Custom and heavy shipping methods

Custom shipping methods

If you need to offer your customers something specialized instead of standard shipping methods (e.g. ground, 2-day, priority, etc), Liftoff allows you to create custom shipping methods. These can account for a wide variety of needs, from special discount rates to large parcels, tiered rates, and much more.

Create a custom shipping method

To set up a custom shipping method, navigate to ECommerce > Shipping and click the Add Shipping Method button. Select "Custom" from the Method drop-down menu and give your method a name, such as "Ground Freight". Note that the name you provide will display to your customers.

For now, pick a name. You'll define the price and options next.For now, pick a name. You'll define the price and options next.

For now, pick a name. You'll define the price and options next.

Once you've provided a name for your custom method and clicked Save, it's time to define your rate. Click Edit next to your new custom method on the Shipping Options page. From here, you have several options: edit the current rate (the one auto-created for you when you created the method originally, as seen in the image below), add a new rate, or configure the method's settings.

Edit the default rate or add a new rate

The procedure for editing the auto-created rate or adding a new rate is the same. To edit the default rate, click the Edit button on its right; to create a new rate, click the blue Add Rate button. Beyond that, proceed as follows.

Define the rate type

The default is to define your rate by the total weight of the shipment. Any shipment that weighs within the range you define here will have the option to ship via the custom rate. You can leave one field blank in order to define something like "any shipment under 5 lbs" or "any shipment over 40 lbs."

In this example, any shipment with a total weight between 3 and 6 lbs will trigger the custom rate.In this example, any shipment with a total weight between 3 and 6 lbs will trigger the custom rate.

In this example, any shipment with a total weight between 3 and 6 lbs will trigger the custom rate.

The alternative is to define the rate by the total price of the order. Any order with a price in the range you define here will have the option to ship via the custom rate. You can leave one field blank in order to define something like "any order under $27.00" or "any order over $3.50."

In this example, any order with a total price between $10 and $50 will have the option to use the custom rate.In this example, any order with a total price between $10 and $50 will have the option to use the custom rate.

In this example, any order with a total price between $10 and $50 will have the option to use the custom rate.

Define the price

The shipping price you set here is a flat rate, applicable to any qualifying order. You may set any price you like; if you leave this field set to zero, then all qualifying orders will have the option to ship at no cost to the customer.

This states that all orders qualifying for this custom method will ship for $23.00This states that all orders qualifying for this custom method will ship for $23.00

This states that all orders qualifying for this custom method will ship for $23.00

Omit handling

By selecting this option, you specify that any shipment using this custom shipping method will override any order-level handling charges (see Ecommerce > Shipping > Settings tab) or product-level handling charges (see Products > Products > Edit > Specs tab) you might otherwise charge for a given order. If you leave this option deselected, order-level and product-level handling charges will apply in addition to the shipping rate amount for this custom method.

Fallback rate

When selected, this option forces Liftoff to perform one additional check before offering a customer your custom rate: ensure no other rates are available. Each carrier (UPS, FedEx, etc) sets limits for each method they offer; if a limit is exceeded for a given method, Liftoff won't display that method at checkout.

The most common example of this is overweight parcels. UPS won't allow any shipment via any of their standard methods if the parcel weighs more than 150lbs. However, you can arrange for "hudredweight" service, bypassing the 150lb limitation. If you've made such an arrangement with UPS, you can configure a custom weight-based method in Liftoff to offer it to your customers and flag it as a "fallback rate." In this instance, since no standard method would be available, only the "fallback" custom method would display at checkout.

See below for more on this scenario.

What the customer sees

Once your custom method is configured, each time a customer's order falls within the parameters you've defined, the method will be offered during checkout along with other rates available on your site.

This customer's order qualified for the custom rate, so it appears in this table during checkout.This customer's order qualified for the custom rate, so it appears in this table during checkout.

This customer's order qualified for the custom rate, so it appears in this table during checkout.

Tiered rates

There may be instances where you'd like to offer non-standard shipping, but a single catch-all rate won't work. For example, you may not want to undercharge for a shipment that costs more than the rated amount and be left liable for paying the difference. In cases like this, you'll want to set up multiple custom methods in tiers of increasing weight.

Simply set up a group of custom rates for your method - as many as you need in order to capture the correct amount for each order. An example of this:

Handling orders over 150lbs

My client's order is over 150lbs total, and the site says there are no shipping methods available. Why not? How do I fix this?

As discussed above in the "Fallback rate" section, if the total weight of a customer's order exceeds 150lbs, shipping will not auto-calculate for our carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx). If you wish to accommodate heavyweight (sometimes referred to as "hundredweight") shipments, you will need to set up a custom shipping method.

To do this, you'll follow the steps outlined above for creating a custom shipping method, with a couple of key differences.

  • You'll configure the method as "Weight-based" and set the value of Minimum weight to 150.
  • If there is a maximum weight you or your shipper can handle, enter it in the Maximum weight field. Otherwise, you may leave this field blank to indicate that it should handle all shipments greater than 150lbs.
  • Since this new method will be mutually exclusive with lighter weight rates, you'll want to tick the Fallback rate checkbox. This creates an "either/or" situation between lighter and heavier shipments, ensuring that the rate offered is always what it should be.
  • You may populate all other fields as you like.
This will tell Liftoff to trigger this rate for all shipments >150lbs.This will tell Liftoff to trigger this rate for all shipments >150lbs.

This will tell Liftoff to trigger this rate for all shipments >150lbs.

Note: If a single rate for all 150lb+ shipments is unlikely to capture the correct shipping charge for all possible orders, you'll want to set up a system of tiered rates. See above for guidance on this.

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Check your rate!

Remember, the rates you provide for custom shipping methods, including for heavyweight parcels, are NOT verified by Liftoff! Please be sure to enter a rate that will work for you and your customers!

Multi-vendor orders

Liftoff combines the weights of all items in an order per vendor.

Example:

  • All items in a customer's order have a combined weight of 200lbs.
  • 3 items have a combined weight of 100lbs, and will ship from Vendor A.
  • 2 items have a combined weight of 50lbs, and will ship from Vendor B.
  • 2 items have a combined weight of 50lbs, and will ship from Vendor C.

Liftoff sees this as 3 separate shipments to calculate:
(Vendor A items) + (Vendor B items) + (Vendor C items) = Total shipping cost

That "Total shipping cost" is what the customer sees during the checkout process. So, in cases where you or your customer find yourselves curious about what may seem to be an incorrectly high shipping charge at checkout, the first thing to check is which vendors the items are shipping from. After all, two 50lb parcels will always cost more, regardless of carrier, than a single 100lb parcel. The example above also illustrates why there may appear to be a mismatch between the shipping cost quoted at checkout and what you might expect based on tiered or heavyweight rates. Although the total weight to be shipped is >150lbs, no one parcel exceeds that limit!