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Shipping Woes Sorted – The Meaning & Application Of Volumetric Weight

April 29, 2019

4 min read

Most of the time, sellers begin their eCommerce venture and put in a lot of effort to package their products well. In the process of doing so, they do not realize that they might have to pay extra for shipping. Therefore, they end up over-spending than what they had initially planned on.

Are you making the same mistake? Let’s find out more by digging deeper into a crucial aspect of eCommerce shipping – volumetric weight.

What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, refers to the weight of the shipment including the actual weight in accordance with its length, breadth, and height. It accounts for the density of the package.

Earlier, the weight of the shipment was calculated based on the gross weight. This attribution does not take into account the packaging involved in the shipment. Therefore, the concept of volumetric weight was introduced so that shipping could be profitable for both the shipper and the freight carrier.
Today, carriers across the world including FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc., follow the practice of charging the shipper based on the dimensional and gross weight – whichever is higher.

How is volumetric weight calculated?

The formula of volumetric weight is as follows:

(Length x Breadth x Height) / 5000

(The divisor of 5000 is not constant and varies from carrier to carrier)

Why calculate the volumetric weight?

Let’s study an example to understand this concept. Imagine you are shipping a 1 kg flower vase from Delhi to Kerala. To make sure your package is safe from all ends, you package it in more than one layer of packaging. First, you wrap it in bubble wrap, put it in a box and include small thermocol fillers to ensure its safety. Next, to provide an extra dimension of protection, you put this entire box in another corrugated box. The proportion of your complete package turns out to be 20 cm x 20 cm x 20cm.

According to your calculations, the gross weight of your product is 1 kg, and you must be charged according to that. But, for your carrier, the package is taking up the space of a 1.6 kg product (according to the dimensional weight) in his transport. Thus, this poses as a loss for the carrier and also leads to a delay in the delivery operations due to the poor assignment of packages during transport.

Therefore, the volumetric weight allows you to package your products in an economical manner. This method can help you pack products with adequate safety and also reduce shipping costs.

Also, when you ship using aggregators like Shiprocket, the weight discrepancies are reduced mainly because you follow the practice of applying dimensional weight. As it is uniform for all carriers, you can save on ample time and ship items faster.

How can you maintain the volumetric weight?

1) Appropriate packaging

A significant contributor to the increase in volumetric weight is improper packaging. Most of the times, you tend to overdo the packaging or use the wrong packaging material for your product. This practice can lead to an increase in the dimensions of your final package. Furthermore, it leads to a rise in the overall volumetric weight, that eventually increases shipping costs. Follow packaging best practices to make sure your packaging is intact and provides maximum value to the buyer.

2) Pack according to the carrier’s guidelines

Every courier company has laid down some guidelines regarding packaging. These guidelines ensure you do not face any logistics issues regarding your shipment. Make sure you follow these guidelines to suit your carrier partner’s requirements. Moreover, you also maintain the dimensional weight of your package.

Tricks to reduce shipping costs

1) Shipping software

Employ a shipping software like Shiprocket to automate your shipping process, print labels for bulk orders, auto-import orders, and reduce return orders. They offer to ship with multiple courier partners at rates as low as Rs. 27/500g.

2) Flat rate shipping

To reduce shipping costs, you can provide flat rate shipping for all items across your store. This kind of shipping helps you reduce cart abandonment and convert prospects who leave due to undisclosed shipping rates.

3) Shipping rate calculators

Checking your shipping costs beforehand using a shipping rate calculator gives you a head start in visualizing the budget and the kind of packaging you want to use for your shipments.

Read more about how you can reduce shipping costs!

Understand the concept of volumetric weight to get a fair idea of how you can maximize shipping and gain the most from every shipment! Employ the concept to increase the number of daily shipments and work in synchronization with your courier partner to deliver maximum orders in minimum time.

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