votrechien - 11:12 pm on Jul 1, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've given up on being able to automate my shipping. For the kind of orders we have, it's just too complicated. It's big long stuff mixed with little tiny stuff. So it's one of those things where only a human can figure it out and be truly efficient. Otherwise in most cases... I'll lose out, or the customer will.
We have the same problem- many different sized items. We've found a pretty good system that calculates cost based on the weight. However, we don't always use the 'actual weight' we use a 'shipping weight'. If an item is big and bulky and only weights 5 lbs, it might be billed at 15 lbs. UPS uses the same system and it works well.
Strictly from a business perspective, including shipping cost into product price makes it become a profit that you must pay tax on. Whereas a separate shipping charge is a business expense that can be claimed to reduce taxes paid. In most jurisdictions anyway.
Woah woah woah woah! This is one of the most incorrect statements I've ever read on these forums.
If you charge $20 for a widget with free shipping and it costs you $5 ship, that $5 is a business expense. If you charge $20 for a widget and it costs you $5 to ship and you charge $10 for shipping the $5 and not the $10 is an expense.
For non-defective and defective returns, I only refund the item price minus any shipping costs. However, the issue I see with offering "free shipping" is if I include the shipping cost into the item price I would end up refunding my customer the shipping cost along with the item price.
I'll ignore the defective returns part. For all other returns, the whole idea of charging free shipping is an issue. That's where it becomes important to charge the customer for shipping on checkout and then show it immediately crossed out indicating they're getting free shipping. This way not only do they feel better about the value they're getting but also they understand that shipping charge will be withheld on any returns.