With Productmatrix there are a number of steps that must be followed to get yourself successfully up and running. If you follow these steps as we advise you are unlikely to encounter issues and hopefully will be getting shipping rates within a very short period of time.
Productmatrix will do all database edits for you as part of the installation, and add required attributes to the magento installation. It will not configure shipping rates for you (unfortunately!).
Here are the steps to a successful Productmatrix installation. Once you have completed each section refer back here for the next step.
The first step to using this extension is to think about how you want to use it. Some of the questions you should be asking are:
If you have a set of business requirements and are struggling to translate these into logical rules that can be implemented in an extension why not let us do help you at WebShopApps? We have extensive knowledge not just of our extensions but also of shipping and how it works. There aren't many scenarios we haven't seen. We can provide 'starter' csv files based on your requirements, together with comprehensive advise for your particular scenario and how best to implement to achieve the right shipping rates. Prices for this range from 70GBP (100USD) upwards, and depend on your business requirements and how much you want us to do. We can do as little as a sample configuration right up to full install and setup.
Please follow the general guide for installing the Productmatrix extension. You do not need to worry about theme updates as this extension doesn't affect the theme.
You are now in a position where the extension is installed. But how do you know whether or not it works? Before we progress let's try out a small scenario, and ensure that we can get rates back. To do this we need to carry out some configuration of the extension.
On magento frontend load a product into the cart and get a shipping estimate. You should now see shipping rates returned. If you do not then check your installation, and re-do steps above. In the rare event this is still not working then go through the troubleshooting guide, and lastly raise a call with us. Bear in mind that although we do cover across most time zones we cannot always get back to you immediately so if you can check what you have done this will be faster than waiting for us to help.
Product Matrix creates a magento attribute called ' package_id ' with the title Shipping Group.
Shipping groups are used to group together products that have the same shipping price rules.
See this section for further information on shipping groups and how to configure.
As an example I may be selling bikes & accessories, both of which have different shipping price rules. A such I will create 2 shipping groups - BIKES, ACCESSORIES.
It's now time you setup your own csv file. Take the example csv, or look on the Examples page to find a csv close to one of your requirements. Always use a template, building a csv from scratch is not advised.
Then follow the instructions around CSV creation to configure a very simple scenario. I would recommend first just adding in 1 or 2 filters, such as saying something like all BIKES to USA ship for £20 UPS Ground. Then make sure this works before you start adding more rules.
The hardest part of CSV configuration tends to be how it will work when there are multiple shipping groups in the cart. With Productmatrix it matches rates based on the delivery type field. So if you have more than one shipping group in the cart and are offering 2 shipping options it will attempt to push the rates together using the Delivery tye.
The simplest way of handling multiple delivery types is to ensure that each shipping group has at least one shipping type in common.
In the example below we have BOOKS and CDs in the cart. We are offering Ground and Express Shipping. The rates returned for USA will be $15 Ground and $20 Express. When the customer is international only International shipping is offered - the rate returned will be $30 International Standard.
There are ways to change what is displayed depending on what is in the cart. For example we might want to say display Ground when BIKES are in the cart, 2nd Day Air when ACCESSORIES are in the cart, but display just Ground when BIKES & ACCESSORIES are in the cart. Productmatrix supports this configuration.
Previous to release Productmatrix version 17.x this was handled using priorities. If you are still on this release then see the screencast here for setup. If you are only 17.x or above then a new simpler mechanism has been created that uses the algorithm field to specify the alternative delivery types for a particular rate.
Taking the above example let's take a look at how this is configured. I've cut down the columns in the csv file for clarity.
Here we are saying BIKES to USA shipping for $50, delivery type is Ground. Accessories ship for $15 via 2nd Day Air. But if both BIKES and ACCESSORIES are in the cart we want the customer to just see 'Ground' as the delivery type option, with the price either being $65 or $50 (depending on if we choose the totalling algorithm as highest or sum of totals).
You can specify multiple alternatives using comma as the separator e.g. alt=Ground,Pickup Only.
With Productmatrix you need to decide how the shipping rates will be calculated based on the products in the cart. With shipping groups it's particularly important, how do you want the shipping prices to work when there are multiple shipping groups in the cart? For many implementors of Productmatrix we find this question is one that isn't always considered.
The totalling algorithm is a dropdown under the Productmatrix shipping method configuration, and allows you to setup how prices work with multiple shipping groups.
By far the most popular totalling algorithms are:
These are used by around 98% of our clients. So if you are unsure start with one of these ;)
Other options available are:
There may be rare occassions when you wish to utilse per product totalling for some domestic customer and per item for international. This can be achieved by setting your config to per product and creating your CSV as usuall. Then for domestic customers set rows of rates using the item from and to column.
In this example, domestic shipping for HippyChick1 and RockPaperStickers1 is described on rows 2 and 3 with a maximum cost set by the m= algorithm. With per product enabled, if I add multiples of 1 product group I'll only get charged the once.
If I add more than 1 shipping group, I still only get charged once per product group.
But for shipping internationally, I need to work on a per item basis. So in rows 4 - 7 the quantity of the items comes into play in the item from and to columns.
Generally we don't advise using these totalling algorithms unless you are an advanced user or have been advised to go this route by WebShopApps. There are scenarios in which they apply, but they are quite rare.
Let's take a look at a real example.
For example, you might sell books, maps and DVDs, for which you wish to charge separate shipping rates. You would therefore define package identifier the values of "book", "DVD", and "map". For all products you would select their relevant package identifier.
Bear in mind that the other filtering criteria also come into play, so for instance you can split according to destination, weight, price, #items as well to ensure that correct rates are given. It can get very complex and will require a fair degree of testing to ensure you have things correctly configured. This example ignores other criteria.Shipping Groups, rates and delivery types could then be defined as below
By now you should have created your shipping groups, defined your csv file, decided your totalling algorithm, and run through a simple example to see that Productmatrix is successfully installed on your site.
The last set of options are really around the finer tweaking of the extension to meet mainly advanced needs. We have added various switches over time based on demand from customers to give greater control over shipping rates.
We would recommend you go through the Configuration options, and determine which (if any) need to be modified for your scenario. For many of our customers the default configuration is enough.
If you have reached this far, have rates showing as you need then you are nearly there! Your remaining task is really now to elaborate the csv to fully meet your requirements. Please use the examples and refer to the wiki regularly, as you understand the capabilities more you will see how truly powerful Productmatrix is.