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Bug in option 7 shipping?

    Apr 26 2009 01:37:36

    #1

    Jon

    Join date : 2009-04-25      Posts : 18

    I have a free account and have been playing around with the various shipping options to try to find a solution that will charge as close to actual shipping costs as possible. Option 7 does exactly what I need except that the 5th table entry ("the rest") is the last value which is added, basically causing there to be a cap on the shipping cost.

    Here is how I have it set up for Priority Mail shipping:

    UNITS COST
    up to 1 4.80
    the next 1 2.00
    the next 1 1.95
    the next 1 1.80
    the rest 1.25

    This works perfectly up through 5 pounds ($11.80) but when you hit 6 lbs where it should add another $1.25, it doesn't - it just stays at $11.80. Option 7 treats "the rest" as a one time cost, it doesn't keep adding it in for each additional unit as option 5 does. I could have 1,000lbs in there and it would still only calculate $11.80.

    Since the help text in the shipping setup section of the cart says that options 6 and 7 are supposed to be cumulative, I believe this to be a bug. Especially so given that I can't fathom any reason for having "the rest" not get added in for each cumulative unit. If someone wanted that functionality, they could just set "the rest" to be zero.

    Is this a bug? If so, how can we get it corrected? What about a checkbox to select whether "the rest" is truly cumulative or the one time charge that it is currently treated as?

    Do I have any other options? I have thought about upgrading to a premium account so that I can tie in directly to USPS for actual rates, but I haven't found any documentation or information about how that is set up, so I am reluctant to upgrade if it is not going to do what I need. I have also thought about signing up for the auctioninc.com shipping calculator that ties into Mals.

    Option 5 does not have this "cap" limitation, but this does not work very well for me either because of the way it multiplies the weights - for example, 0-1 lbs should be $4.80, but if an item weighs 0.5lbs, only $2,40 is charged. I have gotten around this in the past by setting my items with a minimum weight of 1 unit, but this causes a miscalculation if more than one unit is ordered - overcharging the customer. I have also played around with option 5 setting it up like:

    up to 0.1 $48.00
    the next 0.9 $0
    the next 0.1 $20.00
    the next 0.9 $0
    the rest $1.80

    This does work up to 3 lbs, but basically limits me to 3 slots instead of 5 which isn't quite enough.

    Thanks!



    Apr 26 2009 06:50:29

    #2

    jv

    Join date : 2008-09-18      Posts : 2959

    Unfortunately from your point of view, you have correctly diagnosed how the options work. No mean achievement! 'The rest's operation with options 6 and 7 is not a bug, just the fifth band some may need.

    Options 6 and 7 have five bands, each of which has a cash amount in the COST column. So each has 5 possible charges (plus zero of course.)

    Options 4 and 5 have multipliers in the COST column so there is no maximum.

    Your requirement is best solved by using a Premium account and Advanced shipping which, amongst other things, offer more rows in a table and the ability to mix the options 5 and 7 approaches in the same table. And of course offers the calculators. I'll suggest Mal makes some of the Advanced shipping help generally available. Meanwhile see several Shipping articles.

    If you stay with standard shipping and option 5, there's nothing that says your charge has to be the same as that of the postal service. Some carts have charges based on weight, some on the order value, some on the number of items.

    There are additional expenses such as packaging and labour. The answer may be an approach that is acceptable to the customer, easy to describe, and doesn't compare unfavourably with how your competition does it.

    If you don't use a Premium account, your option 5 is the best solution. I'd be inclined to fit in the final 1.25 rate if many of your orders exceed 3lbs.
    UNITS COST
    up to 0.1 48.00
    The next 0.9 0 __ but see below
    The next 3 1.9
    the rest $1.25

    The charge continually increases from the third row whilst the postal service is in steps. You can choose to be always as much as those steps or sometimes above and sometimes below.

    So 0.9 in the second row is too high with this table, keeping you below the steps. Perhaps 0.4 or 0.5 would give better results, dependent on your typical order weight.

    Alan
    Some shipping help documents are available at www.stoner.org.uk/mals/




    Apr 26 2009 20:58:19

    #3

    Jon

    Join date : 2009-04-25      Posts : 18

    Thanks very much, jv for your help and advice! Its thanks to you that I was able to get as far as I have in figuring out the shipping calculator - while searching for advice, I stumbled across some of your past answers to other questions, which was very helpful.

    I was hoping that this problem (for me) was a bug, but I guess its just a matter of perspective. :-) Too bad, because option 7 would have been perfect except for that one little detail.

    Probably what I should do then is to look into upgrading. I've actually been thinking about doing this for a little while now but haven't really had a reason until now. I've been using a mals-e cart for a few years now, and now that my sales have started to pick up I should probably just go ahead and do it, if for no other reason than to thank Mal for the cart. :-)

    I think that if more information were posted as to exactly how things are set up when one has a premium account, that would be helpful for folks who are on the fence, trying to decide whether to upgrade or not. As I said, I have been thinking about it for a while, and have seen the comparison charts and such, but that's not quite as helpful as being able to see exactly how everything would work.

    Regarding my shipping philosophy, I like to charge as close to actual shipping cost as possible. This way, shipping is still paid by the customer, but the cost is as low as is possible without my having to subsidize it. I use USPS Priority Mail almost exclusively, so the boxes are "free" (included in the cost of the postage), my only real expense is packing materials and my time. However, both of those are low enough costs to be covered by the profit margin of the item itself.

    Just to clarify, if I were to upgrade to a premium account, I would be able to specify the weight of each item as units and the calculators, be it for USPS or FedEX or UPS, etc. would be able to take that weight and can calculate the exact postage in real time based on my zip code and the address of the customer? I assume this would also eliminate the need to adjust the tables every time the post office increases their rates? If so, that is probably the direction I will go.

    Thanks again!



    Apr 27 2009 06:26:01

    #4

    jv

    Join date : 2008-09-18      Posts : 2959

    That is my understanding.

    The only problems I recall hearing about are when charges are size or volume related, and where an order is to be shipped as multiple packages.

    But I'm in the UK and not a user, so maybe a user can confirm your understanding.

    I did email Mal suggesting more visible information on Advanced shipping and enclosed a couple of screenshots which I have now added to the end of the Shipping Overview

    Alan
    Some shipping help documents are available at www.stoner.org.uk/mals/