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Hello!  This is my first time posting on a forum of any kind!  So here it goes!  I am wondering how people are setting up shipping for they online stores?  I live in the Virgin Islands so will only be able to ship USPS, FED EX and DHL.  USPS is what we are going to use.   We offer shipping in our gallery and take down credit card info when we get their address and contact information so we can charge them for shipping later.  We also add a small shipping and handling fee.  Does anyone use ship station?  Is my only option trying to guess how much I think the shipping will be then hope I don't loose money.... I don't mind every now and then but it adds up.  I do not want to limit myself to a priority box....just wondering what everyone else is doing


Thanks for you help!

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I consider convenience for the customer more important than ....what seems to be a loss in shipping of calculated wrong. Seems to be, because if you build shipping into the cost of each piece, you get it back if 2 or more items are purchased. 

It takes one person to not read, and then get upset about later charges, to get a bad review, or worse, a non-repeat customer.

For me, California and the Pacific NW is always...."eh...shoulda charged more".

I think after while you can judge good estimates.

I personally, would rather be charged double for shipping up front, than wonder about who can find my number and charge whatever on it.

CC #'s and Personal information left out is pet peeves of mine. Hate it. Had my identity stolen once. 


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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I think a little of how you go about shipping depends a bit on your typical purchase and how frequently you ship. Your process may be different if you're sending out a lot of single small items all the time than it would be if you're shipping large or multiple pieces occasionally (less than once a week). My inclination in either case would be to charge the customer once, rather than have 2 separate transactions for product and shipping.

There's a lot of if/then scenarios that could be at work here, and if I had a bit more information I can tailor my answers better. How does your typical purchase come about?  What's the funnel look like? Have you got an ecommerce website that you're setting up, or do people email you with their orders? If you have an e-commerce site, what platform are you using? Is someone setting it up for you or are you doing it yourself? How comfortable with learning new software are you?

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If you can use the flat reate shipping boxes at USPS-they have 3 sizes. The biggest issue is the large is only 12x12 x5.5 inches and then its  reate schedule.The other thing is the boxes are FREE.

Large box is under $20 no matter what USA zip code it going to even to Hawaii and Alaska

USPS is your best option in the islands. You should be able to have a dependable rate schedule once you master box sizing.

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I am currently giving free shipping on everything on my site, and have just increased prices a little bit to compensate for some of that cost. I'll lose a little off the price compared to if I was charging shipping, but I'll still make more than if I was selling it at a gallery or had the costs of selling at an art fair. Shipping out to California costs me a lot more than shipping to Ohio, but in the end it will all average out.

One of the difficult things about charging for shipping is that most online shopping cart systems aren't able to calculate shipping accurately when customers buy multiple items. For instance, the cost for me to ship 1 small cup is about the same as for 4 small cups. Same size box, minimal difference in total weight. My system calculates shipping costs base on weight- you put in a cost for a weight range, and then it calculates total shipping cost based on the weight of the items. The trick is to not use the actual weight of the items, but rather to think about pounds in terms of units of shipping. For example, I put in a shipping cost of $14 for a box that will fit anything from 1-4 pounds/units. Then I assign each of my small cups a weight of 1 pound/unit, regardless of what it actually weighs. That way if they buy 1 or 4, they get charged the same $14 dollars because they'll all fit into that box. Any other pots I make that fit into that same size box will get tagged accordingly. Say wide mugs can fit two to that same box, they'll get assigned a weight of 2 pounds/units. If someone buys 1 or 2, they get charged $14. If they buy 3 or 4, then they get bumped up to the 5-8 pound shipping charge. If i have a round vase that only fits one into that size box, then it gets tagged as 4 pounds/units. If someone buys 1 wide mug (2 pounds/units) and 2 small cups (1 pound/unit each), then they get charged $14 because they will all fit into that one box. If they buy 1 wide mug and 3 small cups, that totals 5 units so they get bumped up to the next rate. It takes a little work to figure out what box sizes you want to use and how things will fit into them, but it ends up being fairly accurate in the long run. The only big differences are for when you're shipping to different parts of the country, but that all averages out eventually.

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On 11/27/2020 at 1:36 PM, neilestrick said:

my site,

I just cruised over there. Nice!

I am setting up my site currently.

I see you sell everything as individual pieces. Trying to gain some feedback on what that's like. My thing is, I don't like when things are "sold out", I will say yours looks very clean, nothing like the blurred out sold out pictures, that's just mean!

What I'm really trying to ask is, with a low volume like I hope to not have for long..lol, of individual pieces, is it even feasible to never have something "sold out"? Will that clear for you on the Thursday before shipping day?

And to not have nothing for @blackdogdesignsI notice that here, if you're not filling the Flat Rate boxes with lead, or granite, it doesn't seem to save much money. 

But...they seem to treat those boxes nicer, cuz, there's no question who's shipping them if the box is all tore up...a plain brown box could be a competitor. I sometimes use them for insurance for that reason! 

Really precariously fragile things should always go in a box with the shipping company's name on it! Keeps em honest!



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This is how I’ve chosen to handle shipping costs this year, which ends up not costing me any profit, and I feel like it’s user friendly for the customer too.

First of all, I am only selling pots that are roughly the same size, so I only use two box sizes: 9x9x9 for one pot, and 16x9x9 for two pots. 

I used the UPS cost estimator on their website to calculate shipping costs for these two sizes, for both a short trip and a cross-country trip.  I am using the ICAN discount for UPS, and it makes a huge difference.

USPS has a cost estimator on their website too.

Here are the flat rate shipping fees that I came up with. 

Up to $50 = $12

$51 to $100 = $18

$101 and up = $24

The way my pots are priced, this generally equates to one pot = $12, two pots = $18, three or more pots = $24. Sometimes, a person will buy 6 or 8 pots, and I’ll lose money on those, but for a purchase like that I don’t mind. I did three online sales this year, and each time the shipping fees collected came within $20 of the shipping costs. 

I also add $5 to the cost of every pot, and this pays for the boxes and packing materials. 

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46 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

@Sorcery If you don’t want to have a bunch of listings saying “sold out,” you can usually just hide them with a click. It saves having to rebuild them when you restock. 

Would you mind expanding on the difference between hiding and rebuilding, and of you would, the platform you use? Link?

41 minutes ago, GEP said:

When some of your items are labeled “sold out,” it conveys a sense of time pressure and scarcity, which leads to more sales. 

I thought this at first, more because I'm hyperaware of a gimmick over feeling the scarcity. To me, a one of a kind product can't be "sold out", it's just gone.  So while I appreciate the (online) "gallery" of it, which I don't know much about, sometimes I think it says "ha ha you can't get this one" with a touch of bragging.

No offense to anyone. It's just a me thing!

Thanks guys!

I'm reading!



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It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Edit: I would never advocate creating a fake “sold out” listing for purposes of tricking anyone. But keep in mind just because an item is sold out, a customer can still ask you to make it again. The opportunity to buy it is not lost forever. 

Edited by GEP
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3 hours ago, Sorcery said:

Would you mind expanding on the difference between hiding and rebuilding, and of you would, the platform you use? Link?

So the platform I use is Square, which I used because I was already set up with Weebly with my previous website, and because I use Square to take payments. (Square bought weebly in 2018 so it could expand its e-commerce capabilities). My website is in my bio at the bottom of this reply if you want to take a look. I won't link directly in the answer here, because I have to set a good example about not selling via the forum here.

The specifics of building a listing from scratch will vary a bit from platform to platform, but generally it involves filling out a kind of online form with all the information you want a customer to have about your product (number of items in stock, pictures, descriptions, shipping information, size, weight, volume), information about your shop's return/shipping/other customer service policies, and some sort of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information or keywords. This is generally a ton of repetitive, time consuming work. Because your adoring public doesn't want to watch you do this boring job in real time, you usually build your listings in groups, and publish them all at once when they're done. When items sell, the listing doesn't disappear into the ether. Again, exactly what happens varies by platform. On Square, the listing is still there, the only thing that has changed is that you don't have any of that item in stock, so there's a little banner at the bottom of the picture  helpfully pointing out to potential customers that t his item is "out of stock."  

If the item is something I make identical ones of often and regularly, the only thing I have to do to sell more is go back into the listing, and add in the number of ones that I just pulled out of the kiln.

If the item is one that is one of a kind but I make similar ones, for example, my dessert mugs, I will list 6 of them in each colour at a time, and as the public face of the website gets cluttered with all the sold out ones, I'll go into the listing and click on the "hide" or the "unavailable" button(see image), the page is more legible to shop from. The listing hasn't been erased however. I can still get at it from my item library in my website account, so I'll edit it with new photos when I've made a fresh batch, update the stock to show I have one, and unhide the listing again. It's far less work than starting from scratch every time with information that is basically the same. 


better print screen.png

Edited by Callie Beller Diesel
changed image for a better one
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2 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

not selling via the forum here

That that line isn't a little more clear kinda bothers me. You shouldn't have to worry that worry. To me, there is a clear difference between wanting to buy someone's work to better understand a process or even just to support each other. I feel like some "one" ruined it for us all, but worse, we couldn't see to ex that one or that type of "selling", over one that SHOULD happen if we are to really learn, share, and support. 

It's only because I was a moderator at my Bonsai forum, and with the only rule really being, "no threats of bodily harm", everything kind of works itself out. Though I do think this only happens when the community has responsibility for the the things they post, and this can't happen if things get deleted or changed.


I very much appreciate your "expansion". I will be using SquareSpace. I will be browsing your site to learn! Thank you!



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@Sorcery I’m not too worried about not posting links to my own website somewhere other than my signature. You can still click through easily and have a poke around to see what’s what. And we do get people from time to time who try to use the forum as a place to softly (or firmly!)  push their businesses, so we have to word the terms of use the way we do. It lets us boot spammers without any fuss. We want to be a place where you’re not being sold to when you want information. 

Its important to note too that SquareSpace is different than Square. SquareSpace began, and still primarily is, a website building platform that you can also happen to get a plugin that will allow you to take payments online. Square began as a mobile credit card processing system, and acquired a website building platform (weebly) to allow people to build e-commerce websites. They are different companies and will have very different back end layouts and capabilities. 

SquareSpace has more capabilities and possible points for customization, but requires a bit more confidence with technology and may have more of a learning curve. Square is very easy to pick up, but has fewer things you can tailor to your own desires, and less functionality. If you want to do your own comparisons, just google “SquareSpace vs Square review (this year)” to get up to date comparisons. It’s a good idea to add the year to the search terms because the different platforms are always adding new functionality and fixing things. 

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