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RPO Delete
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2,255 Posts
Why doesn't RockAuto offer a better way to ship, in general? Ordering from two or three different warehouses through RA sends prices skyward. Jegs and Summit both have multiple USA warehouses and still offer flat-rate or free shipping even when the order is split between facilities.

I've encountered over $40 in shipping charges on a single order of parts because RA split their inventory between facilities. They were similar parts, you'd think they would be stocked in the same place. When I called to talk to a rep, they could/would do nothing because "that's just how it works."


Maybe you would generate more sales with flat-rate shipping. I know I've cancelled multiple carts on RA after the shipping quotes are posted. The video was 4.5 minutes of explaining "cross your fingers; hope for the best."
 

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It's mostly BS
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2,664 Posts
I agree. RA needs to take the next step and get a couple of big central warehouses that carry the entire inventory to reduce the shipping cost to customers. Give the customer what they want...lower shipping cost. Seems you've got the other bases covered. As it is, I end up buying from Amazon a good amount of time due to their free shipping on big orders.
 

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Vendor
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142 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
A video to help explain how to reduce shipping costs might imply shipping is overly complicated at RockAuto, but actually it is the opposite. Customers simply pay whatever FedEx, UPS, USPS or other delivery services charge for shipping their parts. We offer all customers the lowest part prices we can and customers pay whatever FedEx, UPS, etc. charges to deliver their parts.

There really is no such thing as “free shipping.” FedEx does not work for free. Unless a company is losing money, free shipping means higher product prices. With higher part prices to pay for shipping, the customer near the warehouse ordering a lightweight part ends up subsidizing the shipping costs for the customer far away from the warehouse ordering a large, heavy part. Some companies offering free shipping might sell some products with large profit margins that can subsidize shipping costs for other products that they lose money on.

There are numerous free shipping strategies that companies use. I certainly understand the allure of free shipping. Order whatever you want from anywhere and the FedEx person seemingly happily delivers it for free. However, with all free shipping strategies, some customers are winners and some are losers. If a person’s true goal is to keep the total cost (part price plus shipping) consistently as low as possible, then they need to take time to figure out the algorithms behind the free shipping offers. Otherwise, they risk paying too much for some products, paying for costly preferred customer memberships, etc.

There are no tricky free shipping algorithms at RockAuto. Everybody pays the same reliably low prices and the actual shipping costs. As our video tries to show, the customer picks the parts and the catalog tells them via the little truck icons which warehouses the parts ship from. The customer decides if they want to pay to ship boxes from multiple warehouses or if for this particular order, they want to only pick parts that are on the shelves of one warehouse.

Yes, there would be fewer shipping boxes if there were fewer warehouses, but there would also be higher shipping costs for the unfortunate customers that live further away from the remaining warehouses. RockAuto customers are often very happy that their parts arrive in one or two days with just standard shipping. It is also impractical if not impossible to build a single gargantuan warehouse large enough to hold the millions of parts. Fewer warehouses would mean longer shipping times and fewer choices of parts and brands.

Sorry to get on my soapbox, but RockAuto has thousands of customers with deep affection for the RockAuto catalog and the simplicity at its core. We hope the shipping video helps customers less familiar with the catalog. For some people, it might require a whole different mindset. Do not consider it to be a personal affront if those brakes cannot ship from the same warehouse as that particular brand of strut. Instead, try thinking how amazing it is to have access to the full product lines of a couple of hundred part manufacturers. Think how fun it is to be able to quickly peruse the shelves of numerous huge, if not gargantuan warehouses. Notice how low your total cost is (parts plus shipping) if you make an effort to choose more parts from as few warehouses as possible every time you order.

One of the reasons my family made RockAuto available online fifteen years ago was to give customers access to all those part catalogs, warehouse inventories, etc. hidden behind the counter at the traditional auto parts store. Please enjoy the access RockAuto provides.

Oops, I left the soapbox and now sound like Yoda. The video is less wordy. Please watch it, if you are not familiar with the truck icons and other methods for keeping track of which warehouses your parts are shipping from.

Tom Taylor
RockAuto.com
 

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It's mostly BS
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No doubt you know your business better than me.

One thing that you can do to improve things for you and your customers is to try to group the products better. For example, I just bought a bunch of radiator and heater hoses from you. When I went to buy clamps, they were all at other warehouses. I ended up buying locally but would have preferred buying from you.
 
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