Category Archives: Shipping

International Shipping Made easy with DHL Express via ILS

We have announced a new partnership with ILS that gives our customers a better experience with international shipping. International shipping is currently on the rise and customers now expect access to products no matter where they originate.  According to a study by The Paypers, “70% of global ecommerce experts agree that selling cross-border has proven to be profitable.” To keep up with your customers demands and ahead of the competition it is essential that you are offering competitive shipping options to both your domestic and international customers.

stock-photo-88950421-media-app-icons-flying-around-globe-on-tablet-computerDHL Express is an international express mail service provider with operations in 225 countries. As an authorized DHL Agent, ILS makes these services more accessible to its merchants and works to help small to medium sized business open their doors to the global market. Although the words Boutique and VIP are usually associated with high price points, DHL Express and ILS brings you high-performance expedited international shipping
options while also delivering an unparalleled customer care experience.


What DHL Express and ILS bring to merchants on ShipperHQ

  • One to three day transit to anywhere in the world
  • Peace of mind with live, door to door tracking updates
  • Certified International Specialist that are here to answer any of your shipping questions

At ShipperHQ, we work to put partnerships in place with outstanding companies that share the desire to make your customers shopping experience enjoyable. Both ShipperHQ and ILS believe in helping our merchants stay ahead of the curve by giving them the tools they need to easily move their businesses forward.  And both companies understand that an excellent shopping experience has to include great shipping options.

You can easily add DHL Express via ILS to your ShipperHQ account by signing up for an ILS account and setting up “ILS DHL” as a carrier in your ShipperHQ. Contact us to learn more about how you can get discounted rates through ILS or how to get started with ShipperHQ.

UPS Security Update – A review of action required

Management Summary

  • UPS are upgrading their required security protocols – you won’t be able to use their API services unless you comply
  • There is no firm date for when this will be enforced, it was originally planned for May 31st 2016
  • If you are a Magento user, below we include some things you can check and verify to ensure you will meet these requirements
  • If you are a ShipperHQ user, no action is required on your part

Deeper Information

UPS have a detailed plan to upgrade their data security, as part of this plan they will be enforcing security protocols when you interact with their web services. To put it plainly, you’ll need to do some housekeeping if you are using Magento and any kind of UPS service.

Starting from May 31st 2016, UPS stated they will enforce TLS v1.2 on their web services and other online services like UPS.com, this has now been delayed with no firm date of when this enforcement will begin. This delay is a great opportunity for merchants and developers to get this requirement met and forget about it, well before it becomes a headache.

If you are using any of the following:

  • Magento’s built-in UPS shipping carrier
  • Any of the following WebShopApps stand alone UPS extensions:
    • UPS Date Shipping
    • UPS Calendar
    • Delivery Options for UPS
    • UPS Zones
    • UPS Freight
    • Dimensional Shipping
    • Address Validation via UPS
  • Any other UPS integration from a third party that accesses UPS via XML web services

There is no upgrade required to your code or Magento system. You’ll need to verify with your host the version of TLS that your server supports – some things to review are

  1. Check the version of OpenSSL is v1.0.1 or higher
  2. Check the version of cURL you have, v7.34 or higher will include TLS v1.2
  3. TLS v1.2 is enabled with your version of cURL

ShipperHQ customers will not need to take any action as we have already verified that our interactions with UPS including live rates, freight and address validation will meet their updated security requirements.

ShipperHQ.com. Come talk to us. Your cart, your shipping, your rules.

USPS Price Increase and API Update – January 17, 2016

USPS is releasing an update to their API and price increases on January 17, 2016.

What are the changes?

There are price increases to many services across both retail and commercial base pricing including Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and First Class Parcel (international). In some cases there is a significant price increase. See the USPS press release for more details, or take a look at the USPS 2016 Price Change video by our partner Pitney Bowes.

ShipperHQ will automatically show these price increases when they are rolled out on January 17, 2016.

The API update also includes

  • Renaming Standard Post to Retail Ground
  • Removal of several flat rate box services

These changes will automatically be rolled into ShipperHQ and no action is required by merchants.

Will I be affected?

I’m using Magento’s built-in USPS carrier

If you are using standard Magento USPS carrier and your Magento Community Edition version is 1.7.x or below,  your customers will no longer see USPS Standard Post rates. To resolve this you will need to download the updated USPS patch extension.

Users of Magento Enterprise Edition version 1.13.x and below will also not be able to see rates for Standard Post service, please contact Magento for the recommended course of action.

If you are using Magento Community Edition version 1.8.x and above or Magento Enterprise Edition version 1.14.x and above, no action is required to see the newly named USPS Retail Ground rates.

I’m using a WebShopApps extension to get my USPS rates

If you are a WebShopApps customer we’ve also updated our extensions for

  • WebShopApps Dimensional Shipping
  • WebShopApps USPS via Endicia

You can contact us for an upgraded version of your extension (charges may apply if you are outside of your support period).

I use ShipperHQ to manage my rates

You don’t need to do anything. ShipperHQ will automatically show these prices increases when they are rolled out on January 17th, 2016.

How can I reduce my shipping prices?

Within ShipperHQ we support rate shopping. We have many customers that utilize this to compare live carrier rates automatically in the cart, presenting the cheapest options to the customer.  Talk to us for further information and a no-obligation 30-day free trial.

 

Fedex Service Outage – January 16, 2016

FedEx has advised there will be a service outage on their live API on Saturday, January 16th from 9:00 pm CT until Sunday, January 17th 12:01 am CT (total duration 3 hours).

Will I be affected?

This will affect:

  • All Magento merchants using live Fedex rates
  • Customers of ShipperHQ using Fedex rates (including FedEx Freight)
  • Merchants using WebShopApps Freight extension for FedEx Freight rates
  • Creation of shipment labels and tracking using the standard Magento FedEx carrier

You may not be able to receive shipping rates from FedEx during this time. If FedEx is your only available shipping method, customers may not be able to checkout during this time if you do not take any action.

What should I do?

For merchants using ShipperHQ, you should configure a backup carrier for any live rate FedEx carriers you have.

Backup carrier

Once the service outage of FedEx API is over, FedEx rates will be returned without any further action required from you (the merchant). You should leave this backup carrier configured in case of any future unexpected FedEx service outages.

ShipperHQ.com. Come talk to us. Your cart, your shipping, your rules.

I want it now! The importance of timely shipping rates

A Story

It’s the week before Christmas. Life is busy.  That great train set you had safely tucked away on the sleigh since November, well your son just informed you that trains are old news and he really wants a drone.

So now what?

You could argue give him the train 😉

Or you go buy a drone.  But its 1 week to go.  Do you go to the website that says this?

 

 

or this (please ignore my bad dec box, its late, I want to sleep tonight!):

 

The answer should be obvious.  You will go with the one that guarantees delivery.  In fact you would probably pay more to get it guaranteed on a certain day, the free shipping really is irrelevant at this point – YOU NEED THE DRONE.

Time in Transit

The benefits to displaying the time of delivery, the transit time, or for perishables/flowers/etc giving the customer an actual calendar to pick a date (and potentially a time slot) is pretty obvious.  The reality is that most eCommerce carts by default do not offer this option to customers. Furthermore many of you may be aware that if you order say ‘Overnight’ that doesn’t mean tomorrow its on your doorstep. You may have missed their cut-off window for the day, it might take a day to get the goods out, or it might be Friday, in which case Monday is the earliest (assuming its not Home Delivery FedEx which never delivers on a Monday!).

Perishables

Selling cupcakes & birthday cakes?  We see a ton of stores that just offer In-Store Pickup here because they say they can’t ship it.  Well they can, but only in the 1-day timeframe.  Or worse they offer shipping everywhere then have to cancel orders with customers when its outside their area. They can’t offer non-perishables as its all confusing then, some can ship, some cant, etc etc.

Up-selling Shipping

It’s important to look at the up-sell possible on shipping which can be gained with Time in Transit.  Customers in general are going to pay to get stuff faster.  So you may lose money on say a free shipping promotion over $40 of goods, but if you incentivize them to purchase Next Day or 2 Day then overall you can come out with a win. Especially if you add a little percentage cushion on that Next Day delivery to give you a bit of profit.  Here is a great example of how one store holds back their produce if you need it shipping free.

Same Day Delivery

People want things fast, Amazon is keying into this with Same-Day delivery in many key cities, and online merchants with their own stores need to step up. At ShipperHQ we see the advance of services such as Postmates/UberRUSH/Roadie really changing the online landscape in the next 12-18months for retailers, if you are in NY you can readily serve that local market within hours. What with the desire of customers to ‘shop local & shop niche’ we believe it provides good opportunity for merchants to take on the likes of Amazon.

In fact same-day delivery has been around a little while, we have had stores offer this loading up a custom set of table rates to serve customers.

How do I solve this?

ShipperHQ.com. Come talk to us. Your cart, your shipping, your rules.

 

 

Shipping During the Holiday Season

ribbon

As the holiday season is coming near, shipping becomes more of a priority for merchants and their customers. With the craze of holiday shopping comes the stress of meeting shipping deadlines. Changes to holiday shipping calendars have been made for this year’s holiday season, so it will be extremely helpful to stay on top of current cut-off dates for all carriers you plan to use. Below you can find the 2015 holiday shipping dates and news.

UPS

Changes around time in transit have been put in place to this year’s UPS Holiday schedule. It is important to stay updated on these new deadlines to ensure that you are receiving accurate time in transit responses and are shipping in a timely manner. Ship by dates have been posted by UPS, here is a summery of some upcoming cut off dates.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground Contact UPS Dependent on origin and destination
UPS 3 Day Select December 18th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 22st US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii

* Between Nov. 23 and Dec 30th, a limited number of UPS Ground and UPS Standard packages that have transit times of three or more days and specific origins and destinations will require an additional day in transit. Contact UPS for more information.

FedEx

FedEx offeres a Get Rates and Transit Times application to their customers so they can easily find the FedEx delivery option that will get their shipment to its destination in time. You should also note that FedEx SameDay is available every day of the year for your most urgent shipments. But, if you are looking to avoid the rush, we have listed the last days to ship your packages so they arrive on or before December 25th below.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground December 16th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Express Saver December 21st US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Standard Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

USPS encourages holiday shoppers to ship early, but we all know that that is easier said than done. So, the Postal Service also helps its customers with last minute shipping by providing the mail-by dates that will get your shipment where it needs to be by December 25th.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail December 19th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail December 21st US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

Although we have provided cut off dates for some of the major carriers, it is also important to keep up to date with restrictions and options from other carriers you wish to use by visiting their website or speaking with your carrier representative for more information.

2014 Holiday Shipping Cut-Off Dates

2014_holiday_shipping_header
Carriers are bulking up on staff and resources for the holidays and are expecting a significant increase in traffic over last year. As we near the holiday season, it’s time for the rest of us to ensure that we have the information and resources we need to meet demand. In that spirit, here’s our roundup of 2014 Holiday Cut-Off dates for the big three carriers in the US.

UPS

With UPS expecting an 11% increase in volume over the Christmas 2014 season, it’ll be more important than ever to make sure your packages are shipped early enough to get to your customers in time. UPS has published their ship by dates for 2014, here’s a summary for the most frequently used UPS services.

Service Ship By Notes
UPS Ground December 15th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii
UPS 3 Day Select December 18th US Domestic shipments only
UPS 2nd Day Air December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Next Day Air December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, some limitations in Alaska and Hawaii
UPS Express Critical December 24th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Alaska and Hawaii

FedEx

FedEx expects an increase of 8.8% in volume this Christmas. They’ve outlined all of the cut-off dates for their services on their website and we’ve summarized the most popular services here.

Service Ship By Notes
FedEx Home Delivery & FedEx Ground December 17th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Express Saver December 20th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx 2 Day December 22nd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx Standard Overnight December 23rd US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico
FedEx SameDay December 25th US Domestic shipments only, excludes Puerto Rico

USPS

Of the big three carriers, USPS predicts the largest increase with an estimate of 14% higher volume this holiday season over last year. All the details are on USPS.com but we’ve summarized the most important information below.

Service Ship By Notes
Standard Post December 15th US Domestic shipments only
First Class Mail & Priority Mail December 20th US Domestic shipments only
Priority Mail Express December 23rd US Domestic shipments only

Conclusion

While we’ve summarized the most popular services from the most popular carriers above, it’s important that you make yourself familiar with the options and restrictions available from your carrier of choice and get in touch with your carrier representative or check their website for more information. If you have general questions about eCommerce shipping or ShipperHQ, feel free to reach out to us.

Shipping Game Changers: Same Day Shipping

We may be biased, but we’re convinced that eCommerce shipping is one of the most exciting and fastest-paced areas of innovation in eCommerce today. New shipping services, refinements on existing ideas, and exciting future possibilities open up almost daily. ShipperHQ exists to make these services, ideas, and possibilities a reality for merchants without the headaches and costs that often come along with being at the cutting edge. While there are a myriad of shipping services available to customers today, a new option is poised to make waves.

Comparison of Standard Carriers and Same Day Couriers

Modern Same Day Shipping is a reimagining of the oldest type of delivery service. In the good old days, you’d hire a guy with a wagon (or van in more recent years) who happened to be heading the right direction to pick goods up at your store and carry them to your customer. Now, internet and mobile technology allow for instant booking of deliveries with couriers across the country. All you have to do is book a delivery and a professional courier with a smart phone and a car shows up at your store in minutes ready to help.

So, what’s coming down the road (literally and figuratively!) for Same Day Shipping?

Read more about Same Day Shipping in our full blog post at WebShopApps.com…

Dimensional Weight – Part 1 – Introduction

What is Dimensional Weight?

Dimensional Weight is the calculation of the weight of goods in terms of their dimensions.  The length, width, height of a package is used to give a volume, then this is usually increased by a multiplier to give a dimensional weight.

For example we may have an item that is Length 25inches, Height 20in, Width 32in.  If we use UPS as an example then for Domestic US Air shipments the Dimensional Weight is calculated as (25*20*32)/166 = 96. The Dimensional Weight would be 96lbs.

Dimensional Weight Calculation

How does Dimensional Weight affect Shipment Pricing?

Traditionally the calculation of shipment pricing has been done using the origin, the destination and the weight.  I’ve clearly made a generalization in this statement as there are other factors such as the packaging container, account type, etc which affect pricing, but you can think of this as the general rule.

But, with countries such as the US space is of a premium. If you think in terms of an aircraft, let’s say I wanted to send 500lbs of cotton wool. Well this is going to take up much more room than say 500lbs of lead weight. So what logistics companies such as UPS and FedEx have done is created a calculation which takes into account this Dimensional Weight, if its relevant.  They look at what is known as the Billable Weight.

The Billable Weight can be simply viewed as the greater of the Dimensonal Weight and the Actual Weight.  So if we have the 96lb Dimensional Weight example from above the Billable Weight would be 96lb unless the actual weight is greater.  So a 120lb piece of gym equipment would result in a Billable Weight of 120lbs. A 34lb bike would result in a Billable Weight of 96lb. The lower value is ignored.

Billable Weight

Why is this Important?

And the reason this is important?  Because you will be charged based on this Billable Weight, and not the actual weight. So if you were shipping that bike and only using the actual weight you would have charged the customer a much less lower price than its actually costing you to ship.

Why is this even more important in 2014?

The advent of online commerce has resulted in an explosion in shipments. Just a few years ago most goods were purchased via a visit to the local mall or the Home Depot/Warehouse.  Now we are seeing a mass move to getting our goods via the mail.

From a logistics carrier perspective they have been playing catchup with this move to online commerce too, and having to rethink how shipment pricing works as a result of the pressures on them in terms of space, fuel costs and sheer amounts of parcels now being delivered.

What has also happened is that companies like Amazon have realised its more efficient for them to have less box sizes, and use a larger box with more empty space rather than try to pack what we would call efficiently.  The best way to think about this is when you receive goods from Amazon do you notice that often there are ‘packers’ in the box and a big box with not much in it?  This is because this is easier for Amazon.  Its not easier for the carriers as this space is all taking up room in their vans and planes.

This image from Japan sums up the issue perfectly.

amazon-packaging-reality

So, in 2014 Logistics Companies are fighting back. They want to pack more densely, and if they can’t then they want to charge appropriately for this. There have been three key announcements in recent weeks around Dimensional Weight based shipping:

  1. FedEx announced they would be moving to dimensional pricing for Ground and Freight from Jan 1 2015
  2. UPS announces Dimensional Pricing from Dec 2014 on Ground shipments (is already in place on Air/International)
  3. UPS Freight announces a move to Density Based Pricing (aka Dimensional Pricing) in a move away from long held Classification Pricing (NMFC codes)

How does it work in Magento?

Right now in Magento there is no support for Dimensional Based Pricing. And its not easy to implement. Why? Because generally a package is made up of more than 1 item.  So you can’t just enter dimensions on products like you do with weights and solve this issue.  It’s deeper than that.

In Part 2 I’ll go over how we solve this at WebShopApps and in ShipperHQ.  In the meantime feel free to contact us or take a look at our Dimensional Shipping Extension if you are in need of a solution today.