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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    I was not sure where else to post such a question, so I apologize if this seems out of place here. What do commercial beekeepers think of, or what is your opinion on “Free or Flat Rate Shipping”? How much of an incentive does it provide to you when buying bulk items? I ask this from a business perspective in the sense that the “cost” is built into the product somehow, or at least some of it, but it also simplifies things in terms of ordering and billing.

    Thanks for any input!
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,759

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    For me, the short answer is it doesn't affect my opinion.

    If there are two sellers of an item, I will compare their prices WITH shipping. If one offers free shipping, I still compare their price with someone else who doesn't offer free shipping. If one offers a product for $10 with free shipping, and another offers the item for $7 plus shipping, and shipping costs $2.60, I'll buy from the cheaper.

    But there is an "ease" factor to it. If a seller's online checkout process makes estimating shipping difficult or impossible, I usually won't purchase from them. If there are two sellers, one offers a product for $10 with free shipping and another offers the item for $7 plus shipping, and the store can't estimate what shipping would be until I check out, I'll usually pass on the unknown and purchase from the one that offers free shipping. But I view that more as a deficit on the person's website that can't tell me what shipping would be, rather than an added value of free shipping.

    Hope that helps some.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    I How much of an incentive does it provide to you when buying bulk items? I ask this from a business perspective in the sense that the “cost” is built into the product somehow, or at least some of it, but it also simplifies things in terms of ordering and billing.

    Thanks for any input!
    Joe

    Since I am fairly close to all the major supply houses this is rarely an issue. Shipping costs is usually the last thing on my mind although I do consider it when buying an item. The primary consideration I make in every purchase is as to whether the item is A1 quality and will perform better than the competitions product in the long run. A couple of bucks spent on a superior product is likely to be a better investment over time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,191

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    The primary consideration I make in every purchase is as to whether the item is A1 quality and will perform better than the competitions product in the long run. A couple of bucks spent on a superior product is likely to be a better investment over time.
    Very well said,Phil
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    Thanks for the input so far! If I am interpreting responses correctly, “free shipping” is not all that important in the big scheme of things. Price, value and quality are most important, which is how I tend to shop too. But, I still like the streamlined nature of free shipping, or what you see is what you get…

    Thanks,
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,317

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    The problem with "free" shipping, from a sellers perspective, is that it tends to encourage small orders and penalize large orders. That is opposite of what most sellers really want.

    In order to cover the cost of "free" shipping, the price of each product is raised slightly, to cover shipping. But then when a customer prices a large order, he is paying more on each item and may discover that a competitor who prices shipping separately has a lower delivered price for that large order. That differential encourages the customer to place his large order with a competitor. Not good!

    If you are selling unique products, or at least those perceived to be somewhat unique, such as queens, then the product sellers reputation likely overrides moderate delivered cost differences with competitors. But if you are selling items that are available at multiple vendors, say for instance wax foundation, then a free shipping scheme discriminates against large orders. One way around that is to make up for it with a volume discount.

    I always compare delivered price among competitors. And if a site won't display shipping cost, or requires me to "register" to get a shipping quote, I go elsewhere.

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 02-07-2013 at 06:23 PM. Reason: add more
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    I'll admit that I do shop around for the best price but what has became more important here lately is customer service. I will gladly pay a few bucks more from a company that works hard at doing a good business with its customers.
    Last edited by VolunteerK9; 02-07-2013 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Clarification

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    For my queens I charge shipping on 1 to 9 queens and free shipping on orders of 10 or more. It keeps most of my orders at 10 or more, which is a time saver.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,442

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    There is no "free" shipping. It's only a term indicating that it is included in the price. If I deem the item I am looking for is of comparable quality then I price what the total cost will be delivered from among my preferred suppliers and it usually works out to be pretty close in price. If it is not (for example I will only buy a Dadant smoker) then I just buy what I know works well and don't think too much about the cost. Mann Lake, though, does have the extra "bee bucks" bonus that has to be factored in plus their ability to deliver large orders quickly and efficiently is a huge plus.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,847

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    I will only buy a Dadant smoker

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,060

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    Free shipping works but not on me. I consider the cost is just built into the cost of the item. there are some exceptions. I actually count it as a black mark against a vendor given how prevalent gouging on shipping is it is just one more method to conceal unethical business practices. I want full disclosure on what I am purchasing. There is one case that cost of shipping does effect my choice of who to purchase from. That is Grizzly.com They have a large volume of heavy shipments and have gotten special fixed shipping rates on all there items. they list them with the price and the price of shipping separately but you know up front what you will pay for shipping.

    I nearly always avoid paying taxes by buying online. shipping costs are nearly always lower than taxes woudl have been had I purchase locally. I consider that saving also and do not usually spend a lot of time thinking about shipping costs. I am more interested in quality and timely delivery.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: “Free or Flat Rate Shipping” – Opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    For my queens I charge shipping on 1 to 9 queens and free shipping on orders of 10 or more. It keeps most of my orders at 10 or more, which is a time saver.

    Johnny
    Which why I decided to go ahead and commit to ordering 10 from you. Just got my frames ordered up to fill my nucs with your queens.

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