We're a British company that has just opened in the US. We've shipped two container loads of product to our warehouse in the US, and have just discovered that in the US, shipping rates are calculated by adding up the individual item charges, not by the total weight of the consignment. For example, one of our products weighs 30lbs. When a customer orders four, FedEx returns a rate for a single 120lb box to a zip code in Miami of $66.29. Our warehouse (and as we have come to discover, all warehouses) will bill us for four shipments of 30lb (4 x $23.76 =$95.04), a loss of over $30. Our products are low margin and we simply can't absorb this cost. Also, if a customer orders more then five products, then the total weight is over the 149lb limit for FedEx packages, so FedEx returns NO RATE AT ALL.
The problem is so severe that we have ceased selling in America until we can solve the problem with a custom line-item lookup. We're desperately hoping that Shopify will institute this shipping option, or that a developer will contact us with a solution. We currently have tons of stock in a US warehouse gathering dust until we solve this problem. It's also important to understand that adding the cost of shipping to the furthest location (in this case, California) is not an option, as our products become far too expensive to market properly.
It's important to note that in the UK, warehouses and shipping companies charge by total consignment weight, so we haven't had the problem here in the several years we've been selling online. This is only a problem in the US.
Does Shopify have any plans to address this with a line-item FedEx rate lookup? If not, and there is no App or JS solution to the problem, we must give serious consideration to closing the American market and shipping our goods back to England.
Apparently developers like me can setup custom carrier shipping rates for shops with the deluxe plan offered by Shopify. So, if shipping is a problem, just contract some custom development for your shop to take care of the extras you need. Seems like the only way to go if the default shipping options do not suit your exact needs.
Yeah, as HunkyBill says, it looks like you'll need to build a custom app. You'll also need to get in contact with our Partners program to get access to the carrier shipping APIs which are currently in beta.
That's really kind of a pity when it's not that uncommon of an issue. I actually see it all the time. Just today as a matter of fact. Each item had to ship separately at $100 each, but the rate returned was $160 - that $40 hit hurts on low margin items.
When I find time to breathe, I may well be contacting you (again) HunkyBill.
@Mark_Margarette : Your case can be resolved with the Multi carrier shipping label app. You just need to define a maximum weight that a package can hold. So if you define the maximum box weight to be 120 lbs, it will be able to take in 4 of these items and cost will be calculated based on that. Also, with this case, if the total of the items are more than 150 lbs, then the app will divide it into two boxes and the cost will be shown of two 120lbs boxes.