Live Pricing - Carrier Grouping

Live Pricing - Carrier Grouping

Background

When a client reaches the checkout, the items in the users cart, as well as their location are sent to us to quote against the carriers in your Machship account.
Rather than showing customers all of the potential carriers, services and options, we collect the carriers and services into groups, and show the cheapest price in that group.
Showing one price, instead of several options aims to improve conversion in your checkout, as well as allowing you to price specific carriers only.


The above video covers everything discussed below in detail - if you'd prefer to read, the data is summarised below.

Carrier Grouping Explained

Let's use an example where you have the following carriers and services:
  1. Carrier A
    1. Parcel
    2. Express
  2. Carrier B
    1. General
    2. Overnight
If you wanted to setup a Regular and Express price in your checkout, we would advise setting up your carrier groups as follows:
  1. Regular Shipping
    1. Contains:
      1. Carrier A - Parcel
      2. Carrier B - General
  2. Express Shipping
    1. Contains:
      1. Carrier A - Express
      2. Carrier B - Overnight
By setting up these groups in this way, your user would see two prices - an express and a regular price, which would be the cheapest of the services attached to that group.

This is a simplified example as Machship users often have 5+ carriers, with 10-15 services available that are specialised based on the freight.

Common Carrier Group Settings

While regular and express services are an easy way to explain how carrier groups work, they are actually rarely used, simply because most carriers and services offer similar delivery times anyway.
More common carrier groups involve:
  1. Residential Surcharges
  2. Tailgate fees
These surcharges are the common way to split up the carrier groups because the they are costly and do not apply to all users who may be purchasing goods from your website - so users can self select the prices that apply to them.

The most common configurations we setup are:

Selling Non-Bulky Goods, Primarily Residential

Since you're mostly selling to residential users, we simply give them one price and always include the residential surcharges.
  1. Group Name: Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fees

Selling Non-Bulky Goods, Mixture B2B & B2C

In this instance, we have both a residential price and a business price show to the user, and they would self select which is appropriate for them.
  1. Group Name: Residential Address Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fees
  2. Group Name: Business Address Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: NONE
The main disadvantage of this configuration is that you're relying on residential customers to more than likely pick a more expensive price - and they may think to themselves "I run a home business" and select the business one to save some money. The names and descriptions that show along this price though are customisable to try and educate your customers on selecting the correct price.

Selling Bulky Goods, Primarily Residential

This group is similar to the non-bulky residential group, except we have a 30kg cut off where we stop showing the regular shipping price, and start showing a TAILGATE price which includes both the residential fees and the tailgate fees that your carriers may charge.
  1. Group Name: Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fees
    3. Maximum Item Weight: 29.9kg
  2. Group Name: Tailgate Delivery
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fee, Tailgate Fee
    3. Item Weight: Greater Than or Equal To 30kg
Note, a customer would only ever see one of these options as the criteria on weight would ensure both do not show at the same time.

Selling Bulky Goods, Mixture of B2B & B2C

With this configuration, we show two prices for lighter items, and two prices for heavy items to allow for the mix of bulky and non-bulky items, and the customer types.
  1. Group Name: Residential Address Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fees
    3. Maximum Item Weight: 29.9kg
  2. Group Name: Business Address Shipping
    1. Carriers: All Available Carriers/Services
    2. Surcharges Included: NONE
    3. Maximum Item Weight: 29.9kg
  3. Group Name: Tailgate Delivery
    1. Carriers: Specific Tailgate Services
    2. Surcharges Included: Residential Fee, Tailgate Fee
    3. Item Weight: Greater Than or Equal To 30kg
  4. Group Name: Forklift Unload Available At Delivery Point
    1. Carriers: Specific Heavy Item Services
    2. Surcharges Included: None
    3. Item Weight: Greater Than or Equal To 30kg
With these groups that involve offering forklift unload prices, the description makes a big difference in educating customers and ensuring they pick the appropriate service for their needs.
It's quite common that with the forklift price, conditions are included in the title such as "(surcharges for hand unload will apply)" or similar.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have primarily business customers, and I just want them to see and select the service, is this possible?
Yes, we can simply return and display all the carriers and services you offer - or a selection - with their names and prices.

Can I mark up the group prices?
Yes, we can mark up different groups with different amounts as fixed $ or % amounts.

How many groups can we have?
There is no limit to the number of groups.

Will I need to have different groups for the different states or areas that I want to ship to based on the carriers that service that area?
This isn't required, as Machship will only return prices for carriers and services that service the TO address we provide.
So even if you were to include a specific carrier service in a group, and someone from outside the area was to request a price on your website, that carrier service would be ignored when considering the cheapest price.

Are the names customisable? Can we show other text like a description?
Some platforms show a description alongside the title, others just show a title. Woocommerce and Shopify show both.
We are able to display a detailed message should the platform allow it, though the amount of space available is normally small.

Can you take the groups above, but split them again into express and regular?
Yes, we can split the groups into express and regular and put some services in one group, and other services in a different group.


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