How to Pack Products Optimally and Save Shipping Costs with Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx

Packing your products optimally is not only crucial for the swift delivery of your package but also for saving shipping costs. Although packing a single product into a box and shipping it using a FedEx service is easy, the process can get complex when it comes to multiple products. 

Since Shopify shipping doesn’t give you a good understanding of packaging, most of the new Shopify merchants fail to optimize the packaging methods and end up losing huge money on shipping costs.

One of the easiest solutions for this issue is to use the Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx which helps you automate the process of packaging. With this app, you don’t have to manually set up each package and determine the cost for them. Instead, you can choose a suitable packing method and the app automates the rest.

We will explain the packing methods available in the app and how you can save shipping costs by optimizing the packing process.


Packing methods in Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx

The Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx offers quite a lot of FedEx boxes. The below image shows the boxes which are supported by the app. You can enable/ disable the boxes according to your preference. 


There are three parcel packing methods in the app: 

1. Weight based Packing
2. Box Packing
3. Pack Items Individually


Weight Based Packing

This packing method is based on the max-weight of the box. In the image below, you can see the option ‘Max Weight’, which is used to define the maximum weight that can be packed in a single box. 


Here, the max.weight is configured as 50 lbs. This means that in this particular box, items with a maximum weight of 50 lbs can be packed. So, as soon as the weight of the entire package crosses this value (50 lbs), the app will automatically select another box, and the remaining items are packed.

For example, you have eight items and each of them weighs 10 lbs. The max.weight of the box is 50 lbs. So, five of them go into one package and the next three will go into another package since the ‘Max Weight’ set here is 50 lbs.

Now, if max weight is 50 lbs and the product weight is 60 lbs, the product cannot be packed in the box and no rates will be provided at checkout, and the FedEx label generation will fail. In this case, you have to add the max.weight as 60 lbs so that, the product is packed correctly into the box.

Use the longest sides of the products as Package Dimensions

While calculating the shipping cost for a package, if the dimensions of the package are more than 48 inches, FedEx charges a dimensional surcharge on top of all other shipping costs. But, in the weight-based packing method, only the weight of the package is sent to FedEx in order to calculate the shipping cost. So, FedEx doesn’t know the dimensions of the package and whether the value is over 48 inches.

This option is required if your product dimensions are more than 48 inches. If you enable this option, the dimensions of the package are sent to FedEx and if this value is over 48 inches, the dimensional surcharge can be added.


To enable this, head to App Settings --> Packaging --> 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.

Default Box Dimensions

Although weight-based packing does not require to add dimensions, package dimensions are mandatory for FedEx Freight services and FedEx SameDay City services. So, under this section, you can set the default dimensions for the package. These values will be used for such services in the case of Weight Based packing method. 


Box Packing

Box packing is an improved packing method that maximizes the volume of packages. This method is fully based on the Box Volume, Dimensions, and Weight. In this method, the volume of products is used to fit the total volume of the packages.


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

Custom Boxes are added for the convenience of the merchants. If none of the available FedEx boxes meets your needs, you can choose a custom box and pack your products using it. You can add the Inner and Outer dimensions of the box, the weight of the box, and the max weight.


You can also import the boxes as a CSV file with the “Import” option.


If you want to get a better understanding on how the box packing method works with the app, do look into understanding box packing method in Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx.

Pack Items Individually


This is the simplest way of packing products into the boxes. In this method, each product is packed separately into different boxes based on the weight & dimensions of the product. 

Assume that you have four products and each one of them has different weights and dimensions. In this packing method, the app will consider each product separately and will automatically create packages that have the same weights & dimensions as that of the products.

Note: This packing method doesn’t use any of the configured boxes. Items are self packed based on the product weight & dimensions.

For example, if you have a product with a weight 5 lbs and dimensions 10 x 10 x 10 in, the app will automatically create a package with weight 5 lbs and dimensions 10 x 10 x 10 in, and the product is packaged into it.

How is the volumetric weight of a product used in the packaging process?

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


If the volumetric weight is not enabled

If the volumetric weight is not enabled, the actual weight & dimensions of the product will be chosen as the product weight & dimensions for the packing process.

If the volumetric weight is enabled

If the volumetric weight is enabled, the volumetric weight of 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 packing process. So, the product weight will be the highest one of these weights.

For example, if the actual weight of the product is 2 lbs and the volumetric weight is 4 lbs, the volumetric weight of 4 lbs will be chosen as the product weight for the packing process.

Calculation of Volumetric weight of a product

Given below 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

Also, you can calculate and verify the dimensional weight for your products from the FedEx dimensional calculator.

A Few Tips to Save Shipping Costs

Use the correct box

It is important that you choose the right box. If the box is bigger than what is required, you will end up paying much more to send it. So, find a box that’s perfect, improves the use of packaging materials, and reduce the overall shipping costs.

Try to make whatever you’re sending smaller

Reducing the size of what you’re sending can help you save shipping costs. For example, you can easily fit a T-shirt into a padded envelope by neatly folding it, instead of packing it into a box.

Do not overpack

Although it is important to ensure that the product that is being sent is protected, do not overpack. Overpacking increases the required box size which will in turn increase the shipping cost.

Understand the shipping services properly

Some carrier services cost much less than others to send. For example, you may not be aware that USPS Media Mail service can be used to send media like DVDs, Books, etc at a very cheap rate. A merchant who is not aware of this will lose a lot of money to send such products using other services.

Final Thoughts

The Shopify Ship, Rate and Track for FedEx is a perfect shipping app that makes the packing process seamless and easier. We hope this article helps you understand the packing methods and how the app helps you automate the process. The app not only helps you in the packing process but also in generating FedEx shipping labels in bulk, scheduling the pickup for your shipments, and also in shipment tracking.

If you face any issues or have any queries on the packaging process, do contact our support.

Good luck 🙂