Over the years, I've heard hundreds of times how expensive our shipping prices are. I can't help but agree. They do seem high.
Lately, we've been workin on a new, improved shopping cart--which will be awesome by the way--but it got me to thinking...maybe we can offer free shipping. It won't be easy, but I have an idea I wanted to run by you guys and see what you think. First, a little background...
Why the shipping & handling prices seem high now: I always err on the side of straightforwardness and transparency whenever possible. So when I started selling products back in 2003, I figured I would charge as little as I could for the products themselves and then charge exactly what I pay for shipping & handling to the penny. This is what we've always done. However, this ends up making our shipping prices look high compared with other online retailers because almost every other online store wraps the price of shipping & handling into the price of their products. They then offer "free" or "discounted" shipping & handling. The plain reality of the situation is that they are still charging for shipping & handling, but just put that price into the products. Doing it this way didn't seem totally honest to me so I decided to charge exactly what I pay for shipping & handling. But quite honestly, when I personally buy stuff online, even I only really like to order stuff when there is free or discounted shipping, and I don't really care if they're wrapping it into the cost of the products. I know this way of thinking is not necessarily rational, but that's how I end up feeling, and I think a lot of you feel that way too.
What I'm thinking about doing (please weigh in with your input): It's been 10 years now that I've been selling products, and I have never once raised prices. As far as normal business practice goes, this is of course not normal, and I have some friends who also own businesses who have been yelling at me for years to incrementally raise prices. I tell them I don't want to raise prices unless I absolutely have to because my main goal is to get huge products into the hands of acne sufferers at the cheapest possible price so they can use as much as they need to get clear on The Regimen. However, I can't offer free shipping and keep the prices of our products the same that they are now. There's just no way I could continue selling products like that. So here's my idea (with accompanying numbers so you have the full story):
[The average cost of shipping and handling comes to about 25% of the cost of an order on average.]
1. I raise all product prices 15%. For instance, the 8oz. Regimen Kit would now cost $44.21
2. Shipping becomes free for all orders over $40 inside the U.S. This means the 8oz. Regimen Kit would ship for exactly $44.21
3. International shipments over $40 get a substantial discount (20% of the cost of products ordered, for an overall discount of 5%)
4. All orders inside the U.S. under $40 get a discounted shipping & handling rate of $5.75 and all orders under 1lb. get a discounted rate of $2.50
5. Faster shipping methods inside the U.S. like 2nd day or overnight get a substantial discount (20% off the cost of the products ordered, for an overall discount of 5%)
Bottom line: I have run a bunch of example orders, and even with product prices going up 15%, one hundred percent of all orders will be less expensive this way. I can afford to do this because even though I've never raised prices, you guys have ordered more and more over the years so my costs have gone down a bit. I am confident that the company can absorb a small discount on all orders.
What do you think?