Understanding volumetric weight in e-commerce

Volumetric weight is an estimate e-commerce brands use to quantify the weight of a package to decide on a shipping cost. It is calculated by multiplying a package’s length, height, and breadth and dividing the result by divisor, 4000, 5000, or 3500. The choice of the divisor depends on the shipping company. Weight plays a role in volumetric weight calculation. Hence volumetric weight and weight differ. 

Significance of Volumetric Weight in E-commerce Logistics 

The volumetric weight provides a clear idea of the type of shipping carrier required. It allows the seller to negate instances like cost overruns while shipping the product.

  • As volumetric weight is not entirely dependent on the product’s weight, an e-commerce brand can decrease shipping costs through package optimization. Merchants can use close-fitting packaging in shipping containers. This allows the shipping company to fit more products in a single consignment, allowing them and the seller to save costs.
  • Volumetric weight is a global standard for measuring and pricing shipping rates worldwide. The calculations might vary across shipping companies, but the basics remain the same.

Prerequisites to Calculate Volumetric Weight Before Packing and Shipping

Partner shipping companies use product dimensions and the divisor determine volumetric weight. The two-step calculation for the mentioned metric is elaborated below.

  • To calculate the volumetric weight of a specific product, you must identify its dimensions, such as the product’s length, height, breadth, and weight.
  • Check with the partner shipping company to confirm the divisor they use. Usually, the divisor is a four-figure number like 3500, 5000, and so on. 

Use Case With Volumetric Weight

Consider a 1 kg handbag that measures 24 x 32 x 10 cm. The handbag takes up a space of 2.1 kg in the cargo, as its volumetric weight is 24 x 32 x 10/3500 = 2.194. So, it falls under the 2 Kg price range. A brand is more likely to save shipping costs if they use a compact package when compared to using a one-size-fits-all box. When shipping multiple products or orders, brands can group items and optimize shipping in one carrier.

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