As an order fulfillment company providing ecommerce shipping, we frequently consult our clients on dimensional weight. We hope this helps you in your ecommerce product business to be more proactive in your business.

Who does dimensional weight affect?

If you’re in the product business, whether you’re shipping ecommerce orders to consumers or bulk to commercial customers you could be potentially be affected. We get this question all the time when providing ecommerce order fulfillment or bulk distribution of products.  If you properly address the dimensional weight of shipping your products, you can:

  • Create higher conversion rates with ecommerce when aligning the right shipping cost compared to the product
  • Reduce your shipping costs (through proper planning at the manufacturing level with your product packaging)
  • Increase your profitability for your business
  • Offer more competitive wholesale pricing because your shipping cost could be lower

What is dimensional weight and why is it important for me understand that in product business?

Dimensional weight is simply freight or ground carriers, like Fedex or UPS charging a theoretical weight or a dimensional factor (volumetric weight) of what something should weigh versus the actual weight.  This is calculated by multiplying the height, width and length of a package. This number is  In 2015, both UPS and FEDEX made some critical changes on how that’s calculated.

How is dimensional weight calculated?

You multiply Length x Height x Width, then divide by 139. this determines your dimensional weight that the carrier will use base the amount of weight will be charged.  If there are any numbers in tenths (.2 or .5), you must round up the nearest whole number.

Click here to view an online dimensional route calculator.

Here’s two distinct scenarios to consider for your ecommerce or commercial shipping:

  • Shipping to a consumer via ecommerce via an online shopping cart to a residential address
  • Shipping bulk product to a retailer or distributor

Shipping to a Consumer

We have a client that ships out a case of food product to a consumer. Because the product packaging is larger with empty space, the products take up more volume in a box.  Key points here – the shipping cost compared to the cost of the product and what you sell it for are all relational to your ecommerce success. 

Case size: 10 x 12 x 15
Actual weight: 7lbs, Average cost to ship based on actual weight: $12.54
Dimensional weight: 13lbs, Average cost to ship: $14.38

The name of the game is to have your actual shipping weight match your dimensional weight. If you can reconfigure your product packaging to accomplish this, you can save money in the following ways:

  • Reduced cost of shipping to the consumer of $1.84 per order
  • Reduced shipping cost from where the product is made

Shipping bulk product to a commercial customer

Another example of potential savings is similar to the one above but amplified. We have a client that ships out hairbrushes. The individual brush has it’s own product packaging for retail purposes. Then those brushes are packed in inner cartons or packs with special boxes for those, because that is their minimum selling unit.  Then those inner cartons go in a master carton.  Here’s the breakdown:

Master Carton size: 20 x 24 x18
Actual weight: 32 lbs, Average cost to ship based on actual weight: $20.06
Dimensional weight: 63 lbs, Average cost to ship: $28.36

That’s a difference of $8.30 per master carton. If you are shipping multiple master cartons, that can become a much larger number. If you were shipping them pallets or full containers, the concept is the same.


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