ABSOLUTELY need a more intelligent quote system here!!! I migrated to ShipStation specifically to use it's Quote system (to add carrier methods that BC doesnt' natively enable) only to find that ShipStation appears to utterly fail because it just totals all weight in an order, as if it's being shipped in a single box. (I have yet to find any setting to change this.)
This creates a serious problem. For example, shipping an 80lb package always costs MORE than shipping two 40lb packagesn (exceeding the 50lb threshold incurs a substantial fee increase). So we'd be overcharging customers who place larger orders, which is counterproductive, making us less competitive in the marketplace. And worse, suppose I have an order for ten 30lb cases. That's 300 lbs which is unshippable, meaning that customers cannot even check out!
Fortunately, BigCommerce offers a quick & dirty solution: A carrier-wide setting where I can UPS to quote based on putting EACH product into a separate box. I then have FedEx and USPS quote all items in a single box. This way, big multiple package orders get an accurate UPS shipping option even though FedEx and USPS get outrageously expense and over a certain weight limit, fail to return any shipping option at all. On the other hand, at lower weights, products are co-mingled into a single box, which works since small weights always win via USPS. And then FedEx picks up the middle ground. It's not a great solution; a bit like painting with a brick really. But at least it gets the job done. Surprisingly I can find NO ability here in ShipStation to do the same!
The ideal solution, however, would be to enable quotes to intelligently parse packaging based on setting a weight threshold. For example, I often ship packages in the range of 27-32 lbs. With such a threshold placed at 35 lbs, the system co-mingles products into a single box up to that set amount. Items that would exceed that threshold are automatically separated into another package. Then this separation quoted to customer is then passed into the shipping program already configured for the multiple shipment!
Let's say we have an order for 7 products: one 30lb cases and six 4 lb items. It will be cheaper to ship the 30lb case separately and the other six items in a 2nd box @ 24lbs, than to ship one box at 54lbs. This is still not perfect of course, but it's an improvement over the carrier-wide choice of all items in 1 box, or each item separately. And that is a HUGE improvement over all items in one box, which, as I've said, is useless for anyone trying to sell large, heavy, multi-package orders. The only solution there is flat rate (or free shipping). And that really means that customers far away from you are getting subsidized by customers near to you. Not the best solution if your goal is to pass on your efficiencies to the customer in the form of a more competitive price.