If you are buying a device on Ting, you might notice that we have just changed our shipping prices:
- Standard went from Free to $4
- 3 day went from $10 to $9
- 2 day went from $20 to $19
As always, I want to address this head on. And as always, I am grateful to have the kind of relationship with our customers that allows us to address these things head on.
First, it’s a test. A smart business should always be testing to make data-driven decision on prices, product features, messages and other aspects of the offering. We want to see how price on shipping affects demand for devices and, ultimately, sign-ups. By far, the most important thing to us is acquiring and retaining customers. If we are sacrificing too much by recovering some costs, we will quickly revisit this.
But business (and, particularly, our business) is not just about getting as much as you possibly can. It’s about staying true to your brand, your promise and your relationships. So then, I ask myself, “Does charging for shipping violate Ting principles?”
I don’t believe it does at all. I think Ting is about fair, not free. In fact, in so many ways, we have rejected the typical “free this” and “unlimited that” that can create disharmony between provider and customer. We are about finding that perfect middle ground where you get the best overall value in the industry and we have a healthy, sustainable business. We actually avoid temptation to give too much in one place (because it’s highly visible or seemingly heroic) and then compensate for it somewhere else.
I think we were potentially unnecessarily generous when we launched the service with free shipping. As you know, we do not make money when we sell devices. We also have a bunch of other costs from readying the device for use all the way to activation. And of course, we pay for shipping. I think the hole is just a bit deeper than it should be for us financially right now before we even get to the first bill. Also, I think that people are not and should not be shocked to pay a bit for shipping. Things that have a cost generally have a price.
By the way, our offering is also very different than it was when we launched with free shipping. At that time, the only way you could use Ting was by buying a device from us. We regretted that. Now you can buy eligible devices (and likely pay to have them shipped to you) from countless secondary marketplaces. As a result, the average cost of getting started with Ting continues to go down while the quality of our service continues to go up.
We are still setting the price of standard shipping way below our cost. I think it’s fair. But I will wait to see the data and hear from our customers.