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e-Commerce Shipping Options

As an overview of 'Shipping' options in e-Commerce,.. 'Goods' purchased through e-Commerce must be transferred to the customer (unlike services).  At least one of the shipping options must be active, however multiple types may be active to allow customer (and merchant) options. Exponent provides several options; NONE of which perform actual shipment processing (obtain a shipping label, schedule a package pickup, etc...) online.  In a basic sense, the shipping method only provides an estimated cost of shipping and handling  to the customer which is paid during checkout. The actual processing of the shipment is handled outside of or apart from Exponent.

The types of shipping available in Exponent are:

  • In Store Pickup - may include a handling charge
  • Free - shipping and handling for the entire order is free...any actual cost is covered by the sales price
  • Flat Rate - single shipping/handling cost for entire order regardless of the weight or number of items
  • Simple - shipping/handling cost is based on 1) the order total cost and 2) the selected shipping speed (uses a custom table for calculations)
  • UPS (requires an online UPS online account) - interacts w/ UPS web site to determine shipping cost based on weight and number of packages
  • FedEx (requires an online FedEx online account) - interacts w/ FedEx web site to determine shipping cost based on weight and number of packages

The easiest options to set up (and process) are 'In Store Pickup', 'Free', and 'Flat Rate'.  

Both UPS and FedEx are the most difficult to use since not only do they require online accounts (no cost to set up the account), they require accurate entry of each product's shipping weight and dimensions to provide more accurate shipping costs.  However, they are the most likely method many merchants actually use to ship goods.  The actual processing to obtain (purchase) a shipping label and schedule package pickup are handled outside of Exponent.  Package tracking is handled outside of Exponent, but a method is available to enter the shipment tracking number into the invoice for mailing to the customer.

In practice most stores would likely only offer one shipping option.  If you allow both local pickup and also ship packages to the customer, you'd provide two options (In Store Pickup and one of the others).  The exception might be to offer both UPS and FedEx due to the specific delivery address and possible customer cost savings.  A store should rarely, if ever, offer more than one of the Free, Flat Rate, Simple or UPS/FedEx options since the customer will always choose the cheapest rate and e.g., Free would always win out.

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Additional Help Topics

Free Shipping Setup

This shipping option is the easiest to use and set up.  It implies you either incur no shipping cost or that you absorb the shipping cost across sales.  Here's how to setup Free Shipping as a shipment option. ...

In Store Pickup Shipping Setup

In Store Pickup is a shipment option which allows customers to come pick up the merchandise or sign-in for the event.  It has a single setting which allows you to specify a 'handling charge' for this service. ...

Flat Rate Shipping Setup

Flat Rate is a shipping option which allows you to set a specific shipping and handling rate for all orders regardless of the size to total cost of the order.  It has a single setting to set the Flat Rate Shipping & Handling Charge. ...

Simple Shipping Setup

Simple (formely called Table Based) is a shipping option which allows you to set a rate based on the order total cost and a customer selected shipping 'speed'.  You must first create at least one shipping 'speed' name.  Once you've done this you create shipping price 'ranges' for determining the parameters at which the shipping cost is applied and the shipping cost for that price range in the selected 'speed'.  You may also set the 'name' used for this shipping option. ...

UPS Shipping Setup

It is possible to interact with the UPS web site to obtain shipping costs.  The information can then be available in the checkout process to allow the customer to choose the type of shipping and calculate and apply the cost of the shipping to the order.  However, it does not automate the process of obtaining shipping labels or package pickup.  Here's how to setup UPS as a shipment option. ...

FedEx Shipping Setup

It is possible to interact with the FEDEX web site to obtain shipping costs.  The information can then be available in the checkout process to allow the customer to choose the type of shipping and calculate and apply the cost of the shipping to the order.  However, it does not automate the process of obtaining shipping labels or package pickup.  Here's how to setup FEDEX as a shipment option. ...

Per Item Shipping Setup

The Per Item shipping option allows you to charge a shipping cost per item in the order.  You configure this option by entering the cost per item and any additional handling charge.  You may also set the names used by this option when displayed ot the customer. ...

Per Weight Shipping Setup

The Per Weight shipping option allows you to charge a shipping cost based on the total weight of the order.  You configure this option by entering the cost per unit of weight (lbs or kgs) and any additional handling charge.  You may also set the names used by this option when displayed ot the customer. ...


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