Shipping costs just got a whole lot simpler... introduces Real-Time Rates.

One of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs who are starting their online stores is how to calculate what they should be charging their customers for shipping. There is always the risk of overcharging the customer, not charging them enough or losing the customer completely because the cost of shipping is simply not worth it for them. Although we’ve covered this in a previous article, we’re here to tell you that calculating shipping costs at checkout just got a whole lot easier.

It is important to understand what the couriers take into account when calculating how much to charge for the shipment of your parcel. Not only do they look at the address the parcel is being shipped from and the address the parcel is being shipped too, but they also look at the service level chosen and the weight of the parcel. When courier companies look at the weight of the parcel, they consider both the volumetric weight and the actual weight - and then charge on the higher of the two!

The actual weight is the weight in kilograms that your parcel weighs, including the packaging. The volumetric weight is based on the dimensions of the parcel, including the packaging (Volumetric weight = width x height x length / 4000 ). What this means for you as a merchant can best be explained in an example: Imagine you are shipping a cushion that weighs 1kg on a scale. However, the cushion’s dimensions measure 60x60x20cm, giving the cushion a volumetric weight of 18kg - (60cm x 60cm x 20cm / 4000). If you work out your costs with the actual weight rather than the volumetric weight, you will be in for a massive shock when you see what the courier will actually charge you for that shipment.

Thus, it is vital to not only input the product weights correctly into your online store during set-up, but also to ensure that you are using the volumetric weight instead when you know that it will be higher than the actual weight. This will ensure that you are getting the most accurate rates when you are fulfilling that order. However, even if you have all of your ducks in a row, your calculations are all done and you’ve tried every shipping method under the sun, the chances of over- or undercharging your customers is still very high due to the amount of variables involved. This is why uAfrica decided to get involved…

Introducing Real-Time Rates on uAfrica for Shopify and bidorbuy!

This is another method when charging your customers for shipping at checkout, but simply made even easier. Real-Time Rates is when, at checkout on your website, your customers are presented with shipping options, based on live rates received from the couriers (uAfrica is currently only supporting The Courier Guy and Courier It for Real-Time Rates).

These rates take into consideration the order weight, the customer’s shipping address and collection address (default sender address on uAfrica), to display shipping options for your customer. These rates supplied are exclusive of VAT. Because the order weight does consider dimensions, it becomes all the more important that you have considered which will be the higher of the actual versus volumetric weight for the most accurate quote.

The process is simple. Just activate Real-Time Rates on your account, edit and adjust them to your liking (by giving them a custom name, adding insurance options and handling fees) and you’re ready to go. When the customer is checking out on your online store, live rates from the couriers (and depending on your customisations) will appear on their screens as shipping options. They can then proceed to payment after selecting the rate that suits their needs best. And the best part is that when you then fulfill the order, you can select quotes from the courier that match their preferences!

*Note that before you can get started on setting up Shipping Rates on uAfrica, you will need to enable this on Shopify first. The Third-Party Carrier-Calculated Shipping Rates functionality must be activated on your Shopify store in order for Shipping Rates to work on uAfrica.

Real-Time Rates allows you, as an ecommerce business, to align what your customers pay for shipping and what you get charged by the courier to ship the parcel, which helps to ensure that you don’t overcharge your customers or lose money when it comes to shipping. No more complicated calculations, no more estimations and variables and no more stress. Start using Real-Time Rates on uAfrica - it’s worth every second.

Check out the video on our YouTube channel to find out more.

Useful resources:
uAfrica takes the messiness out of running a successful online store. With quotes from various couriers, automated shipping labels and a multichannel feature that updates inventory and centralises order management. Logistics has never been easier!
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