An important announcement was made by carriers FedEx and UPS at the end of 2014. They announced that they will no longer calculate shipping costs by weight as of April 2015; instead, they’ll use “dimensional weight.” This is to encourage customers to ship items in smaller parcels, thus increasing the number of packages that can fit on a truck/plane, and decreasing operating costs for the carriers. The new calculation works by multiplying the item’s length, width and height, then dividing that number by 166 to create a dimensional weight.
In their pursuit of an ideal shopping experience, Google has updated their feed specifications to take this massive change into account by adding fields for shipping dimensions. Starting in April of 2015, all merchants that use carrier-calculated shipping through UPS or FedEx will need to include shipping length, width, and height for every product in their Google product feed.
Google explained this update in a recent blog post:
“Carrier-calculated rates in Google Merchant Center are an easy and convenient way to set up accurate shipping rates if you use one of
the supported carriers. In the US, several major carriers recently announced that they’ve begun applying dimensional weight pricing when calculating the rates of their shipments. With this change, package pricing not only factors in the weight of the package, but also its dimensions.
To help you show accurate shipping rates for your items, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used in shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package — in addition to the weight you already provide.
We’ve created three new attributes that you can add to your product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’. Starting today, when you include these attributes, Google will calculate carrier-calculated shipping rates for supported carriers by taking into account dimensional weights. This ensures that calculated rates reflect dimensional shipping rates to provide users with the most accurate costs.”
In an additional update, Google stated what actions they will take if shipping costs aren’t accurately accounted for in a merchant’s product feed:
“Starting April 6, 2015, we’ll begin verifying that merchants using carrier-calculated rates are providing accurate rates by including these new attributes when the shipping rate is calculated based on dimensional weight. If merchants do not add these new attributes, we’ll continue to calculate the shipping rate based on weight only, which could lead to inaccurate shipping rate calculations. Accounts with inaccurate shipping rates will be suspended from Google Shopping.”
We’re Here To Help
If you have questions or concerns regarding how to get your item dimensions into your product feed, you should first contact your feed provider. However, Exclusive Concepts can also provide guidance and help you form a plan of attack to avoid suspension.