Understanding Box Packing method in the Shopify FedEx App

One of the major concerns that the Shopify merchants have is difficulty in handling the packaging process for products with different dimensions.  Most of the Shopify merchants fail to optimize the packaging methods and end up losing huge money on shipping cost.

One of the easiest solutions to this issue is to use the Shopify FedEx App, which helps you automate the process of packaging, with the Box packing method. This packing method is based on the weight as well as the dimensions of the product.

We will see the Box packing method in detail and how this packing method is handled in the Shopify FedEx app.


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What is Box Packing method?

Box packing is an advanced packing method that uses the Box Volume, Dimensions, and Weight to handle the packaging process by which all the products with different weights & dimensions can be easily packed. In this method, the volume of products is used to fit the total volume of the packages.

Box packing method in the Shopify FedEx app

With the box packing method in the app, you can set up different packages for your products based on the weight & dimensions. So, whenever your customer places an order, the app automatically chooses the right box and calculates the accurate shipping cost accordingly. To enable Box packing method in the app, head to Settings –> Packaging –> Select Box packing.

Select-Box-packing-

In this method, a box is filled based on the dimensions of the product until this box is completely filled or a minimum volume is left vacant. If the next product to be packed has a volume greater than the vacant volume, it goes into the next box and this process is continued until all products are packed properly.


How can the Shopify merchants use the Box packing method for packaging?

In order to use the Box Packing method with the Shopify FedEx app, ensure that the Box Packing method is enabled, and the following points are taken care of.

Ensure that the Weight is added for all products

In order to pack your products based on the Box packing method, it is important that you add the weight of all the available products. You can add the weight under the Shopify Products section, which will be automatically imported by the app.

Add product weight

Ensure that the Product Dimensions are configured in the app

As the Box Packing method works only if the dimensions of the products are available, it is important that you configure the dimensions of all the products. The dimensions of the products can be added under the “Products” settings within the app. Choose the product and add the dimensions. You can see that the weight of the product is automatically imported from the Shopify products section.

add-dimensions

Note: If all your products have negligible or similar weight & dimensions, you can provide default weight & dimensions under the “Auto settings”, that will be chosen for the packaging process.


Select the FedEx boxes or Add Custom boxes based on your product weight & dimensions

Now, the final step is to choose the available FedEx boxes or add custom boxes based on your product weight & dimensions.

Note: The unit in which the boxes are available will be based on the unit that you have selected under the “General settings” in the app. For example, if you have selected Kilograms & Centimetres, the dimensions will be in centimeters, and the weight will be in Kilograms, under the packaging settings.

FedEx-app-general-settings

Choose the available FedEx boxes

Under the “Packaging” section, you can see the available FedEx Boxes. Enable the required FedEx boxes by comparing the values of Product weight & dimensions with the FedEx Boxes so that, these boxes are used for the Box packing process.

Select-the-FedEx-Boxes

Add Custom boxes based on your product weight & dimensions

If you do not want to use the FedEx boxes for the Box packing process, the app allows you to add custom boxes. To add the boxes, head to the “Packaging” section and scroll down to find “Add Custom Box”.

Add-custom-boxes

Provide a name for the box, the inner and outer dimensions of the box based on the product dimensions, and the maximum weight that can be added in the box. If required, you can also add the box weight when it is empty.

Custom-box-addition

Import a CSV file with the boxes values

Also, if you have a large number of products, it would be difficult to add boxes manually. So, you can import the CSV file with the box values that will create new boxes. To understand the format of the CSV file, you can see a sample CSV template within the app.

Import-custom-boxes
Choose-the-CSV-file-to-add-boxes

Enable FedEx One Rate for domestic US shipments if required

If you are using FedEx Boxes, you can also enable the FedEx One Rate service under the “Auto Settings” section in the app. You can see that the FedEx One Rate is applicable only for the Domestic US shipments using FedEx boxes for the Box Packing process.

enable-fedex-one-rate

How is the Box Packing process handled in the Shopify FedEx App?

Here are the different steps by which the complete process of Box Packing is handled within the Shopify FedEx App.


The app checks if the volumetric weight is enabled or not

In order to choose the weight of the product, the app checks if the volumetric weight is enabled within the app or not.

enable_disable-volumetric-weight

If the volumetric weight is not enabled

If the volumetric weight is not enabled, the actual weight & dimensions are chosen as the product weight & dimensions for the box packing process.

If the volumetric weight is enabled

If the volumetric weight is enabled, the volumetric weight for all the products is calculated. The actual weight of the product and the volumetric weight is compared and the highest among them is chosen for the box packing process.

For example, if the actual weight of the product is 3 lbs and the volumetric weight is 5 lbs, the volumetric weight of 5 lbs will be chosen as the product weight for the box packing process.

Calculation of Volumetric weight of a product

Here are the formulas using which the volumetric weight of a product is calculated.

If the dimensions of the product are configured in cm,
The volumetric weight of a product = (length x width x height)/5000

If the dimensions of the product are configured in inches,
The volumetric weight of a product = (length x width x height)/139

You can calculate and verify the dimensional weight for your products using the FedEx dimensional calculator.


How is the Packing of a product determined?

The products are packed into the boxes based on 3 factors.

1. The Dimensions of the product
The app checks if the dimensions of the product can fit inside the particular box. If not, another box is chosen to check the same.

2. Max. Weight of the Box
The app checks if the weight of the products exceeds the max.weight of the box. If it exceeds, the product cannot be packed in this box.

3. The Volume of the product
The app checks if the volume of the products exceeds the volume of the selected box.

If all the 3 factors are found right, a product is packed into a box. Now, the next product is chosen, which is to be packed in the same box.

The max.weight of the box is reduced since the first product is already packed in the box. So, the max. weight of the box will be “The weight of the first product subtracted from the max.weight of the box”. While packing the second product, the app confirms if the weight of the product exceeds this new max.weight.

Similarly, the volume of the box is reduced, since the first product is already packed in the box. So, the volume of the box will be “The volume of the first product subtracted from the total volume of the box”. While packing the second product, the app confirms if the volume of the product exceeds this new box volume.

By following the above-mentioned steps, all the products are packed into the available boxes.


Packing a T-shirt and a pair of socks in FedEx Pak

Products ordered by the customer: 1 t-shirt and 1 pair of socks.

Product Weight & Dimensions: 

Product weight & dimensions

Boxes Configured:

Boxes configured

Is Volumetric Weight enabled or not: No, Volumetric Weight is not enabled.

Final weight & dimensions of the package selected by the app: FedEx Pak with dimensions 39.37 x 30.48 x 3.81 cm and the weight is 200 g.

Why the app selected FedEx Pak instead of the smallest box, FedEx Envelope?

Assume that a customer ordered a T-shirt and a pair of socks from the store that has the weight & dimensions as mentioned above. 

Now, the app chooses the right box to pack the products based on 3 conditions; Dimensions, Max. Weight, and the Volume.

Total weight for 2 products: 100 g x 2 = 200 g
Total volume: 10 x 10 x 1.5 cm x 2 = 300 cm3

The volume of the boxes are as follows: 

Box volume

According to the Box packing algorithm, the app chooses the smallest box that can fit all the products.

Select the smallest box: FedEx Envelope is the smallest box configured. 

1. Is each product dimension smaller than the box
No, the T-Shirt or the socks with dimensions, 10 x 10 x 1.5 cm each will not fit in a box of dimensions 24.13 x 31.75 x 0.635 cm. So, the app does not choose FedEx Envelope.

Select the next smallest box: The next smallest box available is FedEx Pak. 

1. Is each product dimensions smaller than the box dimensions?
Yes, The dimensions of the box are 39.37 x 30.48 x 3.81 cm. It fits the T-shirt with dimensions 10 x 10 x 1.5 cm and a pair of socks with dimensions 10 x 10 x 1.5 cm.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 200 g, which is lesser than the max.weight of the box, 2.5 kg.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
Yes, the total product volume is 300 cm3, which is lesser than the volume of the box, 4571.99 cm3.

Final Box selected: Since all the three conditions are correct, the app chooses FedEx Pak. The FedEx shipping cost is calculated based on the total product weight (200 g) and the final package dimensions (39.37 x 30.48 x 3.81 cm).

Note: In this case, both the products have similar weights & dimensions. So, instead of setting up weights & dimensions for each product, you can set up a default weight & dimension for all the products.


Packing two watches in FedEx Medium Box

Product ordered by the customer: 2 Watches.

Product Weight & Dimensions:

Product weight & dimensions

Boxes Configured:

Boxes configured

Is Volumetric Weight enabled or not: No, Volumetric Weight is not enabled.

Final weight & dimensions of the package selected by the app: FedEx Medium Box with dimensions 22.23 x 28.73 x 6.83 cm and the weight is 741 g.

Why the app selected FedEx Medium Box instead of FedEx Small Box?

Assume that a customer ordered two watches from the store that has the weight & dimensions as mentioned above. 

Now, the app chooses the right box to pack the products based on 3 conditions; Dimensions, Max. Weight, and the Volume.

Total weight for 2 products: 368.5 g + 372.5 g = 741g
Total volume: 21 x 28 x 3.4 cm x 2 = 3998.4 cm3

The volume of the boxes are as follows:

Box volume

According to the Box packing algorithm, the app chooses the smallest box that can fit all the products.

Select the smallest box: FedEx Small Box is the smallest box configured. 

1. Is each product dimension smaller than the box
Yes, both the watches with dimensions 21 x 28 x 3.4 cm each, will fit in a box of dimensions 27.64 x 31.45 x 3.81 cm.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 741g, which is lesser than the max.weight of the box, 9.07 kg.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
No, the total product volume is 3998.4 cm3, which is higher than the volume of the box, 3311.94 cm3. So, the app does not choose FedEx Small Box.

Select the next smallest box: The next smallest box available is FedEx Medium Box. 

1. Is each product dimensions smaller than the box dimensions?
Yes, the dimensions of the box are 22.23 x 28.73 x 6.83 cm. It fits both the watches with dimensions 21 x 28 x 3.4 cm each.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 741g, which is lesser than the max.weight of the box, 9.07 kg.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
Yes, the total product volume is 3998.4 cm3, which is lesser than the volume of the box, 4362.10 cm3.

Final Box selected: Since all the three conditions are correct, the app chooses FedEx Medium Box. The FedEx shipping cost is calculated based on the total product weight (741 g) and the final package dimensions (22.23 x 28.73 x 6.83 cm).

Note: In this case, both the products have similar dimensions. So, instead of setting up dimensions for each product, you can set up default dimensions for all the products.


Packing a facial cleansing brush in FedEx Medium Box

Product ordered by the customer: A facial cleansing brush

Product Weight & Dimensions:

Product weight & dimensions

Boxes Configured:

Boxes configured

Is Volumetric Weight enabled or not: Yes, Volumetric Weight is enabled.

Final weight & dimensions of the package selected by the app: FedEx Medium Box with dimensions 29.210 x 33.655 x 6.0325 cm and the weight is 360 g.

Why the app selected FedEx Medium Box instead of the FedEx Small Box?

Assume that a customer ordered a facial cleansing brush from the store that has the weight & dimensions as mentioned above. 

Now, the app chooses the right box to pack the products based on 3 conditions; Dimensions, Max. Weight, and the Volume.

Since the volumetric weight is enabled, the product weight will be taken as the highest of actual product weight and its volumetric weight.

Actual weight of the product: 360 g = 0.36 kg
Volumetric weight: (19 x 10.5 x 7)/5000 = 0.27 kg

Actual weight > Volumetric weight. So, the product weight will be chosen as the actual weight, ie. 360 g

Weight of the product = 360 g
Volume of the product: 19 x 10.5 x 7 cm = 1396.5 cm3

The volume of the boxes are as follows: 

Box volume

According to the Box packing algorithm, the app chooses the smallest box that can fit all the products.

Select the smallest box: Small Box is the smallest box configured. 

1. Is each product dimension smaller than the box
No, the facial cleansing brush with dimensions, 19 x 10.5 x 7 cm each will not fit in a box of dimensions 22.225 x 28.733 x 6.826 cm. So, the app does not choose FedEx Small Box.

Select the next smallest box: The next smallest box available is FedEx Medium Box.

1. Is each product dimensions smaller than the box dimensions?
Yes, The dimensions of the box are 29.210 x 33.655 x 7.0325 cm. It fits the facial cleansing brush with dimensions 19 x 10.5 x 7 cm.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 360 g, which is less than the max.weight of the box, 9.07 kg.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
Yes, the total product volume is 1396.5 cm3, which is lesser than the volume of the box, 6913.38 cm3.

Final Box selected: Since all the three conditions are correct, the app chooses the FedEx Medium Box. The FedEx shipping cost is calculated based on the total product weight (360 g) and the final package dimensions (29.210 x 33.655 x 7.0325 cm).


Packing two 1-Gallon sanitizers and two bottle dispensing pumps

Products ordered by the customer: Two 1-Gallon Hand sanitizers and two bottle dispensing pumps.

Product Weight & Dimensions:

product weight & dimensions

Boxes configured:

Boxes configured

Is Volumetric Weight enabled or not: No, Volumetric Weight is not enabled.

Final weight & dimensions of the package selected by the app: Large Box with dimensions 12 x 12 x 12 in and the weight is 17 lbs.

Why the app selected Large Box instead of the Small & Medium Boxes?

Assume that a customer ordered two 1-Gallon hand sanitizers and two bottle dispensing pumps from the store that has the weight & dimensions as mentioned above. 

Now, the app chooses the right box to pack the products based on 3 conditions; Dimensions, Max. Weight, and the Volume.

Total weight for 2 products: 8 lbs + 8 lbs + 0.5 lbs + 0.5 lbs = 17 lbs
Total volume: (6 x 6 x 11.7 in x 2) + (2 x 2 x 11.5 in x 2) = 934.4 in3

The volume of the boxes are as follows: 

Box Volume

According to the Box packing algorithm, the app chooses the smallest box that can fit all the products.

Select the smallest box: Small Box is the smallest box configured. 

1. Is each product dimension smaller than the box
Yes, the hand sanitizers with dimensions 6 x 6 x 11.7 in each, and the bottle dispensing pumps with dimensions, 2 x 2 x 11.5 in each will fit in the small box of dimensions 6 x 6 x 12 in.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
No, the total product weight is 16.5 lbs, which is higher than the max.weight of the box, 10 lbs. So, the app does not choose the Small Box.

Select the next smallest box: The next smallest box available is Medium Box. 

1. Is each product dimensions smaller than the box dimensions?
Yes, The dimensions of the box are 12 x 6 x 12 in. It fits the hand sanitizers with dimensions  6 x 6 x 11.7 in each and the bottle dispensing pumps with dimensions, 2 x 2 x 11.5 in each.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 17 lbs, which is less than the max.weight of the box, 18 lbs.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
No, the total product volume is 934.4 in3, which is higher than the volume of the box, 864 in3. So, the app does not select Medium Box.

Select the next smallest box: The next smallest box available is Large Box.

1. Is each product dimensions smaller than the box dimensions?
Yes, The dimensions of the box are 12 x 12 x 12 in. It fits the hand sanitizers with dimensions  6 x 6 x 11.7 in each and the bottle dispensing pump with dimensions, 2 x 2 x 11.5 in.
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 17 lbs, which is less than the max.weight of the box, 36 lbs.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
Yes, the total product volume is 934.4 in3, which is lesser than the volume of the box, 1728 in3

Final Box selected: Since all the three conditions are correct, the app chooses the Large Box. The FedEx shipping cost is calculated based on the total product weight (17 lbs) and the final package dimensions (12 x 12 x 12 in).


Packing a blanket and a pillow in a small box

Products ordered by the customer: Bedsheet and pillow – 1 each

Product Weight & Dimensions:

product weight & dimensions

Boxes configured:

Boxes configured

Is Volumetric Weight enabled or not: Yes, Volumetric Weight is enabled.

Final weight & dimensions of the package selected by the app: Small Box with dimensions 15 x 12 x 10 in and the weight is 14.388 lbs.

Why the app selected Small Box? 

Assume that a customer ordered a bedsheet and a pillow from the store that has the weight & dimensions as mentioned above. 

Now, the app chooses the right box to pack the products based on 3 conditions; Dimensions, Max. Weight, and the Volume.

Since the volumetric weight is enabled, the product weight will be taken as the highest of actual product weight and its volumetric weight.

Actual weight of the product: 6.9997 lbs + 0.8003 lbs = 7.8 lbs

Volumetric weight: 
Bedsheet: (10 x 10 x 10 in)/139 = 7.194 lbs
Pillow: (10 x 10 x 10 in)/139 = 7.194 lbs

Total volumetric weight = 14.388 lbs

Volumetric weight > Actual weight. So, the product weight will be chosen as the volumetric weight, ie. 14.388 lbs.

The volume of the boxes are as follows: 

Box volume

According to the Box packing algorithm, the app chooses the smallest box that can fit all the products.

Select the smallest box: Small is the smallest box configured. 

1. Is each product dimension smaller than the box
Yes, the Bedsheet or the pillow with dimensions, 10 x 10 x 10 in each will fit in a box of dimensions 15 x 12 x 10 in. 
2. Is the total product weight less than the max weight?
Yes, the total product weight is 14.388 lbs, which is lesser than the max.weight of the box, 15 lbs.
3. Is total product volume lesser than the box volume?
Yes, the total product volume is 1000 in3, which is lesser than the volume of the box, 1800 in3.

Final Box selected: Since all the three conditions are correct, the app chooses Small Box. The FedEx shipping cost is calculated based on the total product weight (14.388 lbs) and the final package dimensions (15 x 12 x 10 in).


A special use case: FedEx charges surcharge when the length of the product is more than 48 inches

If the dimensions of the package are more than 48 inches while calculating the shipping cost for a package, FedEx charges an additional dimensional surcharge over the normal shipping costs. This use case can be easily handled using the Shopify FedEx app.

Note:
This use case is handled using the Weight-based packing method in the app

Weight-based-packing

In the weight-based packing method, only the weight of the package is sent to FedEx to calculate the total shipping cost. So, FedEx doesn’t know the dimensions of the package and whether the dimensions are over 48 inches.

But, under weight-based packing settings, there is an option to use the longest sides of the products as package dimensions. Once you enable this option, the weight, as well as the dimensions of the package, are sent to FedEx. This helps FedEx to identify if the dimensions are over 48 inches. If so, the dimensional surcharge will be added.

To enable this option, head to App Settings –> Packaging –> Select Weight-based packing method –> Enable “Use Longest Sides of the products as Package Dimensions“. Once you enable this, the shipping cost will be calculated based on the dimensions that will give accurate rates at checkout.

Use-longest-side-as-dimensions

If you face any issues with the Box packing method or have any queries regarding the app, do contact our support.

Last Updated On July 13, 2020