Shipping Cost Issues

Posted by Dean Rowan on


Business over the past few months has grown substantially and our client base now includes many customers outside of our region and outside of Ontario. All of those orders need to be shipped and we are concerned about making sure we can ship as cost effectively as possible. This makes sense for you, our customer, and for us, since any shortfall in the shipping cost calculated online is made up by us. We have never asked for additional shipping cost even though we occasionally run into discrepancies that require us to make up the difference.

In digging into the issue a bit more, we have come to a better understanding of how Canada Post calculates the shipping cost. They use either the Actual Weight, or Volumetric Equivalent, and for most of our products, actual weight works fine. However, there are a few items that don't, so we are in the process of adjusting their weight to reflect this. However, we wanted to explain why they may appear to cost more to ship than you might have expected. 

Imagine you have a parcel that weighs 2 pounds, but measures 10" x 10" x 17". That translates into a VOLUME of 1700 cubic inches, which is how much space that package will occupy on the Canada Post delivery vehicle. In our Shopify system, we do not have a way to include the volume of each item in its' description, only its' weight. When Canada Post looks at this item, based on its' volume, it has a calculated weight of 12 pounds, not the actual 2 pounds, so the higher value is used to determine the shipping cost. All carriers use a combination of Volumetric Equivalent and Actual Weight but the factor they use is different. In the case of Canada Post, the cubic volume is divided by 139 to determine the volumetric equivalent weight. Others might use a higher or lower value.

To demonstrate the opposite impact that volume has, imagine a parcel that weighs 12 pounds but measures 7" x 7" x 9". It has a volume of 441 cubic inches and dividing by the factor or 139, it weighs only 3.1 pounds. However, Canada Post will use the HIGHER of either the volumetric weight or the actual weight, and in this case, the actual weight is what will be used. 

So, we are going through some of the more bulky items we have in inventory and determining if the volumetric equivalent weight or the actual weight will be used in the product profile to be used for shipping, but we wanted to let you know exactly why this is being done. 

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