Sunday, February 10, 2013

What the hell happened with our international postage rates?

If you ordered recently, especially if you're an international customer, you no doubt noticed a pretty significant hike in postage rates.  It surprised me, too.

I knew postage rates were going up, but they've done that before.  The last two or three times it's happened it was a small enough increase that I didn't raise the shipping prices on Etsy to compensate.  Etsy shipping is a game of guessing and averages, so sometimes I lose out a little on shipping, and I'm okay with that.

So when I heard there was going to be another round of postage hikes, I thought I'd wait it out and adjust as needed, not figured it'd be THAT bad, I mean it never had been before, right?

Wrong >_<

The night of the first postage increase I lost about $4/ international order.  And I have a LOT of international orders.  So, sadly, I really had no choice to raise my shipping rates this go round.

The rates went up a little to US and Canada, but anywhere else outside of the US the rates went up a lot.  Here's the complete list of international postage changes:

So what does that mean in more NightBlooming-specific terms?  
  • The cost of shipping a single/pair of hair sticks went up about $4
  • Heavier herbal products (bottles of oil and 8oz hair salves) had their rate increased a bit more
  • Packages are still not insured/tracked unless you decided to pay the extra to upgrade from First Class Package International to Priority Mail International.

I hate this as much as you guys do.  I love my international customers and always prided myself at keeping my shipping rates as low as possible.  I don't make any extra money on it.  It's the bare minimum I can charge to cover my costs, my shipping program, and packing materials.  Please rest assured, that's the same.  If I can find places where I can adjust it back down, I will.

So what do we do?

For my international customers here's a few things we can try:

  • Group Orders- If you guys want to go in and have a bunch of people buy a ton of stuff and then have one person repack and reship it from within your home country it'd save some shipping costs.  Depending on what was going into a group order, I could send it in a Flat Rate Box.  This is especially worthwhile if there's a lot of heavy items (large bottles of Triple Moon Oil, Moondust in glass bottles, 2 ounce and 8 ounce Panacea Hair Salves, etc).   I haven't tried this yet, but I'm willing to have a go at it if you guys are :)  
  •  Lifting of Custom Order Restrictions- Right now there's a limit of one custom order per person per order (i.e. you couldn't be on the custom order list for more than one item at a time).  I've been a little soft on that recently, but it still stood as the official policy for me to fall back on in case I got overwhelmed with customs (again).  For international customers, I'm raising that limit to 3.  You could probably talk me into more if my list is manageable  So if you have a few ideas, we'll get them all done at once so you can combine shipping.
  • Holding Items to Combine Shipping-  I'd be happy to set items aside so you can build up a few things and then have them sent all at once together.  The caveat to this is that you still have to pay for each item up front, but I'd adjust the shipping cost and refund you the overage.  

I'm racking my brain on how to keep this manageable for you guys, but I am utterly open to more suggestions. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comment box below!