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How to Override Shopify’s Shipping Rates and Use Printful’s

By Nora Inveiss on October 5th, 2015 - Reading time: 3 minutes

If you use Shopify as your ecommerce platform and Printful as your fulfillment service, you have the option to override Shopify’s shipping rates and use Printful’s instead. You can set it up automatically if you have a Shopify Advanced account (link to video instructions here).

If you do not have the Shopify Advanced account, you can do this manually by setting up your shipping rates based on weights that mimic our standard shipping costs. It’s a time-consuming process, but we’ll walk you through it step by step.

What you essentially need to do is assign each of your products an arbitrary weight, and then assign a shipping cost for each weight. For example, our domestic flat shipping rate for t-shirts is $5.50. In Shopify, you could set the weight for each t-shirt at 0.1 lb. Then go to Settings>Shipping>Add Shipping Rate and set it up so that each product that weighs 0-0.1 lb costs $5.50 to ship.

shipping1

However, it gets more complicated if you have multiple products and weights. Below is a step-by-step guide that explains how to calculate shipping prices based on the weight of your products and possible product combinations.

Step 1.

First, sort all the items from Printful’s product lineup into product classes based on their shipping cost (this should be done according to products you will offer). Then calculate the average domestic shipping cost for the first product, and each additional product. Click here for more info on Printful’s shipping prices and international rates.
Class A products
Class B products

Class C products

The idea is to come up with all possible product variations a customer can order and configure shipping costs so that when a customer orders products from different classes, shipping is calculated properly. In this example, we will limit the customer’s cart to 3 items, which will still lead us to 19 possible order variations.

Step 2.

Here are the possible product variations for when a customer’s cart is limited to 3 items.

  • If a customer orders one product: A; B; C
    There are 3 variations; the customer can only have either a product from Class A, Class B, or Class C
  • If a customer orders 2 products: AA; BA; CA; BB; CB; CC
    It doesn’t matter if it’s CA or AC – it’s the same thing.
  • If a customer orders 3 products: AAA; BAA; BBA; CAA; CCA; CBA; BBB; CBB; CCB; CCC

Since there are 19 possible order combinations, you have to figure out how much shipping costs for each possibility.

Step 3.

Assign an arbitrary weight for each product class.

Class A= 0.5 lbs; Class B= 2 lbs; Class C= 8 lbs

The weight range you select is entirely up to you; these weights listed are just examples.

Step 4.

Now it’s time to calculate amounts for combined shipping (ordering different products from each class). If you order one embroidery item and a pillow (Class A and Class B), the total weight you get is 2.5 lbs (0.5 lbs + 2 lbs) and the cost for shipping is adjusted accordingly. In this example, there are 19 possible variations.

combine
Once you have calculated the weight ranges and their price, add them to Shopify. Go to Settings>Shipping>Add Shipping rate.

Note: This only works if every item you have listed on your store is fulfilled through Printful. If you have products that are fulfilled elsewhere, we suggest checking out the
Advanced Shipping Rules App on Shopify. It’s a paid app that’ll let you use real-time shipping rates for both your Printful and non-Printful products.

For info on how to set this up on Shopify, click here for their manual and instructions.

We’ve covered all possible order variations under the assumption that a customer’s cart can only contain up to 3 items. You can create a similar setup for more items – all it takes is some time and calculations. To ensure that this approach works, test it!

Finally, keep in mind that this method isn’t won’t always guarantee a profit from shipping. For example, if a customer orders 2 tote bags and one canvas print, it’ll fall into the variation CAA. On Shopify you would collect $24.85, while Printful would charge you $20.25 (more profit). But, if the customer orders 2 sweatshirts (variation AA), you would collect $7.87 on Shopify, while Printful would charge you $10 (less profit).

The easiest possible solution to avoid all of this manual work is to use live rates, which you automatically get with the Advanced Shopify plan. Or if you don’t have an Advanced Shopify plan, you can pay for carrier calculated rates a la carte (contact Shopify support to set this up).

If you have more questions, contact us at support@printful.com. We also highly recommend you check out Shopify’s manual.

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    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Ian, I’ve made some changes to this post. I hope you find it more helpful – thanks again for the feedback.

  1. steph

    I have been on email and live shat all day with prihtful and cannot get anywhere I have done what they said, and what you say in this blog. I changed the weight of all of my t shirts to .1 oz and I made a shipping profile for 0 – .1lb. The shipping price will not change from $10 when people try to order! I have been missing out on orders since i opened the store because people keep telling me $10 for shipping one t shirt please help me

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Steph,

      Shipping is definitely tricky to set up. Here are a couple of suggestions and resources:

      1. You mention that you changed the weights of your products to .1 oz and made a shipping rate for 0-.1 lb. When you created this shipping rate, did you also change the cost? (screenshot)

      2. We suggest checking out Shopify’s instructions for extra info.

      I hope this helps – please let me know if you need anything else.

    2. UkieGifts

      In case if you don’t see correct shipping cost (based on weight) try to check Shopify “Saved packages” weight (Settings->Shipping->Packages, Saved Packages)
      In my case, it was 0.4125 lb when I changed it to 0.0 lb it solved my issue.

    1. Julia Gifford

      You’re right, there have been slight changes since this article was written. For example, the flat rate shipping for a t-shirt going to the USA is now $0.50 cheaper. But we’ll definitely do some updating!

  2. Avonne

    Hello Nora,

    i want to start my own clothing brand with printful from Holland. I love the service i would like to know a few things:

    1. Most of my customers (my blog followers) are housed in Europe ( Holland, France, Spain, UK etc.). Will this be a problem with the shipping costs? and what will be the average delivery time. When i tried to order a t-shirt for myself its said 3.36 shipping costs and the fastest delivery would be between 10-20 days. Within these 10 – 20 days what is the average delivery time for customers in Europe and this the only possibilty for Europe delivery?

    2. Can i send my own printed t-shirts(printed in Holland) to the printfull as an example so the designers from printful can make sure it will be the same printing.

    3. Is it possible to put my own labels in the american apparel 2001 T-shirts?

    All my designs are ready (only need the color swatch) so i am very excited to begin this journey!

    Thank you for your time,

    best regards,

    avonne

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Avonne,

      First off, congrats on launching your store! Here are the answers to your questions:

      1. When you tried to order a shirt for yourself, where did you place the order? If you did it manually through Printful, you should be able to see more shipping options.

      You’ll have quicker shipping options for your store if you use our live rates, like FedEx Int’l Priority, which takes 1-3 business days. Exact delivery time and price will depend on the destination, products, and customs.

      2. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to send us a shirt to use as an example. We recommend using the mockup generator to create mockups for our fulfilment team to use as a reference for graphics placement. And definitely take a look at our print file guidelines here.

      I also recommend ordering samples for yourself to make sure the finished product looks as you imagined. They’re 20% off with free, standard shipping worldwide.

      3. Yup! We have an exclusive deal with American Apparel to manufacture their 2001 shirts with removable tags. This is a new product that we launched recently, and the only available colors are black and white. Take a look here. Note: it costs an extra $2.50 per shirt to add a custom label.

      Best of luck to you!

  3. Ken

    Thanks for the info. This is really helpful, however i’m confused on how to manually set shipping for international. Is there a formula like the US one?

  4. Kelly Glass

    How does this work for expedited shipping? If you choose this method of manually setting up shipping by weight, does that mean your store can’t offer expedited shipping?

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      You can’t unless you manually edit every order to Printful and select an expedited shipping method. In this case, you have to go to Stores -> Edit -> to manually confirm each order. But the problem is you won’t know what to charge clients for shipping on your store, since they’re generated in real-time.

  5. andres

    Hello, Im just going to sell iphone cases on shopify using the printful app, all my prices include the shipping price so it can be free for customers, my question is , if it would b convenient to override live rates, or just to set the prices manually like here

  6. Bhupesh

    I’m a little confused if i set up all the different shiping rates in step 4….. do i still need to adjust the weight of the items provided by printful? or is that chart made to use the weights of the items provided by printful?

    second question as i’m in canada i created a store with us dollars for simplicity sake…. I would adjust the shipping rates by adding a couple dollars to each of the prices in step 4 and the same for international customers based on your rates….. but i would have to do this all manually for each new zone?

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Good questions – this is a confusing process.

      The weights listed in the chart are just examples, they don’t apply to any products in particular.

      And for international rates, yes you would have to add new rates for each new zone.

  7. Andrew

    As a developer, it amazes me that this can’t be automated. Worse yet, the example is out of date and doesn’t even reflect live data that is available elsewhere on the site. I was really impressed with this service, but now I feel it’s just not worth the pain.

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      I appreciate your feedback – shipping is tricky and we’re working on how to present it more clearly. I’ll review this post and update where it’s outdated.

  8. Fred

    Hi,

    I’m looking at mirroring the Printful shipping rates on my Shopify store. However, some of our products are made and shipped directly by us and do not go through the fulfillment service. Will the method that you outline above still work? If so, can I also offer different shipping rates for the products not going through the Printful sertvice? Thanks!

  9. Bill

    If someone at Printful can calculate all of those variables and put them in a couple of tables, why hasn’t someone at Printful had a script written and built into the Shopify app? Is that possible?

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hey Bill,

      Theoretically, it could be possible to develop some kind of script. But would be a huge undertaking and there are other variables that might be problematic (eg. limitations in Shopify’s app store).

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