People are sensitive about freight charges, which is why where possible we make our products “freight free” … so you don't need to think about it. However, when it comes to products like loose prints — where our prices start at less than a dollar — there’s just nowhere to hide them!
This article is to explain our policy, and to help you get best value from your freight dollars.
Understanding the issues
It costs almost as much to handle, package up and ship a single print as it does several. It can also cost as much to ship a small print as it does a much bigger one. For example, a 12x8 is four times the size and almost four times the price of a 6x4, but costs very little more to pack and ship.
Also, prints larger than 12x8 won’t fit into courier envelopes, and the packaging (tubes, flat packs etc), handling and freight all become more expensive.
Explaining our freight policy
All labs face the same challenge, and there are a few ways to deal with it.
One solution is to establish a minimum order value … but that doesn’t work for customers who send us lots of low-value orders for just one or two prints.
Another is to pass on just the courier charge as freight, and to load the handling and packing onto the print price … but that would mean customers who order more than a print or two at a time would be paying way too much.
We’ve decided to take a middle road — to keep the print price as low as possible and to recover the cost of handling, packaging materials etc in what we charge for freight. We don’t aim to mark up those costs, just recover them.
Just as important, we also offer price breaks depending on the quantity you order. On fine art prints, for example, the breaks are for quantities 1-4, 5-19 and 20+. (These don’t need to be the same file, just the same price.) For silver halide prints the price breaks are 1-24, 25-149 and 150+.
Save by consolidating your orders when possible
To give you an idea, here are all-up prices for 12x8 silver halide prints in New Zealand, including handling and shipping:
- 1 print, $13.86
- 4 prints, $6.44 each
- 10 prints, $4.36 each
- 25 prints, $4.14 each
- 100 prints, $3.56 each
- 150 prints, $2.55 each
Those are big savings! Ordering even two prints drops the unit cost by a third.
Remember too, that if you order more than one item we only charge freight once (on the item that incurs the biggest charge) so again consolidation reduces the real freight cost.
Build freight into your own prices
That might be stating the obvious, but it’s particularly important in your online shop, where your customers will be as sensitive about the cost of freight as you are!
The are lots of potential strategies. For example you could “hide” the freight cost by including some or all of it in the product price, or by offering a discount to customers spending more than a certain amount.
Workspace offers you four options:
- Recover what we charge you (as part of the wholesale cost of sale)
- Set your own shipping charge (which could be higher or lower)
- Pay the shipping cost yourself (instead of passing it on)
- Offer discount coupons to customers who spend a set minimum.
You can check out the freight rates for various products and quantities in Workspace.
Focus on packages and upselling
Rather than just selling single prints, focus on raising your average sale value, for example by offering upselling opportunities and “packages”.
Upselling might mean offering an image either framed or loose, with the frame delivered freight free. (Remember, we deliver our books, albums, boxes, frames and canvases freight free. And the cost of the prints to go in them is also discounted.)
Packages are another Workspace feature designed to help you offer “combo” deals, like a set of prints instead of just one, or a product-plus-digital files offer. The advantage to your customer is more perceived value. The advantage to you is a higher average sale, a bigger profit, and the ability to offer free or minimal delivery charges.
A minimum order policy doesn't work for us, but it might for you. Another way to express it is "free delivery on orders over $$$" — experiment with a value that encourages people to order enough for you to cover the freight cost. In Workspace you can offer a discount on shipping charges for orders over a minimum value set by you.
Some fine print
- “Free freight” on finished products is for one shipment only.
- There are no quantity price breaks on Workspace retail shopping cart sales.
- Besides loose prints, there are certain other items (e.g. material swatches) that incur freight unless they’re ordered with items that themselves qualify for free freight.
- If you’re ordering one item only, you can look up the freight cost using the Workspace table, taking care to choose the correct product, size and quantity.
- If you’re ordering more than one item, we will charge freight once only, on the item that incurs the biggest freight charge.
- Freight is always charged on loose prints even if they are ordered with a "freight free" product.