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

By Reading Time: 4 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. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

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