Knife Pricing Creep…. hmmm, probably not the best phraseology. Let’s just accept that the word “creep” isn’t a reference to an individual but to an occurrence. As in the price is creeping up.
In the past two years the cost of doing business has slowly but steadily gone up. Postage costs have been one of the biggest contributors to increasing expenses. The cost of a domestic shipment has gone up 8-10% and shipments outside of the US have really shot up. I really sympathize with overseas buyers who can end up doubling the price of a knife through postage and duty. The Whalers were costing $22+ to ship overseas. Domestically, the Whalers cost $3.50 to ship and I have started adding the cost to some of the stragglers I’ve had come in.
PayPal and Credit Card processing charges have also increased. Depending on the card, size of the charge and whether there is a currency exchange involved fees can run over 8% of the transaction.
On top of these costs, I recently had a rather painful experience with PayPal. A package sent to Europe was diverted to Mexico by the USPS. Once it hit Mexico the tracking information stops with no further updates. After several months the customer (justifiably) files a claim with PayPal. Even though I can clearly establish that I shipped the knife and the USPS is totally at fault, the loss is mine to cover. It seems that PayPals “Seller Protection” covers lost shipments only if the seller can prove the package was ‘delivered’???? Sounds to me more like “Buyers Protection”, but that’s another story.
I’ve watched other dealers go from Free Shipping on everything to Free Shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. Some are bucking the old trend of trying to have the lowest price on their knives. If you’re in business to make a living, margins are pretty critical to keep the wolf from the door.
In the past I’ve complained that we never know the price of the Great Eastern Knives until the day they actually ship to the dealer. In a perfect retail world it would be great to be able do the same and precisely pass on the exact expense occurred on each sale…. (and a decent cigar still cost a nickel).
The point being, I’m trying to figure out a way to pass on some of these expenses without inflicting too much pain on anyone. It’s a lot easier to calculate overseas shipping costs as there’s a broader window covering a broader band of shipping weights/cost. I’ve tried using the item weight shipping calculator which isn’t real accurate and often ends up overcharging the customer. The problem is really tough to solve when a $200 and a $59.95 knife both cost $2.69 to ship.
For now, I appreciate you listening. Sometimes its easier to come up with a solution if you can talk (write) through a problem. To keep things running profitably, there’s probably some minor price adjustments in the future. Hopefully, most won’t even be noticeable. I do promise to make a best effort to keep them reasonable.