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10 May 2018

Boxes to replace shipping constraints

Our shipping calculation architecture is undergoing radical changes.
As part of these changes we're introducing "boxes" - loved by kids, cats and now Evance.

Until now you've only been able to define the maximum box size for Shipments by making use of Shipping Calculator Constraints. This allowed merchants to define when multiple delivery charges were applicable to a single order. Constraints are to be replaced with the ability to list all your box sizes. Existing and valid Constraint settings will automatically be moved to your list of Boxes during the update. 

Measure your boxes

We encourage our e-commerce merchants to start measuring your packaging. Then, start adding the boxes you use to send products to your customers. Dimensions include:

  • The inner and outer width, height and depth of your box (in millimetres, centimetres, metres or inches)
  • The weight of your box when it's empty (in grams, kilograms or pounds). 
  • The maximum weight of goods the box may contain (in grams, kilograms or pounds). 

Improved packer algorithm

We weren't happy with our previous volume based packing algorithm. So we've built a new one from the ground up. Armed with a list of your available boxes, Evance will calculate a consignment of one or more weight distributed boxes for delivery when quoting postage costs. The new algorithm simulates a naive human approach to packing boxes rather than a perfectly packed box. This provides a better balance with less technical requirements at dispatch. 

The new algorithm should help merchants offer more accurate shipping costs. However, this does require that you have the following information in your Product Catalogue:

  • Gross packaging dimensions for each product (width, height and depth). 
  • Gross packaged weight for each product. 

Why we're making changes

Evance has a fairly sophisticated table based pricing system for calculating postage costs at checkout. In fact, you won't notice many changes to our existing settings. Whilst we're improving our native functionality, we're also preparing our platform for integrations with external calculators. The changes we're making must accommodate both the needs of Evance and those for integrations with providers such as UPS. 

Anticipated questions

As with any update we're trying to anticipate common questions:

What happens if I don't have any box settings?

Your shipping calculations should continue to operate as normal. When no box sizes are available for Evance to choose from, it will pack goods into an "infinity box" which will accommodate an unlimited number of items. Your existing shipping calculation settings will work as normal. 

Will my shipping calculations change?

Shipping calculations dependent upon constraints will almost certainly be affected by this change. As far as we know this currently only affects 1% of Evance subscribers. If you have difficulty with the new updates please contact us for support. 

When will this feature be made available?

This feature is scheduled for release by 11th May 2018. 

What will happen to my existing constraints?

Evance's update will automatically move valid constraint data into the new Boxes facility. 

  Tagged as : Features and Updates

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