No Free Shipping. No Free Returns.

 

A customer wrote to us, telling us that he had been put off ordering a pair of our new Moto Boots.

I have 2 pairs of your trousers and really love what you are making. After much deliberation I intended to buy a pair of Moto boots – deliberation because they are so expensive and when I got to the check out found another £16 on top, unfortunately that additional cost pulled me back from the brink of buying them.
I can’t think of any other item of that value which I could buy online where postage would not be included…. also that is very expensive and if  I needed to exchange the cost would go up further.
I may still buy them because they look great but I feel that your approach to this does take the shine off what are otherwise perfect products.
All good wishes,

We were not surprised to receive this mail. In a world of slick online operations, it’s no surprise someone can feel like that. Free shipping is the norm, because it helps get consumers over the line when they’ve come to the checkout page.

We deliberately show and charge a shipping price. “Free Shipping” isn’t free. The price is always hidden in the item cost – we could simply add in a shipping charge in the item price. This would be sensible to maximise sales. But would penalise people who wanted to collect locally. It’s also smoke and mirrors. We don’t like that.

Of course many brands can offer “free shipping” because of the huge margins they work with due to low cost overseas clothing manufacturing, huge volume courier deliveries and such. We charge for shipping – what it costs us, plus a bit to cover biscuits and wrapping paper. We think that’s fair. It’s a decision we’ve made. It’s also to do with our costs of shipping stuff – specifically, where we ship from.

Our trousers, boots and belts are shipped exclusively from the Post Office on Holme Street, Hebden Bridge. We could get a much much better deal from a national carrier, even directly from the Royal Mail themselves, but we want to support the staff of our independant local post office. Our small business has made a big impact on their viability. We want to keep that working. And so we wrote back to the customer.

 

Hi. Thanks for the feedback. It’s something Ed and I will discuss today.
The boots are heavy. We ship only via our local post office. As such they cost us £11.90 to ship.

We could get a much better deal using a national carrier. We could ship them for £3.50. But then our local post office would be massively down on the revenue we have driven through there in the last year.

We want to cover our costs fairly and add a degree of sharing of responsibility so that people don’t order willy nilly and send back huge quantities of tried on worn clothing for a refund at no risk. It’s not what you would do I am sure, but it is a trend common within the women’s fast fashion sector with up to 70% returns where this is offered.

Free returns services and free shipping actually show the huge margins that many companies work to. We couldn’t hope to even make a profit if we offered that.

Clearly there is a middle ground which could have worked better in this case but perhaps if we explained why we charge what we do a little better that might have helped too.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Wonderfully, that customer has just ordered a pair of boots, for which we are very grateful. If he’s not got the right size, we’ll swap them for him – posting him another set if he gets the wrong size. Offering a refund if it’s all wrong. That’s the law.

If you really don’t want to pay for shipping, we offer a local collection option, from the Hebden Bridge Post Office on Holme St. Which is open, and we really hope it is going to stay open, because we’re going to keep sending all our orders out from it.

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