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Free Shipping Myths

15 May, 2020

Online shoppers: Don’t reject a product just because there’s a shipping charge! We hope you will do some comparative math before you make your final selection — that free shipping offer may not be saving you money after all.

How many times have you filled up your shopping cart, clicked the big CALCULATE SHIPPING button, and then promptly abandoned your cart as soon as you saw how much shipping was going to cost you? We all want the least expensive option, but that's not always the option that offers free shipping.

Shipping is never free. Someone pays for the shipping cost…and online retailers aren't eating those shipping costs out of their profits with those free shipping offers! They are including those costs into their product prices.

This doesn't necessarily mean that free shipping is a bad thing, but it's important to understand how retailers offset the cost of shipping to offer free or low shipping fees (say, $6 or $12 for an entire order).

When you think about how you shop, compare an identical product on two or more sites: If the prices are similar, but one site offers free or "flat low fee"shipping and the other doesn't, are you more inclined to go with the free shipping option? Even if the total product price plus shipping is equivalent to or less than the company offering you free shipping on your order?

It's absolutely possible that the free shipping option might still be your best choice, but please do the math before you make your final selection. You may find yourself SAVING $$ even with added shipping charges.

About Shipping Charges & Order Total Cost

Over the last two decades, TheEpicenter.com has been committed to keeping our product prices low and charging our customers actual shipping costs. However, the manufacturers are increasing their product prices and shipping carriers are increasing their shipping costs, and this affects all of us — small business owners and consumers, alike.

Unfortunately, every year, it costs more for us to bring in inventory and it costs more to ship orders to our customers. We do our best to get the lowest negotiated rates from our shipping carriers!

We do not like the idea of inflating the cost of an item simply to offer reduced or "free shipping" charges. We think it's more honest to charge a fair price for an item and to charge the actual shipping cost simply to recover the expenses we pay for shipping orders out to our customers. That way, our customers can compare all the costs. Most of the time our total price (products plus shipping) is less than a competitors' inflated price even with "free" shipping.

We have decided against sitewide "free shipping" offers. We have set our product pricing structure to offer the lowest price for a product and charge actual live-rate shipping charges. (No, we do not make a profit on shipping charges; our online calculated shipping charges are only to recover the cost to ship the order.)

Cited Sources: "Stop Believing in Free Shipping" The Atlantic Magazine (TheAtlantic.com), by Amanda Mull, January/February 2020 Issue | "Three Ways Free Shipping Isn't Free." Campbell, Jesse. Money Management, 4 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 May 2017 | Lam, Bourree. "There's No Such Thing as Free Shipping." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017 | Putnam, Joe. "What Impact Does Free Shipping Have on Online Retail Sales?" Rejoiner. Rejoiner, 07 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 May 2017.