is only used if your lead time is set to zero. This setting is located at under the ‘Features’ tab, in the Delivery Date & Time settings.

For example, with a lead time set to zero and a cutoff time set to 2 PM, ShipperHQ will assume that orders placed before 2 PM will be shipped the same day, and orders placed after 2 PM will be shipped on the next available shipping date (as defined by your Blackout Dates and Days, see below).

If you have “Lead Time Overrides Cutoff Time” set to “No”, lead time set to 1 day and cutoff time set to 2 PM, ShipperHQ will assume that orders placed before 2 PM will ship on the next business day and orders placed after 2 PM will ship in 2 business days.

(Note that the time here is specified in the timezone set under the Global Settings tab in your Account Settings.)

Blackout Production Days & Dates

Blackout Production Days and Dates are used to define when an origin is not processing orders.

Blackout dates will not count against your lead time. For example, if you have a lead time of 2 days set and Blackout Days of Saturday and Sunday, an order placed on a Friday will not be assumed to be ready for shipment until the following Tuesday.

Blackout days will most commonly be set to weekends and holidays.

Blackout Dispatch Days and Dates

Blackout Dispatch Days and Dates are used to define when an origin does not ship orders out. This will most commonly be set to weekends and holidays.

Carriers

As with Origins, you’ll find a Date & Time tab on carriers which support date and time functionality. These carriers include UPS, FedEx, In-Store Pickup, and Custom Rate Carriers. Here you can set whether you’d like to show a shipping calendar, estimated delivery date, or estimated time in transit to your customers.

NOTE: The availability of these options depend on whether they are supported by the selected carrier and by your eCommerce platform.

If you choose to Show Time in Transit or Estimated Delivery Dates you’ll see options to set Lead Days as well as Maximum Time in Transit.

Lead days

Set the number of days required to prepare an order for shipment. This obeys the Blackout Production Days and Dates for the relevant Origin but will override that origins Lead Days if set. This value can be overridden by settings at the Shipping Group level (see ‘Shipping Groups’ section).

Maximum Days Goods can be in Transit

Set a maximum time in transit for your products. Shipping options which would take longer than the number of days set here will not be shown to your customers. This is often used for perishable goods.

Blackout Delivery Days and Dates

Tell ShipperHQ when this carrier should not be assumed to deliver. This will be taken into account when calculating an estimated delivery date as well as when working out which shipping options will be able to deliver by a certain date for Shipping Calendar functionality.

For Table Rate Carriers, look for the Shipping Methods section and edit your methods to add Lead Times.
Check these screenshots for more information on this setting for table rates

Delivery Date Message and Date Format

Control how this information will be shown to your customers on checkout. Updating the Delivery Date Message will change how ShipperHQ addresses the estimated Delivery Date for the order (i.e. Estimated to Deliver On m/dd/y). Updating the Delivery Date Format controls how the date is displayed to customers.

Dispatch Date Message

Setting a message here will show the shipment dispatch date with the estimated delivery date.

Shipping Groups

Some calendar-related settings are also available at the Shipping Group level, under the Advanced panel.

These options allow you to set different Lead Times, Cutoff Times, or Max Time in Transit for specific groups of products.

Lead Time

You may have products which need to be customized and therefore take longer to prepare for shipment than the rest of your products. By creating a Shipping Group with a longer lead time set and assigning those products to this shipping group, ShipperHQ will take into account the extra time required to prepare these items when displaying estimated delivery dates or times in transit.

Cutoff Time

You may have restrictions on when you can ship a product out same-day. Setting a cutoff time on Shipping Groups will affect the dispatch date for those items in the cart.

Max Time in Transit

Alternately, if some products in your store are perishable and can only be in transit for a limited amount of time, you can set up a Shipping Group with a shorter Max Time in Transit than the number set on your Carriers.

When products assigned to a Shipping Group with calendar settings are in the cart, only shipping options which would be able to deliver within the set Max Time in Transit will be shown to your customers.

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