Key points:

  • Shipping cost and speed are key factors in making an online purchase for 9 out of 10 Americans
  • Accurately calculating shipping cost can help increase your store's profitability and increase conversions
  • Easyship can help you instantly calculate postage and compare exclusive discounted shipping rates from over 250 top couriers worldwide

Looking to calculate postage by weight? This article breaks down shipping costs, the key factors that determine prices, and how accurately calculating them can help your store grow. Plus, find out how you can instantly calculate postage prices with Easyship and compare rates today.

How to Calculate Shipping Costs

Accurately calculating shipping rates can be crucial for any online store that needs to ship purchases to customers. These costs can not only impact the profit margin of your store, but can also directly impact your store's conversion rate. According to a Statista study, delivery speed and shipping cost influence 9 out of 10 Americans to make an online purchase.

Calculating shipping costs can help you keep your delivery costs low for your customers, while also helping your store grow. Check out this quick summary below, where the pricing for shipping options can be broken down into 5 key factors:

1. Weight

Weighing your items and rounding up can be an effective method to ensure accurate pricing for your orders. For example, for both international and domestic shipments, USPS rounds up to either the next pound or ounce. This depends on the weight limits of the chosen shipping service. In the case of USPS First Class Package Service, packages weighing more than one pound exceed the limit of that class and another service such as USPS Priority Mail is required.

If your store is regularly posting orders, it may be worth investing in a pair of scales. A basic set of shipping scales should be accurate enough for most postage needs. However, if you don’t have any immediately available there, are a few alternatives:

  • Check the weight of similar items online
  • Check where you purchased the item
  • Try weighing large parcels on bathroom scales
  • Try weighing small parcels on kitchen scales
  • Compare the weight against labelled kitchen items

When weighing a parcel for shipping, remember to include the weight of any packaging materials, as inaccurate weights can lead to extra charges. It can also be worth to add a few ounces or even pounds when comparing couriers postage costs. If this doesn’t increase the price, then it can be worth the peace of mind.

2. Dimensions

The length, girth, width, and height of your item decide which type of shipping solution you can use to post the order. Measuring the product's size before calculating shipping costs will allow you to understand which category would be required, such as letter, large envelope or medium parcel. Again, if your measurements have decimals, it can be best to round your results up to the nearest inch.

3. Destination

Your end customer's destination will determine the shipping options available and the total cost. Shipping overseas can generally be more expensive, while within the US there are several shipping zones that can impact pricing. These postal zones are measured in ZIP codes, rather than miles, and can be broken down into ranges:

  • Zone 1. The shipment's point of origin
  • Zone 2-8. The destination zone of the shipment

With over 2,500 miles of coast-to-coast shipping within the US, it can be useful to estimate which postal zones your orders will transit. For UPS, USPS and FedEx the following mile radius ranges can help determine which zone the customer's destination address will be in:

  • Zone 1: 50 miles (ca. 80 km)
  • Zone 2: 51 – 150 miles (ca. 241 km)
  • Zone 3: 151– 300 miles (ca. 483 km)
  • Zone 4: 301 – 600 miles (ca. 966 km)
  • Zone 5: 601 – 1000 miles (ca. 1,609 km)
  • Zone 6: 1001– 1400 miles (ca. 2,253 km)
  • Zone 7: 1401– 1800 miles (ca. 2,897 km)
  • Zone 8: Over 1801+ miles (ca. 2,898+ km)

4. Class of Postage

There are a wide range of postal services available for eCommerce entrepreneurs. While there isn't a one size fits all approach to selecting the best shipping option for your products, there are some key factors to take into consideration:

  • Speed
  • Tracking
  • Reliability
  • Price

The type and quality of features offered by a service can determine the end price. A classic example is affordable yet slow and unreliable shipping. While in contrast, a fast delivery time with detailed door-to-door tracking can be expensive, especially if purchased at the post office.

5. Courier

The courier you pick can have a large impact on the cost of postage. With this in mind, if you are trying to calculate the best value method of shipping your products, there are a large range of comparisons that need to be made from various couriers. To make the process easier, some couriers offer estimates based on the factors detailed above.

Related post: How to Calculate Your Shipping Costs in Minutes


USPS Postage Calculator

For example, if you are looking to ship with USPS, you can use the USPS shipping calculator specifically for postage. To calculate both international and domestic USPS postage rates for your item, you have to input the following essential information:

  • Destination country
  • Origin ZIP Code
  • Destination ZIP code
  • Date you plan to mail the item
  • Time you plan to mail the item

From there, you can select whether the item is considered perishable, hazardous or restricted mail, which would understandably drive up prices. The following postage shipping options are then available, which results in your estimated total price:

  • Calculate Postcard price
  • View Flat Rate Envelopes
  • View Flat Rate Boxes
  • Calculate price based on Shape and Size

Instantly Calculate Postage with Easyship

Accurately calculating postage costs can be essential for all online stores that have to use these types of shipping services. While there are a wide range of options available, for both international and domestic shipments, every online store and even every order has their own specific shipping needs. Easyship can help eCommerce entrepreneurs find the perfect shipping solution for every order through our Free Shipping Rates Calculator.

Real-Time Shipping Rates at Checkout: Whether you want to offer your customers discounted rates for USPS First Class Mail or Priority Mail Express, effortlessly install our plugin to start boosting conversions

Looking to calculate postage and instantly compare prices from over 250 couriers? Sign up for an Easyship account and explore exclusive, pre-negotiated rates with up to 91% off