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High Shipping cost

Seashore Art
Internet businesses often do not get off the ground due to high shipping cost. Many times the value of the goods shipped is much lower than the shipping cost. The cost, of getting your goods from South Africa, to other countries in the world is extremely high. If it is possible to send bulk shipment overseas to a distribution point, you are possibly paying less. But in many occasions the internet merchants like people who make home made products and who work on a single customer basis, have trouble to get their product sold and shipped to their buyer. 

Many products manufactured and sold on the internet, are price inflated to be able to advertise a low or free shipping cost, in order to be able to sell their products overseas.

Paintings without frames, digital art prints and lightweight art products are not a too big of a problem. It is the homemade or fabricated bulky products that make it nearly impossible to sell overseas on a single customer basis, due to the high shipping cost for a single piece.
If you homemade master piece has a value of R6000, - ($600,-) and the weight is 25 kg, the cost of shipping this product to the USA from South Africa is R5810, - ($581, -). The total cost to the customer will be R11810, - ($1181,-), which will be unlikely to be sold.

If you homemade master piece has a value of R600, - ($60,-) and the weight is 5 kg, the cost of shipping this product to the USA from South Africa is R2305, - ($230,-). The total cost to the customer is than R2905, - ($290, -) this amount is way to much for the customer if a similar item is available in the local shop for much less.

You see here that the cost of shipping is measured in weight and not in value. According to a new study of 1,200 shoppers from a credit card comparison website, 64 percent of respondents said that high shipping costs prevent them from buying more articles on the Web.

Products that are unique and not ready available in the overseas country, potential customers might still be interested to buy the product including the shipping cost. To mark up the sale price of your product in order to advertise lower shipping cost is probably not a good idea especially when such items are for sale in their own country at the true value price. If you ship Luxury or handmade or one of a kind items, to mark up your items to recover your shipping cost won’t be a too much of an issue. In this case you can also consider reducing your cost of shipping by half and mark up your pieces for the other half.

But the best way to increase sales is to show potential customers why your product is unique and what they can do with it. What are the dimensions, the color and what are the materials used and why should they buy it from you.

It is also important is to make good quality close up pictures of your pieces and also you should tell customers that if applicable the pieces can vary in size, color or material used.
Do not show the shipping cost on the last moment, rather state the shipping cost next to the base price.

If you do not know the shipping cost before hand, have a link to a shipping company of your choice where the customers can calculate the shipping and handling fees or offer real time shipping quotes.
You can also use an international price calculator.

In my case at Seashore Art it will be important to give the customers as much information about my art pieces as possible. Just like in a real art shop. As I do not mass produce but only create one of a kind art pieces on commission, I only use the base value of my art pieces and the true value of the shipping cost. Some pieces like the coffee table featured are heavy and consequently expensive to ship. Seashell art does not fall under the light weight articles and customers should be aware that shipping cost will be calculated against weight. There will always be a possibility to negotiate to total cost.
Below is a table showing South Africa international shipping rates in Rand, to change this in $, just divide by 10 to have the approximate $ value
E.G. R400,-- will be $40,--
I have my e-mail address on my blog for customers to use, if they want to order one of my master pieces. More over I can easily quote and negotiate the design and color and at the same time I can inform them of the true shipping cost of their valued piece.