Shipping and handling extra

Online retailers are now shifting shipping costs to customers to protect their margins

Niloptal Baruah

Online retail stores have been a big hit with customers over the last couple of years. And what’s the reason behind this trend? Sheer convenience — a few clicks and the product is delivered free of cost to the shipping address. Soon, this last bit will be history. A number of leading shopping sites have begun charging a shipping fee over the last 3-4 months. They are doing this either on a flat basis, or on products under a certain price slab. Flipkart started charging customers Rs.30 for all products under Rs.300 from July. Yebhi started charging Rs.49 for orders priced below Rs.349 a month ago; Myntra charges Rs.39 for order priced below Rs.500 since July. Flat shipping fees are being levied by flash sale sites like FashionAndYou (Rs.100 for orders below Rs.750) and 99Labels (Rs.75 for shipping within India). But why this about-turn?