Bramble Berry recently got a bit slammed on a soapmaking chat list over shipping charges. Ouch. I hate getting slammed over things we can’t control and shipping is one thing that we can’t control. In fact, in a clever little trick involving not charging for gas fuel surcharges that Fed Ex charges us (which varies by the day), Bramble Berry managed to lose money last month and the month before because our shopping cart underestimated shipping charges. Whoops.
This blog is a way to address customer concerns in an honest and open manner. I want feedback on the shipping conundrum. I wish there was a better way to get products to customers other than shipping.
I agree – shipping charges are ridiculous! I hate paying them on my online orders as well and it seems like they just keep going up, up, up. Getting all of our products to Bramble Berry (in Washington state!) from our different vendors is a bigger chunk of money every year as well. With gas becoming a scarcity, we have higher transportation costs to look forward to both with our commercial orders and also just getting to and from work in our own cars.
We ship all of our Essential Oils and Fragrance oils in Amber Boston Glass Rounds with Phenolic Cone Lined Caps. Glass definitely is heavy (and more expensive than plastic) to pack with but we’ve found that glass just really seems to do a better job in the long run for our customers. If we pack in plastic, the fragrance gets degraded pretty quickly from the plastic and the fragrance shouldn’t be stored in it either. It seems to be a disservice to our customers to try to pack in plastic. I know it’s insane to think, but with the box, packing peanuts, foam and the glass bottle and cap, your 16 oz. of fragrance weighs 2.5 pounds. Since Fed Ex and UPS round up, that ends up being a 3 pound box. And, a 3 pound box to ship from Washington to Tennessee costs about $11 to ship. Ouch!
It’s funny to think about, but if you order more, the price per pound for shipping drops. For example, I can ship you 250 pounds for about $110 to TN. It’s totally counter intuitive but the larger and heavier the package is, the less it is to ship, per pound. So, if you saved up all your orders from us for a few months and even got a 25 pound box, it would end up being just around $25-$30 to ship that versus the $11 to ship the one little teensy box.
High shipping costs affect everyone – especially small business owners. If anyone has any great suggestions on this, I really want to hear them. We’re thinking of everything from a second location on the East Coast to having a Bramble Berrytruck that delivers orders all across the country to getting shipping zone captains that take all the orders via pallet and then distribute them to customers in their area. We’re trying to think outside the proverbial box. Help us. If you have any ideas, however crazy, we want to hear them.