What to charge for shipping

Shipping Strategy

Many Whiplash customers use flat rate shipping, often with one rate for domestic and one for international. You can add complexity (and accuracy) by building a matrix of rates for regions, weights, or both. Often, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to predict postage costs 100% accurately in advance; if the average cost is $8.85 for your US orders, charging the customer $8 or $9 is an attractive approach. Any strategy should be re-evaluated every few months as rates slowly change over time.

Getting postage data for a rate matrix

There are two main ways to estimate postage and build a matrix:

1. Using the quoting tool
You can use the quoting tool if you don't already have shipments to export. This is especially effective if you only have a few types of shipments.

  1. Log into your Whiplash account so the quoting tool is populated with items on your account. We assign sizes and weights when we receive items; if we haven't received the items you're trying to quote, you will need to create them here.
  2. Create a new quote
  3. If you don't have items in an account yet, you can create items on this screen.
  4. Click "Get a Quote."
  5. Add items and packaging to the first shipment, select an appropriate origin facility, and Clone orders to alternate destinations as you see fit.
  6. These orders will be up to date if you refresh the page later.
  7. You can also export these orders by searching in your Whiplash account for orders with status "Quote."

2. Exporting shipped orders
Using your own historic data saves you the trouble of generating mock shipments. Exporting too many orders will take a long time without adding much benefit, so we usually use 100. If you're looking for something specific—like "What does shipping cost for all the available methods for a 1lb package to the US?" you may only need 10–20.

  1. Edit the Shipped search in Orders view. You can narrow it down by weight, origin, or any other criteria, or just export all orders. Your goal should be about 100 orders at most; this is a great amount of data compared to how long it takes to export. If you have too many orders in your search, filter by date to narrow it down.
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  2. Export the orders by selecting Download CSV, and selecting "Compare shipping rates." This may take some time—Whiplash is querying our up-to-date carrier rates for every order, and making postage estimates. 
  3. You now have rates for every valid shipping method for every order in your search. You can create find out the average cost to ship 2 units of SKU-001 to Lithuania, or see what the price difference would be if you upgraded every USPS First Class shipment to FedEx 2-day. Hint: it's substantial.

Generate the matrix

Use this data to generate average costs in as granular a matrix as you'd like—commonly, sellers will create a different rate every 1lb for a few regions (e.g. USA, North America, EU, and ROW).

You can tweak this average over time as shipping rates fluctuate; holidays tend to be more expensive for most carriers, and things like fuel surcharges change over time. Many sellers opt to make a bit of money on shipping, or subsidize.

Don't forget to account for pick & pack rates, as well as packaging!

What about tiered pricing?

If you'd like to offer flat rate or free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount—or nearly any other criteria—our Support team can help you set up a rule.

Last updated Jun 17th, 2019