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Shipping Costs Suck

Over the weekend I tweaked the settings on my WooCommerce installation so customers in the U.S. get free shipping. You should see a fat, blue banner at the bottom of your browser window.

Why did I do this?

It gets back to why I started Stay Vigilant in the first place: I’m making the shirts I want to wear. I know I have pretty good taste as a designer, artist who lived in New York for 12 years. OK, I’m also married to an amazing woman who schooled my dirty Jersey ass and whipping me into fashion shape over the last 18 years we’ve been together.

But I digress. Back to the shipping. Like the shirts I’m making by hand, I want an e-commerce experience that has as few annoyances in it as possible. If I’m shopping on my own site, would I dig it? I’m not Amazon so I don’t have the means to create my own Prime benefits, but I can do other things.

So removing the shipping fees is the easy part. You just, well, remove them. Boom. Now I have a problem though. Now when someone in the U.S. makes a purchase a chunk of the money I made off the sale goes to shipping fees. Ok, fine, I’ll raise the price of the shirts, but just enough to offset the shipping costs. This works for a sale of one item, but if someone buys 5 or 10 shirts, I’ve overcompensated and overcharged U.S. customers.

My current solution to this overcharging is the WooCommerce Bulk Discount plugin. I’ve set discount count tiers for 2, 5, and 10 shirts. It’s not micro-precision but I think it’s fair.

If I end up with the problem of someone ordering more than 10 shirts at once, I’ll add more discount tiers. For now I think these 3 tiers will suffice.

Down the road I’d love to extend free shipping to Canada and Europe, but I just don’t have the means yet to do this, but when I reach the point where I can do this I will.

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Don’t Tax My Ass

Supreme Court Clears Way to Collect Sales Tax From Online Retailers:

WASHINGTON — Internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Brick-and-mortar businesses have long complained that they are disadvantaged by having to charge sales taxes while many of their online competitors do not. States have said that they are missing out on tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that helped spur the rise of internet shopping.

On Thursday, the court overruled that ruling, Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which had said that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales taxes unless they have a substantial connection to the state.

My knee-jerk reaction to this ruling is that it’s bullshit and sucks, but I’m going to continue to read up on it and see if there are valid arguments from perspective of the states.