Monday, October 24, 2016

Free Shipping Compared to Combined Shipping

I grew weary of the number of buyers who would ask me about shipping discounts for my items that had free shipping.  The shipping was stated as free, but they thought my price was marked up to fully cover the cost of shipping, so they wanted me to give a discount for multiple items purchased.  Free shipping doesn't work that way.

Since I tired of answering all the inquiries from buyers who would then not make purchases, I decided to let go of free shipping for most of my eBay items.  That was in the summer.  Now I have very low sales because my items had been promoted in best match search when they had free shipping.  How splendid.  

If charging for shipping and then offering a combined shipping discount is so preferable to many buyers, then how come they don't purchase my items when offered that way?

I decided to go back to free shipping for most items so that my sales will once again increase.  This will no doubt annoy those buyers who do not understand how the concept of free shipping actually works.  The purpose of this post is to explain my pricing in case any of those buyers should ever read this post.  

For most items, I do partially charge shipping on items offered at free shipping.  For an item that I want to price at $9.99, I instead price it at $11.99 with free shipping.  This means I am charging $2.00 shipping for that book.  If a buyer purchases two books at $11.99 and free shipping, then that buyer pays $23.98 total.

For the same items mentioned above, I set the prices at $9.99 plus $3.95 shipping for the first book and $0.60 shipping for each additional book when I charge shipping.  This means that the two $11.99 items if purchased together would then cost $9.99 + $9.99 + $3.95 + $0.60 for a total of $24.53.  So... the buyer gets a shipping discount for the second item purchased, but the total paid is slightly higher than for the same two items offered with free shipping.  The difference is insignificant, but still, the items are slightly cheaper with free shipping.

As the seller, I get less when I offer free shipping, particularly when just one item is purchased.  For $9.99 items with free shipping, I get only $6.04.  Actually, I may get only around $5.00 because some books cost more than $3.95 to ship.  This is why I tend to price items at $11.99 instead of $9.99 when I offer free shipping.

With free shipping, a buyer has to purchase three items in one order for me to break even on shipping.  I don't mind for buyers to purchase just one item, but I wish they understood that when they purchase several items, I do not take the loss that I do on one item purchased.  That's why I can't offer additional discounts.

For some items, I don't change the price when I toggle between free shipping and combined shipping.   Back in the summer when I changed my items to combined shipping, some of them went up in price because I kept the free shipping price and changed the postage from free to $3.95.  Those items ended up costing $3.95 more.

Now I have gone back the other way.  I have changed most of my items on eBay back to free shipping.  For the vast majority, the overall cost is now lower.

In addition to changing my eBay items back to free shipping, I added over 100 books for sale on eBay and Etsy this weekend.  The eBay store has an automatic discount of 10% off for any order of $35 or more.  On Etsy, enter the coupon code BOOKS2016 to receive 10% off of orders of $20 or more.  On Etsy, you must enter the coupon in order to receive the discount.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

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