05/31/2020 at 5:51 pm #77970debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
I just finished listening to your latest podcast, and I, like most, have strong opinions about shipping.
I think as small scale resellers, we need to flip the script on free shipping. Not only is shipping not free, unless you are selling very small or fixed-sized items, the cost of shipping is also variable.
If I want to offer free shipping, I am forced to charge the highest shipping price to cover shipping expenses in all scenarios.
For instance, I’m located in New Mexico. It costs me $11.58 to send a 3 lb 4x8x6 package to New York City. That same package going to Arizona only costs me $8.23.
So let’s say I am selling a bulky 3lb widget for $15.00. I can charge a flat $24.00 with free shipping, or I can charge the person in New York $26.58 ($15 + $11.58) and the person in Arizona $23.23 ($15 + $8.23).
Why should the person in Arizona pay more money just because everyone likes round numbers?
Flat rate shipping stops the Seller from passing any possible shipping savings onto the customer that lives close by.
With commodity goods, free shipping might make a tiny bit more sense since you may be able to use flat shipping rates, but I will bet you guys could still ship the coffee cheaper to people who are closer to Virginia.
Sellers need to start to combat the Amazon lie. Free shipping ultimately rips off the consumer. Why not just include an eloquent explanation at the checkout.
Rather than inflate our prices and include free shipping, we charge actual USPS rates and pass those savings on to the customer. You saved “X” amount of dollars through this method. Thanks!
Why not show people how much they are saving by paying for actual shipping costs on their receipts?
eBay and Etsy have followed the Amazon free shipping model like lemmings. I wish they would come up with a counter-strategy that educates the consumer.
What if there was a True-Shipping-Cost guarantee. The buyer only pays the exact shipping charged to the Seller. If an item is shipped through the eBay platform, eBay knows the precise cost of shipping. Now with managed payments, if shipping is overcharged, eBay could refund the difference immediately. A policy like this would also alleviate the ridiculous need to charge closing fees on shipping costs.0
05/31/2020 at 6:47 pm #77971MyCottageParticipant
Many sellers have shipping costs beyond exact postage. I doubt they’d be happy with your “exact postage” requirement, since they are factoring cost of shipping supplies and perhaps shipping department employees.
Frankly, I only offer free shipping on a small percentage of my items. For much of what I sell, I don’t think my buyers are sorting by Free Shipping. One thing I like about Terapeak is it breaks down the percentage of solds by free shipping/not free shipping, so you can see if, say, 90% of the solds were sold with free shipping, you might want to offer it. If 10% with free ship, probably not.
Also, you are NOT forced to charge the highest shipping charge. Many sellers who offer free ship base it on the midway point…..figuring some sales will be less, some more, but they’ll likely even out.
The fact is, Amazon offers it because survey after survey (as well as actual sales in many categories) prove that buyers prefer it. And that’s why ebay and etsy push it too.
I’ve concluded that, for most of my used and vintage, it’s not usually a major factor with my buyers. But I suspect for commodity items, it is much more of a factor.0
05/31/2020 at 7:19 pm #77973debitendcreditsParticipant
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
My thought for the true cost shipping program would be that it would be optional. Just like free returns.
Costs beyond exact postage should be figured into the base cost of the item. Labor, packing etc.. are fixed prices. If I have to pack each widget I sell into a $3.00 box, and it costs an additional $2.00 for someone to pack it – those costs don’t change based on the destination of the package.
And yes the word “FORCED” was a bit hyperbolic (but not too much). If you sell commodity goods, you may find a mid ground. When I sell DVDs I generally provide free shipping because the cost differences are negligible. But if when selling unique bric-a-brac it’s hard to find that mid point for each item.0
06/02/2020 at 10:49 pm #78049GooseParticipant
- Location: Central Florida
I completely agree. I used to offer free shipping on first class items when first class shipping was the same regardless of region you were shipping to (so I could easily build the exact cost of shipping into my asking price). Since I can no longer do that-I pass. I’m in Florida so if I were to ship to Seattle it’s going to be much more expensive than say Atlanta. Being in the corner of the country really makes my shipping prices all over the place.
For first class the difference admittedly isn’t much but every dollar adds up…however for priority it’s really rolling the dice for me. Maybe if I lived somewhere near the middle of America it would be different.0
06/03/2020 at 8:49 am #78062JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
Amazon (that started the free shipping craze) actually charges you $199/yr to get free shipping. So its actually an upfront cost.
We just try to stay out of categories where Free Shipping is the norm.0
06/03/2020 at 9:27 am #78066MDC Galleries & Fine ArtParticipant
- Location: Atlanta
Jay just a quick thought on the Amazon thing. First it’s $119 not $199. Don’t forget the $119 per year / $9.92 per month also includes “Prime TV” for the cord cutters. So the TV portion has a value, which should be subtracted from the $9.92 per month.
As an example, I am just going to say the TV subscription is worth about $6 to $7 per month [Hulu is $55 per month and we dropped a $95 per month cable bill and replaced with a $9.92 per month streaming Amazon cost], then that leaves about $3 per month to pay for the upfront cost of shipping one item you buy. Then buy more than one package a month and I guess you do get Free Shipping.
If one doesn’t watch any of the Amazon TV programs, then still $9.92 will cover about 1 or 2 up front shipping charges then more items bought would be free.
We saved a lot by just dropping cable and doing Prime and then adding a free Free TV services like Pluto and a few low cost subscriptions. Cable was going to jump up to $125 per month when our bundled promo special ended.
Now the last thing is Prime does have other features that add value IF YOU area a user or would benefit from them. Like a reader of books, like listening to music, or use coupons, etc. [See below]. There is a lot of value for about $10 a month.
* Prime Now. Prime Now narrows the free same-day delivery window on certain items to as little as two hours, but it’s only available in select metro areas.
* Unlimited movie and TV streaming. You can stream thousands of TV shows and movies using Prime Video.
* Unlimited reading. Members can choose from over a thousand books, comics and magazines to read free.
* One free borrowed e-book per month. With a Prime membership, you can choose one of hundreds of thousands of e-books to download from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, including hits like the Hunger Games trilogy and the Harry Potter collection. Plus, you’ll get early access to a free monthly book from the Kindle First selections.
* Unlimited music streaming. You can listen to over two million songs and browse Prime Playlists, all ad-free with Prime Music.
* Prime Day and Prime Early Access. Prime members get the exclusive perk of shopping annual Prime Day deals. On the other 364 days of the year, you’ll get access to Lightning Deals with a 30-minute head start on non-Prime members.
* Free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. Your photos will be added to your secure Amazon Cloud Drive, which you can access from both your computer and mobile device.
* Amazon Elements. As an Amazon Prime member you have access to Amazon’s own consumer-first line of everyday items, like baby wipes.
* Amazon Family. Free for all Prime members, Amazon Family offers family-oriented coupons and deals, including 20% off diapers when ordered with Subscribe and Save and a 15% baby registration completion discount.
So a lot of stuff if you use any of them for $10 per month. Our cable and internet bundle bill was going to be $1,500 for the year after the 2 year contract ran out. We still have to pay for the internet now that it is unbundled but$45 for internet and $9.91 for Amazon TV = $54.91 per month instead of $125 = $659 a year vs. $1,500 and then throw in the Free Shipping on anything bought and it seems like an OK deal.
mike – mdcgfa – atl0
06/11/2020 at 11:55 am #78321daisyParticipant
Mike, I try never to use Amazon for reasons I won’t get in to here, but wow. You’ve just sold me aa Amazon Prime membership! 😀0
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