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Common Mistakes in Shipping Policies and How to Fix Them

Shipping Policies are a requirement for all Sellers starting November 1, 2020.

We understand the desire to get your Shipping Policies set up and all those green checkmarks applied quickly, but it’s worth taking a bit of extra time to make sure you’ve entered your shipping rates correctly. Typos and incorrect set-ups can be costly.

We’re offering some troubleshooting tips for some of the most common missteps we’re seeing with Shipping Policies, as well as how to identify if the issue is affecting your policies, how your shipping costs are applied to your listings and orders, and how to fix it ASAP. If your Shipping Policies aren’t working or being applied as you expect them to, it could be one of the following issues.

If you need any further clarification about terms used on this page or related to Shipping Policies, check out our Shipping Policy glossary. Looking to get started? We have a whole range of set-up guides and information here.

The screenshot examples depicted below are for an “Example Shipping Method” set up for Australia in a Discogs test account.

Shipping methods with no weight or quantity range set or shipping prices added.

The problem: No shipping costs are applied to listings appearing in this region or charged to buyers in this region because no weight or quantity values have been entered, nor has a cost for shipping.

How to know if this is affecting your Shipping Policies: You can check in the Shipping Policy editor to ensure your weight or quantity ranges are entered correctly along with your shipping costs. If there’s only one line below “Set shipping price by weight/quantity” and it’s for “1 and up” with 0.00 in the value box (as in the screenshot above), this is why shipping costs are not being applied to your listings or orders.

You can also see how your shipping rates look to buyers by going to your Seller Profile page and clicking “Ships From.” By default, you’ll see the shipping rates to your region, but you can click any country from the menu at the top. This is what the above example looks like in the Ships From pop-over:

How to fix it: Go to your Shipping Policies editor and enter the correct weight or quantity ranges and shipping costs to ensure you’re charging buyers the right amount and not coming up short on shipping costs when a buyer checks out. These rates will depend on the postal service provider you’re using, and it’s up to you whether you prefer to set them according to weight or quantity.

Below is an example of inputting weight ranges and shipping costs from our step-by-step guide to setting up your Shipping Policies. Be sure to click “Save Changes” after inputting these ranges and rates.

Ranges have been entered correctly, but the final line is set to 0.00.

The problem: In the above example, you can see a detailed cost per weight range all the way up to 9,000 grams (or 9 kg). This would qualify as a complete Shipping Policy as no order subtotal has been specified, the method applies to “All my items,” and the final line is an “and up” range. However, because the values in that final line have been left to their default (€0.00 per each 1 gram), any order placed over 9kg will have no additional shipping costs charged.

Luckily, with a method that covers up to 9kg, you’re probably in the clear, as it’s not common for orders to exceed that weight. But this can be a big problem if your inputted weight or quantity ranges stop at a lower amount (e.g. costs inputted only for the first 500 grams or one to two items).

How to know if this is affecting your Shipping Policies: Check the last line of your policy and shipping method in the Shipping Policies editor, as above, to see if the final “and up” line of the method will have a cost of 0.00.

You can also check the “Ships From” pop-over from your Seller profile. Below is what the above example looks like on our Seller profile; note the bottom line charging €0 for each additional 1 gram. This essentially means a €70 flat rate will be charged for orders over 4,601 grams.

How to fix it: Go to your Shipping Policy editor and adjust the cost and weight or quantity range for the “and up” range. For this example, I’ve entered a shipping rate of €2.00 per each additional 200 grams to orders of 9000 grams and up (so an order of 9600 grams will have €76.00 applied for shipping). Click “Save Changes.”

Note: If you set the final range to 0.00 intentionally because you want to offer free shipping on orders over a certain weight range or quantity, we recommend instead using the “Free Shipping” field at the top of the Shipping Policy. This will communicate your free shipping offer to buyers more clearly through a banner at the top of your Seller profile and when they place an item from your shop in their cart.

Quantity is accidentally used instead of Weight.

The problem: A weight of 400 grams is very different than a quantity of 400 items. In the above example, rather than the Shipping Method being applied to the expected weight range on orders of 400 grams, 800 grams, and so on, the method is set to “Quantity,” meaning the shipping cost in the first line is applied to all orders of 1 to 400 items (which is basically a €10.00 flat rate).

How to know if this is affecting your Shipping Policies: In your Shipping Policy editor, check whether weight or quantity is selected in your shipping methods, or make sure it says “grams” rather than “items” next to your ranges. We also suggest looking out for unintended “items” in the “Ships From” pop-over on your Seller profile, as shown below.

How to fix it: Go to your Shipping Policy editor and click in the “weight (recommended)” button. The inputted values will stay the same and “items” will change to “grams.” Edit the weight ranges or shipping rates if needed. Click “Save Changes.”

Note: It’s possible that “Weight” could also mistakenly be used instead of “Quantity.” For example, a shipping cost for a range of 1-3 grams may be entered instead of the number of items. This is also something to look out for and avoid. We’ve focused on the accidental use of quantity instead of weight here as it is typically a more urgent issue for sellers.

Policies have not been saved properly.

The problem: Shipping Policies with detailed methods, weight or quantity ranges, and rates can no longer be found or haven’t been applied to an order that’s come through. Shipping Policies and methods within those policies do not autosave. It’s possible that changes were not saved or applied when a Shipping Policy was set up.

How to know if this is affecting your Shipping Policies: Check the Shipping Policy editor to ensure the policies and methods you’ve set up as you entered them.

In the “Ships From” pop-over, any country that doesn’t have a complete Shipping Policy set up can be selected from the menu, but instead of an overview of shipping rates to that country, the message will say “This Seller does not have shipping rates set up for this country.”

How to fix it: Unfortunately, we can’t recover Shipping Policies that have been entered but not saved, so you’ll need to re-enter your policies. Always click “Save Changes” after setting up every Shipping method. We recommend getting into the habit of clicking “Save Changes” obsessively, even after just a few changes, to be on the safe side. This will ensure your progress will be saved even if the event that there are issues with your internet connection or your computer.

After clicking “Save Changes,” the button will turn white and say “Saving.” You’ll then see a green box at the top-left of your Shipping Policy that will confirm your policy has been saved.

Using Order Subtotal instead of Minimum Order Total.

The problem: You’d rather not put the time and effort into shipping low-value orders; sending a $2 record across the globe just isn’t worth it to you. However when you add this minimum in the field “Order subtotal must be at least $__” in your Shipping Policies, everything looks good, but you’re getting a message that your Shipping Policy is incomplete. Without at least one complete Shipping Policy, your shipping rates will not be applied in the Marketplace.

How to know if this is affecting your Shipping Policies: As in the above screenshot in the Shipping Policy editor, you’ll see a red error message that says “All Order values – The value in the ‘Order subtotal must be at least / under’ field should be set to 0.”

If everything else looks good with your Shipping Policy (it applies to “All my items” and the final weight or quantity range covers “and up” with a cost applied) but it’s still showing as “This policy is incomplete,” check if there’s a number that is not zero in the order subtotal box.

How to fix it: When creating your complete Shipping Policy, ensure the number in the “Order subtotal must be at least” is 0.00, and use Minimum Order Total in your Seller Settings to prevent orders below a certain value from being placed.

Enter your desired minimum order total in the specified field in your Seller Settings (scroll down to the “Buyer” section of your settings). This will apply a Minimum Order Total to orders from all regions in your shop. If a Buyer attempts to place an order from you for an item (or items) below this value, they’ll be prompted to add more items to their order to be able to check out.

Even when the amount in the “Order subtotal” in your Shipping Policies is set to $0.00, this Minimum Order Total will be respected.

Note:  If you’ve already got a complete Shipping Policy set up and you’re adding additional methods (for specific formats, insured shipping, Track & Trace, etc), you can use the “Order subtotal” field to apply the method to orders over or under a certain value. The reason this cannot apply for a complete Shipping Policy is so that the complete policy can act as a catch-all shipping method for all items in your inventory that don’t have a more specific shipping method.

Looking for more info about Shipping Policies? Find everything you need — set-up guides with video walk-throughs, shipping rate templates, webinar recordings, FAQs, and more – right here.

Feature image by Christin Hume.

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