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EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor
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Mon Feb 21 2011 13:41:51

Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Quotes

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Hi Ina,
I have been selling online for eleven years, have many different web sites and blogs, and am also an eBay Education Specialist as well as a Trading Assistant.

I just read through most of the articles on ecommerce shopping cart systems, and the one thing that none of them address, is their ability to calculate for various zones within the U.S., and the numerous country codes outside the U.S.

We deal in a great many products, most of which are physical products of varying sizes and weights. Some can be shipped by First Class Mail, and some have to use freight carriers. Some are shipped by various drop-shippers, with whom we have no control over what shipper they prefer to use, but yet the payment still comes through OUR PayPal processor, and I have seen for a long time that we have outgrown it because it hasn't kept up with the needs of its users (at least, not the more advanced ones).

PayPal only gives you five different divisions within their shipping calculator, and those can be based on only two other choices, weight or cost. Even though we have gone to using individual codes on all products, based on the shipper's preferences and all the variables of the product figured in, it is still not enough.

If we set the international shipping to allow for something going to Canada, then we don't collect enough if it goes to Japan. If we adjust it for Japan, then we overcharge for Canada! There's no winning with this system unless you are shipping only one product....and it's digital...in which case you can just collect your money and not have to worry about shipping at all!

In other words, it will not adjust for the different zones, even if shipping within the U.S. It expects you to keep statistics, read all the postal charts and try to come up with a happy medium on your own that doesn't rip off customers or cost you money! There's GOT to be a better way!

I'm amazed that eBay has not fixed this problem, since they own PayPal, and obviously have a lot more money to throw at this problem in order to keep their payment system the best in the world (which it should be!). Even eBay itself has a better shipping calculator on their own program than what PayPal has. If I sell something on eBay, the calculator has always done a fair job of coming up with shipping costs, based on the method and where it goes. Not so with PayPal.

A really good payment processor should have all of the U.S. zones and country codes built into the calculator, so that all we have to do is give the size, weight, method and carrier. It should be up to the processor to keep up with all the current costs of various shipping methods used by the different carriers, and be able to calculate the costs accurately based on that information!

All of the articles give a lot of good insight into general things to consider when choosing a payment processor, but it takes a long time to read all that stuff, especially when you get into reading customer reviews. Those are helpful, but reading through all of them is like watching grass grow! And most of the time, they don't really answer the questions we have on the capabilities of the product!

What I would like to see is a review site that has a chart showing the capabilities of each processor. I realize there are a lot of complex variables with each one, which may make that difficult, but they could always add footnotes to it for the extra information. At least the chart would be quicker and easier to read, and give most of the information at a glance!

If anyone knows of a shopping cart out there that automatically adjusts shipping costs based on U.S. zones and country codes, please pass that information along, in the comments to Ina's blog, or contact me through any of my sites! Although the rest of this information on features and processing costs is helpful, it does not solve all the problems that we online sellers and shippers are facing! I don't mind paying a little more for a processor if it solves my problem, so all this talk of cost of operation is a moot point to me. I want accurate shipping costs calculated! That alone will please more customers, prevent shopping cart abandonment, and increase sales enough to cover the cost!
Thanks,
John W. Abert
Azgrand Internet Marketing




Comments (13) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: buck efay
       
Mon Feb 21 14:51:53 2011
Why are you PAYING Paypal a fee for shipping thru them when they DO NOT OFFER the full range of USPS services? You do realize Paypal gets a percentage of every purchase right? Why not just go to USPS.com & get the FULL RANGE of rates that Paypal's monkeys can't bother to program in?
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Feb 21 17:39:22 2011
Why do you expect anything more than 1990s technology from ebay and PayPal?

Millions of lines of code, and only a few dozen are functional.
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: coconut
       
Mon Feb 21 17:45:45 2011
Also when you use the USPS website and use your paypal debit card paypal gives you 1.5% of the cost back to you.

Better than using paypal for a half azz shipping site.
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Feb 21 18:20:51 2011
Such is the mentality of a company (it's policy makers and programmers) when they feel that there's ''no competition'' and that they've got it all sewn up.

With no competition, there's no innovation. They have no REASON to constantly improve, streamline and modernize.

They're probably quite pleased with their programming abilities when offering two different shipping options. (''Hey Joe... come over here! Look at this! It's called a 'drop-down' select box, and users can CHOOSE AN OPTION! Wanna see something else, here's a new thing called 'radio-buttons'... LOOK! If you click one, the other one turns off automatically!'')

They program by committee. Nobody knows what the other committees are doing. They don't test, they just rush to production. They're stuck in the 1990's in their closed system... blissfully unaware of the outside world.

They are clueless as to what sellers need! The world moves on, and PayPal stays the same.

They judge their success by how much blood they can squeeze from sellers... instead of trying to EARN the trust of their existing customers and to GROW their customer base with new sellers who are EAGER to add PayPal to their offerings.

As we rats continue to flee the sinking ship, they see nothing wrong with HOW they are running the ship. And when the profits start to dwindle, some bean-counter simply declares that its time to RAISE FEES on the remaining customers.

I'd rather eat dirt before EVER using PayPal again. They're no ''pal'' to the sellers... only to the scammers and cheats.
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: paypal isn't a shopping cart
       
Mon Feb 21 21:54:26 2011
Why are you using paypal as your shopping cart?  

All of the standalone webstores can handle complex shipping - Oscommerce and it's cousin, Zencart, allow for unlimited shipping zones - plus hundreds of add-ons if you want even more complexity.

Paypal is only a basic "shopping cart" for the simplest of needs - its just a payment gateway.  

A real shopping cart or webstore is what you want.  
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: mickeyfinn This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 21 22:11:44 2011
Accurate shipping quotes are an issue - not only for zones, but also for combined shipping, especially for items as diverse as a book and a bucket (for example).

I'm working on an approach to allow more accurate shipping calculations of a single package containing disparate items where where actual weight and cubic weight are both required.

Probably THE biggest problem is coming up with a solution that is practical to implement with a large inventory.  I have a model, but its early stages yet...

There are several issues regarding the automated calculation of shipping costs - and anyone who can develop a robust, comprehensive and easily maintainable solution has a burgeoning market very hungry ... and waiting.
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: Julie
       
Wed Feb 23 07:51:38 2011
Hi!

I use Ecommerce Templates and it's wonderful and easy to set up shipping! You can offer USPS, FedEx, UPS and also your own Weight Based and offer all of these options during checkout.

In the Admin Products you can set weight and dimensions, and also add a Box weight site wide.

There are many shopping carts that calculate shipping accurately...

Julie
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: Dennis
       Web Site
Wed Feb 23 09:50:10 2011
There are lots of shopping carts that directly access the shipping carrier's rate tables so you can set them up to use the rate based on the parameters you supply. We use Ecommerce Templates. We no long use this feature but we did at one time. We now sell on multiple venues so we have to maintain parity with shipping rates we have no control over like Amazon.  
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: John W. Abert
       Web Site
Wed Feb 23 11:48:29 2011
Regarding Buck eFay and Coconuts remarks, you are both missing the point. PayPal doesn't "provide" shipping, but you still have to program the buttons with the proper shipping calculations, which DO have to come (manually) from whatever carrier you are using. And yes, we do use our PayPal card to pay for that shipping, from whatever vendor we use, unless we are invoiced and pay by check, a process many manufacturers and wholesalers still use.
The point is that even though many of these payment processors may have the capabilities that I describe, none of them tell you so in their descriptions! They expect you to buy their product first, and then find out later that it doesn't work!  It's their advertising policies that need to change, so people know exactly what they are buying and what it will do. Instead they focus on cost of operation, which to me is a moot point if it won't work right. And places like the review site won't tell me anything without also wanting a $200 consultation fee to tell me something that they could answer in ten seconds! No thanks! That should be part of customer service, since they are also getting affiliate sales from whatever product is purchased!
Also, don't forget that PayPal has some of the best protections built in for both buyer and seller that many of these other carts don't have. In some cases, the providers, like Visa, AmEx or others, might have some protections, but not like PayPal.  And you can't get into their sites and do immediate refunds, or control recurring fees as easily as you can with PayPal. With being able to recover some of the fees through it's cash back program on the card, and the fact that it pays at least "some" interest on what's setting in the account, it still is a good deal...for "some" transactions and "some" products. But it doesn't begin to meet the needs of customers who need accurate international shipping. No matter what carrier you use, you still have to gather the information yourself and program it to collect the right fee! It does not gather that information by itself!  It should, if it ever hopes to be in the class of the better payment processors!
And yes, Ming, I agree that their technology is outdated, and yet I would expect a multi-billion dollar company like eBay to recognize and fix the problem, especially now that PayPal is making more profit for them than eBay itself!
John W. Abert
Azgrand Internet Marketing
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: buck efay
       
Wed Feb 23 19:59:24 2011
John, I appreciate the Paypal shilling, but Paypal DOES NOT have current USPS data. There are packaging choices they have never made available to sellers, despite numerous requests. Go look at the shipping board on Ebay, there are many requests to FINALLY recognize certain types of cost effective flat rate boxes which they have never bothered to enter in the system. And they do get paid a percentage of your purchase from USPS kickbacks.
What vaunted protection do they offer regarding shipping? You mean the problems many users have reported like double billing you for shipping, labels that failed to print & you still pay? Sure, you CAN get a credit after a few weeks, but only if you subject yourself to their foreign operators. FAR easier to use USPS.com and your CREDIT CARD. Access to every rate available, and if you screw up a label, a timely hassle free refund. The only benefit in PP shipping is the DC number supposedly gets entered & you don't have to enter it later. Not worth the hassle & not worth them making more off MY SALE!
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Thu Feb 24 02:51:48 2011
“don’t forget that PayPal has some of the best protections built in for both buyer and seller …”

“In some cases, the providers, like Visa, AmEx or others, might have some protections, but not like PayPal. And you can't get into their sites and do immediate refunds, or control recurring fees as easily as you can with PayPal.”

Wot, another naïve PayPal shill, or fool. Which are you, John W. Albert?

And, PayPal is not making as much money as eBay, yet. But the way the headless “eBafia Don” is driving the eBay Marketplace into the ground, it may not be too long before it is making more.

eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: Tired of PayPal Shills
       
Thu Feb 24 15:17:01 2011
PayPal pumps out the shills using the same points.


Carol shilled
http://letters.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/20
11/2/1298243436.html
worst
of all, this article ignores Paypal's seller protection, which is unique in the credit card industry. IF YOU FOLLOW PAYPAL'S RULES (plainly stated on their site), a merchant has a great deal of protection against customers who try to claim nonreceipt and other scams. There is no (AND I MEAN NO) comparable protection with merchant accounts.


John W. Abert, compensated by eBay/PayPal.
''eBay Education Specialist as well as a Trading Assistant''

http://letters.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.p
l?/comments/2011/2/1298313711.html#comments
Also,
don't forget that PayPal has some of the best protections built in for both buyer and seller that many of these other carts don't have. In some cases, the providers, like Visa, AmEx or others, might have some protections, but not like PayPal.


Keep repeating the same false things and people will fall for it huh PayPal?
Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q   Shopping Carts Fail to Provide Accurate Shipping Q
by: S Talb
       
Wed Sep 28 21:02:03 2011
I need to charge the same price + the same shipping cost for each unit sold. Example: 1 unit is 2 dollars plus 2 dollars shipping, 2 units are 4 dollars plus 4 dollars shipping etc.
PayPal only allows me do do this for five items six or more and it will not add any more shipping charges.
I recently had an order for 15 items but it only charged shipping for five and so I lost a substantial amount on the order. Do anybody know how to charge so EACH item has 2 dollars shipping added to it?
Thank you!


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