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Minimum Orders

Discussion in 'Orchid Vendor FYI' started by Dave, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Dave

    Dave Active Member Supporting Member

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    Can someone with more business sense than me explain the $50 minimum order idea. On top of the $50 is a $12 charge regardless of order size plus an additional 15% of your order. Is it really better to take zero of my dollars than to allow me to order $40 worth of the plants I really want and charge me the same $12 + 15%? Presumably the $12 is the flat fee associated with organizing the order (?) and the rest scales with order size. I don't get it.

    I also found that the $30 gift certificate can't be processed on their site because it violates the $50 minimum - this seems beyond stupid to me but I am ready to be enlightened as to why this too makes sense.

    I've ordered before (the minimum was lower) - I like their plants so I may eventually make another order (they probably correctly assume they can take advantage of our addiction), but this doesn't seem like a way to cultivate good long term relations with your potential customers. Psychologically, spreading the pain over a greater number of smaller orders is sometime required.
     
  2. mini-catts

    mini-catts Member

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    I would guess they need to make it worth their while to pull, pack, and ship each orchid order. They ship fedex 2nd day which usually runs a minimum cost of $20. If you take $50, take 15%, plus add $12, that comes to $19.50 for shipping.
    So the $50 becomes the minimum order to get to the $20 fedex cost.
    Peter T.
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think that the $12 is for the Phytosanitary Certificate that is required by our state, California, and is what they pay out of pocket with no profit involved, but I may be wrong.

    There is a certain amount of work that is involved in processing an order (separate from packing & shipping charges) whether it is for $5.00 or $500. If your order is $50, the cost of the product may be 1/2 of that so they have $25 for other costs, overhead, and profit. If it costs $5.00 for processing (which it easily can) they have cut their profit by 20%. If your order is $5, they are not getting anything for their time. They are running a business, not an NGO for orchid addicts.

    If one is loosing money on every order, you can't make that up by doing more orders.
     
  4. Dale

    Dale New Member

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    Very, very good post Dave. This kinda crap drives me batshit and beyond. Other than shipping, plant prices should reflect overhead; boxes, labor, beer, etc. I know actual shipping is often less than billed. I'm an orchid addict, but I'm not blind. Call them. On the telephone. Make a $500 order. When they hit you with the $12 sneak shit tell them you won't pay that, and furthermore, you'll only pay actual shipping costs. If they say they can't do that, tell them to cancel the order. If they accept, tell them you need to re-think your order Or go ahead and submit your order. In the dim past plants were invoiced at cataloged prices, labor and materials were a part of the overhead, and shipping was billed by what they gave the postmaster.

    BTW..... Ray Barkalow (First Rays Orchids) does business the right way. Plants and supplies are invoiced at cataloged prices and shipping billed from PO invoices. No labor or packing materials surcharge; you pay for the plants and shipping.
     
  5. abaxter

    abaxter New Member

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    Absolutely YES, Dave and Dale. If we charged for handling our trees in that manner,
    we'd be out of business pronto. We can't even just walk into a greenhouse and pick
    a little pot up; we have to dig big trees. I won't order from anyone who's so money
    grubbing that they add such piddling charges.
     
  6. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    I gotta admit that percentages of orders and exorbitant shipping costs do irritate me. The problem is more "gray" I think. What I mean is, you get your plants all picked out and ready to go, you have your budget then BAM, here comes the penalty. It is like you are being punished for shopping there.

    The other thing that gets me is when they only ship via one method, and it is the most expensive method, you know what I am talking about.

    These statements are pretty general, I have never ordered from EOOM. I have heard that they are great but I have never had the opportunity.
     
  7. mini-catts

    mini-catts Member

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    If it helps at all, EooM has always sent a gift plant in my orders. They also have VERY reasonably price orchids that are well grown and large for the price.
    IMHO, they do not charge more than what the shipping actually costs.
    Peter T.
     
  8. Dave

    Dave Active Member Supporting Member

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    Apologies in advance for the long post. I LIKE EOoM's plants and hope they thrive. We should be rooting (ahem) for growers (I'm sure almost all just started out as regular old plant nuts just like us) especially ones that sell species. I will probably end up eventually pulling the trigger on an order I've been thinking about.

    I think the fact that no one understands the rationale of the pricing is really the point. Customers appreciate transparency, I think. Peter and Marni are suggesting that the explanation is that the plant prices are not reflecting the true cost of doing business. I guess the question is, why not? It seems better to charge me what the plant costs rather than forcing me to figure out if I want the plants I want badly enough to also order some plants I don't want so I meet the minimum order size.

    And yes, I can see it could be a grey area if you sell lot's of species seedlings for $7 a pop. Other places (but not all) do have minimum order size, but I think all are less than EOoM.

    Speaking for myself, I have had a negative reaction from feeling forced into meeting this minimum - it just seemed a bit high to me (there's that gray area) but I'm sure it seems trifling to many. So for most, perhaps there is no issue.

    I think the real irony here is that when most of us think about putting together an order, when we actually ACT on it, it usually gets up to $50 (and higher!) pretty fast anyway - my experience. My point is that my reluctance to have my hand forced by someone else has resulted in me reacting by not making an order that would likely have gone near (or over) $50 anyway once I got into order mode - yes, it is irrational but that's human nature. So I may end up making an order but resenting the process. My assumption is always that if I have a reaction to something that a whole lot of people have the same reaction. In an ideal world we could do the economics experiment where they drop the minimum price and see what happens to order volume - I would find that mildly interesting. As I noted in my earlier post, they'd get more of my money if they lowered to minimum.

    Anyway, didn't want to start an overall "let's bash EOoM" thread - if I were feeling more flush, I'd just order to my heart's content, as they have nice plants.

    I was mostly just venting a bit of frustration mostly generated by the fact that they wouldn't sell the $30 gift certificate WHICH IS ON THEIR SITE to my father-in-law, who wanted to give me a present. WTF. That makes no sense, even if I totally buy into the pricing structure - why can't I use a $30 gift certificate and make up the rest myself to meet the minimum order requirement? Help me understand.
     
  9. Forrest

    Forrest Really Neat

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    My guess with the certificate is that you just need to call. I think a lot of sites are not setup for gift certificate use. I am pretty sure you cant use a gift certificate on Andys site.
     
  10. Armando

    Armando Hobbyist gone wild

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    It's a legitimate discussion BUT... I would remove EOoM from the title of this thread and make this a general "minimum order discussion", it's just not fair. Lots of vendors have minimum orders. Heck I had to add some crap to my KKORCHDS order just so I could get my fertilizer order to meet their minimum :rolleyes:
     
  11. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think Armando's point is a good one.
     
  12. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    I have no problem with the minimum order so long as the vendor has enough plants that I want in order to satisfy it. If there aren't sufficient plants that suit me, I won't buy anything. It's a business decision that vendors make, and I'm not in a position to understand or question the rationale. The implications of a minimum order are (probably) understood by the vendor.

    If someone has to buy a box to put the plants in to ship to me, I'm okay with paying extra for it. I don't think people that visit greenhouses should have to subsidize a vendor's mail-order business. "Handling", on the other hand, pisses me off. Unless there is an employee whose sole job it is to package and ship plants, the charge is unreasonable. I understand why vendors charge it, but I still don't like it.