Every store has their own way of setting up the relationship between the guarantee/refund policy, shipping, and livestock prices, and it is up to you as a customer to read up on the policies and see what works best for the way you'd like to order.
All of the online stores pay roughly the same price for shipping labels, and the same price for livestock as well. We all just have our own strategies on how to offer our products and services.
You may see lower free shipping minimums or cheaper shipping fees with other online stores. You may even see them offer sales, discounts, and freebies that may seem like a great deal.
Our strategy is a little different. We operate on a straight margin, primarily based on the cost for fish and shipping, to price everything as low as we possibly can at all times. For this reason, we truly do not have room for discounts or sales, even on typical sale days like Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Think of us like Costco or Wal-Mart, but with the best customer service of any of our competitors.
Why Shipping Rates are So High
When ordering fish online, one of the biggest issues that we must always work around is the overnight shipping cost with UPS Next Day Air.
To ensure that your animals arrive to your door in optimal health, we use the fastest possible overnight shipping service. While we have a discounted rate to ship via UPS, the cost to ship is still a very high fixed cost we must deal with with every order.
To put things into perspective, for our standard box size, each shipping label costs us an average of $50-60. We offer free shipping on orders over $169, as we make enough profit from most orders above $169 to cover the shipping for you.
Due to our pricing strategy (pricing each item we sell on a fixed margin, as low as possible), we must charge for shipping on orders below $169, as we do not make enough profit and in most cases would be losing money if we covered the shipping.
You may have seen that our standard shipping fee for orders under $169 has gone up from $39 to $49; this is due to increased shipping rates that have been heavily affected by rising fuel prices. If our rates go back down, we will gladly reduce the shipping fee.
Why Our Strategy is Best
With such a wide range of strategies between ourselves and other online stores, we understand that it can be confusing to determine which store works best for you.
For example, alternatively we could set our free shipping minimum at $99 (or even offer free shipping on all orders), and/or offer weekly discounts and freebies. If we chose to go that route, we would have to raise all of our livestock prices to account for that. Those of you who order over $169, or do not care for the freebies offered, would suffer higher fish prices to account for the different strategy.
Ultimately, based on feedback from our customers and from our own research, if you are ordering over $179 and getting free shipping, our prices overall and 15-day guarantee policy cannot be beaten. Compared to some other online stores, you may see a 2-300% discount for many of the items we sell, and again, at all times.
Our strategy allows you to choose exactly what you want to order at a price that's always fair, without being affected by unwanted freebies or constantly fluctuating prices. And we do understand that in some rare cases, the strategies offered by other stores might work better for you.
Most importantly, we pride ourselves on offering the best customer service in the industry, bar-none. You will be happy to know that you deal with the same small team, committed to serving you the right way, every time you order.