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Postage: To charge or not to charge that is the question!

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  • Postage: To charge or not to charge that is the question!

    Having just launched my website I was wondering what is a fair and reasonable charge for postage and packaging. I have listed:

    spend up to £15.00 and postage is £1.75;
    spend up to £30.00 and postage is £2.75;
    spend up to £45.00 and postage is £3.75; and
    anything over £45.00 is free postage.

    I always package my parcels and handmade cards using very good quality packaging and send out by first class post or courier as I know I have always wanted things to arrive quickly and in pristine condition and I think my postage costs are reasonable as in most cases the cost to me is more (especially on the handmade cards). I can see other craft websites offer free P & P when you spend say £5.00 or £10.00 but they must have a very special deal with the Post Office or be making a real loss as postage is very expensive these days and I can't see how they do it.

    I also pop a free little something in with my parcels as a nice surprise for the recipient as it always makes me smile when someone does it to me.
    Angela Devine

  • #2
    Personally I think those amounts are fine - especially as you say you are offering a well packaged and speedy delivery


    • #3
      There's not any special deals that can be done with the Post Office, so anyone offering free P&P is just paying it themselves.

      I guess it depends on your product really. If - for example - your products were small and light then you'd probably be able to send them as Large Letters. A First Class LL stamp is 75p, so you might feel that 75p is low enough that you don't mind paying the postage yourself if it attracts more customers in overall.

      Some of my products are quite expensive so I send them Special Delivery to ensure that they're a) tracked, and b) covered above the value of the order. In those cases the postage is a minimum of £5.90, usually £7.00, so I don't offer free postage because unfortunately I can't afford give away £7 per order.

      What I will say though is don't forget that postage isn't the only fee you're paying - your packaging isn't free and there's PayPal fees too - so if you do offer free P&P make sure you're not working at a loss.
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      • #4
        Postage is always hard and I think your amounts are fine. I used to do free P & P but with the increases and the paypal charges it had to stop. Also customers may think that with free P & P it is really included in the cost of the item. I currently use a flat rate regardless of the amount ordered, like you I had toyed with the idea of variables and this may all change in the New Year with my reluanch.


        • #5
          Thank you everyone for your replies - I'm glad I haven't got it wrong as I put a lot of thought into my postage charges weighing all my items and anticipating what people might buy and spend as I really want to be fair on postage and be competitive and I just wondered how you all saw it from a crafters perspective so thank you very much for your replies.
          Angela Devine


          • #6
            I personally find those charges quite high and they would put me off ordering from you no matter how nice the cards are.

            £45 is a lot of money for that kind of thing and I would think that the majority of people wouldnt want to pay an extra £3.75 on top of that for postage.....first class isnt necessary most of the time and an awful lot of people are expecting recycled packaging these days.

            Also, I would maybe think twice about the 'free little something'. I would be annoyed if I got something like that because at the end of the day it has to be paid for and I wouldnt like to think I was being charged (albeit within the cost of other items) for a free something I dont want or didnt order. Its very difficult to know whether you are catering to someone's tastes, so what would be gorgeous to you might not be to someone else.

            I just wanted to give you an idea of a buyers mindset rather than one from a fellow seller (which I am not) :-)


            • #7
              I think your P&P rates are fine. Very few people expect free P&P these days and are savvy enough to realise if it's "free" then it's actually included in the cost.

              I charge similar rates to you and have free over £50, which I think I will scrap. I think it's only worth it if it tempts them to spend more, and I don't think it does because I'm not marketing it. It costs me more as well, the bigger the order is.

              Padded envelopes, bubble wrap, tissue, address stickers, business cards, etc all add to the cost of P&P - make sure you've considered it. So does your time at the post office and the petrol to drive there.

              Make sure the free gift isn't eating into your profits. Personally, I wouldn't do it as when you (hopefully!) get busier you won't have time. Nice gifty-style packaging (tissue, raffia, ribbon?) and a thank you note have just as good a feelgood factor for the customer and cost less in time and money.
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              • #8
                I think that they are great prices! So many times have I gone to an online shop to find exactly what I want and end up at the checkout looking at £3 (or more!) p&p. I refuse to pay that amount, it's not realistic.

                I like the fact that you want your products to look good when they arrive at the customer, it gives a message that you care about your business and the people that you sell too. I think that recycled or reusing is good too and you have to weigh up what you can do about it.

                Some companies sell recycled cardboard packaging boxes, cellulose packaging peanuts (instead of oil based ones) or you could use cross shredded paper from the office. Things can still look presentable and not cost the earth, so to speak I am thinking for great ethics and packaging.

                Freebies? Love them and I always do a little squeak when I get one (which isn't very often) If it comes in a little bag with a sticker on saying 'thank you' then the customer won't get confused whether they are paying for it or not. If you can swallow the cost, then go for it.

                There are special deals to be had with Royal Mail and it's when you have an account with them for businesses that have a certain amount of post per month. We are talking hundreds of parcels though. These accounts also have the advantage of your parcels/letters etc being picked up everyday by the postman.
                Tutor in PMC Silver Clay in the West Midlands


                • #9
                  I think your prices are fine and for the higher prices seem like a good deal compared to what I'm being charged when ordering on line.
                  I used to use recycled packaging but to be honest, unless you can give it a designer twist , it looks shabby, naff and unprofessional.
                  I'm thinking freebies are a cultural thing. I get them from people living in or from the Americas, North and South. Not from English people. Or Scottish, or Welsh. They tend to knock money off (unasked!) if they want to be nice to me. Scandanavians will tend to put an extra (same) thing in the bag.
                  Anyway I think freebies are fun and give my brain cells a work out as I think what to do with them. (I love it when another stallholder's child does something helpful for me and I can offer them a free gift in return.)


                  • #10
                    I think you should charge postage to cover the cost - there is no such thing as free p&p!!
                    And I think you should scrap the free postage on the high amounts because you are losing out there.

                    I am both a buyer and a seller and I would rather see the actual cost of the item plus postage, rather than 'free' p&p.

                    I don't like the idea of the 'free little something' because it adds to the seller's cost and time and as a buyer I only expect to unwrap what I ordered.
                    If you want to do something, why not a handwritten 'thank you' on a pretty business card - as a buyer I would appreciate that and it would seem like a 'little extra' to me.
                    Annie and Lyn


                    • #11
                      Gosh I didn't think of the free gift as an unwanted item - you have made me think twice now. Whenever I have done it I have had positive feedback as it was unexpected to get it and I guess you are right it depends on what it is but it is always something I think the customer would like looking at their past orders or what they have ordered that day. It comes out of my profits and no one is charged anything extra to cover the cost of the freebie. I may be mad to do it but I just like to offer that little something extra with my business but I am definitely going to give it some more thought now.
                      Angela Devine


                      • #12
                        I think if the free gift had a very small monetary value (less than £1) it would be a nice touch, but then it depends on the value of the item purchased. I offer free postage on my website, anything over £50 goes recorded, and I've never had any complaints!


                        • #13
                          Yeah it is a tricky one but I think that everyone nowdays accepts that if the buy handmade there will be a P&P charge.


                          • #14
                            These prices look good to me just make sure your potential customers know they are paying for a fast and reliable service. I personally am willing to pay a bit more if I know I will get a fast service but I'm rather impatient and like my goodies now.


                            • #15
                              I'm just building my website at the moment and this is one thing thats been troubling me. I'll be selling things like plaques, money boxes and photo frames so postage could add up to quite a bit. I have thought about the free p&p over a certain amount but after reading all this i'm not so sure now if its worth it. At what amount does p&p put someone off buying?
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