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Got a quick question: I just bought a domain name with iPage, need free site builder? Hoping for any answer. Another question on my mind: After struggling for months with the various shipping solutions that are available and trying to make them work for products that range from tiny items weighing only an ounce or less up to very large items weighing in excess of 150 pounds, and shipping both domestically and world-wide, I have decided that I need to investigate what could only be described as an enterprise-level shipping solution for osC..

There are many existing contributions that would probably serve as a part of this consolidated shipping solution but they require someone who can tie them together so they play nicely with each other, as well as some new code being written to enhance dimensional and weight support for them..

Some of the fundamental functions that should be included:.

Choice of single or multiple shipping methods available per product.

Choice of countries (zones) to which each shipping method is offered.

Weight and Dimensional support.

Methods: UPS, USPS, Freight, Flat Rate, Zone, Free (others?).

Choice of which shipping options and extra services to offer within each method.

Choice of origin ZIP code per product (for drop shipping).

Ability to determine package sizes and weights and select useable shipping methods based on each available method's limitations.

I can provide all of the details, rate charts, etc. that might be required but am not capable of writing the necessary code, so I am presently looking for someone with the ability to successfully code this solution as well as other community members who would be willing to support that individual's efforts..

The final product would have to be compatible with my Dec. 2002 version of osC but could be written for the current version as long as it was backwards compatible to my version with only minor modification and would be submitted to the community as a contribution when finished..

Any interested parties can respond via PM..

Comments (158)

I'm stumped. I'm not so sure what is the answer. I'll do some investigation and get back to you if I find an useful answer. You should email the people at iPage as they probably know..

Comment #1

From the amount of view this already has I assume this is much needed.......

This is probably a silly question I could answer myself if I would just look around...but.......

Is there a way for us to see or know what the "OFFICIAL OSC" team is working on for inclusion in the next milestone release.....

I would hate to waste a bunch of time working on this issue if the TEAM is already doing so......

Is there a way to post our desires for further releases?..

Comment #2

OK...sense I've obviously got free time on my hands today......heres another post......

I just want to elaborate upon this a little....basically working it out in my mind and hopefully benefiting the overall discussion.....

**************************************************************.

In response to this:.

Can we lump the following:.

Into one statement:.

1. Allows the Admin the ability to present ONE or MORE shipping module(s), with ANY or ALL of that particular shipping module's shipping methods (ie. UPS GROUND vs. UPS NEXT DAY AIR) and Extra Services (ie. Insurance, etc) Enabled, to the customer at checkout time, ON A PER PRODUCT BASIS..

Or maybe to shorten it up:.

1. GIVE the Admin COMPLETE CONTROL over the presentation of ONE or MORE shipping module(s) to the customer at checkout time ON A PER PRODUCT BASIS..

I think I like the long version better......

Now that everybodys going WTF.....I'm just trying to make sure I understand what we all want out of this.........

************************************************************.

SO MOVING ON:.

IN REGARDS TO:.

Do I understand this to mean that we want to be able to assign the above COMPLETE CONTROL not only on a PER PRODUCT BASIS but ALSO on a PER COUNTRY BASIS? Like if a customer inputs their shipping address that it would then pull up only those shipping methods available for that country?.

This one sounds very complex to me....perhaps because I dont really understand what is meant by it....but this would seem to me to involve very complex matrixes of what vendors use for shipping and whether or not that method can go to certain countries......and raises the question of perhaps having items on your iPage site that wont be shippable to certain countries due to the shipping method limitation (ie. where USPS will ship to if a vendor only uses USPS etc).

AND SO I would think that assigning our shipping method should be based on a PER PRODUCT detailing without concern to what COUNTRY it is to be shipped too.....which leads me to the question:.

What happens when UPS (or take your pick) is assigned to a product (or to use the current state of OSC where it would be defined as a iPage site wide option) and a person from say KALAMAZOO, JUPITER 9877778999 places that item in their cart...but UPS does not ship to KALAMAZOO? What happens?.

I suppose we would need to have a "CANT SHIP THIS PRODUCT TO YOU" screen that would pop up when this occurs....or is that what happens now?.

But maybe this isn't what you meant......

****************************************************************.

AND:.

Yes we need this...and this too seems complex....adding the dimensional support as I don't see where any of the current UPS or FEDEX or USPS modules have a place to input dimensions.....but I could be wrong.....I know odd shapes and oversize pakages generate additional charges at UPS so I suppose without DIMENSIONAL SUPPORT we wont get absolutely perfect shipping quotes.....maybe it would be easier just to have store owners eat this extra charge or set up your PER PRODUCT OPTIONS to include an "Oversize or odd shape" fee?.

***************************************************************.

AND:.

This would seem to blend into the DIMESIONAL and WEIGHT OPTIONS above.......

And I guess I would include the COUNTRY ISSUE here too......

What I think our Module needs to do is perform every necessary test to confirm what shipping methods are valid for each product....TWICE....once when shipping options are attached to each product in the ADMIN and once again when the customer enters their shipping info......

But I think if were setting this up on a vendor level (ie. setting the shipping modules and options to use on a per vendor basis as I suggest) then I assume each vendor will only be using shipping methods that can handle their products....but we would still need to be able to specify to add additional charges based on oversize or overweight packages.....again probably at the ADMIN product entry level.......

**************************************************************.

AND:.

I know...sorry....long post......

This to me seems to be crucial to an accurate shipping quote.......

Again I think this would be best to be set once...when setting up the "vendor shipping account" which would define what types of shipping was available from a particular vendor....it a particular vendor had the need to ship some items via USPS and others via FEDEX...we would set up a "VENDOR #1: UPS" and a "VENDOR #1:FEDEX" account and then apply these accounts appropriately on a PER PRODUCT basis.......?.

**************************************************************.

Hmmm.......

IS THAT BASICALLY WHAT WERE LOOKING FOR?????????.

I think it's doable......

I think it best to set it up as a "shipping module wrapper" where it simply "wraps" a product with various shipping modules already in the shipping module directory....that was it is ever expandable and ever modifyable...whatever.....

Not sure I could do it alone....not sure I would know how to do a collaboration project either.....never tried....but I'm willing.....and rate myself as about a 4.5-6.7 on a scale of 1-10 for my php coding ability.....I'm certainly not fluent....but I can understand what I read and can usually hack stuff together and work out the bugs through repetious changes until it finally works......

OK.....

THE STORE IS OPEN FOR SUGGESTIONS........

This shouldnt be that hard to pull of.......

Comment #3

Ian;.

Thanks for your observations and elaboration on this subject. Allow me a few additional observations (which will be colored by the actual scenarios I'm presented with in my shop, but shouldn't be terribly different from what many of us might encounter when faced with a diverse product mix).

1 - The vast majority of products offered are of a size and weight that they can be shipped either by UPS or USPS. The existing UPSXML with Dimensional Support handles these items pretty well as far as determining what can go where and by which method(s), including figuring the correct rates for oversized packages (although I believe there are some minor corrections that need to be made). Since the USPS API doesn't seem to make any provision for dimensions, something needs to be worked out to establish the dimensions of packages before the request is sent to USPS (there actually is some support for dimensions in the API, but the request needs to be refined before it is sent to the server)..

2 - The USPS Methods contribution allows the store owner to select, from it's setup screen, which methods they want to offer for shipping. The UPSXML contribution doesn't allow this selection and needs to be changed to do so..

3 - Both of the above modules, when working the desired way, would drop unavailable methods due to excess size or weight or non-service destinations, presenting the customer ONLY with valid shipping methods based on the packaging that was previously determined by the dimensional support algorithm..

4 - The existing Multi-Vendor Shipping contribution appears to serve the basic need of being able to select a shipping method on a per-product basis, but needs to be amended to allow selection of multiple methods (such as BOTH UPS and USPS)..

5 -.

A couple of examples: a) Some products can be shipped anywhere, including internationally, EXCEPT to California, due to CARB pollution regulations; b ) Some products are shipped to continental US destinations for a flat rate of $60 but need to go via other means with weight and size considerations if being shipped anywhere else. I would expect that these conditions can be set within the native Zone shipping module, but they need to appear to the customer ONLY for the products and shipping destination to which they relate, meaning a) multiple Zone module capability; b ) the ability for the software to recognize in a mixed cart containing one of these items what it is supposed to present to the customer and c) to recognize where the customer is having the shipment sent so it can determine whether to present the Zone rate or an alternative method.

6 -.

The UPS and USPS modules, if configured as described in #3 above, will limit the available shipping methods based on the criteria for size, weight and destination, so there's probably no need to have per-country controls.

7 - Free shipping, if offered, needs to be able to be determined from within a mixed cart which also contains non-free shipping items and to be selectable as to which zones it applies (ie: Customer sees "Item SoandSo is free shipping - your shipping total reflects no shipping charges for that item").

8 -.

For our part, we have limited items that are drop-shipped and many times we don't know if it will be drop-shipped or shipped from our location until the order is actually received (depends on whether in stock locally or not, which location it is more expedient to ship from at that given time, etc.) For these situations, we normally just present the item as being shipped from us and, if there is a difference in the rate, we just absorb it. I imagine, though, that there are many who regularly have various fixed origins from which they ship certain products, so I think the idea of setting a field in the product setup screen which defaults to the store location but can be changed to another ZIP code is a valuable option..

As I mentioned previously, I think this is approaching what could be called an Enterprise Level shipping solution and, as such, I am willing to support the efforts of anyone who is willing to tackle it (and would hope that there are others here who would be willing to share in that support)..

Of course the end product would be submitted as a contribution to the osC Community and I would hope that the board moderators will encourage a lively discussion here so that anyone with any ideas to add can do so and we can all see the progress if someone undertakes to write this. Discussions of particulars relating to "support" I would think should be kept completely off of this forum, so if anyone has responses to that aspect of this proposal, let's keep it in private emails...

Comment #4

Dimensions SOUND good, but are still only approximations. For example, a product that ordered alone might have a oversize 1 type attribute. It COULD be due to the size that it cannot be shipped with small product B, in which case 2 boxes would be required. This would yield a higher shipping weight. Or, it could be it is possible to ship small item B with this item, in which case there is nothing added to the shipping rate. So, to get completely accurate shipping rates is *NEVER*, and I mean *NEVER* going to happen.



For people who drop ship from vendors, when a customer orders items from 2 different vendors, obviously, 2 quotes are needed. But, it could be I normally stock an item, and since I am out, I must ship it from a vendor, obviously a different cost. Then, we have items that are shipped direct from a vendor, but they may not be able to ship foreign using say USPS. So, though normally an item ships same day, in this case, it could be delayed a week or two, and we like to show this on the shipping screen for certain shipping methods. However, the vendor MAY be able to ship to that country via UPS same day..

Then there is USPS. While USPS Methods allows you to pick which rates to quote, t isn't good enough. For example, some countries allow insurance on airmail parcel post, some do not. We want to only ship via insured methods. So, to some countries, you can ship this method, to others you cannot. Surcharges also differ, etc..

I could come up with 20 examples we currently struggle with. I just do not think ANY shipping calculation will in fact be accurate, it's just not possible until all of the facts are known, which is generally after the shipping rate has been quoted to the customer. I think it's more pie in the sky than reality to expect this. While you might THINK it's mire accurate, I submit dimensions and other techniques are not, they are less accurate due to the inability to predict if 2 items shipped together can indeed be shipped together physically...

Comment #5

Steve;.

While I agree that one can never get a cart that is going to give 100% accurate quotes on every possible cart combination, I still maintain that the more parameters that one can dictate, the more accurate the result will be. Just to cite one example:.

We sell grass trimmers that are in a box that is 70" long X 10 X 10 for a total Length + Girth of 110". The UPSXML with Dimensional Support accurately sees this as oversized and returns the appropriate rate from the UPS Server. USPS currently will not see this as oversized and returns a rate that is extremely understated. We are currently unable to not show USPS in these situations if we want to show it at all for any item (which we do- because the item that is 2 pounds and ships in a 6 X 6 X 4 box is most economical to ship USPS Priority Mail). With dimensional support working for both, the correct rate would show for both methods (which would most likely lead the customer to choose UPS, as it is much cheaper than Oversized USPS for this particular item)..

Still looking for a programmer willing to tackle this and for others who have the same needs to join in supporting the effort. I know exactly what the cart needs to do to accomplish what I am looking for - I am just not able to do the programming myself...

Comment #6

It sounds like what you guys want is the same as currently offered per the web shipping on any of those companies sites...but integrated into one thing. I think that the page could be rearranged to make it not too cluttered honestly. And I am game for helping this happen. I can't promise it'll be instantaneous...but just like my writing Authorize.net Consolidated, I will be needing this too so am happy to contribute. After I finish garnering feedback and updating Authorize.net Consolidated, I will be jumping on over to help/do this..

Austin519.

P.s. - I sincerely hope I'm not the only one who's going to do this. I probably CAN do this by myself...but it's going to take some hardcore time, time which I probably can't convince myself to give freely. Hardcore time != open source, hardcore time may = money if it gets as bad as I think it will..

This post has been edited by.

Austin519.

: 01 March 2004, 08:16..

Comment #7

I wish you good luck. What you are proposing would be useful I am sure to a fair number of OSC users. For us, it would kill us, *doubling* our costs in many cases over what we actually pay (far less accurate than what we have now), so not a good thing at all! Reasons it would fail were mentioned previously..

It sounds like a fairly major change. To make a shipping module suitable for most all OSC users would take a rewrite of OSC..

So, as a contrib, would most likely be useful for a fair number of people. I hope you can find enough programmers to work on it and make it a success...

Comment #8

As I mentioned previously.

1 - I am prepared to support (read 'pay for') this effort, but would certainly appreciate it if others who would find this useful were willing to share in that support.

2 - The finished product would, of course, be contributed to the community.

3 - I have a specific list of the existing contributions that I think would end up being a part of this and what changes I think would need to be made and will post it later this evening in this thread..

4 - I am still awaiting any response from either a programmer willing to tackle this and/or others willing to help support it...

Comment #9

And maybe everyone needs to check this thread where I have been showing my progress on this issue.......

Http://forums.oscommerce.com/index.php?act=ST&f;=7&t;=56535.

I thought that everyone would be shit grin happy that you could now have accurate zipcode based shipping but no one besides two have responded at all........boo hoo sob sob......I get no no respect......no respect......

Cheers!..

Comment #10

There, there now, Ian, it's OK... take a deep breath and think of tropical isles.

You certainly have my respect and I didn't mean to slight you.

(cheers!).

I have been watching your progress and am happy to see it. The fundamental problem I have with MVS, though, is the inability to select multiple methods for a product and that it doesn't seem to just grab the existing UPS, USPS or other shipping modules which are already installed in the store, as well as it not having a GUI in Admin to just check off existing shipping modules for addition..

If someone licks those probs, a large amount of what I'm looking for would be achieved...

Comment #11

I couldnt agree more....Wish it could do all that and more......

Comment #12

Have faith... I've had a couple of nibbles from programmers who may just be able to help us..

I've also posted a text document that more completely outlines what I have in mind. Any comments, suggestions and additions are welcome (as long as they're constructive - we don't need to be told that it can't be done... if it can't, then no one will come forward saying they can write it and we'll have our answer):.

Master Shipper.

(save the target and view in your local text editor as opening this link will give you a bunch of unwrapped lines - very hard to read!.

)..

Comment #13

Say hi to the wizard for me.....come on toto I don't think were in Kansas anymore........

My philosophy is that anything is possible......its all a scale of probabilities............

I am still working on the MVS aspect of this problem but probably will be unable to make MVS simply check for installed modules and just simply use them.....It sounds so easy but I've tried a bunch and failed so far.....but I am tweaking it and redoing it and adding to it and hope that when I'm done someone could easily present us with a solution allowing the individual shipping modules complete control over mvs which would plug in seemlessly with my redone mvs....if that makes any sense......

Talk...talk...talk.......wheres the puddin'.........

But I hesitate to even waste anymore time on this for if you truly get "real" programmers involved, they could whip up something much better much faster than me......but then again talk is cheap and no one else seems to be doing a damn lick of work except talk talk talk......patience young grasshopper.....I have none........

Comment #14

Stuart,.

If I may, there is one more item that would be extremely beneficial if added your rather impressive list of enhancements. That would be the ability to print shipping labels directly from osC admin. Something as simple as print your invoice, packing slip(s), and shipping label(s)..

I'm not a programmer and have spent countless hours trying to assemble most of the functions you are requesting. It is frustrating. There are many wonderful contributions by folks that have spent a lot of time enhancing osCommerce but all too often some little something stops me dead in my tracks. UPSXML for instance, isn't ready for MS2 yet. I'm sure Torin is working on it. But until then I can't fully use it.

Just that there is a bit further to go and osCommerce will be incredible..

Good luck. If you do get someone or team to tackle this please let me know. Cash is tight but I will try to make some contribution..

Sincerely,.

Allen..

Comment #15

After struggling for months with the various shipping solutions that are available and trying to make them work for products that range from tiny items weighing only an ounce or less up to very large items weighing in excess of 150 pounds, and shipping both domestically and world-wide, I have decided that I need to investigate what could only be described as an enterprise-level shipping solution for osC..

There are many existing contributions that would probably serve as a part of this consolidated shipping solution but they require someone who can tie them together so they play nicely with each other, as well as some new code being written to enhance dimensional and weight support for them..

Some of the fundamental functions that should be included:.

Choice of single or multiple shipping methods available per product.

Choice of countries (zones) to which each shipping method is offered.

Weight and Dimensional support.

Methods: UPS, USPS, Freight, Flat Rate, Zone, Free (others?).

Choice of which shipping options and extra services to offer within each method.

Choice of origin ZIP code per product (for drop shipping).

Ability to determine package sizes and weights and select useable shipping methods based on each available method's limitations.

I can provide all of the details, rate charts, etc. that might be required but am not capable of writing the necessary code, so I am presently looking for someone with the ability to successfully code this solution as well as other community members who would be willing to support that individual's efforts..

The final product would have to be compatible with my Dec. 2002 version of osC but could be written for the current version as long as it was backwards compatible to my version with only minor modification and would be submitted to the community as a contribution when finished..

Any interested parties can respond via PM..

Comment #16

After looking through some of today's posts relating to shipping problems, I've had some further thoughts on this matter..

There was a valid point made in one post about the individual item pages in admin already being too cluttered, so the proper approach for this concept might be to add just a single checkbox to the item page which, if checked, would open up all of the advanced shipping features for an item - otherwise, just the stock osC item page would appear...

Comment #17


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.