X-Cart:Setting Up Dimensional Shipping

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X-Cart now provides a packaging algorithm that allows splitting an entire purchase into multiple packages that fit the limitations (maximum package weight and dimensions) imposed by a certain shipping service. This algorithm allows to get real-time shipping rates even when the cart contains a large quantity of products with the total weight and dimensions exceeding the values allowed for a single package.

With the Dimensional Shipping feature, you can specify dimensions for each product you have got at your store (See the Product details page) and use those dimensions for calculating shipping rates using the on-line real-time shipping rate calculation services like UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc.

Module-specific settings

Certain shipping modules, such as Australia Post, FedEx, UPS and USPS allow splitting orders into multiple packages.

To enable this function, select Split the shipment into multiple packages if its weight/dimensions exceed the limitations on the Shipping methods -> Options page.

In the shipping settings, you can also specify:

Maximum package weight (lbs) - package weight that must not be exceeded when when shipping products to customers.

Maximum package dimensions (inches) - package dimensions that must not be exceeded when when shipping products to customers.

Always use the same package dimensions as specified in the "Maximum package dimensions" fields - applies the dimensions specified in the above option to all packages shipped through this shipping service.

Tip: The max number of items that can be placed into one package can be changed by modifying the below line of code in "include/func/func.pack.php" file:
define('MAX_ITEMS_FOR_PACKING', 2000);
Keep in mind...
  • If the total weight/dimensions of the products ordered by customer exceeds the limitations defined by these settings, the order is split into several packages.
  • If you have large-weight and/or large-sized products in your store, make sure the maximum package weight and maximum package dimensions are large enough to be able to calculate shipping for such products.
  • The maximum package weight and maximum package dimensions that you set on this page must not exceed the actual limitations imposed by the shipping service.
  • If you set the maximum package weight or any of the maximum package dimension values to zero, X-Cart will use the default limitations established by the shipping service.

For other shipping modules, please follow the instructions below.

Enabling Dimensional Shipping

To enable Dimensional Shipping:

  1. X-Cart 4.4.0 and later: Go to the Shipping page (Settings menu -> General settings -> "Сore options" pane at the right -> Shipping).
    X-Cart 4.3.x: Go to the Shipping options page (Settings menu -> Shipping settings)
    X-Cart 4.2.x: Go to the Shipping options page (Administration menu -> General settings -> "In this section:" menu -> Shipping options).
  2. On the page that appears, under General shipping options, select the Use product dimensions for shipping rates calculation check box.
  3. On the same page, under Dimensions of the shipping box for small items (for real-time shipping), specify the length, width and height (in inches) for the default shipping box. These dimensions are used by the calculator when no product-specific dimensions are provided.
  4. Click the Apply changes button.
Note: To enable the shipping calculators, make sure to select the ENABLE SHIPPING check box at the top of the page before making any other shipping settings.

Defining product dimensions

To define dimensions of a product:

1. Sign in as provider and select the product to be edited.

2. On the Product management page, select the Use the dimensions of this product for shipping cost calculation check box.

3. In the Shipping box dimensions group, specify the length, width and height of the product, in inches.

To make sure that UPS supports the dimensions you have specified, click on the Check for unavailable shipping methods link by the dimension boxes.

4. Select the Ship in a separate box option to set shipping the product in separate boxes, then specify the Quantity per shipping box, i.e. how many pieces of the item can be placed in a single shipping box.

5. Click the Apply changes button.

Checking dimensional shipping settings

The following instructions are meant for advanced users.

To check dimensional shipping settings:

1. Open the directory where your X-Cart is installed in a file manager and then open the file config.local.php in any plain-text editor.

Hint! If the file config.local.php does not exist, create a new text file and save it as config.local.php.

2. In the config.local.php file, uncomment or type the following code:

<?php
define("PACKAGING_DEBUG", "Y");
?>

3. Save the modified config.local.php file in the directory where your X-Cart is installed and test your shipping calculator with the new settings.

This constant adds comments on the performance of the packaging routine at the bottom of the UPS calculator page. View those comments in an HTML source viewer and determine whether your dimensional shipping settings work as expected.

When you are done testing, don't forget to comment out or delete the debug string from the config.local.php file.

Hint! An alternative way to check whether your dimensional shipping settings work as expected is to place a number of items greater than what fits in a shipping box to the shopping cart and see how many boxes you have got for shipping.