What is a Shipping Calculator? How to Calculate Shipping Costs and Save Your Money on Shipping?

There are only a handful shipping calculators available on the internet, however, gaining the basic understanding of the system will aid in narrowing down the most relevant options. Let us try to develop an understanding of what a shipping calculator is, how to calculate shipping costs, and how to save your money on shipping.

The digitization of space has led to almost all the utilities being available on the internet which makes it essential to use a shipping calculator to manage and estimate shipping costs beforehand.

What is a shipping calculator?

An efficient software solution, shipping calculators are designed for making shipping rates and other relevant details available to the audience, in an easy-to-comprehend format. The idea is to automate the manual process and combine a relevant price-service request from customers.

A shipping calculator eases the process of finding shipping rates and services.

However, one of the most important factors for a shipping calculator is to incorporate all the components involved in preparing the pricing response. This should include topics like pricing, operational details of timing, locations of origin along with available shipping services. 

How does a Shipping Calculator Work?

The input entered by the users determines the output provided by the user. The shipping calculator utilizes basic information to give you an approximate to accurate figure of the shipping charges. This includes understanding where the cargo is coming from and where it is heading towards, when the nearest shipping date is available and the type of cargo being shipped.

A few shipping calculators also come up with more detailed settings that allow the users to request the different service levels available based on pricing. This also includes components of pick-up and delivery or customs clearance if needed.

A few shipping calculators are also involved in keeping their associated forwarders accountable and contractually encourage them to deliver what is presented to the user. It is a dynamic tool and the users must remember that new services, freight rates and new service providers are added and removed as per their dynamic presence. 

A Shipping Calculator is built on the aforementioned principles and includes all elements into consideration in the calculation, display and comparison section to give you the most accurate results. 

How to Calculate Shipping Costs?

Shipping costs tend to depend on a variety of factors, some of which have been listed:

  • Type of shipment
  • Package measurements
  • Weight
  • Location

Let’s learn about these factors in more detail.

  • Dimension of the Package:

Dimensional Weight is a popular pricing technique used by major carriers. It is also called DIM and is used in calculating shipping rates. The size of the package is used to calculate the shipping cost. DIM weight can be calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the package/container, then dividing by a standard DIM divisor.  A few shipping carriers compare the DIM and the actual weight is taken into consideration the higher of the two to make the billable weight which gets charged.

  • Weight of the Package:

This does not involve any kind of calculation or DIM Divisor. As elaborated in the above section, the higher of the two sections is considered and utilised in calculating the shipping costs. It’s obvious for the heavier or larger package to cost more for shipping.

  • Destination 

Shipping zones are used to calculate the shipping rates. These shipping zones measure the distance between the point of origin to the destination. Shipping zones are dependent on the point of origin which could explain why two different points of origin shipping to the same destination fall in different shipping zones. Higher the shipping zone, the more expensive the package is.

  • Content Value:

High-valued shipping products are insured so as to ensure their safe delivery. Various shipping insurance companies offer reimbursement to senders whose parcels end up being lost/stolen/damaged during the process of transit. This useful service tends to add a significant amount to the overall shipping cost. 

  • Pace of Delivery:

Platforms like Amazon have raised the expectations of customers when it comes to the speed of delivery. However, shipping from only one location encourages the usage of premium shipping if you want the delivery to be fast. Premium shipping gets higher with the increase in zones and features like expedited air shipping tend to be more expensive than ground shipping. 

You can also use a simple plugin to calculate shipping costs automatically by simply entering the required details. You can read this article for more detail: How to Calculate Shipping Cost with the help of a WooCommerce Shipping Calculator?

How to Reduce Shipping Costs and Save Your Money on Shipping?

  • Reduce Dimensions and Weigh packages:

If you aren’t using flare rate shipping, then heavy items tend to cost a lot more than usual. Invest in a postal scale if you are regularly involved in the activity as it will help in approximating the cost and purchasing the right shipping labels.

Carriers also tend to look at the dimensions of the container, a big box for a light weight item will lead you to pay more because the box ends up taking extra space. Large boxes have large dimensions, avoid shipping more air than what is required.

  • Research about discounted supplies:

Many courier services provide boxes and envelopes for free or at a discounted price for a particular range of packing supplies. Invest in bulk into tools like dunnage, bubble wrap, air fill and poly mailers to save expenses. The higher input requirement seems a little intimidating initially, but it aids in reducing the average-per-shipment cost.

  • Prepaid features:

A few companies offer 20 to 30 percent off of shipping costs if you purchase a certain number of shipping labels right away. These can be added to a container until the individual order is ready to be shipped. This is a huge factor that saves ample time and money.

However, an important feature is that it only works when the shipping orders contain the same weight and are packed in the same dimensions as before. This piece of information comes useful in executing it efficiently. 

  • Research about different platforms:

Look out for bulk discounts programs or services offered by platforms including features like real time carrier rates available on various shipping calculators with built-in features and integrations with fulfillment software. Also research about third-party-package insurers as it’s cheaper than the shipping insurance provided with your shipping carrier.

  • Use poly mailers:

Non-fragile products can be shipped in envelopes or poly envelopes as these are far-more cost effective than boxes. Smaller dimensions take less space in a delivery truck and packing them involves the usage of economical supplies like tape and bubble wrap, thereby saving more expenditure.

How To Integrate Shipping Calculator on Your WooCommerce Store?

You can conveniently use ELEX WooCommerce Shipping Calculator, Purchase Shipping Label & Tracking for Customers.

Simply install the plugin and display a multi carrier shipping calculator on your website to allow customers to compare shipping rates from leading courier companies such as UPS, USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, etc. This plugin also allows you to print labels in just a few simple steps. 

ELEX WooCommerce Shipping Calculator compares shipping rates and services on the basis of distance, weight and volume of the packages.

You can learn how to integrate all the features of Shipping Calculator using this article: How to set up ELEX WooCommerce Shipping Calculator, Purchase Shipping Label & Tracking for Customers?

Now, you have an in-depth knowledge of what a shipping calculator is, how to calculate shipping costs and how to save your money on shipping. You can leave your queries or ideas in the comment section below.

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