Shipping and Discounts
North American Shipping
We've all gotten used to Amazon's same-day shipping and 2-day delivery times. While it's great on the receiving end, living up to those expectations for a small company is daunting. The enclosures are manufactured and packed by hand in Greensboro NC by 3D printing enthusiasts just like yourself, not made in a factory overseas and stored in regional warehouses.
It's easy to ship out the same day when you have the same product boxed and ready to go, but our customers tend to each want something a little different. Offering extensive customization means an explosion of variations that are impossible to stock for a small company. Most of our enclosures need to be cut individually for each customer, which can take five business days.
Or, if you order a completely custom enclosure, that usually takes 2-3 weeks to do the design, approval, layout, and test assembly before shipping.
Amazon Prime has conditioned people to want free shipping, but our enclosures are large and heavy, more like shipping furniture. The largest of our enclosures weigh 75 pounds and require custom built crates!
We already lose thousands of dollars on shipping, so there's simply no way to get shipping costs any lower without raising prices and then offering "free" shipping. This way, you at least know the approximate cost of the actual shipping.
Here's an example: our most common box is 30"x30"x8" and weighs 25 pounds. Shipping from 27410 to 90008 is around $90 retail. We get a volume discount of about $15, and then subsidize $15, bringing the shipping cost for the customer down to around $60. And that's not even factoring in the cost of the box and packing materials, which can range anywhere from $15 to $50.
The other problem in online retail is the ubiquitous discount code. The idea is simple: jack up prices by 25%, and then offer 25% discounts. You see the codes everywhere these days, from shoes to paint to makeup. What's not to like?
The problem is twofold. First, we don't have sales staff sitting around to negotiate discounts and generate codes. Every minute we have to spend answering questions about discounts is a minute not spent on designing new enclosures, improving existing ones, and getting orders out the door.
The other problem is those large discounts are offered on Chinese-made products with huge profit margins. They take an item that costs $5 to make, offer 25% discounts and free shipping and they can still get a 75% profit margin.
On the other hand, our niche products are made in the US from premium US-made acrylic and filament and cut on an industrial US-made laser. They come with support and a 30-day money-back guarantee, priced at the minimum we can charge and still make enough money to come out with new models.
But what about schools, libraries, non-profits, and a host of other customers who would like discounts? Sorry, but we have priced the products as low as we can and still stay in business. Selling things at cost is not a good business model!
In conclusion, sorry, we don't do business like big brands. Maybe someday we'll hire a marketing consultant, but for now, we'll have to make do shipping a premium product at a fair price.