February 7, 2012

Questions For A Selling Blog

Hey Everyone, I just thought I would drop in to ask a few questions before I started my selling blog. I was wondering if you could help me out with some shipping questions that I have. I was curious on how some of you do your shipping cost. Do you wait till a person places an order to get their zip code before you give them a shipping cost or do you just charge a flat rate? I know using flat rate is really good if you have a lot of heavy items because you can ship just about anywhere up to 70 lbs at one flat rate. How do you actually figure out shipping when it is included in the price? Do you just use flat rate priority? I'm just asking these questions because I want to be able to give my customers a reasonable rate without over charging them. 
I would appreciate any help I could get.

                    Prim Blessings,


Pamela@ Our Pioneer Homestead said...

What I do: customers get upset if they are overcharged at all for shipping. Also, making endless trips to the post office to get something weighed (especially when you have orders coming in frequently)is not only a hassle, but keeps the customer waiting, and you waiting to get paid.

So, the BEST THING I ever did, was purchase a digital scale (from Staples.) WORTH every penny. Halleluia LOL. On my website, I ask the cutomer to :a)email me with their order. b)provide me their zip code.
Once I get the order and zip code email, I package it, note their zip code, and(well, I am in Canada) but you can go to USPS (I go to Canada Post) online and "get a rate"
Put the box on the scale. Measure the l, w, and height. Type in your zip and theirs, and voila. A 100% accurate shipping cost.
I then invoice the person with the total.

The whole thing takes 5 minutes-
from the comfort of my office.

Now. When you buy the scale, get the one that can handle the weights you will normally ship. For example, I usually ship under 50 lbs, so I got that one.
They usually come with a USB stick, and plug into the computer. This cost me 75$, but I have made up for it.
I do my best to ship the cheapest way possible, as I have had clients change their mind, because the ship. was too high.
I hope that helps;

Angie Berry said...

Well Patti, I was hoping for more responses because I wonder this same question. I am fortunate in that the post office is across from my kids school so I can go there every day but summer will be here soon and I'm trying to decide which way would be easiest. As a customer, I won't buy if I think the shipping is outrageous. Ebay sellers were crazy sometimes with their shipping and that was a huge turn-off for me.

I love Pamela's idea and I'm going to do this myself so thank you Pamela!! =] I asked the postal lady last week about buying a scale and she even recommended me going to an office store instead of buying one from the PO. I thought that was strange, lol! It is a big purchase, but it's a one time purchase that you will have for as long as you craft and sell so I think it would definitely be worth it. Plus, you can print the shipping label right at home from your computer and set it up for them to pick up your package! That's great but I'm not sure if there is any fees associated with it. I am going to check into that more when I get my scale.

I hope you find something that works great for you! Sometimes the hassle of taking pictures, adding descriptions and sizes, packaging up and shipping are just as much or even more work than the actual handmade. =/

Angie Berry said...

Oh, I see that you just posted this so I guess I didn't give time for more responses, hehe. But I forgot to check the box for email follow-up comments so I can see how others do this... so I had to come back and make a new comment. =]

The Moonlit Stitch said...

Hi Patti! I've been thinking about buying a digital scale too. Pamela's idea sounds like the easiest and most accurate. ~*~Lisa

Stuff and Nonsense said...

new follower via Linky Followers
and hope you'll follow back!


ArtChick said...

When I sold my prims on a retail site, I had flat rate shipping according to the total order amount. I did that for almost 4 years with my store and never had one complaint. Customers like to know exactly what shipping will be before they order, and flat rates allowed me to do that. In most cases, after fine tuning my rates and adjusting based on experience in the first few months, my shipping was on target almost every time. Obviously, customers are not paying exact shipping with this method, but if it was over by more than $2.00 (which it only was 1 time), I refunded the difference. Any other differences in my favor helped cover the cost of shipping labels, ink, and packing materials. The only times it really worked against me was for orders to the west coast or Florida (I am in Ohio) because they are so far from me, so the actual shipping was much higher. But I did not have a lot of orders from far away, so the loss was negligible for me. Another thing to consider doing is padding the cost of your products just a bit (not a lot!) to help cover shipping costs if you use flat rates like I did. That way you can keep your shipping prices lower--which customers seem to prefer. A wee higher price on some products isn't that noticeable or outrageous. But shipping costs are. So padding the product prices helps to maintain lower shipping costs.

TheCrankyCrow said...

Sorry to be so late in responding - and I don't sell on my blog, but have sold things on Ebay....Ebay is great b/c you can plug in the package's size and weight and it calculates the shipping cost based on the bidder's location. But, the concept is somewhat the same for online except it really can't be done without knowing the buyer's zip (unless you're able to use a flat rate package, which, I personally, have found to be way more expensive than necessary, unless you're shipping something small and heavy.) I purchased a little digital scale from USPS on line (less than $40 I think). And I use the USPS to purchase postage on line - stuff it in my mail box and am good to go - which is a Godsend since I live in the boonies and can't go into town everyday. If you have more questions, or anything I said doesn't make sense, just shoot me an email - I'd be happy to try and help. Robin