June 11, 2001, 12:00 AM

Online shoppers say shipping charges should be based on weight

Almost half of consumers want shipping costs based on the weight of the purchase, but only 30% of online retailers charge on that basis, a Jupiter survey finds.

Almost half of consumers – 45% -- want shipping costs for goods purchased online to be based on the weight of products shipped, rather than on other measurements such as the value of goods shipped, according to new research from Jupiter Media Metrix. But only 30% of online retailers surveyed by Jupiter do so.

54% base the charges on order size, defined by either an order’s selling price or the number of items it contains. A Direct Marketing Association report noted that 90% of catalogers base shipping and handling charges on the dollar value of an order, but this isn’t a precedent that online retailers should follows, says Jupiter, as catalogs have limitations the web doesn`t. “Approximately 8% of cataloger’s orders still come from the paper order forms printed within the catalog, on which it would be arduous for consumers to make weight-based shipping and handling charge calculations,” noted Jupiter analyst Ken Cassar.

Meanwhile, shipping and handling charges remain a major impediment to online sales. In a Jupiter survey in April, 63% of consumers polled said they’d decided not to make a purchase online because they deemed shipping and handling costs too high.


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