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Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

After 10 days of account suspension due to higher shipping prices on our merchant's website compared to the prices that are in Google Merchant Center, I am trying to troubleshoot an issue with Shipping.  We performed an audit and proactively removed 7% of the products from the feed to get the account back up and running, but now I'm trying to figure out why those products just don't work for Google.


I've already contacted Google AdWords support about this multiple times, but always get un-helpful boilerplate responses.  I'm hoping that someone else has experienced something similar, and would love to get any feedback that anybody has.


Our merchant is a distributor of furniture, equipment and accessories, and ships products that range from 5lbs to 1,000 lbs.  We've already done the work to setup a shipping rate table for freight/less-than-truckload products, but now I'm focusing on the standard Ground shipping products that ship via FedEx.


I'm including information on two products that I ran pricing on.  As you can see, the second product has a higher shipping cost as determined by the FedEx integration that the e-commerce website uses.  We're passing in dimensions of both products to Google Merchant Center, so I'd expect that if FedEx gives a higher shipping quote for one product in Google Merchant Center, it would give a higher shipping quote for all products...because the inputs are the same!


Product 1 (Enabled and running)

Weight: 70lbs

Dimensions: Length: 26in; Width: 22.5in; Height: 13.5in (7,897in^3)

FedEx API through merchant website: $21.53

FedEx API through Google Shopping: $40.28


Product 2 (Disabled)

Weight: 70lbs

Dimensions: Length: 53in; Width: 27in; Height: 27in (38,637in^3)

FedEx API through merchant website: $155.46

FedEx API through Google Shopping: $134.89


The prices above are the bottom-line quotes, before any percentage adjustments are applied to try to normalize the GMC/Actual difference. All FedEx quotes are for Standard Ground service. The adjustment/upcharge that we've had to make across the board for all products to keep a majority of them approved is untenable, and puts this merchant at a considerable competitive disadvantage.


Anybody have similar problems? I'm willing to consider any feedback!


Thanks in advance!


1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

details to verify, to account for such differences, likely include --

(a) the submitted data does not meet google's requirements
or are not being processed properly for a particular item;

for example, shipping_weight, shipping_height, shipping_length, shipping_width,
for a tab-delimited or google-xml data-feed, must contain a number, space, and
google-supported-unit, or google may not process the data properly: e.g.
53 in

(b) a setting in the merchant-center is effecting the result for certain items;

for example, the shipping-cost set for the carrier-rate
does not apply to all-items or does not match a rule,
or matches a rule that is effecting google's calculation.

(c) the website is not using standard-commercial-rates for certain items;

(d) the item is being classified as over-sized;

(e) the set transit-time is out-of-range for the selected carrier-service;

(f) the carrier-service set in the account does not match the site;

(g) the carrier-origin set in the account does not match the site;

(h) a (price) adjustment set in the account does not match the site;

(i) the package-type is different between google and the site;

(j) the user's calculated-locale is different between google and the site;

posting more specific details, here in public, such as -- all settings,
especially carrier-service, origin-postal-code, and any added rules --
the exact data being submitted, screen-captures of the information
under the products-tab, after clicking on the item's title -- including
the exact final-attribute values and exact shipping-rate-calculator's
destination, after feed-processing, the exact link landing-pages of
the items, etc., may allow others to offer more specific suggestions.


Re: Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the checklist of things to verify, @Celebird


Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that any of those tips are of much benefit to me at the moment, but I will list out my findings below.  The problem is that I have full information for the FedEx shipping quote on the merchant's side (we can view the quote logs), but Google does not provide the detailed quote data, so I cannot see where our quote is not matching up with Google's quote.


Like you said, maybe others can provide some suggestions, knowing these details:


a) As far as I can tell, the dimensions are formatted correctly in the feed (see screen snippet below). This data matches the same data in the FedEx API response (also included below)

b) There is only one shipping method/carrier/service that will be used for the shipping_label of "Standard/38654", which is specified for this product (see screen snippet below)

c) The merchant's e-commerce website (built on Magento) uses a community-built extension that connects to the publicly-available FedEx SOAP API that requires an account ID, meter number, key and password to generate shipping quotes per their FedEx account. It is configured to use FedEx Ground for all standard items (including this one). There are no options for 'type of rate' that I know of.

d) Google Merchant Center will show you a message if a product's shipping rate cannot be calculated due to the item being over-weight for the shipping method, but this product still qualifies for Standard shipping and a shipping rate is displayed

e) This merchant is not using transit times in their quote, but that would be consistent across all products.

f) As in item c. above, there is only one shipping method selected in Google Merchant Center, FedEx Ground, which matches the website's only allowed shipping method.

g) Both the website and Google Merchant Center are setup to use an origin postal code. Each product has a postal code which is passed through to Google Merchant Center in the shipping_label field, which is then matched to a shipping carrier/service.

h) We are actually trying to reduce the adjustments in Google Merchant Center to match the website's shipping prices, but if we keep reducing it, then there are some products that already have such a low shipping quote in Google Merchant Center, that we have to remove them from the feed because the shipping price on the website will always be higher. However, the product information I included above does not include an adjustment. The issue that we're experiencing exists without an adjustment being applied, either in Google Merchant Center or on the website.

i) I don't see a package type option in Google Merchant Center, and I don't see it referenced in the documentation. I would love to know where you are seeing that!

j) I have been using the same postal codes that Google provides in Google Merchant Center itself.  Right now it defaults to 10001, however you can change the postal code to view the shipping price to a different location.


item-dimensions-fedex-api-Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 6.16.45 PM.pngDisapproved Item Dimensions in FedEx API responseitem-dimensions-google-merchant-center-Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 6.16.06 PM.pngDisapproved Item Dimensions in Google Merchant Center



 standard-ground-38654-Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 6.20.21 PM.pngShipping Method Configuration

Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome and thank you for the added details.

after running tests overnight, for those two examples,
using the nominal settings as posted here, minus any
adjustments, between the locations 38654 and 10001,
for fedex carrier shipping, google is returning --

for 70 lb, 53 in x 27.0 in x 27.0 in : 148.23 USD;
for 70 lb, 26 in x 22.5 in x 13.5 in :  44.27 USD;

as to the added details --

(i) package-type would typically be set via a carrier-api;
if the carrier-api is using one of their preset-types, such as
small-box, medium-box, large-box, etc. -- as opposed to

exact dimensions --  then that can effect results.

another factor to verify is if the carrier has specific rate agreements
with the merchant -- these are typically set at the carrier's back-end,
so the rates can be adjusted properly and the merchants/developers

do not need to accommodate such details.

posting exact landing-pages for the examples may also help.


Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

@Celebird, a carrier rate agreement would give a consistent discount across all products/shipments, right?  The issue here is that Google's FedEx prices are varying inconsistently with FedEx's API prices, from what I can see.


Maybe a different view into the problem might be helpful.


I've put together a spreadsheet showing the configuration for the Magento built-in FedEx extension and a few sample products showing that Google's FedEx data is different from the FedEx API data, even with the same inputs (weight, height, width, length, origin, destination).  I pulled the numbers manually from both systems last night, so they may have changed again:


We are trying to optimize the shipping prices in Google Merchant Center to get the over/under column as close to zero as possible so that the merchant can remain competitive, but as you can see, the two products at the top must be excluded because they already violate Google's price policy (higher price is on the landing page), and as we continue to push the adjustment percentage down to narrow the gap, then the next/third product will eventually have to be excluded from Google Merchant Center, too.


I've been in touch with 10 different representatives at Google, with nobody willing to take a look at what seems to me to be a data integrity issue on their end...or to refer me to someone who can help.


Or...maybe...nobody wants to tell me that I'm bad at math!


I sincerely appreciate any help from anyone who has experienced something similar to this!

Re: Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

rate-agreements usually are consistent with

respect to a merchant -- but not necessarily.


the information presented is quite succinct.


the most likely areas to consider are the dimensions

and the details of the merchant's rate-aggrements --

especially with respect to the carrier-api usage by

the merchant.


if the merchant has a developer-contact within fedex --

who is familiar with both the merchant's rate-agreement

and the google-merchant-center's carrier-calculations --

that may be another avenue to pursue.


the website's shipping-calculator should likely be inspected

to verify that the information being presented on the

site is consistent with the api during actual checkout.


google's carrier-calculations are unlikely to change --

regardless of the varying inconsistencies presented.


one possibility is to pre-calculate an overestimate per item

and then submit that value within the feed, or as an update

to the account's shipping-settings via google's content-api --

rather than using googles carrier-calculations.


otherwise, simply do not any submit items with

lower shipping-rates than google's calculations

to avoid a suspension.




Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

After a couple of weeks of communication with Google, we did find out that Google Merchant Center tool doesn't support all surcharges for oversized items, so this is a limitation of the FedEx carrier integration. Google also indicated that this is an "corner case" that they are not planning to address any time soon.  Unfortunately, this is not documented in the support and technical articles!


It will be tricky to find work-arounds for this because it's not practical to specify shipping prices for every postal code in the U.S., and we're already using all existing Merchant Center feed variables for origin postal code, item weight, shipping_width, shipping_height and shipping_length.


If we find a solution, I'll post back here.  Of course, if anybody else has experienced this issue, please drop a comment here!

Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some products

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I'm dealing with the same issue. We used "shipping_label" to mark those items as oversized. Then in our Merchant Center created a rate variation for each shipping option based on that label. We used our negotiated rate and added a flat rate adjustment for the oversize surcharge.

Re: Difference in Google's built-in FedEx Rates and Merchant's FedEx Rates for some

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for sharing what your did, Rob!

For FedEx, we've experienced several fees/charges that FedEx includes in Standard Ground quotes, but which Google's carrier rate engine ignores:

  • $12 - oversize surcharge
  • $12 - weight surcharge
  • $80 - oversize charge


Once I uncovered the issue, I turned it over to our dev. ops team and I'm waiting to hear back how they want to move forward.  We're already using shipping_label to specify "Freight" or "Standard" shipping (for even larger products that ship via truckline).  We also include the origin zip code in the shipping_label, too, so it's not likely that we can use shipping_label for a third flag to mark items as 'oversize'.



--Chris Baker