Global Realtime Shipping Methods

Hi everyone. I'm doing some research and trying to figure out the best way to set shipping up on a MV site I'm building.

We plan on having each vendor handle shipping for their own orders. However, I think the shipping configuration is too complex for most vendors. So, we want to simplify things by creating global shipping methods they can use. Additionally, we'd like those methods to be set up with a carrier account to pull the realtime shipping quotes so the customer can be charged an accurate amount for shipping at check out (we are only doing online payments).

I created a UPS shipping method and configured it with my UPS account and was successful in generating realtime quotes. However, what isn't clear is what would happen when a customer places an order. Is the “link” to UPS only used to generate the quotes, or will an order trigger the creation of a new shipment/label in my UPS account?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Quotes are simply that “quotes”. No labels are generated anywhere. I believe (but not confirmed) that in MVE, the vendor's location is used as the origin for the quote. But this might be a setting specific to MVE somewhere. But I think it uses the same code as the Suppliers in non-MVE.

Thank you very much, tbirnseth.

Based on my testing, it does indeed look like the vendor's shipping address is what is used as the origin.

So, I'm still working through the shipping setup and am unsure which approach is best for us. I'm hoping to get some feedback from the community on the options I'm considering and also see if there are other approaches we haven't thought of.

Some background: we're building a multi-vendor marketplace and the products on the site will be shipped by each individual vendor. All of the orders will be processed in real time using only online payment methods. As such, we will need to accurately calculate and charge the shipping price at the time of the order. Given the complexity in setting up the shipping methods, we don't think it would be wise to put all of that on our vendors. Instead, we think it is best to set things up on our end.

Our initial thought was to create global realtime methods and have the vendors only use those. We would calculate the shipping cost and charge it as part of the order, the vendor would ship it using the specified method, and we would pass the shipping charge from the order to them to cover the cost (regardless of the actual cost to ship). For orders with just one item, the shipping estimates are very straight forward and accurate. Additionally, the estimates for orders/shipments with more then one item sent in one box are also pretty accurate. Where the trouble comes in is when an order has multiple items, but the system does not know whether those will be shipped in one box or multiple ones. As far as I can tell, the assumption is always that all items will be shipped in the same box. So, when there is a situation where an order requires multiple boxes, the system will charge the buyer a good bit less then it should and the vendor will have to eat the expense. Definitely not ideal.

The other option would be for us to use master shipping accounts with the major carriers. Instead of using the realtime quotes to calculate shipping, we'd instead calculate based on price and/or weight of the items. We would generate shipping labels for the vendor and the cost of each shipment would be charged to our account. There would certainly be a good bit of variability in the price charged
versus the actual cost to ship, where we'd lose money on some, but make money on others. But, the thought is that it would even out over time, and if not, we could always adjust the calcuations to close that gap. This approach would mean we are much more involved in the shipping and insurance claims process than we'd like to be and it seems like this would be much more complicated to set up.

So, we're really confused and unsure how best to proceed. I'm curious what everyone thinks and how you've set up your own MV shipping processes.

Thanks in advance,

Anyone? Any thoughts or explanation on how you handle your own shipping setup would be greatly helpful and appreciated.