In today’s cut-throat business environment the lure of free shipping can be enticing.
Having the ability to see bottom-line pricing without additional fees like shipping and delivery is, let’s face it, satisfying!
The reality is that there is really no such thing as “free” shipping.
With ever increasing fuel and transportation costs, shipping has become a financial obstacle for all retailers trying to earn business by winning the price war.
Power-house sellers like Amazon have the buying muscle to force their suppliers down to bare-bones margins creating a win for Amazon but a low-profit situation for the supplier. Amazon then factors in their shipping costs, adds some cost averaging and voiles, free shipping! Of course none of that takes away their shipping costs; the costs are just hidden in other ways. In much the same way, non-behemoth retailer who understand the appeal of “free” shipping often price items to hide their actual shipping costs.
Another common method of pricing items to include “free” shipping is to value engineer products – a process that reduces the quality of the components.
The product looks like the original but with far lower manufacturing costs because the product is of overall lower quality.
What you think may be apples to apples may really be apples to pears - similar, but not the same.
In the furniture industry, for example, a sofa can be value engineered by using lower density foam, lesser quality fabric and non-hardwood frames. Sure it may look high end but the reality is it became a different animal when it was value engineered.
So, if you take a lower quality product, add shipping costs onto it you can advertise the sofa, delivered for free, that looks like its higher-end cousin.
When shopping, beware of anything free.
If logic tells you that it is too good to be true, it probably is. Everything has a cost.
Look for sellers that offer adequate product details, wholesale pricing and a separate line for shipping.Then and only then can you really be sure what you have paid for.