In the world of Amazon Prime, everyone has high expectations when it comes to shipping. Even I get a little crazy with stalking an order immediately after I purchase it from anywhere other than Amazon. Shipping expectations have become a hot topic among small business owners. We know our customers deserve great service, but in reality we simply cannot (always) offer the 2-day shipping and free shipping that some companies offer.
Shipping packages to customers all around the U.S. is an integral part of most small businesses and we want to ship you high quality items in a timely fashion. The majority of the items in my shop are handmade and not ready to ship. Unless I have made a few items to get photos for my product listings and they have not yet sold, each and every item I make is handcrafted once you place your order. This way you receive an item made just for you, and often times with the colors and fabrics of your choice.
Small business owners that I network with regularly have tried many versions of free shipping – offering it on all orders or based on a minimum purchase requirement. What customers need to realize, however, is that cost has to go somewhere and it often means the product prices go up. In the case of Amazon, they charge an annual fee for the benefit of ‘free’ shipping. So that begs the question – is it really FREE? I pay for Amazon Prime because I like the ability to receive items I need quickly, but I understand I’m ultimately paying for it. If I were to offer free shipping on all items in my shop I would have no choice other than to raise the prices on my items, and sadly not everyone understands the value of handmade. In a world full of Walmart and Amazon where the majority of items are imported from China, people have come to expect very low prices. This can only be achieved when mass producing items in a factory.
When you are purchasing from a small business consider all that goes into running that business and the service they want to provide for you. Most small business owners have created a business out of a hobby or passion they have perfected over years of hard work. They pour their blood, sweat and many tears into providing each customer with a unique item that may one day even become a family heirloom or prized possession.
As a small business owner I love to be able to make something special for each of my customers. I know your names and in some cases I actually know you! I want the experience to be a good one and I want you to come back again and again when you need special gifts for your friends and family. When you see memes on Facebook about small business owners doing a dance when an order comes through – it’s true. We appreciate every single order that comes in because it allows us to keep doing what we are passionate about, it shows that people believe in what we are doing and it allows us to support our families and give back to our community in a way that many large corporations aren’t.
If a small business that you love doing business with doesn’t offer free shipping it’s not because they don’t want to, trust me, it’s because they need to be realistic with the pricing of their products while offering you great quality and service. I am thankful for each and every customer who has purchased from me since I started my business and will continue to look for ways to save you money while still being able to provide for my family.