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July 07, 2009


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As a consumer, I'm frustrated by the wide range of shipping rates for, say, a 6-pack from the Bay Area to Calistoga. One place will ship for about 9 bucks, while others have prices approaching $25. These are ground/cheapest prices. For the same wine, guess who gets my business? I use wine-searcher, then shop by wine+shipping price. And I do abandon the cart, if I have to go all the way thru to get a shipping cost.


lower shipping costs will absolutely drive traffic and sales. I first saw this in a non-wine business in 1999... free shipping spiked traffic, 99cent shipping did too, but by a (consistently) lower amount, etc.

However, giving shipping costs upfront can be hard since you need to know the ZIP to which it's going so you can be reasonable accurate. There are a few of ways around this -

1) flat zone pricing ("shipping to the East Coast via ground is $N/bottle"),

2) flat rate pricing ("shipping is $X per bottle to anywhere")

3) a way for the customer to tell you just their ZIP early on so that they can see what you'll charge them.

#3 is my favorite (i like gradual engagement UIs) followed by #1. #2 sounds like a winner but you get the issue cited in the first comment - it's a deal for people far away and far too much for people close by.

Susan B

What makes me mad as a shopper is the ridiculously high shipping costs. Crush recently had an offer for 20% off a 4 pack of wine which made it about $80. The shipping cost for me, not living in Manhattan, but living in NYC would be $30!!!That is enough for a bottle and a half of wine. If you live in Manhattan the shipping is free; if you live in another borough, even if it is only a few minutes away from Manhattan shipping is only free if you buy over $200 worth of wine. It is absurd and I did not order it.

el jefe

If you look at actual shipping rates, after you factor in the cost of packaging etc. it can cost something like $15 to put a box of air on a delivery truck. The actual cost per pound goes up incrementally from there. This is why $ per bottle rates are often absurd - charging too little for a small number and too much for a large number of bottles.

Flat rate shipping "to anywhere" works, but only if you pay attention to where the bulk of your shipping goes and price accordingly so you don't overcharge your "base". I think the real problem is that most businesses don't pay attention.

That NYC situation is especially absurd.

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