dickbaker - 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.