The Why of Shipping Prices

July 30, 2015
Written by Elise

One of the goals we have for our blog is to help answer your questions. Earlier, we answered this question about pistachios. Another subject we get asked about frequently is shipping prices.

For all of our orders, we use either UPS or USPS, depending on whether the customer specifies what they want or how fast it needs to get there, which boxes will best hold the products in the order, constraints on shipping areas, and which will be the best deal or speed for the customer. A fairly large proportion of our orders are shipped through USPS. 

However, some of our products have to be shipped through UPS: our baskets, in particular. The reason for this is that they simply don't fit in the regional flat rate boxes we use when shipping with the Postal Service. In 2015, we've seen price changes come down the line from UPS that have been the cause of many of your questions. The first price change from UPS is an average increase of 4.9% on all UPS Ground, UPS Air, and UPS International shipping. The second, and bigger (for us), change is a switch to dimensional weight pricing

When we ship a basket, it needs to be in a fairly large box to fit everything without damage. If we were to take all the wrappings off a basket and place it in a second box, it would fit in a much smaller box. It used to be the case that the shipping prices of these two packages would be very near the same, because the rates were not based on box size but weight alone. Today, the larger box required to ship a basket without damaging it costs more money to ship. UPS states that this change was made because "Dimensional weight pricing encourages reductions in excess packaging materials and overall package sizes, leading to reduced fuel use, vehicle emissions and transportation costs." It is the case that the higher price for larger boxes encourages companies and people to reduce the size of the boxes they use, if possible. For us, because you as customers want the same gift baskets as you've always gotten, we can't decrease the size of the boxes we use. So the shipping rates will continue to be higher for baskets than they were previously. 

Outside this year's price changes, another frequent question about shipping rates has to do with the reason ours are higher than at other companies. A common example used for comparison is Amazon. Like most companies, we calculate our shipping prices by taking exactly what UPS or USPS would charge us to ship it and adding a small fee just large enough to cover labor and the cost of any additional packaging components that might be necessary. The difference in shipping rates between us and a large company like Amazon has to do with the rate a shipping company charges us to ship your orders. These rates are decided through contracts, and bigger companies can get contracts with better rates than a company of our size can. As a small, gourmet company, our online prices are much better than most companies that sell gourmet, high-end products. We price based on real-time shipping which calculates a price (at that exact moment) based on the weight of the product, the dimensions, and the address being shipped to. Most companies base their shipping on an average dollar amount.

On somewhat of a related tangent, we're also asked a lot about whether we're capable of giving you a precise delivery date for the gifts you order to be shipped. This is something we unfortunately can't provide for you. As the distance between our warehouse and a gift's recipient gets longer, the possibility of variability in the time it takes to ship grows. Large companies such as Amazon have multiple warehouses all over the country so they can quickly ship nearly anywhere in the U.S. and easily provide precise delivery dates. When it comes to us as a small company, we have one warehouse in Salt Lake City. This gives us the advantage of being able to meticulously control even our most sensitive and highly perishable products until the moment they're shipped. It also means we can't predict delivery dates precisely. The last thing we would want would be to tell you a date on which a gift will arrive and disappoint you when that date turns out to be incorrect. We guarantee the shipping date--the day your order leaves our building--and we hope your order will arrive by the day you want it.

What we can do is continue to do our very best to find better, more efficient ways to package and ship things so you aren't paying any more than you need to in order to send those gifts and get your treats. 

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