We get a lot of questions (and in some cases complaints) about shipping costs. Outland, as a company, does its best to get you the best rates available to us, but there are certain limitations and walls we run up against as a small company.
Being a small company, we simply do not do the bulk sales that larger and mid-tier companies can count on. With bulk sales come certain shipping discounts that we don’t get.
In a good month, we’ll ship out a couple hundred products (though we’ve sent far less and only occasionally more). The amount of product that we ship directly affects the kind of discounts we can expect to get from USPS, FedEx, or UPS. It all comes down to quantity.
But even packing a hundred packages (let alone several hundred) a month is tedious and takes a lot of time. Not to mention, the timeliness of packing and shipping the order.
We work with a warehouse and fulfillment company. This works for us, because all our products are housed at their warehouse and our online store ties in directly with their shipping software, so any time somebody orders, they get the order and pack and ship it within a few days.
Right now, here’s how our shipping costs break down –
This is an example of a comic, graphic novel, or book under two pounds shipped domestically.
- Shipping Media Mail - $3.92.
- Fulfillment Cost per order - $3.00.
- $1.00 per unit picked and packed (for the first three items).
- $1 for packaging.
Our base cost for shipping a single trade paperback – $8.92.
International orders are a whole other beast. Shipping across the globe became expensive over the pandemic and while the price has dropped some, shipping costs still haven’t completely fallen to pre-pandemic rates.
We’ve moved over to shipping internationally with Shopify Fulfillment Network. We’re still working out some kinks, but we’re doing our best to keep international shipping rates down for our customers.
As an example, we saw a drop from in price from using USPS Priority Mail from $50 to around $20 to ship to Germany from the US for a medium, 2lb (and under) package.
We researched many different fulfillment companies before deciding who we decided to work with. Many had monthly shipping minimums we couldn’t guarantee as a small company, monthly fees that would end up costing us more than we make, or they didn’t have a warehouse component. Our current fulfillment company came to us highly recommended and could hit all the things we needed.
As for crowdfunding, we list all our shipping charges on the campaigns so there are no surprises for backers.
We’ll always strive to find the best shipping rates, but the fact of the matter is we’re just not big enough to be able to get the same shipping rates that benefit larger companies.