How Splitting Orders Can Save On Shipping

By Rob Zaleski
Aug 5, 2021
splitting orders

Splitting orders for an e-commerce store can be a smart shipping strategy. It’s also something that is a crucial element of a robust shipping platform. ShippingEasy recently revamped our customers’ abilities to split orders and quantities to make it easier and more intuitive. With that revamp, we thought it might be useful to discuss why you would want to split orders in the first place and how it can actually save you money on your shipping.

Reasons You May Want to Split Orders

There are numerous reasons you may want or need to split orders into separate shipments. Some of the more prevalent reasons are:

  • This could allow you to use USPS First Class Package Service rather than Priority Mail
  • Items may come from different warehouses
  • Out-of-stock items
  • Avoid paying dimensional weight on a larger package
  • Odd-shaped items may not fit in a package together
  • Part of the order is Fulfilled by Amazon and part is fulfilled by you

Let’s break down a few of these to help illustrate them a bit more and show how they can actually save you money.

Use USPS First Class Package Service rather than Priority Mail

Priority Mail is typically a very cost-effective way to ship items that weigh more than 1 lb. There are also Flat Rate and Regional Rate options that can help you save even more based on your package’s destination. But for packages that weigh less than 1 lb, you simply can’t beat the cost savings of USPS First Class Package Service.

Splitting packages into two won’t always be cost effective, but it can be in certain instances. For example, let’s say you are shipping two items that weigh 9 oz each going to Zone 5. Together in a single box, 18 oz means you round up to 2 lbs for Priority Mail, at a shipping cost of $8.76.

Not bad, but if you split them into two 9 oz First Class packages, the shipping cost is $4.08 each. That is a savings of $0.60 over a Priority Mail package. That can add up over time. Even two 8 oz items plus packing materials can put your package in the 2 lb category, and the savings from splitting that order is even more substantial at $2.14!

Avoid Paying Dimensional Weight

Last year, the USPS changed the way they apply dimensional weight to packages. As a result, any package shipping Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or Parcel Select get dimensional weight applied to it if the package’s dimensions are larger than one cubic foot. You may think you’re saving yourself on shipping by trying to fix many items into one box, but that may not be the case.
So, let’s say you sell custom lamps. They don’t weigh much, probably just under 4 lbs, but they are bulky to ship. You use a 20 x 14 x 8 box to ship two lamps in; from Houston to Miami, which is Zone 5. Now, let’s do some math.

2019 dimensional weight calculations

(The rates calculated will be Commercial Plus shipping rates like you’d get through ShippingEasy.)

  • Original shipping cost for 8 lb Priority Mail package: $17.35
  • BUT, 20x14x8 = 2,240
  • Divide that by 1,728 (1 cubic foot) = 1.23 (greater than 1 means it qualifies for dimensional weight)
  • Divide the volume of the package (LxWxH) by the USPS divisor of 166 = 13.49 (round to 14 lbs, which is your new “weight”)
  • New 2019 Dimensional Weight cost: $26.96

The new dimensional weight cost increases the shipping cost by $9.61 based solely on the amount of space that package takes up. Splitting the shipment into two Priority Mail packages comes in at $10.33 each, which is a savings of $6.30 over the dimensional weight cost!

Read More: For more tips on how you can avoid paying dimensional weight, check out our blog post on that topic.

Dimensional weight aside, you may just have items that won’t fit properly in a package together. In that case, you can and should split the items into separate shipments with packaging that properly fits each item.

Fulfillment by Amazon and Merchant Fulfilled Prime

While having Amazon fulfill orders can make your life easier, there are often challenges if you’re still fulfilling some yourself. Having a robust inventory management solution can help you make sense of the inventory challenges. FBA offers another opportunity where you may need to split orders, too.

Let’s say, for example, that you have an order coming in that you don’t have the on-hand inventory to fulfill. Or perhaps you are about to head out of town and need part of an order to be fulfilled by your Amazon stock. You can split that order and have one portion fulfilled by Amazon while you handle the other portion.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work and more daily thinking than you care to do, we understand. Luckily, you can build automation around splitting orders to make a platform like ShippingEasy do all the work for you. That’s just scratching the surface of how our platform makes your day-to-day shipping easier. Aside from automation, we have friendly people on staff here in Austin, TX to help you create automation rules, ship smarter, and get time back in your day. Start a 30-day free trial now and see just how easy shipping can be!

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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