We're making a slight business change and some of our products will be sold by weight.
Specifically by lbs, in .01 increments.
I'm currently having 2 challenges with this.
1 - I cannot have a price that breaks down below .00 (i.e. $0.3479)
2 - If I list the item as .01 lb increments, there is no box that a person can enter say "25" for a quarter pound of something.
Is there a way around either of these obstacles?
The biggest issue is that in my brick & mortar store, my scale is accurate to .001lb, and will calculate a price which shopify won't be able to duplicate. I can override it in Shopify POS, but when selling online I need some different options for people. I could just do a few variants on popular weights/sizes (which is likely the solution), but I'm hoping I can find a better alternative. Further, when I use variants, I can't track the overall product stocking level.
i.e., if I have 4lbs of something, and have 3-4 variants, none of them are going to deduct from the 4lb total. This, I suppose I can manually deal with too, but it would be nice to have a better way around it.
Three years ago, on my previous website, which used OsCommerce, I spent a solid week developing a solution to this problem.
What we wanted was to give the customer the complete freedom to shop in the denominations or prices that he wants. We sell our product by weight using price per kilogram. We wanted the customer to be able to type in exactly how many grams they wanted, it would then dynamically display the price (displaying the price on the same page is easy, it gets really hard when you add that to the cart because the system was built for quantities in whole numbers: e.g. 4x, NOT 0.250.)
The solution involved a complete hack and manipulation of the backend in several places - it was a nightmare!
That was about 3 years and a few thousand orders later and here's what we've learnt...
It's not really worth it.
First of all, some customers were confused by the whole process, they didn't realise they had to click and type the denomination they wanted, so they would just get the default amount that we set, i.e 1kg
Second, we found most people would order in typical amounts anyway. It's always 1kg, 500g, 250g, 200g, 150g etc. We practically NEVER receive orders for 123g or 507g.
Third, we've learnt that we prefer a limited range of denominations anyway. When we go and fulfil our orders each day, it just makes things a little bit easier dealing with standard amounts. In the medium or long term you'll start to prepackage or pre-weight the stuff anyway, and that's when standard sizes will come in handy.
However, maybe your scenario is different...
What if, by way of example, you were selling something like ginger-roots, by weight. You can't really cut it up, and you want to sell each one by weight.
You could either go and weigh a bunch of them and upload them to shopify as individual products - you could find a way to make this as streamlined as possible. Or you could come up with "size ranges" and each range has a price. For example:
Small: $5: 150g - 200g
Medium: $7: 201g - 250g
Large: $9: 251g - 300g
I hope this helps.
OK so I'm starting the process of setting this up in my new Shopify store, and I'm starting to get concerned. The problem is, one of our products is sold by weight AND has 2 options that the customer needs to choose;
1 Option has 3 choices
1 Option has 2 choices
Then if we take just 6 standard weights: 100g, 150g, 200g, 250g, 500g, 1kg,
That makes something like 36 different variations!!!!
Fortunately you can export and import products using a CSV file, which makes it easier to do all the permutations.
It's ridiculous though... if I want say, 10 size variations, that's 60 different variations!!!
Furthermore, I've noticed that it can only update the inventory using whole numbers. So if I sell 200g it wants to update it by 1. How does this help me?
So the next problem is in your bricks-and-mortar shop where a customer buys something that weighs 308g and you want to process it through the Shopify POS, which only has the standard weights you've entered.
One solution is to create a variant weighing only 1g, and then just put the weight in the Qty, i.e. 308 x 1g.
The problem of course is when the customer comes and buys a pack weighing 308g, and another weighing 107g, it will show up as 415g, which does the trick but isn't very elegant on the receipt.
You can of course work around it by creating a separate variant for this purpose, let's call them 1g#1 and 1g#2, and so forth.
This is a real shame. Shopify comes close to being able to accommodate this issue, but requires a lot of compromise :(
What I ended up doing is this.
I created variants for .01 - .50 lbs. +99% of my sales are under .5lbs. I had to create the individual variant for each weight. All 50 of them (times about 30 items that I use this on). I did it with a spreadsheet, so it was easy enough to do. One thing to note is that in doing this, you need to make sure your calculations for price ROUND DOWN! Otherwise you will be overcharging people. Any commerce pricing scale will always round down, so make sure your calculations do too.
Then for online e-commerce I simply chose 4 common weights that people buy and I sell by that weight. In general I end up shipping slightly higher weight than the person buys because I cannot be that exact when cutting soap, and I can never under-cut someone. But in the end it works out pretty well.
I thought of doing the huge qty of .01 lb, but as you see, the pricing doesn't work out right since you can't go past $.01. You would really need to be at $.001 or even $.0001 to be solidly accurate, but this, of course is not programmed in and would require significant work.
Thanks for the update.
It's surprising that their system cannot accommodate denominations of less than 1c.
If you had an open-source platform, such as OsCommerce or the Magento one, you'd be able to change the database structure and come up with a hack,
,or, they could just allow people to purchase in fractions instead of whole numbers.
We have a similar issue in that we sell fabric -- and Shopify simply does not allow you to sell decimal or fractional quantities of any item (like .25 yards, or in your case .01 lbs). We had to hire a programmer to 'hack' our site to make it look like we sell in decimal quantities, but the reality is that our backed equates a quantity of 1 to .25 yards. (4 items = 1 yard)
It's definitely not ideal because we can't price the majority of our fabrics the way we want to. For example, one of our manufacturers establishes SRP at $11.50 per yard. Well, selling in 1/4 yard increments, we can't price something at $2.875 in the admin. There are a slew of numbers that don't divide nicely, and it sounds like you have a very similar problem with your pricing.
And like you mention, this doesn't look very elegant on the receipt. (An order of 2 yards, for example, shows a quantity of 8.)
Would be really nice if Shopify allowed decimals, because in my opinion, it would make them pretty much unbeatable in hosted e commerce platforms.
Agreed, there is a lot I would change about Shopify, too. :-) But so few platforms -- and even fewer hosted platforms -- offer the decimal option. We used to run our store on Magento Community, but after a year it became a major nightmare. We couldn't get away fast enough!
I'll continue dreaming of the day when Shopify will see that quite a few shops actually need the ability to sell products in a decimal format. So I thank you for bringing up just another way this is something that is needed. Perhaps the more we speak up, someone at Shopify might actually listen with open ears.
And the day a native rewards program is available. I'd be happy to have that one, too!
Sigh... J.B. I have the exact same issue. I'm also running a fabric store and to sell in ¼ meters online is a nightmare. I've hacked something together which works okay for right now but to be able to work things as to not quadruple the stock on shopify and make it virtually impossible to sync things seamlessness between in-store and online would be nice. I've gotten ahold of shopify many times to ask if they were working on this or even had this in their future plans and every time I am just met with a hard no. Maybe one day they will fix this issue... hopefully sooner than later.
As a side note do you have a physical location? What POS do you use in-store, out of curiosity and do you find it an issue syncing the two up or do you do it all manually?