Thursday, 24 May 2012

08:10 – Barbara’s dad is still in the hospital, and probably will be for the next couple of days. Barbara said he’d lost about four pounds (~ two kilos), all of which was water weight. They’ll continue to dry him out and then have some other tests they want to run.

I spent much of yesterday costing out the forensic science kits. I had to do that before the book is finalized, because I didn’t want the kit to end up having to be priced at $300 or $400. The goal is $200 or less. Eyeballing it, it looks like we’ll be able to do that. Based on the amount of stuff that’ll be in the kit, it looks like we may have to go to a large flat-rate box rather than a regional-rate box B, which puts the shipping cost at about $15, versus an average of maybe $10 on the chemistry and biology kits, but that’s doable. One way or another, we’ll still bundle in free shipping because people hate to have shipping charges separate from the product price.

Geez. By 0800 this morning, I’d already shipped two kits, one chemistry and one biology. This is making me nervous. We get a nice batch of kits ready. They’re sitting there, all stacked up nice and pretty. And then people go and order them, and we watch our stock dwindle. Oh, well. I guess I’d better get used to it. From now until maybe October, we’ll be shipping a lot of kits. We can rest then.


10:34 – I love how some vendors try to encourage people to upgrade from the free shipping option. I ordered a case of 10 mL oral syringes on Tuesday, and chose the free shipping option with 7 to 10 day delivery. I wasn’t in a huge hurry, so I decided that was fine. I just got a notification from the vendor with a UPS tracking number. The shipment is scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

“Free” shipping used to be an inducement to increase order size and prevent abandoned shopping carts, but it’s come to be expected and just another cost of doing business. LL Bean’s new free shipping policy may be the final nail in the coffin of charging for shipping separately. Bean now ships essentially all orders for free, regardless of number of items or price. I can order one $3 item and Bean ships it for free.

I never had any intention of charging separately for shipping. Fortunately, that’s easy for us because our minimum order is currently $160, the price of one chemistry kit. The only small orders we receive are replacement orders for spilled chemicals, broken glassware, and so on. On those orders, of which we’ve received exactly one in the last year, we may end up breaking even or worse, but again I consider that just a cost of doing business.