Friday, February 3, 2017

Free shipping? TANSTAAFL

Years ago I binge read every Robert Heinlein SciFi novel, and first encounted the term TANSTAAFL.  "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."  Whenever I see discussions of "free shipping" by essential oil suppliers I am reminded of that acronym.

NO company who intends to stay in business for long can afford to give away the cost of shipping.

We are often asked, politely or otherwise, about our shipping costs.  "With all due respect, your shipping costs seem a bit high."  "ONE STAR across the board. "Your shipping costs are outrageous."

I see discussions in various forums where people only will shop when there is free shipping available.

Perhaps Amazon has spoiled us.  Yes, I love Amazon Prime, and will sometimes pay a premium for same identical product and brand to avoid paying shipping elsewhere. But I'm told that when I renew my Prime membership this year it will be $129.00... over $10 a month. Takes a lot of orders to match that. 

Christi recently ordered several small samples from a very well-known artisan West Coast natural perfumer and was quoted and paid actual shipping.  Parcel post to Nashville was close to $9.00 and Fed Ex Ground to her home would've been over $13.  She opted to have it sent here to the business for a $4 savings.  Those were the lowest shipping rates available.  Christi also orders from a well known West Coast herb company and it is also actual shipping which is rarely less than $15.00 for the smallest order.  Christi believes Amazon has spoiled us, and I agree!

A message I recently sent to a client who questioned our shipping charges:

The email's subject was, "I think your shipping charges are too high."

"So do we!!!  But our shopping cart sends the dimensions, the weight, and the VALUE (for insurance purposes) to the USPS and quotes us back the rate you are quoted.

At the end of every quarter we compare what we have billed in shipping to what we PAY for shipping... the totals come within 1%... The USPS keeps increasing pricing.

We are unable to track and insure using lower cost methods (ie, first class)... and of course would have to use boxes that we paid for instead of the postal system's "free" boxes...  so the cost of a box would have to be factored in....   

We are charging our clients our cost to get the orders out.  now, an individual order may actually cost less.. or more! than the quoted amount..  but at month's end.. it is just about on target.

Thanks for your honesty...  and your... politeness?  Some folks can be rude.. I appreciate that you weren't.

and I hope you will love the oils

We have looked at our 'average" shipping charge. And increasing our prices 12% overall would allow us to give free shipping for orders over a specific limit.   We don't think that is fair to our clients.

You may save on shipping charges by placing larger orders. The shipping cost will be higher, but your per item cost will be lower.

I am told that some of the "Free shipping" companies actually ship their essential oils in padded envelopes.  And I hear rumors of breakage.    Please note how well and carefully we package your orders, so that they will arrive intact in spite of the best efforts of the USPS, at times.   We have heard of our orders being crushed (under, instead of on, the forklift?) but still arriving with the contents intact.

In shipping, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.


Shannon Grover said...

YES! Well said. I'm very glad you pointed this out. It's one thing that most companies aren't going to say. We ARE spoiled, not just by online companies, but also by things like our grocery store cards etc.

Shipping is a hard but necessary cost so it's good to always take that into account when planning out our buys.

DellaRose said...

I have definitely received crushed boxes from you, that I was so concerned about I took a picture before I opened it...ready to send it to you for proof, but when I opened the box everything was intact! I love your careful and toe communicates an unexpected personal touch!

I am definitely spoiled by Amazon and you are probably the only place I shop at online without free shipping (I do wait for free shipping Fridays) but I love the samples, your prices, quality and service - including wisdom shared freely on Facebook :)