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Shipping costs?
dickbaker




msg:4608032
 5:26 am on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've had small online store for six years, and sold primarily $200 to $1500 items. I was thus able to advertise free shipping, as shipping is a small part of the price.

I've now built a much, much larger store using Magento. I have a wide variety of products. I get my inventory and catalog files from my distributor. A executable program takes the wholesale price, multiplies it by my desired markup, adds shipping costs and then multiplies by credit card or Paypal fees to arrive at the displayed price.

This works fine for the pricier items in which I can build shipping costs in the price. For smaller items, especially for multiple item purchases, it's not so easy. If I have $12 built into the price of something for shipping, and $8 into another item, and a customer buys both, that $20 in built-in shipping costs is going to make my prices seem high. If I display shipping costs, but don't discount for multiple items, the shipping costs will look outrageous.

The distributor files don't have weights, as that info's not available for most products.

Does anyone here have a similar setup, or had this problem and figured out a solution?

Thanks for any replies.

 

dpd1




msg:4608110
 5:19 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, I've had the problem. Still haven't solved it. My stuff is long (dimensional charge), mixed with small objects, mixed with countries all over the world, half of which have a shorter length limit tat many of the products can't go to.

I've posted about it myself: [webmasterworld.com...]

I considered doing a 'shipping included' model and adding the cost in, then instead of calculating on an item to item basis... just try to calculate year to year. I figure as long as the cost is covered for the year, it all works out in the wash. However, I still haven't found the time of guts to implement it.

I'm sure there's coding gurus here that could come up with a solution, but I just don't have the patience for that kind of thing now. I'd have to hire somebody, which I really don't want to do.

tangor




msg:4608504
 4:14 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

As an interim measure for one of my clients we adopted a "free shipping on items x dollars or more" statement, then for items less than that performed the calculations as ordinary postal rates. That was used until client sprang for the coder dollars to automagically factor cost/markup/shipping ... and after that was finally done the client realized the first solution was the better choice.

There's no such thing as free shipping. Even the customer knows that. However as a marketing device "free shipping" sounds so much better. Client eventually published best price and offered calculated shipping... and in most cases still came in under the competition's "free shipping" pricing.

Every business is a bit different... what works for one may not work for another.

bwnbwn




msg:4608527
 5:47 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

dickbaker I ran into this issue when I had my ecommerce store. The method you use won't work if there are multiple items added in the cart and you see the problem.
What I did was use weight but you can't use that so maybe when multiple items are added in the cart just give a discount of the average shipping cost of your items.
if two items are added then give a 8.00 discount, if three are added give a 16.00 discount and so on.
Your really limited since weight isn't in the equation, but by giving the multiple item discount it might just get more items added into the cart.
Just my thought might or might not work for you since I know nothing on your items and or weight per item.

mattb




msg:4608530
 6:11 pm on Sep 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

We tested many different scenarios over the years. The most equitable solution we came up with is orders below $50 ship for $5.

Customers like this and sometimes will add more to the cart. They view the $5 fee as fair. We like it as we do not have to add the shipping cost into each low cost item. This encourages multiples of a sku being ordered. $5 does not cover all of our shipping costs at this level, but it comes close.

zulu_dude




msg:4608642
 10:04 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

One benefit of keeping the shipping out of the headline price is that you can advertise the products at a lower price on the likes of Amazon/Google, hopefully making users more likely to visit your store.

I guess it partly depends on the margins involved and also the average order quantity. If people are on average only buying one item, then they may be more likely to prefer free shipping. I don't know this for sure, but my gut feeling is that customers don't mind paying shipping for multiple items, but are less happy doing so for only one item.

Personally I have a spreadsheet that works out exact shipping using the weight of the product and then factors that in to the overall price, given the margin that I'd like to achieve. That's obviously much harder to do when the distributors don't give you the product weights/dimensions.

dickbaker




msg:4609163
 1:49 am on Sep 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

One benefit of keeping the shipping out of the headline price is that you can advertise the products at a lower price on the likes of Amazon/Google, hopefully making users more likely to visit your store.

I guess it partly depends on the margins involved and also the average order quantity. If people are on average only buying one item, then they may be more likely to prefer free shipping. I don't know this for sure, but my gut feeling is that customers don't mind paying shipping for multiple items, but are less happy doing so for only one item.

Personally I have a spreadsheet that works out exact shipping using the weight of the product and then factors that in to the overall price, given the margin that I'd like to achieve. That's obviously much harder to do when the distributors don't give you the product weights/dimensions.


Bingo. Building $25 shipping and insurance on a competitively-priced $1500 item isn't a deal killer. Adding $8.50 shipping to a $3 item to arrive at $11.50 with free shipping is not appealing, nor is an advertised price of $11.50 for a $3 item.

I looked at my competitors, and saw that they offered free shipping where they could afford to build in the costs, and per item or by weight shipping where they cannot.

I didn't realize that Magento had so many features for shipping, or that Priority Mail and UPS Ground have just 8 and 7 zones. I'm able to tie into UPS for their prices, and calculate zone prices for various weights for Priority Mail. All I have to do now is guesstimate weights for categories of items that I don't have weights for. I can finesse them as I learn what their real shipping costs are.

Essex_boy




msg:4609420
 1:04 am on Sep 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I build shipping into the price but I make it clear that each item has a $1 shipping fee + a one off $3.50 handling fee, one purchase fee is $4.50 ten items $13.50.

jrockfl




msg:4611003
 5:08 pm on Sep 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Currently we just offer USPS and we offer First Class (if available), Priority and Express.
We have a lot of products that are under 13 ounces and shipping First class works out great. It's only around $2 bucks

$50 or more we offer free domestic shipping with the use of a promo code.
I have weighed all of products and we use Endicia Label Server API to estimate the cost. We are pretty accurate.

Codurrian




msg:4611036
 7:15 pm on Sep 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

The correct way to do this is to have information about the items you are selling:

weight
height
length
width

From this you can calculate the number of boxes and the weight of each box. You can then spool up rate requests to FedEx and UPS. After which, you can add a percentage and display that to the user as the shipping charge.

The problem is always getting the product information.

I can tell you that we are in the same position you are; we have no weights for our items. Shipping, for us, is a rough estimation. We loose on some shipments and gain on others.

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