Calculator Settings Explained
Posted by Doug Sherman (Import), Last modified by on 20 Sep 06 05:10 PM

Shipping Calculator Settings

AuctionInc provides a wide variety of configuration options so that you can translate your business needs into accurate shipping rates and match as closely as possible your "real-world" rates to our generated rates. Our configuration settings are set either globally or at the item level. Global settings are set on the pages in the Settings Menu. Changes you make to these settings apply immediately to all your items. Item level settings (such as weight, dimensions, supplemental handling) are controlled by each item's HTML; please see the HTML Wizard for your product for more information on these settings. This article reviews global level settings.

Enabled Carrier Services
You can select exactly which of the available services offered by our four supported carriers you wish to offer to your customers. The "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page contains four tabs on its lower half, one for each service. Just toggle the particular service to "enabled" status to offer it. It will immediately be available for all your items as soon as you save your change. If you do not want to offer a particular service for ALL your items, you can set that service to "On-Demand." On-demand services will not rate unless the service is listed in the item HTML (use the HTML Wizard to generate the correct HTML). This setting is particularly useful with services such as USPS Media Mail where the item needs to qualify for the service.

All our carriers except DHL provide us with "list", ie, standard, rates. If you have an account with one of these carriers, you can pass on to your customers any discount to the list rates you may be enjoying by setting a negative handling percentage at the package level. DHL rates are, on the other hand, custom account rates only. You must have an account with DHL already established in order for our calculator to be able to provide DHL rates. Use the "Carrier Accounts" page to record your DHL account information with AuctionInc.

Handling Fees
AuctionInc. provides very flexible configuration for setting handling fees to recover your costs for expenses such as packaging materials, labor, etc. Some of these costs might occur once per order, some might occur for every package you need to create, and some mght only occur for a particular item. Therefore, AuctionInc provides you with the capability to set handling charges at the order, package, and item level. These settings can be used individually or together for more flexibility. Handling is not identified seperately in the calculator; it is added to the base ship rate and a single total is shown to your customers. (Handling fees are only applicable if you use carrier rates for shipping calculations; if you use fixed rates, you should set the fixed rates to include all your additional charges.)

Order Level Handling
This is a one-time fee applied to the order, regardless of the number of packages our shipping engine may have created for the items in the cart. It applies to all the shipping services you have enabled. Order Handling is set at the top of the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page.

Order handling can be set as etiher a fixed amount or as a percentage of the order subtotal. If you set a percentage, you can also establish both a maximum cap on the fee and/or a minumum fee. Domestic and international order handling fees can be set independently.

Package Level Handling
AuctionInc's shipping engine creates one or more "packages" for the items in the cart, using the weight of the items and the wieght limits for each service to determine how many packages to create. Package level handling fees are assessed for each package created. They are set independently for each carrier service (on the appropriate carrier tab on the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page), ie, you might set a $2.00 handling fee for a package sent by UPS Ground, and a $3.00 handling fee for packages sent by UPS Next Day Air. If there are two packages in the order, the fee would be added twice, etc. Just like order-level fees, package fees can be set either as a fixed amount or as a percentage. If you use a percentage, it can be either of the shipping rate or or the package value (ie, the sum of the item prices). either a flat fee or a percentage of the shipping charge. A maximum cap can also be set.

Item level Supplemental Handling
You can also set additional handling at the item level, in the item HTML. (Please use the HTML Wizard to generate the correct html.) You might use this to account for item-specific special costs such as packaging for a fragile item.

Customer Pickup
If you allow customers to pick up packages at your business, you can enable this option at the top of the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page. The option "pickup at seller's location will appear as an option in the calculator. No shipping fees, handling or insurance will be added in for this option, ie, the Shipping & Handling rate will be zero.

Buyer Selected (Optional) Insurance & Insurance Thresholds
You can opt to allow your customers to determine whether insurance should be added for their order by enabling "Buyer Selectable Insurance" at the top of the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page. By doing so, a checkbox will appear on the calculator which will allow your customers to select or unselect insurance. The amount of the insurance charge is based on the insurance rate for carrier selected and the sum of the item prices in the package. The insurance fee is folded into the shipping rate, but your customer will be able to view this total both with and without insurance added.

You can also set, for each carrier, a threshold value over which insurance will always be required. Your insurance thresholds and your setting for optional insurance work together to determine whether insurance is required for any particular package. Under your threshold, insurance will only be added if you offer optional insurance and your customer has selected it. The threshold setting allows you to exempt customers from paying for insurance for cheaper items.   Under the threshold, you are essentially acting as your own insurer, offering cheaper shipping while, assuming you are not purchasing insurance anyway, taking on the liability yourself for lost or damaged items. For cheaper items, this is usually an efficient tradeoff.   If there are multiple items in a package, the value of all the items is combined when compared to your threshold.  An insurance threshold setting of "0" means that insurance will always be required. Some carriers offer insurance up to a certain package value for free; be sure to take this into account when determining your threshold settings.

Selection of Insurance Provider
Each carrier offers insurance for lost or damaged packages, and the rate that carrier charges is our default rate that we use when adding insurance to the shipping rate. However,  you may alternatively contract with a third party insurer such as PIP or UPIC to substantially reduce your cost for purchasing insurance. If you do so and would like to pass this savings to your customers, you may enter your third party insurance rates into the third party insurance table for each carrier on the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page..   (The value you enter is the rate and NOT the discount. For example, if your plan is 60% of a particular carrier\'s rate, you you would enter 60.)

Carrier Entry Points
The method you use to deliver your packages to each carrier (except USPS)-- ie, daily pickup, onetime pickup, dropbox, retail dropoff, etc -- has a substantial effect on the carrier's shipping rate for your packages. Most carriers establish entirely differently rate tables for their zones based on this single factor. Daily pickup typcially offers the cheapest rates, but often has its own additional weekly cost. Whichever method you use, it is very important that you select it on the appropriate carrier tab on the "Carrier Services, Fees & Insurance" page so that we can generate the correct rates for that carrier. The method you select will apply to all services for that carrier. Dont forget to update the entry point settings as necessary.

Carrier Service Weight Limits
The shipping calculator when determining rates for two or more items that are to be shipped together can split the shipment into multiple packages. By default the calculator place as many items as possible into a single package while respecting the carrier maximum weight limit. When multiple items combined exceed the maximum weight, the calculator automatically creates additional packages. You can control the packaging logic by specifying a weight lower than the carrier maximum weight which may better reflect your shipping practices. Any item that exceeds your specified packaging weight limit will automatically be placed in an additional package. When determining the final shipping rates, all the resulting packages are seperately rated and these rates are added together.

Miscellaneous Fees
Some of your expenses might not fit easily into a "per order" or "per package" metaphor. An example might be the weekly charge that some carriers might asses for daily pickup service. You may add in to the final shipping rates a miscellaneous fee to account for these type of expenses. This fee is not subject to either the order or package level caps you may have set.

Manifest Type (AiSeller only)

Auction Inc. integrates with two popular manifesting systems: UPS Worldship and Harvey Software's Computerized Parcel System (CPS).   Our integration allows you to export your invoice data directly into your manifest program, saving you the the time and effort of doing so manually, and to import back into Auction Inc. shipping data such as tracking numbers.   Selecting a manifest system on this window enables additional options on your Control Panel. However, for the integration to work there is also some setup that must be done directly in your manifest software. Please refer to the appropriate articles in the Knowledgebase for completing this setup process. 

Packaging Weight
In addition to the weight of the items, total package weight also consists of the weight of any packing materials you may have used as well as the weight of the box itself. AuctionInc allows you to account for this additional weight by establishing packaging weight "factors" that add additonal weight for any given range of item weghts. For example, you might choose to add 1/2 lb for item weights that total between 0-3 lbs. You may establish any number of ranges, and add whatever additional weight for each that best matches your actual shipping practices. AuctionInc starts you off with a default set of ranges and weights (if you opted for this in the Setup Wizard) but we expect that you will need to fine-tune these.

Promotional Shipping Discounts

Want to offer discounts on shipping to encourage additonal sales? AuctionInc allows you to establish a series of threshold order total values over which you may offer discounted (or free) shipping rates to your customers. The discounted shipping is set on a selected class of shipping services (such as ground services), so that your customer can have the option of selected a discounted service or a nondiscounted (faster) service.

Country Ship-To List (Global Module)

If you are subscribing to our Global Module, you can restrict available international destinations by including or eliminating exactly the countries you prefer. Set this configuration on the "Country Ship-To List" under the Settings Menu.


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