Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia & httpwebwitch

Message Too Old, No Replies

do people include shipping costs in the price anymore?



6:06 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I mean on a consumer level. For example: I often hear from friends that bought something online - they say "Check it out I got this thing for only $xx - what a deal eh?". They never include the shipping cost in 'the deal' even though they may have paid a good chunk for shipping.

The reality is that often once you add shipping to the price of the item the overall price may not be any better than buying it the store - it might even be higher.

I'm looking at a potential business idea and we keep trying to shoe-horn shipping into the price and still be competitive overall. Should we just stop worrying about shipping and just have the item price competitive?

Are online consumers just getting blind to shipping costs? Is it just now a way of life and more or less ignored?


6:14 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Do your friends have money to burn? :) When shopping online, I always calculate the "out the door" price. This includes item price, s&h, and sales tax. Many merchants use the low price, high shipping to attract new visitors to their site. I know I would visit a site advertising an item at $179 before visiting one listed at $199. But high shipping does have the disadvantage of leaving the buyer feeling "tricked" about the high s&h.


6:24 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think consumers are becomming jaded and careless by all the "free shipping" deals.

Several of our competitors are offering free shipping, but it isn't until you look really hard that you find they have hidden "handling charges." A lot of the time these hidden charges are higher than normal shipping.


6:34 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Try quoting the shipping for free and then at checkout, give the customer the option of upgrading the shipping to a quicker method. Since we started to do this, we are getting about 20% of customers upgrading the shipping.

We pad the price by about 25% on the upgraded shipping so it has become a nice margin fattener for us as well.

If you are going to charge for all shipping, make sure that the amount charged is clear to the user well before the checkout process. People tend to dump carts pretty quick if they don't know what the end price is going to be until the end of the checkout.


6:41 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

On the other end of the scale...we offer truly free shipping. No extra charges, period.

We are always asked where the hidden charges are....

So, for what it is worth, perhaps totally free shipping is not necessarily a GOOD thing.

Something along the lines of..."...if it sounds too good to be true..."?


6:54 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Should we just stop worrying about shipping and just have the item price competitive?

In a word: yes. Just make sure your shipping is competitive too, if at all possible.

From up here, shipping is usually the killer on any purchase. I long for the days when I could just check "UPS Ground" and have it done with... but now my only options are either (if I'm lucky) Priority Mail or (more commonly) UPS 2nd Day...

I do try to find the cheapest price (from a seemingly reputable merchant) to start with, but then I never finalize and order until I've compared total costs including shipping from two or three different merchants. Often I find the cheapest item price is also (unfortunately) from the guy who only offers FedEx Overnight service to Alaska, or something stupid like that.


7:02 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Most people expect that shipping costs will not be included. when they glance at your price they will assume shipping is extra.

The thing that gets people in the door is product price, IMHO. This way you get the low-price shoppers. If your shipping is also competitive, you will keep them.


1:46 am on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

around half my clients have free shipping and the other half have a variety of shipping costs. they're happy, their customers seem happy. we do see a lot of abandoned purchases at final cost pages on both systems. where sites have switched from inclusive to exclusive shipping costs or vice-versa, there has been no real difference in the sales or the number of abandoned purchases. we can only guess people are checking prices to see total costs including shipping.


3:33 am on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Being in Australia & having a product that is air freighted overseas, we include shipping/handling into the price.

We have not tried the "free shipping" slogan

This is the price you pay for the item delivered to your door and in US Dollars.

1. when we did this it stopped the emails asking "how much is shipping"
2. In USD, stopped the "how much is that converted to USD"

People know where they stand with us.

Now it is only my fellow Aussies who are confused with the site, but not my major market web audience.

Cheers from the Outback


3:45 am on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

With the advent of Froogle, and the likelihood of people being able to truely search by price without even 'setting foot' in your site, I think you might see a number of free shipping (included in the price) offers fade away with the need to have the lowest possible price show up in the SERPs.


4:19 am on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hmmmm back to being creative and sneaky with copy!

But wait.....theres more..err..charges.....although listed at #1 in froogle, there is a $300 charge for handling.

I tried going straight! Honest!


2:35 am on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's a question. Right now I have basic shipping and I want to improve my conversion rates. I figure I have three options to do this with "free" shipping and it makes sense to do something since most surveys seems to say the consumers like it. And I really need to increase my conversion rates.

1. Offer free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount. Existing prices for products stay the same. The advantage is hopefully higher volumes and you can also maintain lower prices. The downside of course is somewhat lower margins.

2. Offer free shipping. Period. Build a reasonable shipping cost into each products price. To me the downside is that people still wonder what the catch is and you do have higher prices at first blush when people are comparison shopping.

3. Offer 1 cent shipping. Probably still need to adjust prices to account for reasonable shipping costs. Sort of takes out the "what's the catch" mentality and maybe different enough from free shipping to gather attention (could always add an icon on each product page - 1 cent shipping or some such notice).

I'd like to hear some feedback on what people think of the options. Maybe there are others you would like to suggest.


3:03 am on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't know what's worse... Charging high s&h or advertising that "free shipping" is offered but in reality only for a tenth of your population [wired.com]:

"Merchants have figured out that the words 'free shipping' get consumers into their online stores," said Davis. "But they build walls up or conditions so that many of those consumers will not qualify for free shipping."

Aren't both methods a way to entice the buyer? To me, I see little difference.


12:14 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

"do people include shipping costs in the price anymore"

Difficult to see how you can include it in the price, there are too may variables involved with internet selling. eg..

will freight be domestic or international?
land transport or air
standard post or express?
packaging involves 1 unit or 20?
etc etc

Customers realize these costs have to be covered and personally, I want to see an upfront statement to that effect and what the bottom line cost will be. Majority of folks do.

If the supplier doesn't give me the information needed to make an informed decision.... my business goes elsewhere.


Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month