Free shipping?

A little business conundrum.

I always state my postage charge as a separate entity. Because it is. For example, the product costs £10, the postage is £2, totalling £12. However, it irks me when I read a review or a comment that says “this product is £12” because it’s really really not – the product is £10. Which makes a huge difference when people are judging my product based on its value for money. 

Some businesses claim “free shipping” and maybe if you’re a big enough business or make enough profit on your products then you can actually not charge your customers for postage, however, for me to say “free shipping” on my example product I could price it at £12. But then I’d be saying my product has a value of £12 which it doesn’t. It’s still £10 worth of stuff with £2 postage. 

Postage prices can vary – they usually increase (particularly with Royal Mail) and so if I said my product was £12 with free shipping but the Royal Mail prices went up – I’d then have to put the actual product price up. Which doesn’t go down well with paying customers.

I could also state “£12 including shipping” but I feel that looks like I’m trying to hide my postage charge. Am I selling a product worth a fiver and charging £7 postage? Plus it then gets complicated selling overseas with different postage rates.  

The biggest gripes for me are:

1) someone online talks about my product as being £12 a month. It’s not – it’s £10 + £2 shipping.  

2) when someone moans about the postage being high but I’m actually making a LOSS. I sell one particular product where I DO make a loss on postage. I simply can’t bump up the shipping charge as I know people won’t pay it. I don’t think everyone realises just how pricey sending parcels can be. 

If you run a small online business, how do you tackle postage charges? 

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