As a consumer, everyone agrees that the world would be a much better place without having to worry about shipping. However, this expense is unavoidable for businesses. To account for this, businesses usually charge for shipping or incorporate that cost into the price of the item being sold. Thing is, different businesses have a wide price range when it comes to shipping cost. Are you being charged the appropriate amount? Here are four ways to be more informed about shipping.
Look for product weight information
One large determinant of shipping cost is the weight of the item being shipped. Light products should have low shipping cost and heavier products should be more expensive right? Not necessarily.
All packages being shipped will start with a base price. This means that even if something is 1 ounce, it may cost $10 to have that package expedited if that is the carrier’s starting price. However, the additional cost per unit of measurement or weight is usually only fraction of the base price. For example, a 32 ounce package may cost $11 to expedite. While shipping for this is more expensive than the 1 ounce package overall, it is much cheaper relatively. Using this example, you would be paying $0.34 shipping per ounce of product instead of paying $10 shipping per ounce for the 1 ounce package.
What does this mean? It means that shipping heavier products is expensive on the outside but in reality more cost effective than having to ship light products. This also means that if you purchase multiple units of a light product in one transaction, you help the seller save money on shipping. A nice seller would acknowledge this and may even provide you with a discount on your order!
Look for product dimensions
A second important factor to shipping cost is the size of the item being shipped. Most carriers charge both a higher flat starting and per weight fee for packages shipped in larger containers.
If you notice that the shipping cost for one item may be more expensive than another item despite them being similar in weight, try to see if there is product dimensions information available. This can help you distinguish between sellers with honest shipping prices and sellers that are secretly milking their customers.
The links below provide a shipping rate calculator for three of the most commonly used shipping carriers.
Identify the shipping speed being used
Most sellers will specify the shipping method being used but not the carrier. While no one carrier offers the same exact services, the prices are pretty similar when it comes to their standard, expedited and express shipping options. This information is available on the carrier’s website and is a great frame of reference if you are skeptical about a seller’s shipping rates.
Account for the number of units being purchased
Even though shipping price gets relatively cheaper as you load up your shopping cart for the transaction, there are times where you may notice a big shipping price bump after you go over a certain amount of units. This is because even the biggest shipping box has a limit to the amount that it can hold.
The price bump usually indicates that another box is needed to ship your entire order. When there is another box in the equation, the seller needs to order another shipping label for the transaction. The new label requires another flat fee so the price bump is to account for that additional charge.
If you have any concerns about the price bumps, most sellers will try their best to adjust your order so that it can be cheaper. However, this isn’t always possible so be mindful of that.
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