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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Calculating Shipping Costs
    This is something I've been meaning to do for quite some time. I realize all the top price comparisons calculate shipping before the customer leaves the site. It's become the standard basically. Now I've got to adhere and I'm curious if anybody knows any tricks? I've noticed many datafeeds include a shipping column which is helpful, but many don't. Do I need to plug into some FedEx or UPS shipping cost API for this? I'm sure there has to be some sort of shipping grid which will let you cross reference a zip code with the weight, but I wouldn't know where to get it. Maybe my merchants can help me out. Anyway, has anybody gone through this? If so, what hurdles can I expect?

    Thank you,
    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    There is a grid but it goes by zip code and zones it's best to use the API programs that both fedex and UPS offer.

  3. #3
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Snib,

    When i was working with shopping.com, we used to enter in our price in a column but it was never accurate. That was back in 2000.

    I think they have progressed and as HardWareGeek mentioned, they would use API programs. Criteria are usually: Weight, zone (zip code). I am sure fedex, ups and USPS should have some tools to help you accomplish that..

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Great! I'll have to look into finding the UPS or FedEx API's. Now determining the weight of a product is a whole other issue...

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Yep, what the others said as to APIs existing. The USPS has one, too. Although to save myself frustration, I just use an old-fashioned price table.

    One holdup I can see is if you want to put "handling" on. The APIs may not have that feature as a native capability. Although you could probably code it up on your end to add handling if you want.

    But since you're on the affiliate-side, using a straight API solution will be problematic, since merchants haven't standardized their shipping costs or even their methods of determining those costs.

    You'd probably have to get rate tables from all your merchants, rather than using a shipper-provided API.

    Edit: Realized you mean from the aff-side.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  6. #6
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    to get weight, you can get a feed from a distributor or the other thing is to crawl merchant sites to get the weight. Some merchants will not like it...

    i.e. amazon will have weight on each electronic product. Pls read the TOS before doing anything

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I don't think it's anywhere near that simple. Every single merchant handles shipping in different ways. Some have a fixed shipping amount. Some have tiers. Some offer free shipping above a certain level. Some offer free shipping on certain products. Some products have shipping surcharges or special rates. Some (Amazon) vary depending on the category of product. Some use UPS or FedEx rates. Some have a handling fee. Some have promotions from time to time that change all the rules.

    I have plans for a couple sites that will need shipping details, too, and I plan on creating a subroutine for each merchant that I'm working with that will calculate the shipping costs (and taxes--another complicated mess) given a specific product.
    Michael Coley
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     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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