Back to All posts
Beginner's handbook Ecommerce platform guide

How to Match Printful Shipping Rates to Your Ecommerce Store’s

By on January 27th, 2020 Reading Time: 6 minutes

As a store owner, you already know it’s essential to set up the correct shipping rates for each of your products. I’ve created an exercise to help you sort out your shipping depending on the products you offer, and the ecommerce platform you use.

First off, if you use Shopify, Etsy, Wish, eBay, or Bonanza—good news, we automatically push shipping rates to your platform. So you don’t have to set anything up. If you require more customizable shipping rates, or you sell other non-Printful products on your Shopify store, use the Advanced Shipping Rules App.

For WooCommerce and Ecwid users, we offer automatically updating “live” rates, but you’ll need to enable them manually in your store settings

I’m recommending two different methods for setting up shipping, if you don’t use one of the integrations named above.

Two methods for matching shipping rates

I recommend either weight-based or flat (average) rates, depending on the products you offer, and the platform you sell with.

Weight-based is best if you offer a wide range of different products to your customers with varying shipping rates. However, only Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, Ecwid and Bigcommerce currently support this method.

Flat (average) rates are best if you offer a few different products on your store, with similar shipping rates—ideally, only with products from 2 different shipping categories. But what are these shipping categories?

Take a look at the 19 product categories listed on the Printful shipping page. Understanding which categories your products belong to will help you to choose between the two methods.

Printful-Shipping-Page

As shown above, in the wider shipping category “Shirts” you’ll find more specific product types; t-shirts, tank tops, ¾ sleeve shirts, polo shirts, and crop tops. Click on each drop-down to show which product types share the same shipping category.

Familiarize yourself with these categories, note which Printful products you offer, or might offer in the future, and then choose a method.

Remember, if you have products belonging to the same category or share very similar shipping rates, go with a flat (average) rate. Any more variation, and you’re going to want to use “weight-based” shipping.

Method #1: “Weight-based” shipping

To calculate weight-based shipping, for this exercise, I’ve narrowed down the 19 categories to 3 shipping groups. This is to make it simple; most of our popular products have similar rates to other categories.

In the previous section, you already checked which product categories your store includes. But you need to have some extra info handy about every Printful product you offer on your store:

  • The category on the shipping page it belongs to (e.g “Shirts”)
  • The shipping price listed for it
  • The “additional product” rate

Additional product shipping is how much we’ll charge if your customer orders, for example, 2 t-shirts–we’ll charge an extra $1.25 per shirt.

Once you know these three things about your products, slot them into a table; I used Google Sheets. Then, group them by shipping price. Every product in each group should have the same shipping rate or a very similar one (a few cents difference).

I ended up with 3 shipping groups, filled with products with the same shipping rates (A, B, C). For example, T-shirts cost the same to ship as socks and flip flops, so they both go in group A. The same goes for laptop cases and blankets in group B. Mugs cost more to ship, so I gave them their own group— C.

Table-of-Printful-products-grouped -similar-shipping-prices

In my example table above, I sell 12 products in my store, from T-shirts to Mugs. The column labeled “First” shows the product category shipping rates found on the shipping page. The column labeled ‘Additional” shows the additional rate also found on the shipping page.

Do you offer products found on my example table? Feel free to use the information there. But it’s always best to double-check the latest shipping prices as they can change over time. You’ll also find different prices for different countries and continents. I use “USA domestic” rates for the purpose of this guide. 

If you’re feeling confident with this method, you could create an extra product group (D) if you offer a wide range of product categories, including all in the above table, plus heavy Printful items like bean bags, which are more expensive to ship. But be warned, the more product groups you add to this table, the more complexity you’ll face later.

Assign “weights” to your products

The next step is to input a weight figure for each of your products. 

You may be asking yourself, “Where are the product weights?”

Well, although this method is called “weight” based shipping, the “weight” isn’t real—the weight figure will just be used to tell your ecommerce platform the right Printful shipping costs for each group that you’ve created. We’re going to match up “weight” and price later.

“Remember, the “weight” data isn’t real—you won’t need the actual weight of the products.”

Copy the weights in the table below. Essentially, the more expensive the product is to ship, the higher the figure you’re going to put for “weight”.  

Table-Printful-products-grouped-into-similar-weights
Add “weights”

Next, open your ecommerce platform and assign every individual product, depending on each group, the “weight” from your table. We aren’t assigning any prices yet.

Calculate rates for combined shipping

What if your customer makes an order with products from different shipping groups? This is where combined shipping comes in.  

Below, I’ve filled out every possible combination of product categories for my example, taking into account additional product shipping costs. 

There are 19 possible combinations—this should cover the average print-on-demand store. 

Printful-product-combinations-for-orders
Now add “Weight range”.

You’ll notice that I’ve now calculated a “weight range” in column 2, by adding the combinations of weights together. I’ve then assigned a total shipping cost to each weight range, by adding up the product weights, keeping in mind the additional price for each item.

Now, head over to your ecommerce platform and add the price for each weight-range by going to your store shipping settings. This setting is often called “Depending on weight shipping” or “Weight-scale pricing”. Here’s how that setting looks on Squarespace or with Wix

Now, when your ecommerce platform totals up the “weight” of an order, the shipping price in column 3 is charged to your customer.

So let’s say I receive an order with one t-shirt and one mug (one product from Group A and Group C). If I’ve followed the above steps correctly, my ecommerce platform will now calculate that the total “weight” of the order is 5.1 lbs, and the price for that weight is $10.98.

Remember to do some test orders to make sure it works!

Some notes on this method

Keep in mind that the weight-based shipping method won’t always guarantee that you charge the exact price, every time. Although you won’t lose profit, you’ll make more than you expected.

For example, if a customer orders 2 t-shirts and 1 hoodie, the order would fall into variation BAA. You’ll notice that B + AA (BAA) in the table equals $11.74. Your ecommerce platform will charge $11.74, based on that weight total. But since products are shipped together, not separately, Printful charges $6.50 + $1.25 + $1.25 = $9. You’d save $2.40 in this case.

This is because we take the shipping price for the more expensive product, then add the additional shipping of the cheaper items. In these cases, you’ll slightly overcharge for more profit. You can read more about this on our shipping page

Also, note that the shipping costs shown in these tables are correct as of January 2020 for “USA domestic”, but you can find the latest figures on the shipping page to slot into your ecommerce shipping settings.

Method #2: Flat (average) shipping rates

Welcome to easy mode! If you’ve skipped here from the start, congratulations.

So you’re selling products with similar shipping rates on your store, such as t-shirts, socks, and hats. It’s easy, just set that rate ($3.99) and the additional product rate ($1.25) store-wide in your store settings.

What if you’re selling products from different groups? You can set up an average shipping rate for all the products you offer. This will average out over time.

Let’s say that I offer t-shirts, hoodies, and mugs in my store and want to calculate an average shipping rate for all my products.

T-shirt ($3.99) + Hoodie ($6.50) + Mug ($6.99) = $17.48

Then, divide this total by the number of different products, in this case, 3. 

$17.48 / 3 = $5.83

So $5.83 is the shipping rate that I charge across my store. This will work effectively as long as your cheaper to ship products sell as well as the more expensive to ship products.

Finally…

If you have any questions about shipping in general, reach out to our support team at support@printful.com—we’ll be glad to help you out. 

For an overview of how shipping works with Printful, including international shipping speed and prices, check out our dedicated shipping page, or our beginner’s guide.

Or, use our experience to your advantage. When you’re busy building your brand, you might not want to spend time on the technical details of setting up your online store. Let our expert team handle any aspect of setting up perfectly for you—visit our store setup services.

I’ll leave you with Maris, for more tips on setting up Printful shipping.

Ottis keeps on top of the latest trends in Tech, Psychology, and Entrepreneurship. If there's exciting new research in these fields, he's read it.

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to updates

Get actionable drop shipping advice in your inbox

  1. Yashar

    Hello. I will sell every of categories of printfull. But i want to set flat shipping rate. How can set it on shopify?

  2. Joshua

    Do you know what converts/is better? Offering Free shipping but, just marking your products up for more profit or should you charge them extra for shipping?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published



Back to All posts

Ready to try Printful?

Connect to an ecommerce platform or make an order

Get started