Last year, UPS and FedEx began implementing dimensional (DIM) weight for all ground parcels directly impacting retailers. Dimensional weight, also referred to as DIM, is a pricing technique that uses an estimated weight that is calculated from the length, width and height of a package, rather than the actual weight of the package. Previously, packages were only subject to dimensional weight pricing if they were 3 cubic feet or larger. But now, all ground service packages are subject to DIM pricing. The reason behind this change makes sense for the carriers – lightweight packages (e.g. pillows) become unprofitable for carriers due to the amount of space they take up – but many retailers are taking a major hit when forced to use DIM pricing.

Here are some examples of how DIM changes the shipping weight considerably for common items, costing retailers and their shoppers far more than if they implemented a shipping strategy that relies solely on actual package weight:

Retailers icon_party

Party supplies:

Actual weight of box =
.70 lbs.

DIM weight =
3.25 lbs. (rated 4 lbs.)

9 x 5 x 12

Retailers icon_shoe


Actual weight of box =
1.45 lbs.

DIM weight =
6.7 lbs. (rated 7 lbs.)

12 x 15 x 6

Retailers icon_gloves

Motorcycle gloves:

Actual weight of box =
1.3 lbs.

DIM weight =
6.07 lbs. (rated 7 lbs.)

12 x 12 x 7

Retailers  icon_basket

Wire basket for fruit:

Actual weight of box =
4.2 lbs.

DIM weight =
11.81 lbs. (rated 12 lbs.)

14 x 10 x 14

For these commonly purchased items, dimensional weight pricing more than doubles the package weight! If a retailer offers free shipping, they incur the increased cost if the DIM weight is higher than the actual weight. If they don’t offer free shipping, they then pass that higher cost onto their shoppers, which could lead to an increase in cart abandonment.

We recommend taking a closer look at the size and weights of the packages you most frequently ship, especially ones that are lightweight but require large packaging. Then look into whether the DIM weight will be more than the actual weight, as well as what that means for the shipping costs. There are certainly more economical shipping options that you can add to your mix – like Newgistics STD shipping solution that is not priced by dimensional weight – especially before the upcoming holiday season – saving your company and your shoppers a considerable amount.