Even though your fulfillment house probably provides shipping rates based on bottle quantities, we recommend that you set up your ship tables in Nexternal based on Weight, and not Quantity. This will provide the flexibility to offer verticals, packs with multiple bottles, packs with wine in combination with other items like olive oil, chocolate or other gift items, etc.
This article will explain how to do this, and will also provide a link to a shipping calculator to assist with converting bottle quantities into weights for your custom shipping tables.
If you ever intend to sell any sets or packs or verticals of any kind where a “product” has more than one item in it, setting up weight-based shipping tables is usually the only way to ensure that shipping will be calculated properly. Exceptions include circumstances in which:
(a) all of your packs will be associated with fixed shipping rates that you can set up on the product level to bypass the shipping tables, or
(b) you are always shipping the pack in a separate box from whatever else is ordered at the same time, in which case weight-based tables are not necessary because you can use a separate “ship from” instead.)
In our experience, these two exceptions are rarely the case, so we recommend weight-based (or tiered weight-based) ship tables for all wineries.
Take the following steps to set up weight-based shipping tables in Nexternal if you are using a fulfillment house (meaning, you are setting up custom rate tables based on your fulfillment house’s pricing, and not using real-time rates direct from UPS, Fed Ex or GLS/GSO):
1. Download and populate the shipping calculator spreadsheet workbook
2. Read the Important Tips at the end of this article in Section D
3. Create the weight-based shipping tables in Nexternal
4. Populate the shipping tables in Nexternal using the values from the spreadsheets
A. POPULATE THE SHIPPING CALCULATOR SPREADSHEETS:
1. Create your Pages. First create multiple copies of the spreadsheet so that you have several tabs/pages to the workbook. You will need a separate page for each shipping method in each zone. For example, if you have 6 zones and you offer Ground, 2-day and 3-day service, you will need to have 6 pages for Ground (one for each zone), 6 pages for 2-day (one for each zone), and 6 pages for 3-day (one for each zone).
2. Label each Page. At the top of each page in the green field, label the page with the shipping method, the shipper’s zone number and your zone number. The shipper’s zone and your zone numbers don’t have to match, and usually won’t match. This will be an easy reference for you when populating the rate data in step 4 below. Also be sure to label your tabs as shown in the Shipping Calculator Spreadsheet, for ease of use when you have multiple pages.
3. Fill in your Bottle Weight. To populate the purple bottle weight field – you can enter your standard bottle weight (usually 3, 4, or 5 lbs), but this can get messy because bottle weights often vary by wine. To avoid the mess and make things easier, you can use the number 1, telling the system that each bottle weighs 1 pound. Because you are not creating shipping labels for wine in Nexternal, this simplification will work beautifully.
4. Fill in Your Ship Rates. In the blue fields on lines 6 through 17 of each sheet, fill in the corresponding rates from the fulfillment house’s rate sheets for 1-12 bottles. Remember to add in any fees that aren’t included in their table rates – such as home delivery, fuel surcharges, etc. (charges that are or are not included in the table rates varies by fulfillment house – read the materials carefully!)
5. Do NOT populate or change the values in any other field on the spreadsheet!
6. Understand your results. Once you follow the steps above you will see that the spreadsheet has calculated all of the shipping rates for you up until 4 cases, then skips to 5 cases. In most cases we find that this works because when customers are ordering that much wine online, they rarely buy in less than case quantities after 4 cases. But please note that if you do not create additional lines between 4 and 5 cases, orders for 48 through 59 bottles will all ship at the 48-bottle rate. Also note that if you do not add any lines for over 5 cases, order for more than 5 cases will all ship at the 5-case rate. We find this is rarely a problem because when people order that much wine they are typically doing so in person or over the phone, and not online. If that is not the case for you, you might consider adding more lines.
B. CREATE TIERED WEIGHT-BASED CUSTOM SHIPPING TABLES IN NEXTERNAL:
1. Select Shipping Cost Calculator:
Navigate to Settings / Shipping and click the edit button to go to Edit Shipping (Page 1). Assuming you want to go up to 4 cases then skip to 5 cases, select Tiered Weight with 60 price tiers. Also on Edit Shipping (Page 1), set the number of Zones you require (see step 2 below to determine how many zones you need), and the number of custom methods you desire. (they may differ from the numbers you see on this screenshot)
2. Assign States to Zones.
On the same page, using the pulldowns for the zone next to each State, put each State to which you ship in the Zone in which it should live. States in each zone will be treated alike, so combine your States into groups for which the same shipping methods will be offered and the same rates will be quoted. Also, most wineries put Alaska and Hawaii in one or two zones separate from all other States, because these States are often excluded from shipping discount promotions, and separating them into their own zone(s) makes that much easier down the road. Then check the “R” column next to each State to which you do NOT ship wine but you do ship other items, and if you don’t ship any items to a State at all, do not put it into any zone.
Please Note -
a) "R" means that you do not ship products which are marked as restricted in the product set up, so all of your wines must be marked as restricted for the system to know you don't ship them to States marked with the "R" in this table.
b) the sample chart below is hypothetical and does not reflect what's right for your winery or business. You need to make independent decisions about zones, states in zones, and states to which you ship wine and/or other goods.
When you are finished, click Next at the bottom of the page.
3. Select Available Shipping Methods
On Edit Shipping (page 2) put a checkmark next to each of the shipping methods you plan to offer. Assuming you do not ship internationally, do not put international into a zone. When you are finished, click Next at the bottom of the page. (Again, the settings shown below may not apply to your business.)
4. Assign Methods to Zones
On Edit Shipping (page 3) and beyond, using the availability pulldown, assign All to each shipping method you wish to provide for that group of States, and order them from the least expensive to the most expensive. Page through until you finish all the zones.
5. Arrive at the Custom Ship Tables
After you complete all the zones and hit the Next button at the bottom of the last page of zones, you will see the custom ship tables that you will need to populate with rates from the spreadsheets, per the instructions below.
C. POPULATE THE SHIPPING TABLES IN NEXTERNAL:
Paying close attention to the Important Tips below in Section D of this article, for each method within each zone, refer to the corresponding spreadsheet page you made for it. Notice that the left column in the OMS tables is MINIMUM weight, and the right column in the OMS tables is the ship price. These columns correspond with the orange and yellow columns on your spreadsheets from which you will copy the weights and prices and paste them into the OMS tables. Note - you can see that your spreadsheet has a weight of 1 (if you used 1-pound per bottle) in the first row of weights/rates, and the OMS starts with a zero. That’s ok – just skip 1 in the OMS and go from 0 to 2, like this:
D. IMPORTANT TIPS:
1. SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN!!! We STRONGLY recommend that you save your work as you populate your shipping tables by hitting the finish button at the bottom of the page between each method table. For Security reasons your OMS is set to time you out after 60 minutes if you haven’t hit any OMS navigation within that time, and sometimes it can time you out sooner. If that happens it will erase your unsaved work and you will have to start again. You don’t want that to happen.
2. NEVER USE YOUR BROWSER’S BACK BUTTON when using the OMS, and especially in the shipping section. It can seriously corrupt your data. Only use the navigation provided by Nexternal in the OMS, never use the navigation provided by your browser. The only time you should ever use your browser's back button when working in the OMS is when we explicitly tell you to do so.