Free shipping causing funky buyer behavior

Due to squirrels who keep digging up seeds, I decided to get another seed starting tray so I can plant baby plants instead of seeds.

The one I like is a commercial variety so there’s only one or two vendors who sell it by the unit. Otherwise I have to order a pallet.

But on a per-unit basis the shipping cost is high. e.g. $22 shipping on a $24 tray that weighs about 2 pounds.

Then I saw the vendor had a free shipping on orders over $100 deal going on (again).

I was about to buy 4 trays and some misc pots but then I noticed something crazy…

They also sell 10 trays for $109.

With free shipping.

Let’s recap.

For $46 I could get 1 tray shipped. ($46/unit)

For $100 I could get 4 trays shipped. ($25/unit)

For $109 I could get 10 trays shipped. ($10.90/unit)

Guess what I ordered? And guess what is shipping in 3 different boxes?

I’m not quite sure how this worked out for them business-wise.

These trays are popular and go out of stock often so it’s not they need to closeout old inventory.

They aren’t prepackaged into a single box of 10 so there’s handling labor needed to send a 10/pack out.

It could be a cash issue, they’d rather a little profit on the order so they get some cash on-hand (winter will slow down their orders).

Or it could be that they are targeting the repeat buyers. e.g. lose a little on this order with the intent to make more on later orders. This would be something that they’d want to analyze with Repeat Customer Insights.

Or it could just be that I found a really good deal.

Whatever the case … may be, my neighborhood is going to get a lot of free plants this next year as each tray holds 242 plants at a time.

Eric Davis

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