This page refers to Dimensional Shipping version 10.x. If you are using version 9.x or earlier, please visit the original Dimensional Shipping page.
Standard Magento lacks some of the features needed to calculate shipping accurately for FedEx, UPS and USPS.
For example, you can't
Our Dimensional Shipping extension gives you the ability to
Whereas other solutions work by filling one box after another, Dimensional Shipping allows you to define exactly how your business packs different combinations of products.
When a customer goes to check out Dimensional Shipping works out how the products in the cart will be packed. Then it sends the dimensional weight and actual weight of the packages to your shipping carrier for accurate live shipping rates.
FedEx and UPS require you to have a web service account to retrieve shipping rates based on dimensional values in your store.
In May 2012 FedEx is switching off its CGI-based rate calculator, so you will need to switch to a web service account whether you are using our extension or not. You also need to have SOAP installed on your server. We cover how to switch across to retrieving Fedex Rates via their web service on our blog.
For UPS you need the XML-based shipping rates, which requires an access key, username and password. Read our blog to find out how to get set up with XML-based rates.
Warning: It is highly recommended to back up your server files and database before installing this extension. WebShopApps takes no responsibility for any problems you may experience as a result of installing this extension incorrectly. We recommend you install the extension first on a test site, not your live site, to carry out your own testing. Please visit the Disclaimer page for more information.
This section is useful for getting the user to think about how the extension relates to the their business and what they are aiming to achieve. Try to get the user thinking of their business in the 'terms' used to describe the extension, e.g. shipping groups etc. Intended to prepare the user for the following 'Configuration' section.
Before we dive into the extension lets take a look at the reasoning behind it's approach. I apologise for throwing some technical terms in here but I feel it's important to explain what makes our extension popular.
Lets look at a common customer enquiry we see:
•I've got many products, with different dimensions and weights
•I've got X boxes
•Can you make my shipping rates accurate?
Let me start by saying on it's own there is no solution to the above. And anyone selling an extension that promises to resolve this is being lean with the truth. Carriers such as UPS, Fedex, and Freight Shipping companies have invested a lot of money looking into this and they can't solve it, the problem is known to be the Bin Packing Algorithm and is non-computational.
One variation on the bin-packing algorithm is the first-fit approach. This is basically where you take a set of boxes and a set of products then try stuffing the products in based on a 'first-fit' approach (i.e if it fits pack and move to next item). When the box 'fills' in terms of volume move on. People like it because it's fast, but it's also known to be non-optimal, which when you are trying to make your shipping rates more accurate isnt great news. Shipping isn't academic, if you get your rates wrong you could lose all profit on your sale - this is real life. WebShopApps firmly believes that extensions using bin-packing techniques have a low level of accuracy. We have seen many customers try this approach because it seems easy on the surface, but then realise they are not getting any more accurate rates than not using dimensional weight.
There are some solutions which pretend to be emulating as the bin packing algorithm, but WebShopApps has looked at these and believes that extensions following this approach provide a very low level of accuracy. Packing purely based on the volume is not going to give good results. You could have 2 items with exactly the same volume, yet if you packed these into a larger box you would find maybe that you could fit 3 of one of the products and only 2 of the other. The reason - because when packing there is often clear space that is unused - objects dont fit snug, and they don't all fit the same amount.
WebShopApps believes products aren't just about weight and volume. We also understand from our experience of over 40,000 customers in the last 3 years that there are commonalities in the shipping rules. It's not just about stuffing boxes. It's about intelligent packing. It's about providing customers with an interface that gives them the maximum flexibility to set up their shipping to get the best set of rates. We can't dictate how you pack, and every business packs differently. But we can give you tools that allow you to setup rules on how you pack. We believe this gives a much higher level of accuracy than just throwing items in a box.
With the WebShopApps extension we don't just focus on volume and weight. We look at how full a box is in reality. So we ask you to define the maximum quantity of each item that can fit in a box. You might have a set of lotions and for the small lotions you can fit 50 in a box. But the large lotions you can only fit 20. With the WebShopApps extension we can work out from this how many to pack in a mixed box setup, and also given a set of boxes make a good estimate on the box to select and use for shipping.
Before configuring the extension, it is important that you think about what results you want to achieve. Consider how you group your products when you ship them and how this can be translated into shipping rules for the extension.
Answering the following questions should help:
You should now be ready to configure Dimensional Shipping.
This is covered in a separate section.
Please follow these links to view examples:
See a demonstration of the frontend and backend of Dimensional Shipping.
We will be adding in FAQ shortly.
Before you do anything, we recommend you consult our general Troubleshooting page. Here you will find a list of the most common errors users encounter with our products and a set of simple solutions.