Dimensional Packing Strategies


The Dimensional Packing feature provides a system to rate products’ dimensional weight and packing configurations instead of just their dead weight. Its flexibility allows merchants to implement a packing strategy to match their business logic and operations.

It can be daunting to get started. You may not have dimensions on all your products or know exactly how you pack each item, and that’s ok. Here are some strategies on how to approach implementing this feature so you can save money and improve rating accuracy.

Dimensional packing strategy:
Various products lined up from simple to pack to complicated to pack—with the focus on packing complicated items first.

Strategy 1: Start with the “hard-to-ship” items first

Your product catalog might be vast and varied, but that doesn’t mean you have to tackle everything all at once. Start with large, bulky, oddly sized items, or items that need special consideration when packing. These items often lose money when shipping because they’re rated off weight alone, not the dimensional weight or the product’s actual packing requirements.

Approach 1: Use Best-fit Boxes

Try assigning dimensions just to those “troublesome” items and ShipperHQ will “create” boxes to fit these products using the best-fit algorithm. This might be sufficient in addressing packing and rating concerns as these products will now be rated off of their dimensional weight instead of weight alone.

Approach 2: Pack Separately

Let’s say you sell sporting goods and want to address how you pack, rate, and ship tricky items like bikes. You know you ship bikes separately from other products, in their own box. You can create a “Pack separately” Packing rule for the Bike and have it packed into a separate box from other items in the cart.

To do this you can either have ShipperHQ “create” a box using its best-fit algorithm (leaving assigned boxes empty in the packing rule), or you can create and assign a box to the rule (either way, you’ll need to then assign the rule to the product group in your ecommerce platform). Now every time a “Bike” is added to the cart, it will pack separately and display a more accurate shipping rate.

Strategy 2: Address case-packed items

For items that ship in a set quantity, in a set box, you can assign them to Master Packing Boxes. So for instance you may sell wine and it packs in cases of 12 (this is the master box), but you can also ship in individual qty. If the customer adds 14 bottles of wine to the cart and there is a master box setup, then it would pack 12 into the master box and the other 2 in another box.

Strategy 3: Use the packing information you do know to set up packing rules

For example, if you sell airline parts and know a set of “Wings” ships in 3 boxes, you can assign this product to a “pack into multiple fixed boxes” packing rule. With this packing rule, you can set up the fixed boxes (by defining their size, weight, and quantity) so that when “Wings” are in the cart, ShipperHQ will pack (and rate) based on those fixed boxes.

Strategy 4: Set up default packing boxes

You may know some of the primary box sizes you ship with and some of your product’s dimensions. You can add those boxes to be used to “pack all products”, this way you can dimensionally pack and rate at least some of your inventory.

Strategy 5: Assign max weights to boxes

Set up a range of packing boxes available to “pack all products” and assign each one to have a different maximum weight. Now, ShipperHQ will choose how to pack each best-fit box based on the weight in the cart.


Remember Dimensional Packing is a tool to improve rating accuracy—the more you fine-tune, the more likely you are to achieve accurate results. It’s better to start small and start saving money sooner than it is to wait for perfection.

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