Monday, October 29, 2018

Free Shipping~ Or Not


What’s so free about free shipping?! Recently, etsy has been having a sweepstakes with a big prize and all you have to do to be registered in the drawing is to have free shipping in your shop over the holidays. Huh! Apparently this is something that customers actually prefer to, say, a 10% off sale. It is also something that I can’t get my head around. My shop motto should be something like ‘fair and sensible pricing on everything all the time.’ Because that’s what I try to do. 

So how about this free shipping thing? Why not do it? Well, frankly, I can’t see how it would not cost my customers more, in some cases much more, than just charging a fair shipping price. Why? Because I do have to pay for shipping. In order to offer ‘free’ shipping to my customers, I’d simply have to add it to the cost of each item up front. To be truly fair about it, I’d have to go through all of my etsy sales and see the average number of items in a single order and then, being some kind of a math genius, figure out from there exactly how much I would need to add to the cost of each item. What a pain! But let’s pretend I feel like doing that. Let’s see if I can lay it all out.

Right now, I charge shipping for the first item and the rest are gratis. The reason is that it doesn’t really cost me much to add another item to a box. And if someone buys a bunch of things, well, I’m happy to eat the additional cost and sometimes even upgrade to priority mail. 

So today, if you buy 10 beads in my shop, you pay $3.50 in shipping within the US.

Let’s say I offer ‘free’ shipping and have done the calculations and found that the average person buys 2 items at a time. Generously, I will add only $1.75 to the price of each item to cover shipping costs. Now let’s say you are a wonderful customer and buy 10 items at once. Well, because I’ve added $1.75 to each item, you’ve just paid a whopping $17.50 in shipping, instead of $3.50. That’s $14 extra dollars, in case you weren’t paying attention.

The other side of this is that if I did offer free shipping, folks might simply purchase one thing at a time, costing me both extra time and money. I feel that what I am doing now is fairest for everyone.

Now, here’s what my current shipping charge covers, just in case you’re wondering. Postage of $2.66 (if I can ship from home~ if not the postage is the entire $3.50), an envelope, which usually costs .50, a touch of tissue, bubble wrap and tape so we’ll add .10 there, and another .05 for a business card and a note for a whopping total of $3.31. So I get paid about .19 for making the box, packing and walking to the mail box~ just like in olden times… Oh wait! Now that etsy is taking 6% (or something) of shipping charges, I actually get nothing for packing it up and sending it off. Ah well.