When you’re an online store, shipping is the next best thing to placing your products directly into the customer’s hands.👐  So it’s ultra-important to get it right — from shipping costs, to speed, to making sure things are sent to the right place. 🚚 

 Your Volusion store comes with sophisticated shipping capabilities that allow you to configure just about any shipping variable you can imagine. With a wide array of rates and methods available, you may need to double check that everything is set up correctly.

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Getting Started

One of the most common error messages you may receive is "No shipping/Rates Unavailable" when attempting to select a shipping method for an order in your store's checkout section.

The following list details the settings and elements you should inspect if you receive this error.

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Active Rates

First, make sure that there are shipping rates active within your store. If no shipping rates are active, your store will be unable to provide customers any shipping rates when they check out.

  1. Go to Settings > Shipping in your Admin Area.
  2. In the table under Live Rates, one or more shipping carriers must be active. Enable the method(s) you want to offer by checking the box on the right, and click Save.

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No Weight Set

The Volusion shipping system calculates shipping charges based on origin, destination, integration with carrier live rate systems, and the total weight of the order (note that shipping methods cannot be applied to a specific product - only orders. If you want a particular shipping method to apply to a single product, see "How to Apply Shipping Methods to Specific Products" for a work-around).

If you have products that are not assigned a weight value, the system will be unable to calculate shipping and will not return a usable rate.

Check the weight value for your products by going to Inventory > Products and examining either the Products table or an individual product's settings by clicking on its product code and make sure each product (except downloadables) has a positive weight value.

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No Applicable Live Rates

One of the strengths of Volusion's shipping system is that it allows your store to integrate with major shipping providers to provide up-to-date, live shipping rates to customers. Please see "Shipping" for more information.

When your store provides live shipping rates from a carrier, your store sends the order's information (origin, destination, and weight) to the shipping carrier's online system. In turn, the carrier sends back the available methods and costs for shipping that order.

However, if the shipping carrier's system cannot find an applicable rate with the order information you provided, it may not return any rate. There can be several reasons for why a shipping carrier cannot find an applicable rate for an order:

  • The shipping method may not be applied to any countries or states
  • The order weight may not be applicable to any active rate provided by the shipping carrier
  • The shipping destination may not be supported by the carrier
  • The origin address is incorrect (see below)
  • All active, live rates may have weight or cost restrictions enabled (see below)
  • The carrier's live rate system may be offline (see below).

Additionally, problems could result from a combination of the above symptoms.

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Incorrect Service Codes

A Service Code is a unique code for each shipping method that is used to get the correct corresponding live rate from the shipping carrier to your store. By default, the service codes for each shipping method should already be programmed into your store's shipping database. If any of the shipping methods have been modified from the original settings, the service codes for those shipping methods may no longer be accurate.

Additionally, carriers are able to change their service codes at any time, so the pre-configured service codes in your store may no longer be accurate. Without the correct service code, your store can't pull live rates from the shipping carrier's servers.

To view the service code applied to a shipping method, go to Settings > Shipping and click on the name of one of your active live rates. On the shipping method's editing page, scroll to the bottom and click Advanced Settings. By default, live rate shipping methods will already have the Service Code filled in.

Use the links below to double-check that the value in each shipping method's Service Code field is correct.

USPS Service Codes

UPS Service Codes

FedEx Service Codes

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Wrong Live Rates

The rate your store displays for a particular shipping method may occasionally differ from the rate calculated for that same method on the carrier's website.

Volusion integrates with major shipping carriers to allow live rates to be pulled from the carriers' Production Servers. The Production Servers that carriers use to link with Volusion aren't always updated as often as the rate calculators on the carriers' sites. Additionally, Volusion sends through the weight and cost of the items to ship, but not always the dimensions; dimensional charges can also account for some variance in the rates.

Generally, Live Rates allow you to charge your customers accurately for shipping, but the rates are not always exact. The actual charges for shipping and delivery are calculated and paid to the carrier by the merchant. If you consistently find that the shipping rates from Volusion and from the carrier are significantly different, there are a few things you can check:

Contact the carrier and ensure that your integration account is connected to the appropriate production server (negotiated rates or non-negotiated, for example).

If the carrier confirms that you account is correctly configured with the appropriate production server, you can use the Advanced Settings section of your main Shipping page to add or subtract Shipping dollar amounts or percentages. See "Shipping" for more information.

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Testing Live Rates

Using the Test Rates feature can help determine the root cause of inaccurate or unavailable shipping rates.

  1. Go to Settings > Shipping and expand the Test Rates section at the bottom of the page.
  2. By default, shipping tests use your Ship From Location to calculate distance. If you've configured warehouses, you can use one as the origin for your shipping test by selecting Use Warehouse and choosing your preferred warehouse from the drop-down.
  3. By default, the To address is set to the address listed in your Super Admin account (if you haven't set an address for your Super Admin account yet, you'll see No preset addresses are available). Click Specify Address to select a different destination for your shipping test calculations.
  4. In the Order section on the right, enter values into the Cost and Weight fields for this test order.
  5. If you want the test to simulate a cart with free shipping items, check Free Ship Item.
  6. Click Get Shipping Rates to test your store's shipping settings.

The shipping test queries your shipping methods table and any live rate systems integrated with your store, then returns a list of shipping options below the Get Shipping Rates button. These test results represent the shipping methods your shoppers would see at checkout, based on the order cost, weight, and shipping distance you tested with.
 
Click Debugging Information to view further details of any shipping methods the test returns. If you're using live rates, click Response From Carrier to view the data received from carriers in an XML file format.

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Incorrect Ship From Location

As mentioned above, you can enter any From and To address when testing your store's shipping rates. However, the Ship From Location section at the top of the Settings > Shipping page should contain the exact origin address your store will be shipping from.

When performing shipping rate calculations, your store uses this address as the origin address. If it's not set or is set to an invalid address, errors will occur when the store calculates shipping for your customers.

If you operate your business in one location but ship all orders from a separate location (a warehouse or third-party fulfillment center), select Use A Different Location to Calculate Live Shipping Rates and enter the address for the off-site location.

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Weight / Cost Restrictions

As mentioned earlier, Volusion's shipping system cannot link a shipping rate to a specific product. However, shipping rates can be configured to only apply to orders based on weight, cost, or a combination of both. This way, you can offer tiered shipping rates to your customers.

  1. Go to Settings > Shipping.
  2. Click on the name of an active shipping method you want to edit.
  3. Under Qualifying Orders, configure minimum and / or maximum prices and weights for this shipping method.

For example, entering 5 into the minimum field for Weight Range will cause this shipping method to only be offered when the contents of an order weigh at least 5 pounds.

A common mistake results from merchants who have configured shipping rates with inapplicable weight or cost constraints or conflicting constraints, preventing the shipping system from providing the rate for orders.

Note: Some weight and cost restrictions are imposed by your chosen live shipping rate carrier. For example, USPS's Standard Post shipping method has geographical and weight-based restrictions that do not allow live shipping rates to be delivered for orders that do not qualify.

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Live Rates System Offline

Occasionally, when testing your store's shipping rates, you may discover that no live rate information is being returned. This could be due to network issues preventing you from receiving live rates.

If a carrier's live rates server is offline due to scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, you still need to be able to provide rate information to customers. In the absence of a live rate, your store will need to provide backup rates. This is done automatically as long as each active method is configured with a backup rate:

  1. Go to Settings > Shipping and click on the name of an active shipping method you want to edit.
  2. Under Pricing Options, set a Backup Rate by entering a Base cost and/or additional Cost Per Lb.

For example, setting the Base field to 5 will charge $5 shipping for any order which has the method applied to it. Setting $1 in the Cost Per Lb field will charge $1 shipping for every pound of the total order weight. Note that these settings can be used together to provide different backup rates for shipping calculations.

You should always have backup rates programmed for your shipping methods so your store is able to provide shipping rates if contact with a carrier's live rates server is lost.

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Rates Deleted From System

Your store comes pre-programmed with shipping methods for use with various shipping carriers or product types (downloadable products for example have their own shipping method). These shipping methods contain special shipping carrier codes in their Service Code fields that enable the methods to be matched with their respective carriers' live rates servers.

Deleting a shipping method will remove this information from the Volusion system. If you ever need to use the rate in the future, you'll have to re-program it into the system with the exact Service Code provided by the carrier. This can be time consuming, so we recommend that you simply deselect the Active check box for methods you aren't using rather than deleting them from the shipping table.

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Why is the In-Store Pickup Rate Available?

When testing your storefront, you may notice the In-Store Pickup shipping method available in your store's shipping options even though it's set to Inactive in your store's shipping settings.

This is because the Phone Orders and Point of Sale functions within your store allow you to place orders for customers (for example, if a customer places the order by phone) or process orders similar to the way a cash register system would. These options may require you to use the In-Store Pickup method if you need to create an order without a shipping charge being applied to it.

You will only see this shipping method in your store if you are logged in to your store's Admin Area. As long as the In-Store Pickup option is inactive, it will never display for customers.

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Why am I paying for delivery confirmation when I specified no signature?

If you find that you're being charged for Delivery Confirmation you didn't ask for, it's most likely because you've selected the No Signature option for Delivery Confirmation within in the Advanced Settings section.

The No Signature option is actually a delivery confirmation option offered by some providers. No Signature does not mean "No Confirmation" - it means you want to receive delivery confirmation but you don't require that someone has to sign for the package upon delivery. This is, like all delivery confirmation methods, a value-added service from the carrier and thus you will be charged for it.

By default, the No delivery confirmation option is selected for this feature.This means that no confirmation method of any kind is to be used. Make sure No delivery confirmation is selected, and click Save.

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Summary

This article provides answers to common questions we receive about configuring shipping settings. For more information, instruction, and tips, see our main Shipping article.

Don’t let error messages stand in your way of shipping your goods. Get everything where it’s supposed to go, swiftly and smoothly, 🚚 💨 📦 by testing your live rates and troubleshooting any issues with the tips above. When your customers receive their items as expected, they’ll break into their happy dance, 🕺 and come back to your store to shop for more. 

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