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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?

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