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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).