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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    339

    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
    2,713

    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
    1,251

    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
    3,161

    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
    339

    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
    5,663

    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
    -- Victor Hugo -- "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    251

    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

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