For awhile the first class shipping option on my site wasn't working. That is what first started me to think about what to do for smaller orders. All it took to get it back up and going again was to contact the USPS to let them know that the module was still being used and was needed. I sure wish they had sent me notice of this fact before I sweated over it. When it was down I was thinking the free shipping option may be the way to go for smaller orders.
While free shipping really isn't free I would have had to adjust prices to pay for the shipping so I wasn't losing money on the small profit I do make on my items. But that got me thinking about some customers who do order, four, six or more items at once! That would be costing them more, and while the profit would have been nice for my pockets, I just wasn't comfortable with that fact.
The flaw with first class postage is that packages must be 13 ounces or less to be mailed with those rates. But on my website when I list an item, I enter a weight for that item. The weight entered is that given item in for example as a general rule would be a bubble mailer envelope. So when the carts adds up the weights to figure shipping costs, it also doubles up on the packaging material causing it to figure a package weight that is heavier than what it would be in reality. Does that make sense?
But I think I may have found an honest solution to the problem! In looking on the admin pages of my website, I came across a bit of information that wasn't with the shipping information. In another part I could enter what is known as a tare weight. This means I can enter the weight of the bubble mailer that I typically use for first class packages, and then adjust the weights for each item listed. For each item listed I would not enter the weight as the shipping weight with the packaging used but as the actual weight of the item without any packaging. So when the cart figures shipping it will add up the actual weights of the items in it, add the tare weight which is the bubble mailer and it will have a more accurate shipping weight. Then if the package is 13 ounces or less the customer can select if they want their package mailed first class or priority mail flat rate. I have added a handling fee to the cost first class postage to cover the cost of shipping materials used. But that is typical of most companies as well. But it's still cheap first class postage!
It seems like a win-win for everyone!
So over the next week or two I will be working on adjusting all the weights listed for all the items in my store!
Awhile ago I also reduced my flat rate shipping from $7.50 to $6.75 so I hope that's appreciated as well. This way I have the same $1.50 handing fee to both first class and priority mail rates which goes towards the cost of packaging materials, labels and tape. But also toward credit card or paypal fee's when orders are placed as well as the general cost to keep my website up and running.
I also have added free shipping on orders $75 or more!