DIM Weight 101

Posted by Speed Commerce

What you need to know about dimensional weight pricing

If you run an ecommerce business, you know how much time, effort, and resources are dedicated to shipping and logistics. At some point, you’ve probably heard the terms dimensional weight and billable weight.

But what does it all mean? Billable weight actually doesn’t reflect the real weight of the package – it’s attributed to the dimensions of the package instead.

Confused? Don’t worry! Here’s a quick look at dimensional weight, what it means, and how it affects your shipping costs.

Actual Weight vs Dimensional Weight

Actual weight: This is the actual weight of the package, and is usually rounded up to the next whole pound. Sellers have to weigh the package using a scale or measure and then round off any fraction to the next whole pound.

Dimensional weight: Dimensional weight takes into account the length, width, and height of a package, which is then divided by an applicable dimensional factor. What dimensional weight determines is the package density, or how much space it will occupy during shipping. So the cubic weight is calculated (i.e. LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT), and this number is divided by the dimensional factor.

How Pricing Works

Once the weight is calculated and rounded off, you’ll need to compare the dimensional weight with the actual weight.

At times, you may have a package where the dimensional weight (or ‘dim’ weight as we like to say!) is greater than the actual weight (for example, a giant teddy bear probably weighs a pound or two, but takes up a lot more space than it weighs.) On the other hand, you may have a package where the dim weight is less than the actual weight…for example, a KitchenAid mixer.

In cases where dimensional weight is less than the actual weight, the actual weight of the product is applied, and the sender is billed for that weight.

So you can see areas where dim weight pricing is good for ecommerce retailers, and also where it’s not so good.

Bottom line

No matter your product mix or package weights, you’ll want to align your shipping packaging in a way that keeps dim weight pricing low but still protects your products and looks appealing. Don’t make your packages awkward sizes and, if you must use larger boxes, try to ship complete with multi-item orders to get your best deal! Never has product packaging been so important to fulfillment.

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