I sell photographic prints, and different sizes are going to cost different amounts to ship. Creating product variants for different size prints of the same image is easy enough, but I can’t see a way to vary the shipping cost for each variant without a) trying to set it up to do it by weight, which is a clumsy solution at best (my print fulfillment provider doesn’t do it by weight, they have flat fees)or b) paying for an additional app to do something that should be native to Shopify. Am I missing something? Is there a way to do this that I’m just not seeing?
There’s a question from 2015 that had an answer indicating that Shopify was working on adding this. And now in 2020 we still appear to be waiting. This seems like a very basic thing that the platform should be able to do without having to pay for an app to enhance a service I’m already paying for.
You're not missing anything, and it's highly unlikely Shopify will ever have this functionality native to their platform.
I own an app (Intuitive Shipping) where merchants can set up virtually anything they can think of. It costs a significant amount of money to create the software and costs even more to have a specialized team to answer support questions that come along with it. After Shopify released shipping profiles, which is very basic functionality, gurus and merchants have not been able to understand how it functions and run into issues frequently. The support burden on Shopify would be much too high to offer the full catalog of shipping options that their million+ merchants need and would increase monthly plan costs to pay for additional specialized gurus.
I hope this helps explain things a bit from someone in the field :)