For our merchants who's business presence is in the UK, 3dcart is compatible with real-time shipping calculation provided through both Royal Mail and ParcelForce. This article will detail how to set up your store for Royal Mail and ParcelForce shipping calculations as well as special considerations that need to be made when using these particular carriers.
Available Royal Mail Shipping Methods
Your 3dcart store will have the following Royal Mail Shipping Methods available:
- Royal Mail - 1st Class
- Royal Mail - 1st Class Signed
- Royal Mail - 2nd Class
- Royal Mail - 2nd Class Signed
- Royal Mail - Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm
- Royal Mail - Delivery Guaranteed by 9am
Available ParcelForce Shipping Methods
Your 3dcart store will have the following ParcelForce Shipping Methods available:
- ParcelForce - express10
- ParcelForce - express24
- ParcelForce - express48
- ParcelForce - express9
- ParcelForce - expressAM
- ParcelForce - globaleconomy
- ParcelForce - globalexpress
- ParcelForce - globalpriority
- ParcelForce - globalvalue
- ParcelForce - irelandexpress
Size and Weight Restrictions
Please be aware of the following restrictions which Royal Mail and ParcelForce have in place for sending packages:
- Royal Mail
- Maximum weight: 20kg
- Maximum Length: 61cm
- Maximum Width: 46cm
- Maximum Thickness: 46cm
The following additional information is copied from Royal Mail:
Rolled and cylinder shaped parcels
For rolled and cylinder shaped items, the length of the item plus twice the diameter must not exceed 104cm, with the greatest dimension being no more than 90cm. Rolled and cylinder shaped parcels that measure up to 45cm in length and 8cm in diameter and do not exceed 2kg can be sent as small parcels.
- Maximum weight: 30kg
- Maximum Length: 1.5m
- Maximum combined length and girth: 3m
ParcelForce's Express 48 service allows for the following size and weight restrictions:
- Individual parcel limit 30kg with no limit for multi-item consignments
- Maximum parcel length 2.5m and 5m maximum length and girth combined
More information on these restrictions can be found here for Royal Mail and here for ParcelForce.
Setting up your 3dcart Product Weights and Dimensions
As mentioned in a previous article, 3dcart's software uses neither metric or standard measurement units. Instead, the numbers listed in your product weights and dimensions are simply numbers. Ultimately, it is up to the real-time shipping carrier to determine what the denomination will be for the order (i.e. U.S. based carriers will calculate "2" as 2lbs whereas European carriers may calculate "2" as 2kg). This is something you'll want to keep in mind when setting up your store for these UK shipping carriers.
Both Royal Mail and ParcelForce expect and calculate based on kilogram weigh increments, so be sure to specify your item weights in kg format. (i.e. an item weighing 3 kg is specified in your store as 3)
If an item you're selling is weighed in grams, you will need to specify its weight as the kilogram equivalent. In other words, something that weighs 500 grams will need to be configured in your store as weighing 0.5, since kg is the base increment used for these two carriers.
Product dimension measurments will need to be specified in mm increments.
As an example, the following image will illustrate the proper set up of a product with the appropriate weights and measurements set in the 3dcart Online Store Manager.
Product dimensions are used to return shipping calculation when an item is either ordered individually or otherwise is intended to be shipped as its own individual package (i.e. "Ships by Itself" is toggled on the product). When multiple units or items are contained within the same order and set to ship together, there is no way to feasibly anticipate how those items will be boxed together during shipment. Therefore, when the order contains multiple items to be shipped at the same time, the shipping calculation will use a default dimensional measurement for the rate calculation. For both Royal Mail and ParcelForce, this default measurement will be:
- Length - 10mm
- Width - 100mm
- Height - 100mm
Weight for the order will be the total combined weight of all items on the order.
Adding Royal Mail and ParcelForce Methods to your Store
Once you've configured your products to use kilograms and millimeters for weight and dimensions, the next steps will be to add the Royal Mail & ParcelForce Shipping Methods to your store. To do this, please use the following steps:
- Log into your 3dcart Online Store Manager
- Using the left hand navigation menu, go to Settings ->Shipping
- Once there, click on the "Enter Settings" button located under Shipping Settings
- Look for the field labeled "Max Box Weight (Lbs)" and enter your maximum box weight in kilograms*
Max Box Weight (Lbs)
This setting will control how many boxes are used for the order when the total weight of the order exceeds the amount entered in the field. In other words, if the order's weight is within this amount; shipping will be calculated as one box. However, if the order's weight goes over the number entered here, shipping will be calculated for a second or third box as needed.
Now, even though the field says "(Lbs)" it still follows the same "neither standard nor metric" rule for 3dcart measurements. So your Max Box Weight should reflect kilograms if you are using Royal Mail/ParcelForce.
For example, due to the fact that ParcelForce's limit is 30kg per box, you would enter a 30. However, your specific needs may require smaller increments as needed.
Further note that you would use the same weight logic if you are using the pre-defined boxes option.
Once this step is complete, we will set up the actual shipping methods. To continue, while still in the Shipping Settings page:
- Click on the "+Real Time Shipping Location" link
- Enter your country and Postal Code information for the Real Time Shipping Information
- Click "Update" to set the Real Time Shipping Information fields
The data entered in this area will serve as your real time shipping calculation's point of origin for the returned rates. More information on setting up your store's country information can be found here and here.
Also, if you are using drop shippers, please review the Drop Shipper article, located here.
After setting up your Real Time Shipping Information section, continue these steps to add your shipping methods:
- Using the left hand navigation menu, go to Settings ->Shipping
- Once there, click on the "Select Methods" button located under Shipping Methods
- Click "+Add Methods " under RoyalMail.
- Select the Shipping Country and Shipping State that these methods will be applicable to
- Place a mark in each checkbox for the Shipping Methods that you would like to add
- When ready, click "+Add" to proceed.
The methods will be added all at once.
Repeat the same steps for ParcelForce if you will be using that service as well.
After the shipping methods are added, you will have additional configuration options available to each one separately.
- Look to the far right of the Shipping Methods you just added and click on each method's "Settings" link
Here, you'll have the ability to edit the following aspects of the Shipping Method
The display label that the method will use when shown on the store. Typically, this will be the actual name of the method (as listed by the carrier), but you may wish to change the label to meet your needs
Here, you can add a pricing markup to the shipping method if you'd like to add a certain amount to each calculated rate. Markups can be entered as a flat monetary amount or a percentage markup.
- Advanced Settings
Clicking this link will let you then edit the following
- Min.Weight & Max.Weight
The weight ranges to which the shipping method will apply. If the order does not fall within these ranges, then the shipping method will not display
- Customer Group
The Customer Pricing Group that this method will apply to. For example, if you'd like it to apply to all of your customers, you would select "All."
(Setting it to "None" will merely limit the method to your regular, retail customers who do not yet belong to a customer group.)
- Country/State Exclude List
Clicking on the "Exclude List" link will allow you to specify states and locations (In the already configured country/state designations for the Shipping Method) that you would like to exclude from using the shipping method. For example, if your shipping method applies to all US States, but you'd like to exclude Alaska and/or Hawaii.
IMPORTANT: Remember to set the "Max. Weight:" limit to kilogram measurements!
For more complete information on setting up your shipping methods, please see our tutorial located here.
Congratulations! Your store is now set up to use Royal Mail and ParcelForce Real Time Shipping Calculations.