What is Dimensional Weight and How Will it Affect AmeriCommerce Merchants?

By Team AmeriCommerce Thursday, January 8, 2015

What is dimensional weight and how will it affect AmeriCommerce merchants?

Where did the time go? I don't know if you noticed, but all of the sudden it's 2015...and as a successful merchant, you probably already know to expect price hikes from carriers that are released every first quarter. This year, the price hike is a bit different and we want you to be aware of how it will affect you!

Two things to understand before we proceed! Dimensional weight of a package (“DIM Weight”) is calculated by how big a package is/how much room it takes up in the truck, plane or sleigh in transit. Actual weight is just what the package weighs. Why is this important?

Both UPS and FedEx are changing from weight based pricing to size based pricing for all shipment types. This means all packages will be measured by “actual weight” and “dimensional (DIM) weight” with the heavier of the two being the “billable weight”. The change in pricing method is expected to lead to a 30-50% increase in seller shipping costs overall. Ouch, right?

If you’re a merchant who ships large, but lightweight items like canvas paintings, then you’re going to be hit the hardest. And if you have a wide variety of products you sale, just be aware… the initial numbers indicate that 63% of packages will now be paid by DIM weight rather than actual weight.

How to Get Ahead of the DIM Weight Bullet

We all know - shipping can kill margins. If you ship FedEx or UPS, you will feel the effects of these changes. It’s hard to negotiate rates and your dimensional factor with UPS/FedEx. They typically only grant those kinds of privileges to Fortune 500 companies. Shipping software providers like our integrate partner, ShippingEasy, provide big discounts on USPS shipping through their Commercial Plus Pricing. But there are also other options you should be taking advantage of no matter how you ship:

  • Use Flat Rate boxes that don’t measure package weight
  • Try Cubic Shipping for very heavy, smaller packages
  • Take advantage of regional rate shipping for cheaper rates for packages that don’t travel far
  • Get a tape measure and keep it handy!
  • Audit your boxes. Find the dimensional weight vs the actual weight. ShippingEasy has a great calculator to find your DIM weight here: Shipping Easy Calculator.

Shipping Calculator

  • Don’t pay to ship air.
  • Reduce the box size, eliminate void fill and convert to polymailers when appropriate.
  • Re-negotiate the DIM factor with your carrier if you can.
  • Cut it on the bubble wrap (also cuts the fun factor, but that’s a different conversation)

Make Shipping Easy!

ShippingEasy provides online merchants with the easiest cloud-based shipping solution enabling order consolidation across multiple channels and multiple carriers, including USPS, FedEx and UPS. Enjoy massively discounted postage, advanced automation, and renowned customer service. Learn more

About the Author

Team AmeriCommerce

AmeriCommerce is an ecommerce software platform serving over 5,000 merchants since 2005. Whether you need one online store or multiple stores, AmeriCommerce has the tools to help you Sell Stuff! By staying passionate about selling stuff online and fostering a loving and deep partnership with our customers, AmeriCommerce is the ecommerce software that simply cares more. Learn more about AmeriCommerce at www.AmeriCommerce.com

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Alex London
January 26, 2015 5:58 PM
Dimensional weight charging has been here in the UK for a few years now and it definitely saw my shipping costs go through the roof. You're bang on with 30-50% increase in costs. To get round this, I've shopped around for cheaper couriers and changed my packaging. One or two of my products unfortunately need large packaging to keep the items safe and there's no way round it - I've had to increase my base price on these items and I have seen a dip in sales.

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