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Features in Australia Post Module?


Guest Steve.Thompson
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Guest Steve.Thompson

Hi.

I've installed a trial version of CC4, with the Australia Post shipping module.

1) The AP module asks for the size of the parcel. There's no option to input the size of each product. Not all products are the same size. And if a buyer buys multiple products, the sizes and weights should be added.

2) The 'handling fee' is not being added to the total.

3) This module only supports 'parcels'. A lot of my products are posted at "letter" or "large letter" rates.

4) Australia Post have available prepaid satchels carrying up to 500g or 3Kg, which are very popular in Australia.

5) For postal items which are large but light, Australia Post charge by parcel size rather than parcel weight, using their 'cubing rule'.

Are there any plans to support these other postal options?

Thanks, Steve.

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Guest Street Tuned

Hi.

I've installed a trial version of CC4, with the Australia Post shipping module.

1) The AP module asks for the size of the parcel. There's no option to input the size of each product. Not all products are the same size. And if a buyer buys multiple products, the sizes and weights should be added.

2) The 'handling fee' is not being added to the total.

3) This module only supports 'parcels'. A lot of my products are posted at "letter" or "large letter" rates.

4) Australia Post have available prepaid satchels carrying up to 500g or 3Kg, which are very popular in Australia.

5) For postal items which are large but light, Australia Post charge by parcel size rather than parcel weight, using their 'cubing rule'.

Are there any plans to support these other postal options?

Thanks, Steve.

Hi Steve,

I've noticed the same issues you are experiencing.

The best person to contact would be 'greebowarrior'

Regards,

Haych

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi.

I've installed a trial version of CC4, with the Australia Post shipping module.

1) The AP module asks for the size of the parcel. There's no option to input the size of each product. Not all products are the same size. And if a buyer buys multiple products, the sizes and weights should be added.

2) The 'handling fee' is not being added to the total.

3) This module only supports 'parcels'. A lot of my products are posted at "letter" or "large letter" rates.

4) Australia Post have available prepaid satchels carrying up to 500g or 3Kg, which are very popular in Australia.

5) For postal items which are large but light, Australia Post charge by parcel size rather than parcel weight, using their 'cubing rule'.

Are there any plans to support these other postal options?

Thanks, Steve.

Hi Steve,

I've noticed the same issues you are experiencing.

The best person to contact would be 'greebowarrior'

Regards,

Haych

I have the same issues. Is there an updated version of the mod somewhere?

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I contacted Cubecart support, who told me there were no current plans to upgrade the module, and to add a bug report so that it gets put on the list.

I bought Cubecart 4.0, seeing that it came with an Auspost module, but now I'm thinking it's a waste of money. I'm no programmer, and couldn't possibly upgrade it or hack it myself. Newer versions of the module are for 3.0 only, so that's not helpful.

Can anyone help with some modifications of this module? I have a store that needs to ship different sized objects, to different countries, and the current module is absolutely useless to me.

Or can anyone in Australia tell me how they are using the current 4.0 shipping modules so that I can work around/without Auspost?

Thanks,

Na

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest mikejshaw

This one of the last things i looked at as I'm currently looking at the CC4 trial and was just about ready to reach for my credit card. It was all "WOW" until then (I'd finally configured Filemaker to upload bulk titles with HTML product desriptions!). Tried the module update package - didn't work. I assume a 'package' was a folder; module only seems to want to copy single files. I'm runnning it on EasyPHP so that may have something to do with it. It's probably back to looking at CC3; or look for a package with stronger Australian mail and GST support.

On the other hand, how much would it cost to get one programmed. Any idea? How many Aussie users are there on these forums.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

Hmm, no reply from CubeCart. Maybe I'll "report" the bug again.

The other items may be considered "features", although they are pretty basic Australia Post services, but I would really like the "not adding the handling fee" bug fixed. At present, I'm adding the cost of packaging into the cost of each product, which is ok if the customer buys one item. But if they buy more than one item, they get charged mulitple packaging costs.

What is it about the PHP programming community? They are all very poor on documentation and support. Not just CC, every bit of PHP I've ever bought comes without docs or support.

Steve.

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Hmm, no reply from CubeCart. Maybe I'll "report" the bug again.

Steve.

I added a feature request/bug report, and about a week ago received an automatic notification to say that the issue has been put on the 'backburner'. My guess is that Cubecart isn't worrying too much about the Australian users, and that we're better off paying a programmer to do it for us.

It's a pity, because I really can't stand the current shipping methods offered. I sell puppets, which come in all sizes and shapes, and can't possibly get the current Auspost module to work for my needs.

If I can't fix it, I'll have wasted my money purchasing Cubecart in the first place.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

It's a pity, because I really can't stand the current shipping methods offered. I sell puppets, which come in all sizes and shapes, and can't possibly get the current Auspost module to work for my needs.

A couple of points. The fact that the current Australia Post module doesn't even add the handling fee to the shipping cost yet was released to the public says something about the rigours of the testing process. That aside:

I saw in the calc.php file there was an entry:

## Build request elements

$request = array(

'Height' => $module['height']*10,

'Length' => $module['length']*10,

'Width' => $module['width']*10,

'Weight' => $GLOBALS['totalWeight']*100,

You may or may not have noticed that your weight calculations for postage are out by a factor of 10 if your product weights are stored in grams. Converting between grams and kilograms requires a multiplication of 1000 rather than 100. A package weighing 5.04 kilograms was being sent to the AP postage calculation site as 504 grams.

To be fair, when you are selling light bulky items where the postage cost will usually be based on the parcel size rather than weight there is no way to automatically calculate the postage cost unless you use standard parcel sizes and let the customer bear the cost of under-filled parcels. For this you wouldn't use the AP module but rather the ship by Category module and set similarly sized items in the same category.

Regards,

Ian P.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

It is possible to use the Australia Post shipping module for light, bulky items.

In the AP module Admin, set the package dimensions to some arbitary size like 10x10x1

When you're adding products in CC, for each item, calculate the equivalent weight using AP's cubing rule. For example,

length (in cm) x width x height * 250 / 1,000,000

which will give you the equivalent weight in Kg. Use this weight, or the actual weight whichever is heavier, when you add the product in CC.

Measure the package, not the item itself.

But you can not use the AP module for "letters" or "large letters". A lot of my items are posted as "large letters" so I can't add them to CC. Those will have to stay on eBay.

And the AP module still doesn't add the packaging / handling fee, so you have to include that in the price of the item.

All of the above works ok if the customer buys one item.

And LimeTrade's satchel module handles AP's prepaid satchels.

Steve.

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It's a pity, because I really can't stand the current shipping methods offered. I sell puppets, which come in all sizes and shapes, and can't possibly get the current Auspost module to work for my needs.

A couple of points. The fact that the current Australia Post module doesn't even add the handling fee to the shipping cost yet was released to the public says something about the rigours of the testing process. That aside:

I saw in the calc.php file there was an entry:

## Build request elements

$request = array(

'Height' => $module['height']*10,

'Length' => $module['length']*10,

'Width' => $module['width']*10,

'Weight' => $GLOBALS['totalWeight']*100,

You may or may not have noticed that your weight calculations for postage are out by a factor of 10 if your product weights are stored in grams. Converting between grams and kilograms requires a multiplication of 1000 rather than 100. A package weighing 5.04 kilograms was being sent to the AP postage calculation site as 504 grams.

To be fair, when you are selling light bulky items where the postage cost will usually be based on the parcel size rather than weight there is no way to automatically calculate the postage cost unless you use standard parcel sizes and let the customer bear the cost of under-filled parcels. For this you wouldn't use the AP module but rather the ship by Category module and set similarly sized items in the same category.

Regards,

Ian P.

Is this comment aimed at me specifically? If so, maybe some clarification is needed:

While it would seem that my puppets would be sold based on parcel size, I actually need a way to ship using both parcel size calculations and weight. Some puppets - like shadow puppets - are flat, and pretty light, but other puppets, like small muppets, fit into the same parcel size but can vary in weight depending on what my customers order. Add this to the fact that any type of puppet I sell can still be a different size to one another (ie. a large shadow puppet vs a small one), and you have a lot of factors to include. Additionally, some puppets are more fragile than others, and require more fees in handling due to packaging options. (I won't even begin to discuss international shipping problems)

When I bought CC I had hoped that the AP module was more like the USPS one, with the ability to create a more flexible shipping options.

The good thing for me is that for the time being I will be selling downloadable products, allowing me a little more time to work out my shipping module issues.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

It is possible to use the Australia Post shipping module for light, bulky items.

In the AP module Admin, set the package dimensions to some arbitary size like 10x10x1

When you're adding products in CC, for each item, calculate the equivalent weight using AP's cubing rule. For example,

length (in cm) x width x height * 250 / 1,000,000

which will give you the equivalent weight in Kg. Use this weight, or the actual weight whichever is heavier, when you add the product in CC.

Surely this only works for one item per package? If you have one item that is shipped by bulk weight and two that are shipped by absolute weight it looks like your calculation will be out. If the two absolute weight items fit within the cubic measurement of the first item then the cost of shipping may well be the same as for the first item alone, yet the shipping calculation will add up the three weights and charge accordingly. Or is that taken into account somehow...?

Regards,

Ian P.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

While it would seem that my puppets would be sold based on parcel size, I actually need a way to ship using both parcel size calculations and weight. Some puppets - like shadow puppets - are flat, and pretty light, but other puppets, like small muppets, fit into the same parcel size but can vary in weight depending on what my customers order.

Exactly. So you have a category called shadow puppet and a category called muppet. You then set a postage cost for the Shadow Puppet Category and a different postage cost for the Muppet category.

Add this to the fact that any type of puppet I sell can still be a different size to one another (ie. a large shadow puppet vs a small one), and you have a lot of factors to include.

Large Shadow, Small Shadow, Large Muppet, Small Muppet categories...

All I'm saying is there are alternatives to using the AP module, a module which simply doesn't work at this time.

Regards,

Ian P.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

Surely this only works for one item per package?

Correct! That's what I said in a roundabout manner:

All of the above works ok if the customer buys one item.

The AP module works ok for parcels that are heavy enough to not be subject to the cubing rule. Then the additive actual weight is correct.

For relatively light bulky items that would be 'cubed', the AP module only works if the items each take up a fixed space. Measure the package size, including all packaging, and calculate the "cubed" weight and use that in the product's weight entry. Then the additive "cubed" weight for multiple items will be correct. If each item takes up it's own fixed space. Cubed weight plus cubed weight will still be correct.

But, if you can squash two or more into the same space, or if the items can overlap in the package, then the AP module won't give you the right answer.

Steve.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

To be fair, getting any shipping module to work with items that can be stuffed together is just not possible. And even with fixed size items, just adding the "cubed" weights sometimes comes up with unrealistic results.

There is a really good third-party AP module available for ZenCart but the author goes to great lengths in the docs to warn about the difficulties of getting software to work with real-world "cubing" examples.

I wonder if enough Aussie CCers paid, if Rod would convert his AP module to CC? Or is it sacrelegious to talk CC and ZC in the same breath?

The other essential requirement is for the CC product database to be extended to include fields for the dimensions of each product. Not an easy task when you have to support many versions of the database.

Steve.

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While it would seem that my puppets would be sold based on parcel size, I actually need a way to ship using both parcel size calculations and weight. Some puppets - like shadow puppets - are flat, and pretty light, but other puppets, like small muppets, fit into the same parcel size but can vary in weight depending on what my customers order.

Exactly. So you have a category called shadow puppet and a category called muppet. You then set a postage cost for the Shadow Puppet Category and a different postage cost for the Muppet category.

Add this to the fact that any type of puppet I sell can still be a different size to one another (ie. a large shadow puppet vs a small one), and you have a lot of factors to include.

Large Shadow, Small Shadow, Large Muppet, Small Muppet categories...

All I'm saying is there are alternatives to using the AP module, a module which simply doesn't work at this time.

Regards,

Ian P.

I understand what you're trying to say... I think. From my point of view it comes down to two things: not being a coder and not wanting to spend hours configuring a module myself; and being so busy just trying to create my products (a one-woman maker and seller, I have my hands full just getting my stock together) that I'm too impatient to spend time finding a work around.

Again, if I were to set a shipping price, it would have to be per item, not per category, because of the different shapes, weights and parcels each puppet would need. And that simply is too maniacal for me at this time.

Anyway, as I mentioned, at this stage I am going to launch with downloadable products first, and worry about shipping later.

I guess also my biggest complaint is not that this doesn't seem fully operational yet, but that I tried and tested a number of shopping cart systems, but ultimately choose CC because it came with an AP module. Since it was presented on the list of features when making comparisons for buying CC 3.0 or 4.0, I assumed it would be functional to a higher standard. I'm currently unemployed, having suddenly lost my job in Jan, and had always planned on making my puppet business develop while having some sort of income - I don't have the patience or the money to waste on a shopping cart that doesn't work for my needs.

It's one of those 'you live you learn' things, and I'm not complaining, just pointing out that I'm disappointed and perhaps don't have the temperament currently to deal with something that seemed simple to begin with. I've got everything working on my store except for shipping. It's a pretty important functionality to have missing!

(Sorry... just needed to blurt all that out. Again, I get what you're saying and eventually I will take a proper look at shipping per item or per category)

@Steve Thompson, I'd be happy to donate some money to a new improved module.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

Hi na3na3.

It will be impossible for you to find any shopping cart with a shipping module that can successfully do 3D modelling of combined items. of different sizes and shapes, in a defined space. Particularly if some of the items are fixed size and some can be squished together and the customer can purchase any combination of items. Just not possible, with any software.

You could measure each item when packed and enter the actual weight or the 'cubed' weight, whichever is heavier, when you create the item. You can then say in your postage conditions that for combined items you will pack them and work out the actual postage cost, then send an adjusted invoice.

You will not find any shopping cart that will do accurate size and weight calculations for variable sized items. I mainly sell books which are of known, fixed size and weight. But if a customer buys multiple books, a human can always pack them more efficiently than any software program.

In similar shopping carts, the best AP shipping module is the third-party module available for ZenCart. However, with CC you can do some coding if you want, but you don't need to. With ZC, it is just about mandatory to do some coding to get the cart working. ZC seems to be designed more for programmers than for merchants. Even with the better AP module, I'm currently moving from ZC to CC because ZC insists on heavy technical involvement.

Steve.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

Problems in calc.php for the AP module:

Caveat: I know next to nothing about PHP.

Problem 1: The Weight Calculation is incorrect:

calc.php (line 14+)

## Build request elements

$request = array(

'Height' => $module['height']*10,

'Length' => $module['length']*10,

'Width' => $module['width']*10,

'Weight' => $GLOBALS['totalWeight']*100,

'Quantity' => 1,

'Pickup_Postcode' => $module['postcode'],

'Destination_Postcode' => $GLOBALS['basket']['delInf']['postcode'],

'Country' => getCountryFormat($GLOBALS['basket']['delInf']['country'], 'id', 'iso'),

);

That weight calculation appears to be incorrect and I'd appreciate feedback on whether other users of the module are experiencing issues with the weight calculation being out by a factor of ten (I believe it should be *1000 rather than *100 to get from grams to kilograms).

Problem 2: The Handling Fee is not being added to the shipping charge.

calc.php (line 67+)

if ($result['charge'] > 0) {

$result['charge']+=$method['handling'];

$out[$i] = array(

'value' => $result['charge'],

'desc' => sprintf('%s %s', priceFormat($result['charge'], true), $name),

'method' => sprintf('Australia Post (%s) %s', $name, priceFormat($result['charge'], true)),

'taxId' => $module['tax'],

'taxAmount' => $taxVal,

);

$i++;

}

So once the cost of postage has been calculated and has been found to be greater than 0 the pre-defined handling cost is supposed to be added to it. My guess is that $method['handling'] variable is 0 when it is added to the charge variable. In other words the handling fee hasn't been retrieved from the database and then stored into the handling variable.

My guess is that there's been a typo:

calc.php (line 3+)

function AusPost() {

$module = fetchDbConfig('AusPost');

$taxVal = taxRate($module['tax']);

Notice how the AusPost parameters are retrieved into the $module array?

calc.php (line 67+)

if ($result['charge'] > 0) {

$result['charge']+=$method['handling'];

Notice that the handling variable is expected to be part of the $method array?

Try changing calc.php line 68:

$result['charge']+=$method['handling'];

to

$result['charge']+=$module['handling'];

and see whether the handling fee is correctly added to your shipping total.

Regards,

Ian P.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

We've tested both fixes on our website (http://www.back2base-ix.com/) and they appear to work.

If we could get confirmation from the CC4 developers and have the mod file patched that'd be handy.

Regards,

Ian P.

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Hi na3na3.

It will be impossible for you to find any shopping cart with a shipping module that can successfully do 3D modelling of combined items. of different sizes and shapes, in a defined space.

Steve.

I fully understand that. My point was not that I wanted something that could fully intuite my needs. My point was that I had expected the AP module to be able to do more; as I said, I expected it to be more like the USPS module. Even the UK modules do more than the AP one. I fully expect to do work on the backend of any shopping cart system, but as the module can't even handle one of my products (that is the same size/packaging for every item sold which refuses to add shipping costs properly) I am not happy with the standard. I don't expect it to be perfect or to do everything. I just expected to be able to launch with shipping configured.

As for ZC, I did try it and wasn't happy with how it worked backend-wise. I've been teaching myself coding and have been learning as I go. ZC just didn't seem to me to be appropriate for my skill levels. Even with CC it's a huge learning curve.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

My point was that I had expected the AP module to be able to do more; as I said, I expected it to be more like the USPS module. Even the UK modules do more than the AP one.

The AP module isn't part of the CC4 download. It doesn't have the features of the other shipping modules. It doesn't work. When bugs are reported we're told that they're on the backburner. It hints a little at afterthought really. It's a tricky problem for CC4's owners though. Is it better to say that CC4 doesn't have an AP mod but if you investigate you "discover" a beta AP module that doesn't quite work -- or is it better to say CC4 has an AP module but the user finds it doesn't work? I don't know myself -- either way the mod doesn't work so it's just an issue of managing customer expectation I guess.

If I were selling light bulky items then I'd use the cubic weight for those items and lower my handling fee, knowing that some customers will be overcharged on the postal cost when they buy multiple items. How much to lower the fee depends on your customers and how often they buy multiple items.

Regards,

Ian P.

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My point was that I had expected the AP module to be able to do more; as I said, I expected it to be more like the USPS module. Even the UK modules do more than the AP one.

The AP module isn't part of the CC4 download.

While I know that the AP module isn't part of the CC4 download, I beg to differ on one point. When I went to see what the differences were in CC3 and CC4, and to try to decide what shopping cart (whether CC4, 3 or some other) to purchase, I took a look at this page:

http://cubecart.com/features/

The AP module is clearly listed, and I would suggest, ambiguously so. It implies that the mod is fully functional, or at least on par with the other shipping mods. That list is what I based my decision on, after checking out and playing with a demo version of CC3.

Had I known how the AP module actually turned out beforehand, I would have bought another program.

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Guest Ian.Plumb

While I know that the AP module isn't part of the CC4 download, I beg to differ on one point.

I'm not suggesting that CC4 aren't selling the AP mod as part of CC4 -- I was just listing all the reasons why buyers of CC4 should perhaps take the AP mod "feature" with a grain of salt. The fact that it isn't even part of the download for CC4 should have tipped me off to its "afterthought" status.

Regards,

Ian P.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

Problems in calc.php for the AP module:

Problem 1: The Weight Calculation is incorrect:

calc.php (line 14+)

'Weight' => $GLOBALS['totalWeight']*1000,

Problem 2: The Handling Fee is not being added to the shipping charge.

$result['charge']+=$module['handling'];

Congratulations Ian, excellent sleuthing.

I've applied your mods and the AP module has gone from useless to usable. Postage calculations are now correct and handling fee is being added.

Perhaps you could shoot your corrections to Mr CC Support.

Thanks, Steve.

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Guest Steve.Thompson

You can also edit the modules/shipping/AusPost/calc.php file to comment out any of the Australia Post services that you don't want to offer by adding // at the start of the line.

For example:

$options = array(

'Air' => 'Air Mail',

// 'Sea' => 'Sea Mail',

// 'ECI_D' => 'Express Courier International (Document)',

// 'ECI_M' => 'Express Courier International (Mechandise)',

'EPI' => 'Express Post International',

);

Steve.

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