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

By Reading Time: 3 minutes

Figuring out how to set up shipping for your store can be one of the trickiest things when you’re launching your business. So let’s take a look at different scenarios how you can get it done using Shopify as an example.

If you use Shopify as your ecommerce platform and Printful as your fulfillment service, the easiest way to set up shipping is to use Printful’s live rates by overriding Shopify’s rates. You can set it up if you have a Shopify Advanced plan (link to video instructions here). 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) – this costs $20 per month.

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 using live rates is not an option for you, you can set up flat rates (or fixed shipping prices) in your store. Here you have several options how to do that. This video goes through the simpler scenarios – if you have just one or two types of products on your store. So if this applies to your case, make sure to check it out.

We’re using Shopify as an example here, but you can use the same strategies for other ecommerce integrations that use flat rates too. Check out our ecommerce platform comparison page to see which integrations support which types of rates.

If you sell several types of products, things get a bit more complicated. In this case, you’ll need to set 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.  

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.

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!

Keep in mind that this method 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).

An important thing to remember here is that the strategies we’ve outlined in this blog post only work 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.

If you have any questions, reach out to our support team at support@printful.com – we’ll be glad to give you a hand. We also highly recommend you check out Shopify’s manual, there’s a lot of valuable information there.

Nora covers all things ecommerce for the Printful blog. She appreciates good dad jokes, new books, freshly baked cookies, and evening jogs.

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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 that can be found in individual product pages in Products & Pricing.

      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. 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).

  10. Alon

    Hey Nora
    Thank you for the article, some chips fell down while reading.

    As many I’m also confused with the shipping settings- lets say I want to add another dropshipper or print on demand, for more products- what address do I write on the shipping oring?
    Thanks again

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Alon! This is something you can explore further on Shopify, as it’s not something Printful can affect. From what I’ve read, I believe you’ll need an app to set up multiple shipping origins.

  11. Justin

    Nora, thank you for the article. I am still a bit confused on how to properly setup my shipping rates for my future customers. I am planning to start by selling 4 different T shirt designs which have 4 different colors each. I am terrible at math and this is the last step is daunting but it’s my final step to complete upon opening my shop hopefully next week, help!

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Justin!

      All you would have to do is set up one weight for all of your shirts and then set up your shipping in Shopify (for the US and international orders). It would be something like this:
      USA shipping
      0-4oz-> $5
      4.1-8oz-> $5.75
      8.1-12oz-> $6.50
      etc.

      This blog post is meant for people selling multiple Printful products with different weights. It’ll be more straightforward for you since you have one product category.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Jacki

    Just to confirm, we should NOT let Shopify offer our customers USPS shipping options, as those may be way different from what Printful charges us? As of Feb. 2017, Shopify offers calculated USPS rates for all plan levels, and it’d be nice to offer customers expedited options. But Printful can only ship our orders expedited if we “Override Shopify…with Printful..” (which is only available for Advanced/$$$ Shopify plans), right?

    Otherwise I do understand this fake-weight work-around, but after spending 3 days on it and discovering item combos that just won’t ever be less than $10 off the mark, I’m looking forward to the day my business can justify an upgrade that makes it all moot 😉

    Thanks!

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Jacki,

      Shipping definitely becomes easier with live rates! But yes, you are correct – we don’t recommend offering your customers Shopify’s USPS rates, as they won’t add up to Printful rates. And correct – expedited shipping is only available if you override Shopify’s rates and use Printful’s.

  13. Travis

    For International orders what USPS service is used for Flat rate shipping prices. (example-International Economy With Tracking,USPS First-Class Package Int’l, etc)

    Best,
    Travis

  14. Jacob Dubnowski

    hi so I was trying to set up my shopify store to use printful for the shipping and I am just confused by the whole process.
    1. when I get into the shipping part of the admin I see shipping from. do I need to put printful’s address there or my own?
    2. next I get to the zones and rates section and I have it set to ship to the domestic USA and it looks like the USPS will ship this at a flat rate of $5.50. Is that going to interfere with printful’s shipping? Should I change this if I want printful to hadle all my fulfillment and shipping?
    3.Next when I get to the bottom I see the Additional shipping methods
    section and see the add dropshipping service button and was wondering If I should use that since I want to let printful handle all my shipping, If so how do I do this?
    lastly thanks for your help

    1. Nora Inveiss Post author

      Hi Jacob! First, your easiest course of action is using Printul’s live rates. You can get this with the Shopify Advanced plan, or a la carte for $20/month. Configuring shipping rates manually is tricky, but I’ll try to help!

      1. Yes, you can add our address as your own if you want to!
      2. Setting USPS’s rates will interfere with Printful shipping – the information won’t transfer when orders are submitted. Instead, you should set up your rates manually. You can read Shopify’s resource on that here.
      3. I don’t believe that activating a fulfillment service in your settings configures shipping; you can take a look at what it does here.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Doug Evans

    Hi, I’m setting up a store in Squarespace. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Do I have to set the shipping cost for my items myself in Squarespace?
    If so, is there an easy way for me to calculate the shipping cost?

    2. Do I have to set up different shipping rates for each item?
    Or can I just set it once? Meaning I set my “flat rates” using the weight of a T-shirt (0.5), will that work for shipping rate of a mug?

      1. Sebastian Larsen

        It’s impossible, it seems, to calculate the true shipping cost in Squarespace if you have more than one product time. Live prices are not there, categories like above can’t be set. So, seemingly, if a customer orders the “wrong” combination of things, you are in trouble. It’s really a bizarre setup – unless you have better ideas?

  16. Nemanja Stojanović

    Hello,

    I went trough complete text, it finally solve my problems. The best way to set Printful and Shopify shipping rates is to do everything manually, right? Base on weight method.

    Here is one question for you, if you can help me.

    What if, I put 75 cents into the cost of the t-shirt so all t-shirts have that in them, then, using the weight method, just charged for the $4.75 for shipping. That way if they only buy one I’am covered and if they buy more, it’s built in to the price, but my shipping still nice and straight forward / it’s nice and simple from your customers point of view.

    How can I then set free shipping for second item?

    Thanks

    1. Giedrė Šulčinskaitė

      Hi! The easiest way to set up shipping is through live rates. I’m not really sure what you mean by $4.75 shipping, as $.75 for sure won’t cover the shipping cost.

      Make sure you check our shipping page to learn what are our flat rates so you could charge your customers accordingly. And in case you still have questions, drop a line to our support team at support@printful.com.

    1. Giedrė Šulčinskaitė

      Hi David! You’ll have to set up free shipping on Shopify. Printful will still always charge you for shipping though, so make sure you include the shipping cost in your product price (eg. raise prices to include shipping so you don’t lose profit).

    1. Giedrė Šulčinskaitė

      Hi Daniel. You probably are using flat shipping rates for your store, and seeing our live rates when your orders something through Printful. To learn how to set up live shipping rates on your store, watch our video tutorial here.

  17. Paul Johns

    I hope this helps someone else. Here is what I did, and I’d LOVE Printful’s feedback on this.

    I chose to ship based on weight.
    From 1 dollar to 49.99 is a flat rate for that country/service area.
    50.00 and up is Free Shipping.

    No headaches.

    Thoughts?

    1. Steve

      Paul – you talked about charging shipping based upon weight but then you actually based it upon the order cost but I still got your basic idea. Here’s my take on your concept:

      1) Estimate shipping costs based upon weight

      2) From 0 to 1lbs is $6 dollars (approximately 2 shirts is 1 pound and would cost me between $5 and $5.75)

      3) From 1.1 lbs and up is Free Shipping.

      I’m also thinking of only offering shipping within the United States because shipping costs basically double to reach customers outside the US when it’s shipping out of Printful’s US-based production facility. My only worry is pissing some people off but I’ve done this on E-Bay with decent results

  18. Michelle

    Hi I implemented free shipping and Printful’s live rates on my website. In testing the set up, I noticed the rates for the addresses I tested in Europe seem a bit high which makes me wonder if Printful is basing the ship FROM origin from the US or Latvia? I checked the Printful website and the products I am selling are all shipped from the EU and I had already enabled all fulfillment centers in the shipping settings on Printful so I’m thinking the live rates are based on shipping from the US to EU. Please advise Also, if shipped from the Latvia, would customs and duties still apply? Trying to figure out what to include on my shipping page. Thanks 🙂

    1. Madara Zute

      Hi Michelle,

      When using our Live Rates, the shipping rates are calculated based on the actual shipping origin to the recipient’s address. If the order is shipped from one of the US fulfillment centers, the shipping is calculated from there, and the same goes for the EU.

      The reason why the shipping methods might have different pricing is the fact that different carriers are used in both the US and EU. The carriers that are available vary depending on the recipient’s address.

      In some cases, some of the shipping options (or specific carrier options) might not be available to the recipient’s address. If these happen to be the cheapest shipping options that are not available, that would result in the shipping prices being higher.

      As for the customs duties and taxes—yes, these may still apply. If the shipment is being shipped within the EU, there might be VAT charged to the customer where applicable; however, there shouldn’t be any customs duties (since it’s a shipment within the EU). The same goes for domestic shipments within the US—sales tax might apply, no customs fees.

      When shipped from the EU to the US (and vice versa), there can be customs duties and taxes to be paid. The fee varies depending on the order value, country limitations, and other factors based on the product specification. The end customer would be responsible for these fees.

      In case you have further questions about our shipping rates, please take a look at our FAQ https://www.printful.com/faq/general/77-who-pays-the-customs-duties-taxes- or reach out to our Customer Service, I’m sure they’ll be able to help you.

  19. Debamalya Dey

    Hi, I am using Woocommerce Platform for my store. Can I Change the Mockup provided by printful from woocommerce backend. I have already tried to change it but it did not take any effect on storefontend. also is there going to be any problem for your printing if I remove your mockup. kindly advise us.

    1. Madara Zute

      Hi there,

      You can use any images you’d like on the WooCommerce side, they won’t affect the printing.
      Go to ProductsOpen productProduct image / Product gallery or change them through Product dataVariations.
      If you’re still facing problems, please reach out to WooCommerce customer support.

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