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Should You Include Shipping?

productivity sales
Cardboard box.

For the first time, I included shipping (in Australia) in the price of my paintings during my latest exhibition. Usually, a shipping estimate is added on to the cost of the painting, and can be up to $300 for some of my larger works. While most people expect to pay this, it is a nice surprise when I tell them it’s included.

It's had a great response from customers! I thought it might make it simpler to offer just the one price. I raised the price of my paintings to cover it, and made sure there was a little extra for packing materials and time. I know roughly the cost to send most of my painting sizes now, so could build this into my final price.

I can still spend up to an hour packing large paintings, so will need to compensate for this more in the future, but this has been a good trial run resulting in overall more sales.

I found that customers who were sitting on the fence over a painting, immediately bought when they found out that shipping was included.

It is easier to work out if you have a lot of similar sized artwork - as you know how much it will cost beforehand and therefore how much to charge. Just making sure you cover your costs, packing materials and some time is sufficient, and the mindset of having it included, making it easier for your customers, makes it worthwhile.

It might not work for all artists, especially if your work comes in many different shapes and sizes, but it is something to consider if the idea appeals to you. I still charge for overseas shipping, as this can be significantly more, plus insurance is higher and it takes longer, so for the moment this feels right. I can usually give customers a quote upfront for overseas shipping so they know what to expect.

I have learnt how to pack my artwork well myself, which also reduces the cost, rather than paying a courier service to do it for me. Plus is gives me peace of mind if I know something is packed really well. If customers are buying artwork for the first time, it is good to put their mind at ease by keeping them in the loop with frequent communication, along with letting them know when they can expect their painting or artwork.

I also asked people to send me a quick note to let me know when something has arrived and if all okay, which puts my mind at ease too.

Lots of ecommerce businesses now offer free shipping, and there is a reason for it. Making the process as simple and pain free as you can results in a better customer experience. And happy customers become life-long customers! Plus they are more likely to give you a good testimonial, and refer you to their friends.


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