Getting A Handle On DVD Shipping Costs

27 October 2008

For years now, shipping has been the albatross around the neck of online businesses. There is a reason why super retailers like have occasional free shipping promotions because the perception is that no matter how good their prices are, people simply hate paying for shipping. It feels like a “hidden cost” that retailers spring on shoppers once they have agreed to buy an item. If you are starting up your first online store, shipping is going to be a chief concern. Many distributors have several different shipping options available to their affiliates. Let’s take a look at what is available and which option will suit your business best.

Shipping is all about two things: perception and affordability. Some shipping options, like Fed Ex and UPS are all about top class service, dependability and speed, but they also cost the most and can scare some thrifty shoppers away. On the other hand, the good, old, US Postal Service is all about affordability, but it is the Ford Pinto of shipping options. Let’s break each one down.

First, Fed Ex is clearly the Cadillac of shipping options. Not only do they provide overnight shipping to just about anywhere in the United States, they give tracking numbers to all of their shipments and customers can use the Fed Ex website to track their order from one coast to the other. While Fed Ex is far and away the premium shipping service offered in the US today, it also comes with a premium price, and they can be tough to deal with if they deliver during a time when your customers may not be home. It is likely a farther drive for your customer to go to the local Fed Ex store than it is for them to go to the post office. Choosing Fed Ex is a smart choice only if you are presenting a wholesale DVD operation that is all about class, exclusivity and hard to find, out of print titles.

Many wholesale DVD stores end up choosing the middle of the road candidate: UPS. Just like with Fed Ex, every UPS order comes with an automatic tracking number and delivery to your customer’s front door, but just like with Fed Ex, UPS can be expensive, although usually not as expensive as Fed Ex, and if your customer isn’t home, they may have to drive to the other side of town to pick up their order.

Most wholesale DVD companies simply use US Mail for their shipping. It is far and away the most affordable choice and since most DVD orders are only for $12-$20, express, high cost shipping doesn’t make any sense. The biggest problem with US Mail is that since they deal with such high volume, there is an increased chance of packages getting damaged or just plain lost along the way. There is tracking available, but only with express shipments.

Some retailers offer a choice of one, two or even three different shipping options. Check with your distributor to see what they offer and remember, in most states, it is illegal for a business to make a profit off of shipping charges.

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