Whilst you don't want to charge customers too much, equally you don't want to be left out of pocket, so charging the correct amount is important.

Striking the right balance can affect your bottom line in more ways than one. With online sales on the rise it is only natural that shopping cart abandonment is also increasing. One of the key factors preventing shoppers from completing their sales is high shipping costs, with 44 per cent of shoppers stating them as the reason for leaving a cart.

Furthermore, it can be off-putting for potential return customers if a package arrives and the amount of postage on the label is significantly less than what they paid. These reasons all underline the careful planning which must go into to this process. However, working out how to calculate shipping costs needn't be the mountainous task it seems.

How to calculate shipping costs

Define your destinations

Begin by defining the destinations to which you'll deliver. This may be automatically limited, depending on your stock; some may be items which you cannot ship Internationally. You must also be careful not to attempt to ship restricted and prohibited items in the post – for more help on this topic, make sure you check the UK Prohibited Items and International Prohibited Items lists before arranging to ship your parcel.

It is also important to remember, some destinations cost more than others; so you may want to consider setting up different profiles for Europe and Rest of the World to reflect International shipping costs. The cost will also be affected by whether you choose air or road for your delivery method.

Decide how you'll manage the delivery of your parcels; if you're shipping a large quantity of orders then a dedicated door to door delivery service such as ours can save you time and money, compared with the regular postal service.

Breaking down shipping prices

Will you provide a standard shipping price or will it depend on the overall weight of the order? Or will you offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount - or even on all orders?

Offering a standard shipping price is a fair way to do things; plus it simplifies it for you and for the customer. Of course there will be some orders where you will lose money, but there will also be plenty where you make a profit - aiming to break even is a good plan.

Another option that could be appealing is offering a choice. By providing a range of services (e.g. next day) you give people more options to choose from, which can be a positive for your business. Having the option for next working day delivery is a real benefit for customers in a rush and may help them choose between your online shop and a competitor's.

Avoid abandoned baskets

Free shipping, or offering a very low standard rate of shipping, is a common way to encourage shoppers to purchase (and overcome ‘cart’ or basket abandonment).

However, you don't have to give shipping away completely free of charge, unless the lure will bring in enough customers that it makes it worthwhile. Instead you can consolidate at least some of the shipping costs into the price of your goods. You'll need to weigh up of course if you can remain competitive in price; or whether the draw of free shipping will be enough to give you the edge over your competition.

Perhaps begin by offering free shipping over a certain amount. Start by determining your average order value, then offering free shipping on all orders over £X (higher than your average order amount) to make it worthwhile for both parties.

Measure your products

Whichever option you choose, you're going to need to measure your items; taking into account your packaging as this will be the size on which you will be charged. So if you sell small items, avoid packaging them in excessively large boxes!

Remember to consider both size and weight of the packaged item. Many parcel companies including ipostparcels use volumetric weight for pricing International parcels. This is the parcel's length x width x height in centimetres (cm), divided by 5000. The ipostparcels booking system will help you calculate this automatically and if the volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight of your parcel, then the former will be used to calculate shipping cost.

If you don't already have a set of scales but know you will be sending lots of parcels then it is well worth investing in a simple set to assist with your calculations.

If your inventory consists of any particularly large or heavy items then make sure that your delivery company is able to accommodate your package. Maximum weight limits apply, as do maximum sizes. With ipostparcels you can send packages weighing up to 25kg, an XXL solution that's ideal for flat pack furniture. Be sure to check the maximum dimensions allowed on the parcel option you have chosen and be aware that irregularly shaped items may end up costing you more than square or rectangular ones.

Finding the right price

Once you’ve thought through all of these considerations you can begin to price up your shipping. All you need now is the weight and measurements of your parcel and our quick quote will work out the price for you.

UK to UK Deliveries: If you are sending within the UK you'll be able to see which size categories your parcels fit into using our guide below – all UK to UK deliveries with ipostparcels operate on a next working day delivery service and prices start from just £1.99* (ex VAT).

International Deliveries: If you are sending Internationally simply select the country you’re shipping to and input your parcels weight and dimensions into our quick quote to get a price and transit time. International delivery starts from just £8.25* (ex VAT) and delivery from just 2-3 days*.

We can collect your UK and International deliveries from your door or alternatively, drop them off at one of our 50+ depots to save £1.30 on every parcel you ship with ipostparcels.

Size

Price

Dimensions

 

Up to 2kg

 

Extra Small - Next Day parcel delivery

From only £1.99* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

20 (l) x 20 (w) x 20 (h)

23 (l) x 33 (w) x 5 (h)

 

Up to 5kg

 

Small - Next Day parcel delivery

From just £2.69* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

35 (l) x 35 (w) x 35 (h)

 

Up to 10kg

 

Medium – Next Day parcel delivery

From just £3.73* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

45 (l) x 45 (w) x 45 (h)

 

Up to 15kg

 

Large – Next Day parcel delivery

From just £5.23* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

60 (l) x 60 (w) x 60 (h)

 

Up to 20kg

 

Extra Large – Next Day parcel delivery

From just £8.39* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

65 (l) x 65 (w) x 65 (h)

 

Up to 25kg

 

Extra, Extra Large – Next Day parcel delivery

From just £17.43* (ex VAT)

Maximum dimensions (cm):

70 (l) x 70 (w) x 70 (h)

Rules for eBay sellers

 

If you sell on eBay then it's important to keep yourself abreast with the platform's own rules and regulations for charging postage. Even if you're not a member and sell through your own website then you may find it useful to consider these as a best practice guideline.

eBay has stipulations in place that penalise sellers who charge unreasonable fees for postage and related services. This is to prevent sellers from offering super cheap items and making up their profit by stinging buyers with astronomically high postage and packaging rates.

The site offers plenty of specific guides to help with setting up postage rules, promotions and more, all of which can help bolster the appeal your store in consumers' eyes. Offering promotions such as free shipping can be a great enticement for a shopper. As a reward for being customer friendly and simplifying the eBay shopping experience, the platform automatically awards five stars in the postage charges section of a detailed review for those stores that fulfil free shipping.

One final rule of note to be aware of is those item categories that carry maximum P&P charges. These are listed in detail on the eBay policies pages. More info on all of eBay's shipping rules and selling tips can be found here.

Calculating the correct postage costs needn't be complicated. Sites such as eBay and other online marketplaces make shipping options simple. Even website systems such as WordPress include specialised ecommerce templates and plug-ins which offer a simplified shipping set up. If you are a seller on eBay, we can help make your life easier. When you link your eBay and ipostparcels accounts, we can import any sold items directly into our booking form, saving you admin time.

Using ipostparcels is quick and easy

Here at ipostparcels we do everything we can to help make calculating parcel delivery costs easy. Our quick quote tool can assist with an estimate price in seconds, which is ideal for quickly calculating shipping costs.

Make the most of additional discounts offered by depot drop offs and bulk collections, to keep your outlay down and your customers happy.

For help keeping costs low take a look at our guide 'What is the cheapest way to send a parcel?'



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