Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm considering offering Free Shipping, What Are Your Thoughts?

I'm thinking of offering FREE SHIPPING on my website and I wanted to get some feedback from customers before I did anything.   I really would appreciate any feedback you might have on the subject before a final decision is made.  So take the time and use the comment section or drop me an email letting me know your opinions.   

While Free Shipping is a nice term, the reality is that it's really not free.  The shipper regardless of who the company is, being USPS, UPS or Fedex needs to be paid before they will take the package and deliver it to the address on the package.   If I did this then I would need to increase the price of each item to cover the cost of the shipping.   The amount added would be based on the packaging used to mail the product as well as the postage rate for that package for first class postage and a small handling fee to cover the other stuff.  Tape, labels and printer ink etc.   I would include the cost of the packaging material because that is something I would need to purchase for first class postage.   Priority mail packages I get from the post office however if you have purchased from me you may need a knife to get into it.  I do take the time to cover the entire package with clear packing tape.  I do this to prevent from the contents inside from poking through the package materials.  Especially for the boxes that fit into the flat rate legal envelope.

With the free shipping option the package would be mailed first class or priority mail depending on the weight of the items/package. 

I've had a poll up on my website for some time now and the results are 8 say yes and 5 say no.

I do see both sides of the coin with this option.  It really makes it nice for the buyer who wishes to purchase just one or two items, but it's not as cost effective for someone who buys multiple items.   Especially if the items are mailed flat rate which 99% of my orders do fit into a flat rate options which costs approximately $5.25 on average give or take depending on the type of smaller flat rate used.  They do vary by I think .20 or so for some of the small flat rate options.  I don't use the larger flat rate too often, and when I do it's because of a larger order and I absorb the different in price from what is charged and the postage paid.

One of the issues with first class postage is that packages must be 13 ounces or less to be mailed this way.  But when multiple items are purchase it combined the weight that I enter for the item.  That weight is the weight of the item in it's package when it's ready to be mailed. So when multiple items are purchased it doesn't know that there is extra weight figured in for packaging not being used.  Does that make sense?  I have returned first class postage to my site.  I needed to update my account with them as I've been using it for quite a number of years.  But that has been done now.

However in looking at the new cart that my site will be transferring to, I may be able to enter a tare weight.  This means that that is the package weight so I can enter product weights as they actually are.  Which may by pass the issues of that extra packaging figured in as stated above.  I'm not changing companies for my site, but my gal is working on this right now for me.  And it should be finished in the next week or two.   I'm making the change because of Chinese "hackers" trying to access my site and using up a lot of bandwidth I sometimes have down time towards the end of the month.  So this will be a much better cart and will help with that issues.   But there are several other perks to this site such as being able to use a point system with items purchased which can go towards free stuff on your next purchase!    You can see the new site here but it's not ready to go yet as it's still being worked on. http://prairie-creations.com/pc/index.php     

I would like to be able to get shipping down as much as possible.  I know when I buy online and because of where I live I do that on a regular basis!  I don't like to pay more for shipping than I have to and I know how frustrating to know your being ripped off on shipping because I know the costs.

So I'm trying to think of various options, that my customers would like to see.   

Currently I offer first class postage for smaller packages, plus I have reduced my flat rate (priority mail) shipping price from $7.50 to $6.75 so that's a .50 cent drop!   And I have currently added free shipping on orders over $75 as well. 

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