... and how to use those dollars most effectively.
Ask any small business the toughest thing about setting up an online cart, and they'll tell you that it's shipping. Being fair to the customer without losing money is a huge challenge.
I thought I'd take a moment to explain it, because unless you do a lot of shipping, it seems random and quite possibly out of line. We use USPS exclusively and being rural, rarely go to town to mail.
So here are a few things to think about...
~Anything that weighs more than 13 ounces must be shipped Priority Mail. It *could* be shipped via parcel post, but would then need to be taken to the post office, and would also take extra days to arrive. Also, Parcel Post is not always less expensive.
~Nothing (and I mean nothing) is less than $5.05 via Priority. That is the online cost of the smallest box and the flat rate envelope - the least expensive options.
~If we can stuff an order into a Priority Regional A box, it will range between $5.44 and about $8 if going to our side of the country. Going to the other coast it could double - but we take our chances there and use the best (sometimes creative) options possible.
If it requires a larger box or goes cross country, we always eat the expense, because our maximum shipping charge is $8.50, with orders over $150 receiving free shipping.
I try to mention it several times on our shopping cart, but it really makes sense to try to combine orders. It always saves you shipping costs. A large book ($5.75shp), a couple bars of soap($3 shp each), and a scone mix ($5 shp) would individually cost $16.75, but is topped out at $8.50.
To illustrate, everything we carry that weighs more than 13 ounces carries a $5 shipping charge. One item, $5. Two items, $8.50. Three, four, five (etc., etc., etc., ) ship for $8.50. So you start saving on shipping with the second item.
Every business has it worked out to suit their own style. The above is only valid within the US, and shipping foreign orders is a whole other (very expensive) set of issues.
While we appreciate every order we receive, it is my hope that by explaining this to those of you who do not use the shipping system to ship very often, it will encourage you to save on shipping by planning to get things together rather than spending more money on shipping than you have to. In some cases, shipping costs more than the item ordered, and that is almost painful for me to pack, because my frugal side fights it.
So there you have it. That's how shipping works around here. It took us nearly 10 years to get it to a point that is as fair as we can make it. In most businesses using USPS, you'll find that grouping items will save you money. Not all, but most.