The Summer Free Shipping Promotion

Free Shipping Promo of $100 cancelled As many of you know, the Summer Free Shipping Promotion has ended. As with any promotion or marketing tactic, one of our main goals is to evaluate the promotion to understand whether it actually hit it’s goal – that is, drove more sales and traffic. Normally, all we’d have to do is compare the previous period (i.e. same months last year) to this period and; adjusting for regular sales increase, figure out the difference in both revenue and number of sales. Unfortunately, as many of you know, we had a huge problem in the middle of the month – the Canada Post strike/lockout threat. This created a huge amount of uncertainty and we even had to turn off the promotion at some point as we switched to shipping via UPS.

How much difference did the threat of a Canada Post strike make in our sales? Well, we saw a 31% drop in total shipments and about 35% in total in June where the strike affected us most. That’s a huge drop, especially when you realise that the next month (August) we saw a full 40% increase. Now, you could say that the 40% increase was from the free shipping but there’s also an argument to be made that the increase is in part due to orders that were ‘held-off’ during the strike period.

On top of all this of course is the calculation needed to figure out the difference in profitability. It’s not enough to know how much more we made (if anything); it’s also important to know how much more we paid in shipping. There’s 2 main ways to do this of course – a line by line review (matching each free shipping order to it’s associated cost in our invoices) or we could go with averages. In this case, we work out the average cost of shipping each order and compare it against our previous year to work out the increase / change and compare it to our average revenue generated from shipping. This lets us know the difference that each order ‘cost’ us to ship, which then lets us work out the increased cost of shipping. Unfortunately, again; not that easy since we also have a bunch of Kickstarter shipments in our invoices. Which means we have to individually take it all out to actually work out our actual cost of shipping.

Overall, here’s what we figured out:

  • The lower free shipping threshold probably generated an increase in orders
  • This increase mainly came from existing customers, not new customers
  • Surprisingly, the average sale value saw only a small change (6.82%)
  • Profit margins per order dropped by about 16.98%

However, because of the strike our total number of orders actually dropped in comparison to last year (about 16%)  during the period in question.  It’s hard to draw any real conclusions because of the strike, though there is enough data to suggest that if the strike hadn’t happened we would have seen an overall increase in number of orders.  The question which we can’t answer is whether that increase would make up for the drop in our profit margins (we need about a 34% increase overall to breakeven on the loss in profits) since the two months we just don’t have enough data / time to make it clear.  My guess is that it probably a wash if a slight decrease in our overall profit, which is why we’ve moved back to the $175 free shipping option for now.

Canada Post strikes, UPS & Scythe Shipping

Canada Post on Strike Again?Canada Post is likely going to have a strike / lock-out in July.  Nothing officially confirmed, but it sounds like it’s going to happen. Here’s how we are handling things and how it is going to affect shipping at Starlit Citadel.

Canada Post Strikes / Lockouts

The lockout is currently rumored to happen in July, probably July 1 as the postal workers are looking to vote on the strike on July 2. As such, any Canada Post shipment that is estimated to deliver before June 31, 2016 will be fine (unless you aren’t able to receive the delivery and aren’t able to pick it up before then or the shipment gets delayed).  In other words, we CANNOT guarantee a shipment that is en-route for delivery around June 31, 2016 and later will arrive as it might get stuck in Canada Post’s warehouses.

We will likely turn off Canada Post delivery completely next week as anything ordered after Monday is unlikely to get delivered anyway.

UPS Shipping

We have turned on UPS shipping in Canada in the meantime.  You will notice a huge difference in pricing between UPS & Canada Post due to the difference in our contracts and base costs between the two companies. If you are in the East Coast / Maritimes and a rural location, we recommend using UPS anyway as they will be able to make deliveries to your location during the strike even if you order rihgt now.

Free Shipping Promo of $100 cancelledFree Shipping at $100 Promotion Cancelled

Please note, the Free Shipping promotion at $100 is now cancelled as we are not able to run this promotion while shipping via UPS.  Previous pre-orders that need to ship out during July wills till ship for free.

We have re-instated usual free shipping promotion – that is, shipping is free for orders over $175 (before taxes and after discounts) so you can still receive free shipping on your orders, it’s just going to be at a higher level.

Scythe Shipping

Lastly, for those who have Scythe shipments going out from our facility. We are working as fast as possible to get all shipments to the Maritimes / Quebec / rural East Coast out today. We currently have 7 business days before July 1, so we’re hoping to get as much out as possible in the next 2 days so that all shipments will be on the way to customers and in their hands before the strike happens.  This means that if you are in the West Coast, unless we have processed your orders already, you might not get a processing notice for a few days as we take care of these backers as we have more time to get your shipments out.

Jamey will have a more detailed update for everyone later. Please bear with us as we are working as fast as possible to get as many shipments as possible out to everyone.