The FREE SHIPPING Dilemma....
As a small business owner I struggle with the concept of free shipping on almost a weekly basis. Everyone wants to see FREE SHIPPING. Amazon gives free shipping to prime members; other artisans and retailers offer FREE SHIPPING.
On my Etsy selling platform FREE SHIPPING on items over $35 are being pushed down retailers throats, and if we don't offer FREE shipping we don't get the benefit of their new search algorithm.
I tend to be a savvy shopper and look for the best deals, so I get it, when you see FREE you want to jump at it every time.
SO IS SHIPPING REALLY FREE?
Some one is paying for it somewhere, because it costs money to ship, bottom line. When I place an order for paint inventory I am paying shipping, sometimes almost $100 plus in shipping to get my orders to me.
I have seen retailers across the board offer FREE shipping, but their prices are higher than those that are not offering free shipping. Why? Because they have to pay for it some how, so why not raise the price of the product?
My issue, I ship and I sell locally here in Tucson, AZ. My clients can purchase online and then pick up in store. Is it fair to them to pay the same price as someone who is being shipped product for "free" at a higher price point so I can cover the shipping? My thought is, NO.
The price for the product is the price for the product, and the price for shipping is the price for shipping. I am not an AMAZON charging a membership fee to be a prime member (that's part of the shipping that you are paying when you think you're getting free shipping by the way).
I guess my hope is that my customer service, quality products, and responsiveness will override the giddiness of seeing FREE shipping elsewhere. My conclusion really is, shipping is just not FREE and while it will continue to be a battle because it isn't readily offered on my site, it will allow me to continue to do business the best way I know how and with full transparency to my customers.