How does dimensional shipping work in ShipperHQ?


The Dimensional Shipping Advanced Feature in ShipperHQ allows you to achieve more accurate Shipping Rates especially when getting rates from carriers like UPS and FedEx or when using USPS Flat Rate boxes. In this doc we’ll cover what Dimensional Shipping is, how it works in ShipperHQ, and how to enable these settings. In the end, the rates you receive from ShipperHQ will be as accurate or as inaccurate as your dimensional settings in ShipperHQ. While it’s nearly impossible to achieve 100% accuracy 100% of the time, with thoughtful configuration ShipperHQ makes it possible to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy.

For detailed descriptions of the individual features and how to enable them, please see our Dimensional Rules Configuration document.

Dimensional Shipping

Many ecommerce carts lack the features needed to calculate shipping accurately for FedEx, UPS and USPS.

For example, you often can’t define product dimensions, ship some products separately but not others, add insurance to the shipping cost, or split a single product into multiple boxes.

Our Dimensional Shipping offering in ShipperHQ gives you the ability to define item and box dimensions, choose packing options automatically based on what combination of items are in the cart, limit products to specific boxes, and split large products into multiple boxes with different dimensions.

How Dimensional Shipping works in ShipperHQ

  1. ShipperHQ’s core dimensional algorithm looks at the product dimensions set on the eCommerce platform
  2. ShipperHQ then looks at the packages you set up in ShipperHQ
  3. It works out the best package(s) to use based on that information
  4. ShipperHQ takes the packages worked out for the order and sends this to the carrier is using to ensure accurate rating. If using custom rating, ShipperHQ will use the information to set rate based on what package is used.

Enabling the Dimensional Shipping Feature (Video)

Dimensional Shipping is one of many Advanced Features ShipperHQ offers, depending on your ShipperHQ Plan you’ll have access to a certain number of these Advanced Features. You can enable the Dimensional Shipping feature in your Account Settings under the Features tab in ShipperHQ.

On Magento or Zoey you’ll want to ensure you synchronize any new boxes/dimensional rule groups you create.

What You Need

For most merchants, Dimensional Shipping in ShipperHQ needs three significant pieces of information to perform its calculations:

  1. The dimensions of your products (defined on your products in your eCommerce platform)
  2. The dimensions of the packages you use to ship your products (called Boxes in ShipperHQ parlance, but these may be whatever you use from envelopes to pallets)
  3. Identification of any products or groups of products that need to be handled specially (ShipperHQ calls these Dimensional Rule Groups)

Please note that if the platform does not automatically add a 0 for decimals lower than 1 then it should be prefixed. I.e.: “0.5”, rather than “.5” should be entered as a dimension.

Dimensional Shipping for Live Rate Carriers

Dimensional Shipping for Live Rate carriers works by allowing ShipperHQ to workout on the fly the most efficient Box or Boxes to pack a customers order into based on the product dimensions you’ve defined on your products in your eCommerce platform and the Boxes you’ve defined in ShipperHQ. If you don’t use the same approach on all of your products, you can also use Dimensional Rules to set special handling for certain groups of products (see section below).

Once ShipperHQ has selected the best boxes based on what you’ve defined, it then makes a call out to the Carrier’s API with the package dimensions and weights as well as the basic information required to retrieve a quote from a carrier (i.e. origin and destination addresses, account number, account settings, etc.). Since the carrier is being provided with full package information, they are then able to return much more accurate rates than if they were provided with only shipment weight.

Dimensional Shipping for Custom Rate Carriers

Dimensional Shipping works differently for Custom Rate Carriers than it does for Live Rate carriers since you are setting the rate within ShipperHQ instead of calling out to a Carrier’s API to get the rate. More information is available in our Dimensional Shipping with User-Defined Rates document.

Options for Special Handling

In addition to the primary approach where ShipperHQ determines the most efficient box or boxes to use, you can also configure certain sets of products to be handled differently. These sets of products are called Dimensional Rule Groups in ShipperHQ. Dimensional Rules are defined in ShipperHQ and then applied on your products in your eCommerce platform so that ShipperHQ knows which products belong to which group.

The dimensional rule options available are for items which ship separately, items which ship in multiple fixed boxes, and items which can only ship in certain boxes. For detailed descriptions of these options and how to use them, please see the Dimensional Rules Configuration document.

On Magento you can optionally not use dimensional rule groups and just assign possible shipping boxes on a product level

Master Box Packing

On the Magento platform we have support for setting master packing boxes on your SKUs. 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 of that SKU to the cart and there is a master box setup then it would pack 12 in the master box and the other 2 in the leftover box (taken from possible boxes).

More Information

For detailed descriptions of the individual features and how to enable them, please see our Dimensional Rules Configuration document.

You can find more information about the options available in our Dimensional Rules category.