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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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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