How to Set Up Dimensional Rules


This article will show you how to use Dimensional Rules. There are 3 Methods of Shipping you can set on a Dimensional Rule:

  • Pack According to Box RulesLet ShipperHQ determine the Best-fit box based on the order volume and size of boxes.
  • Pack Separately — Have every item pack in its own separate box.
  • Pack in Multiple Fixed Boxes — Split a single SKU into multiple packages.

Follow the steps are below for instructions on how to pack orders according to box requirements, pack your items separately, or pack products in multiple fixed boxes.

Please see our Dimensional Rules help doc for a more general explanation of how dimensional shipping works in ShipperHQ.

Pack According to Box Rules (Best-fit)

Mechanism overview

The Best-Fit mechanism works in two conditions.

  1. Condition 1: When you have Box Definitions configured in ShipperHQ, and each of the boxes have “Apply to all products” ticked for Yes.
    • ShipperHQ will compare product dimensions + volume against the volume of all available boxes you’ve set up. It will then pick the most efficient box to pack into, leaving the least amount of empty space.
    • If it doesn’t find a box big enough for all products, then it will use another box to pack the rest of the order.
  2. Condition 2: When the boxes have “Apply to all products” ticked for No, but they’re all assigned to a Default Dimensional Rule.
    • In this scenario, ShipperHQ will use the possible packing boxes assigned within the rule to choose from. (It will only use this dimensional rule if the product passing from the e-commerce platform that doesn’t have a different dimensional rule assigned to it).
If ShipperHQ doesn’t find a box large enough for one of the products in the cart, it will use the dimensions of that largest item as the box, and pack everything into that 1 box size called SHQ_CUSTOM. This may result in rate discrepancies, so if you have an item that is larger than any of the boxes set up in ShipperHQ, you should add that larger box size to your configuration.

How to set Pack According to Box Rules

  1. Enable the Dimensional Rules advanced feature from your Features page in ShipperHQ.
  2. Go to the “Dimensional Rules” tab in the lefthand navigation and create a new dimensional rule via Add New.
  3. In the Basic panel, give this Rule a Name. We will use “Journal Boxes” for this example. For this example, we’re also setting our Method of Shipping to “Pack according to box rules”. This will tell ShipperHQ to only look at the boxes attached to this rule, and pick the best one for packing.
  4. (OPTIONAL) Also in the Basic panel, under Item Dimensions section, if all of the products this rule will apply to share the same dimensions, you can set them in the rule itself rather than having to keep re-entering them on your eCommerce platform.  If you leave this section blank, ShipperHQ will use the dimensions you set on the product on your eCommerce platform.
  5. Scroll to Possible Shipping Boxes section of the page and click the “Possible Boxes” dropdown area. This dropdown will show any already defined boxes you have set up and available for all products.
    If you don’t see any boxes listed, you can add them here by pressing Add New at the bottom of the list. Details on configuring boxes are found here.
  6. After possible boxes have been selected, Save the rule.

Optional – Default Rule for all Products

In the Optional panel, if you want to have a dimensional rule apply if no other rules are assigned then you can set this checkbox.

Final Step: Assign Your Dimensional Rule

The last thing you need to do in your eCommerce platform is to assign this Dimensional Rule Group name to your product. Remember we used “Journal Boxes” for our example.

Click here for Steps to assign Dimensional Rules to products on each Platform.

Note: If a Dimensional Rule is marked as a Default rule, you do not need to assign a default dimensional rule to products.

Save this change and now this product will use only those boxes specified in the dimensional rule.

Pack Separately

Mechanism overview

Pack/Ship Separately is designated to have each item pack into its own package apart from other cart items. This will result in higher shipping rates because each product that is assigned to a pack separately dimensional rule will be packed on its own. However, it can be useful for items that can’t be packed with other products due to being either fragile or having other special packing requirements.

This mechanism can be either used as a dimensional rule or can be set as a global setting to pack all items separately.

How to set Pack Separately Rules

  1. Enable the Dimensional Rules advanced feature from your Features page in ShipperHQ.
  2. Go to the “Dimensional Rules” tab in the lefthand navigation and create a new dimensional rule via Add New.
  3. In the Basic panel, give this Rule a Name. We will use “Large Item” in this example. For this example, we’re also setting our Method of Shipping to “Pack separately”.
  4. In the “Ship SKU Separately” panel, designate what box should be used when this rule applies by selecting a box in the “Packing Box for Product” dropdown. If you do not set a specific box when using Pack Separately an SHQ CUSTOM box will be used which will have the dimensions of the item packed into it.
  5. Save the Rule.

Additional Details for setting up Pack Separately Rules are in this article here.

Pack in Multiple Fixed Boxes

Mechanism overview

This mechanism is used for single SKUs/products that need to be split in multiple boxes when shipping. This mechanism will disregard all the dimensions set on the product from the e-commerce platform and will use dimensions set within the dimensional rule to pass over to the carrier.

For example: if you have a chair and a table sold as one bundled product, but you ship the item in multiple packages, you can define the dimensional rule with the boxes meant to pack this bundle, then you attach the dimensional rule to the product from the platform.

How to setup Pack in Multiple Fixed Boxes

  1. Go to the “Dimensional Rules” tab in the lefthand navigation and create a new dimensional rule via Add New.
  2. In the Basic panel, set the Method of Shipping to “Pack in multiple fixed boxes”.
  3. Still in the Basic panel, under the Ship Via Multiple Boxes section, set the desired box dimensions with weight for each packing box. You can add multiple boxes here and multiple quantities of different box sizes.
  4. Save the rule.
  5. Go back to the platform (if it’s Magento make sure to synchronize prior to doing so) and assign the dimensional rule to the product.

Whenever the product is in the cart it will be packed in these multiple boxes.

Advanced Settings

“Largest” Packing Algorithm

Different from Best-fit, the Largest Packing algorithm is intended for product(s) to pack into the largest possible box available.

The system will look at the product’s volume/dimensions and then use the largest available box with the most leftover space after packing.

To enable this algorithm instead of Best-fit packing, you will go to Features > Dimensional Rules and adjust the “Packing Algorithm” dropdown.

Limit Dimensional Shipping to Specific Carriers

This setting in ShipperHQ will allow you to limit certain carriers to rate off of dimensional shipping (dimensional weight vs actual weight) and non selected carriers to weight only.

If you wanted your LTL carriers to rate shipments only based off of their weight and then wanted your FedEx Carrier to rate based off of Dimensional then you would select FedEx in this field and that behavior would take effect.

Steps to Limit Dimensional to Specific Carriers

  1. Navigate to Features > Dimensional Rules in ShipperHQ
  2. Click Settings and notice the Carriers dropdown, as seen below.
  3. By selecting a Carrier (FedEx, for example), all other rates will continue to calculate off weight only and FedEx will rate off of Dimensional shipping logic.

Dimensional Padding and Tolerance

You can also set up dimensional packing tolerance or dimensional padding settings for your box packing

You will find the options described below within the settings of the dimensional shipping feature, pictured below:

Dimensional Tolerance

This setting defines how much of the box to leave empty as a percentage of the overall box volume. This could be used to account for packing materials or oddly shaped items.

This option will only show if the Dimensional Padding setting has a value of zero entered, its otherwise hidden.

Dimensional Padding

This setting defines how much extra space to add to each dimension of your box as an absolute value. E.g: Add 2 inches to length, width and height.

This option will only show if Dimensional Tolerance has a value of zero entered, otherwise its hidden.

Apply Padding Externally

If this is set to yes (which is the default) then the padding is added to the external dimensions of the box after ShipperHQ has packed the box.

If this is set to no, then the padding will reduce the internal dimensions of each box by the value that you’ve entered. This will happen before the box is packed.


Test Your Rates

Verify that your carriers and rules are working and see how they will display in your checkout right from the ShipperHQ dashboard.

Learn More

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