Shipping Profile and Multi-Location Troubleshooting
The unique and opinionated way Shopify handles checkouts with products across multiple shipping profiles or shipping locations (sometimes called Delivery Profiles and Shipping Origins respectively) can cause you a significant amount of confusion and frustration.
This document aims to help you navigate these pitfalls by:
- Demystifying how checkouts are processed
- Describing how these features break expectations
- Helping you identify patterns and common symptoms of multi-profile and multi-location problems
- Giving you advice on how to solve or alleviate the worst problems that arise from multi-profile and multi-location shipping
A common example checkout
Even if you’ve never deeply considered how shipping rates make it to your cart page, most merchants have an intuitive understanding of what happens in mind. You can almost think about it like a discussion between your customers, Shopify, and Parcelify:
Your customer tells Shopify what they wish to buy and where to send their products:
“Look at these cool products I found. Here is my shipping address so you can get them to me. What’s next?”
Shopify messages Parcelify with where you ship from, what products are being ordered, and where they are shipping to:
“Parcelify, I have some products shipping from here to there. What shipping rates should I offer?”
Parcelify compares the rates you have set up to where the products are shipping from, where they are shipping to, and various aspects of the products themselves to produce a list of shipping rates:
“Here’s a list of rates for you, Shopify!”
Shopify takes these rates and presents them to your customer:
“Here is a list of available shipping rates! Please select one before we proceed.”
Simple and easy to understand.
Challenges with Multi-Profile and Location shipping
When your customers checkout with products in multiple profiles or locations, the conversation goes a little differently. Instead of telling us all at once, Shopify will break the order down into multiple “conversations” for each set of products across profiles and locations, take all of the rates we respond with, then add them together according to the following rules: Shopify combined rates at checkout guide (External)
This merging behavior is based on the assumption that merchants need every order to be uniquely calculated based on where it is shipping from. With the power of Parcelify, this assumption is incorrect as Parcelify can and will usually be configured to manage rates and their prices regardless of where the items are delivered from.
Multiplied rate amount at checkout
The most common symptom of these problems is doubled shipping rates. Why?
Suppose you selling checkers from one Location and chess pieces from another. You have designed a shipping rate in each Location that simply says, “Charge a flat $5 fee.” No other restrictions or requirements.
Now you have a customer who, in the interest of hosting an amazing game night, purchases both checkers and chess pieces from you.
Shopify asks, “How much to ship these checkers?”
Parcelify responds, “That’ll be $5”
Shopify asks, in a completely different conversation, “How much for these chess pieces?”
To Parcelify, this looks like a separate checkout. Parcelify responds, “That’ll be $5”
Shopify then combines these rates into a $10 shipping fee.
As you can see, because Shopify asked us about chess and checkers pieces as if they were two separate checkouts, Parcelify cannot make the distinction that this is a single purchase.
Receiving a generic ‘Shipping’ rate
Another common hint you are running into multi-location and profile problems is when you find your rates at checkout getting condensed into a single generic rate named “Shipping”. If Shopify receives differently named shipping rates across these Locations or Profiles it will take the lowest cost one from each part of the order then combine it into this generic rate.
Considering shipping rates represent different, unique levels of service you provide to your customers, this approach is almost never ideal.
If you are okay with shipping being charged separately for each location but want to avoid receiving a generic ‘Shipping’ rate, it is important that the rates Shopify receives from each location match in name. You can find more details about how to achieve this here: Shopify Rate Naming guide
Checkout errors - but only with certain products
Let’s use our checkers and chess pieces example again. You have one Location that ships chess pieces and another that ships checkers. Checkers are so easy to make and light to ship that you can cover shipping with the cost of the product. Chess pieces are heavier and more complex, so you add a flat $5 rate to your chess pieces Location.
Once again, our board-game loving customer enters an order for some chess and checker pieces.
Shopify asks, “How much to ship these chess pieces?”
Parcelify dutifully responds, “That’ll be $5”
Shopify then asks in a separate request, “How much to ship these checkers?”
Since you have only defined shipping in your Chess Pieces Location, we do not return any rates for your checkers Location. “Sorry Shopify, we can’t ship checkers.”
Recognizing this response to mean not all products can ship to your customer, Shopify throws an error message saying not all products could be delivered to your customer’s address. It’s hard enough to get a customer to the checkout screen - they’re probably not going to stick around and try to divine which product is causing the problem.
Note 1: You can correct this problem by adding rates to all the Locations you ship from, though that puts you right back at the “Multiplied Price” issue.
Note 2: Shopify allows you to add a backup rate that shows when no other rates apply. Read more about the Shopify Backup Rate here (External)
If you have products in multiple Shopify Profiles
Our recommended solution here is simple: Move as many of your products as possible into a single shipping profile.
Note: If you use a drop shipper and they have created custom profiles in your Shopify shipping settings, it may be worthwhile to reach out to them before proceeding.
Condensing your products into a single profile
- Go to your Shopify Admin page
- Click ⚙ Settings
- Click 🚚 Shipping and Delivery
- Select ‘Manage Rates’ next to the profile you wish to remove
- Click [Delete Profile] at the bottom of the page
- Shopify will warn you that any products currently assigned to this Profile will be placed in your General Profile. That’s okay. This is what we are trying to achieve
- Click [Delete Profile] once more to continue
- Repeat this process until only your General Profile remains
If you have products in multiple Shopify Locations
Unlike profiles which can be easily modified and removed, there are inventory management and fulfilment reasons you may wish to take advantage of Shopify’s Multi-Location settings.
If you only ship from one location
The easiest solution is to simply have all your inventory in one location. Even if you have multiple locations outlined in your Shopify configuration, they will not break up checkouts whose products can be fulfilled all from the same location.
In order to check and transfer products into a single location, we recommend the aptly named Shopify guide Transfer between locations (External).
If you ship from multiple locations
If you still need to manage products across multiple locations, we can ask Shopify to enable a feature called ‘single origin mode’ on your shop. This will resolve the increased shipping rate problem as Shopify only sends us one request with the entire cart (rather than treating it like multiple checkouts).
To proceed, simply reach out to us at email@example.com and let us know you would like to work with us to request single origin shipping from Shopify.
The only drawback with this approach is that you will lose access to Shopify’s local pickup option (External). This does not mean you can no longer have local pickup rates, but that Shopify will no longer be the one to provide them. If you rely on these, let us know by contacting our support and we will work with you to implement them in Parcelify.
- You may provide a Shopify discount when multiple products are ordered together to offset the additional shipping cost. You can read more about this feature in Shopify’s Automatic Discounts article (External)
- If you want a purely Parcelify solution you could take advantage of our Parcelify Storefront feature. This allows us to handle the cart and produce shipping rates directly, skipping Shopify rate requests altogether. There are some advantages and drawbacks, so we recommend reading our Parcelify Storefront documentation first!
We’re here to help!
We understand that shipping rates are a critical part of your shop, so if you’ve made it this far in our troubleshooting instructions and your rates are still showing where they shouldn’t, not showing where they should, showing you the wrong amounts we encourage you to reach out to us.
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your myshopify address (<your_shop>.myshopify.com)
- A screenshot of a recent checkout demonstrating the problem. The following should be visible:
- The shipping address
- The products you tested with
- The rates or error messages you received
- A detailed description of what rates should show for this checkout
- If you know you are using multi- profile or multi-location shipping, let us know!
Thank you for your patience, we look forward to working with you to get this problem resolved!