Shipping and Handling

Creative Cart supports shipping and handling as separate fees. Three shipping models are offered for computing shipping costs: Standard, Tabular, and Online. In short, Standard is for companies who know their fixed shipping costs per product up front. Tabular shipping is based upon the value of the order. Online shipping calculates the shipping charges from the vendor's zip code to the customer's zip code based on the weight of the order and the speed at which the customer wants the order delivered. Each of these shipping models allows you to choose specific shipping carriers or methods that apply to each shipping model. See each shipping model below for an overview of how each shipping method works.


Handling charges are flat charges which are applied to every order. This fee is intended to cover the average fixed cost of processing an order. Fixed costs means doing the paperwork, running credit cards, sending e-mails, filing receipts, filling out tax forms, etc. These are the losses sustained from processing every order whether it is for $0.10 or $1M. For most merchants, the packaging price (boxes, packing materials, etc) is fairly fixed, so it is common to move that cost over to the handling charge as well. Handling is not intended to cover the variable costs of an order. All variable costs are computed using one of the shipping models below.

Standard Shipping

Standard shipping is used when fixed, known fees are used for shipping each product before the sale. For this reason, Standard shipping requires the base shipping price to be built into the button. The price that you put into the button is the price for shipping that the customer will see in their cart. When they proceed to checkout, they will see the shippers and methods you chose in your Vendor Management Area to allow them to see. Some will say "Shipping charges included in order total" and others may say "Shipping charges NOT included in order total". It is explained to the customer that the charges they see in the cart are for "Shipping charges included in order total" shipping methods, and that extra charges may be incurred above what it says on the shopping cart order confirmation if they choose another method. Vendors who only ship products domestically and know their postal charges up front for items like paper products or CDs are those who tend to benefit the most from the Standard shipping model.

Tabular Shipping

Tabular shipping calculates the shipping cost based on an order's value. To do this, Tabular shipping requires you to set up a shipping cost table. In second section of the My Shipping & Handling destination of your Vendor Management Area, you can use the instructions to generate a table of shipping charges for your company to use. For example, you can make it to where orders less than $10 cost $2 to ship, orders between $10 and $50 cost $5 to ship, and orders over $50 are free shipping. The table is easy to modify, so you can edit it your shipping table until you get something that is satisfactory for your company's products. Shipping costs in any level can be fixed or by percentage and it is very simple to set up. As with Standard shipping, above, the shipping table pricing only applies to "Shipping charges included in order total" shipping carriers and methods.

Online Shipping

Online shipping calculates the actual shipping charge from point A to point B for each of the shipping methods you support (Ground, overnight, etc). Online shipping is currently offered for UPS shippments and Creative Cart plans to add several other carriers. Online shipping is available for US merchants only. With the online shipping method, each buy button contains the weight of each item. From the total order weight and using the customer's zip code and your zip code, charges are calculated for all available methods. At check out time, the Customer is offered your choice of supported shipping methods along with the actual charge for each method. The reason this model is called "Online Shipping" is because the weights, zip codes, and other pertinent information are gathered and a Creative Cart server links itself to the shipper's server and downloads the shipping cost directly from the shipper's database. This way, prices are accurate, current, and exact for each method offered. It is a great way to offer your customers exact prices for multiple methods at checkout time.