S & H

The retail business is a bit of a mystery.

When you go into a store and purchase something, especially if you purchase on sale, you will most often get that item at a good price. A price that is the same as their on line store.

To market to you in person, they have to:
• keep a supply of the item in a central warehouse.
• deliver the item to the store and probably in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand thus risking the necessity of overstock
• display and manage the item so that you will see it and no-one will pilfer it.
• heat and light the building and keep it neat, clean and appealing so that you will be enticed to continue to shop there.
• handle the item and have staff deal with you personally when you make the purchase.

To market by internet, catalogue or phone things get easier
• their stock is all in a central location
• they receive your order often electronically
• then they ship it.

However with the remote transaction the customer:
• is often charged a handling fee (no such fee in the physical store where the item is handled many times).
• is charged delivery (even if ordered by catalogue from the physical store, you get charged delivery to that store (as if they don’t deliver to themselves when they stock their shelves?).

I don’t really object to a realistic delivery charge for moving the goods from their warehouse to my home address. I didn’t have to drive anywhere at 40 to 50 cents per klick. I do; however, find it odd that there is a delivery charge to get the product to a store that would have had to deliver it to themselves to stock their shelves. The fiction that they are different divisions so operate separately just seems to be a dodge to charge more.

I have an acquaintance who sells on line. He doesn’t make much if anything on the item. His profit is shipping and handling.

So when comparing on line costs to in store costs, remember the handling and shipping costs.