Cost of Shipping

The cost of shipping prints is far too expensive. I've been told by many customers that it is prohibitive. Please do something about this. Otherwise I will be fulfilling print orders at costco (they have some of the best professional photo printers and can print up to 20x30, and they also offer cheaper canvas prints as well)



  • JG_ColemanJG_Coleman Member Posts: 173
    Zenfolio staff recently commented on this in another thread here on the forums:
    "Shipping charges for Mpix have increased recently. Please
    note that they did wait as long as possible - over 3 years - to update their
    pricing to reflect steadily rising fuel and shipping costs. Even with the
    increase, their flat fee structure will save you time and confusion. The prices
    remain very competitive in the marketplace."
    I cannot necessarily vouch for the "competitiveness" of MPix shipping costs through Zenfolio, but this is essentially the closest thing we have to an official comment on the issue by Zenfolio as far as I know.
    You can see the full thread here:
  • craigk7craigk7 Member Posts: 4
    Honestly, I think I am going to cancel the shopping cart.  Who in their right mind is going to order a print when the shipping is more than the item?  

    Let me think...11X14 for base price of $6.99 with shipping of $8.25 for a total of $15.24 or go to Staples (or equivalent) and get it for $1.98....not to mention I can physically check the quality and color as well.  It's sad I can't even order my own print for base price from my own site.
  • JG_ColemanJG_Coleman Member Posts: 173
    In terms of ordering prints for yourself through Zenfolio, your only recourse is to order a batch of photos in one shot... at which point the "shipping cost per photo" drops considerably.
    To be fair, it's never really all that practical to order a single print through the mail (unless it's a very big print).  Even with the old shipping prices, you still would've been paying over 50% the cost of the print just to have it mailed.  It just doesn't make sense economically to order prints by mail one at a time.  Unless you're having MPix print up a batch of photos (i.e. 4 or more), the practical thing to do is forgo the shipping cost and get your prints made locally.
    Mind you, I'm not trying to justify MPix new shipping prices... not in the least bit.  But even before the price increase, I pretty much never ordered one print at a time.  Even with reasonable shipping costs, the "shipping cost per photo" ratio is just too high to validate ordering one photo at a time.  I typically order in batches of 4 or 5 prints at the minimum... or as many as 20 or 30 prints sometimes.  This drops the "shipping cost per photo" down considerably.
    This, of course, still poses a big problem for customers that want to order one photo (the problem faced by the OP), at which point it becomes cost-prohibitive for your customer to place their order.  Luckily, I stopped using Zenfolio vendor-fulfilled products many months ago (for reason unrelated to this thread) and switched all my products over to self-fulfilled.  I now order my prints directly through MPixPro and I've been very happy with them.  People feeling the strain of MPix new shipping prices might want to consider going route, as well.
  • craigk7craigk7 Member Posts: 4
    Unfortunately, many people want one or two prints only.  They don't order, say, 15 at a time.  They want that ONE shot of their baby or something like that.  And considering that USPS 2-Day Priority is around $4.00, the price being charged for a flat envelope here is downright ridiculous.  Seriously, paying for a shopping cart that you are fairly certain no one will use is a waste of money.
  • vintodvintod Member Posts: 6
    Yup!  This is total garbage!
    Going to have to work a "contact me directly for prints" link onto my page now.  Sad thing is that the only reason I went with zenfolio was because of the affordable price that included e-commerce.  But if the e-commerce is prohibitively expensive to potential buyers, then that negates the benefit.
    No wonder no one is buying prints!
  • vintodvintod Member Posts: 6
     at costco it is .13 cents for a 4x6 photo.  Last week I ordered just one print to keep my account active, since I hadnt used it in over a year, and with taxes and shipping it cost me just over $1. So there goes the whole idea of ordering in bulk to save money.  Costco is the new MPIX
  • craigk7craigk7 Member Posts: 4
    I couldn't believe it when I ordered a print at base price and saw the total.  I thought, "OK, $6.99 for 11X14, I'll deal with it.".  Then I went to Checkout and saw $15.24!  I know I am a little nearsighted, so leaned forward to make sure i was seeing it correctly.  I then looked around for a hidden camera, figuring I was being Punk'd.  But nope, it was real.

    Then I went to Staples and got it for $1.98. 
  • JG_ColemanJG_Coleman Member Posts: 173
    [quote user="vintod"]
    Going to have to work a "contact me directly for prints" link onto my page now.

    Well, as I mentioned above, you can always offer self-fulfilled prints through your Zenfolio website.  That way, customers can still select photos on your website, add them to a shopping cart, and then submit an order to you which details everything they want.  That method could potentially be much easier than having customers call you and identify the photos/print sizes they want over the phone.
    I'm not saying that's necessarily a "preferred" workaround, since Zenfolio's tools for self-fulfilled products are half-baked at best.  It is, however, at least an option for you to consider which would still allow you to use the on-site shopping cart and take advantage of an organized ordering system.
  • JG_ColemanJG_Coleman Member Posts: 173
    [quote user="craigk7"]
    Then I went to Staples and got it for $1.98. 

    Also, another thing to keep in mind is that some alternative photo labs (Walmart, Staples, etc.) may not use archival paper.  They might, but they also might not.  At least one thing MPix has going for it is that all of their paper prints use archival paper, which has a display life of 100 years (dark storage of up to 200 years).  For some people, this is not really a consideration and the longevity of a print beyond, say 10 years, is of no concern.  But it is something to keep in mind if you get prints made at local stores.
    To be clear, I'm not saying that MPix archival paper warrants high shipping prices... the two things are mutually exclusive.  I'm just mentioning paper quality as a factor to consider when choosing a local store to get prints made.  If you are interested in a given print lasting for a long-time without degrading in quality, ask the store location if they use archival paper.
  • RamanPfaffRamanPfaff Member Posts: 1
    Wow. I was about to order a print via zenfolio and was shocked by the shipping cost. Sad to say, but I won't be using this service. Some great photos that I'd like to have (of myself in a marathon), but no way will I pay more for shipping than the cost of a print.
    The fact that no shipping costs are shown until you checkout is shameful. I'm not feeling the zen.
  • stevejstevej Member Posts: 73
    "The fact that no shipping costs are shown until you checkout is shameful."
    bothers me more than the high prices - I have no desire to hoodwink my customers into buying my photographs - transparency at all times and at all stages of the process.
    My Zenfolio/Wordpress website:
  • Gathering PixelsGathering Pixels MiamiMember Posts: 25
    vintod said:

     at costco it is .13 cents for a 4x6 photo.  Last week I ordered just one print to keep my account active, since I hadnt used it in over a year, and with taxes and shipping it cost me just over $1. So there goes the whole idea of ordering in bulk to save money.  Costco is the new MPIX

    So if you only made one order is an entire year what are you complaining about? You have options

    If a client orders only one image then you fulfill it locally, if they order 20 or more then let zen fulfill it....

  • vintodvintod Member Posts: 6
    Are you okay with the MPIX prices? Most of my earnings come from cash-in-hand from shooting gigs as opposed to random people ordering prints. I actually advise all my clients NOT to purchase through the website due to MPIX being overpriced. I tell them I will fulfill any print requests for them directly. Does ordering in bulk via MPIX actually make a difference? Still cheaper to upload to costco and either pick up at the store or ship. Costco uses high quality professional printers. There is also adoramapix to consider as well for only a slight price differential.
  • Down Home PortraitsDown Home Portraits Member Posts: 2
    i ship things all the time and i know its not costing as much as they charge.this is a rip off when this company makes 50% or more and i only make 20%.
  • Luckily, I stopped using Zenfolio vendor-fulfilled products many months ago (for reason unrelated to this thread) and switched all my products over to self-fulfilled.  I now order my prints directly through MPixPro and I've been very happy with them.  People feeling the strain of MPix new shipping prices might want to consider going route, as well.

    How does the self-fulfilled process work in this case? You receive a notification of some sort, and then have to re-upload the photos indicated in the order to MPixPro? What about customer cropping? Is that no longer an option when going the self-fulfilled route?? Just curious because I need to also find a better means to get my prints delivered.
  • McCartyMcCarty Member Posts: 28
    This entire conversation bothers me. First off, who opens an account with Zenfolio to order prints for themselves? E-commerce is for SELLING your prints/images. Second, as a professional (read as "this is my ONLY job, not some hobby I try and make a buck at") for 24 years, I use professional labs to print my images for my clients. The crap that Costco or Sams/Walmart produce is questionable at best. I have run off prints at those places for my memory books. I used to run off small print rush orders at Sams when they had the Fuji Frontier processor. Some might still use them. But even then, the employees were so incompetent, it was hardly worth my time.
    And speaking of time, is your time worth nothing? Have you ever given thought to how much it costs you to drive to Costco, pick up your customers prints, and then drive back to your place of business? Then you have to sort the order. Individually bag different size prints. Box the prints and take them to UPS, FedEx or, USPS. I guess all of you get those special sized boxes for free too? All that packing material. That's free too right?

    I like my free shipping from Amazon or Newegg. Target and Walmart are getting into the free shipping deal too. But they don't deal in shipping Custom Art. Do they? I have never ordered a Priceless Memory from Amazon. Have you? Yeah, its just a 4x6 right? Wrong. Its a priceless memory I took my time and used my talents to produce. If the print is for me and its going to be displayed in my home, its printed by a professional. I'll pay the 1.33 or whatever it is. No actually, I'll be paying $15 because that's Millers minimum order if I order from them directly. Won't ever pay shipping though. Because I have a professional account with them, they ship orders next day for free. I have three 2.5in canvas prints hanging in my home of my family and daughters. I paid over $300 for them. Printed by Millers. There are Groupons I see all the time for far less. I know Sams prints them (well, send them off to be printed). I have seen the quality. No thanks. Can't compare to mine.

    Zenfolio is for the Professional Photographer. They use professional labs. I am using Zenfolio because my lab of choice is Millers Professional Imaging. Not the other way around. Mpix is a Millers lab. They have professional printers who are experts in their field. Not some pimple faced person who used to be the door greater. Not some person who's boss is the shift manager of a mega super center.

    If you think the print prices are too high and shipping is out of wack, I feel sorry for your customers. You obviously don't know what professional prints should look like.

    The only negative I will say about the Zen e-commerce and reason to self fulfill is the service fee. I stated I use Millers/Mpix anyway. If I have the orders fulfilled by the lab, I'm hit with an additional 12% fee on top of the lab costs. If I were to simply fulfill that order myself (if "I" send the images off to Millers for print) I save that 12%. I do think that this is an unfair markup.
    Perhaps a system could be put into place where if I self fulfill using a Zen lab, I save this fee.
  • vintodvintod Member Posts: 6
    A few things:

    (1) This topic started because I received complaints about the cost of shipping from CUSTOMERS. I don't print from Mpix via zenfolio for my own personal prints. Does anyone? If customers think it is too costly, then it is, because it deters sales.

    (2) That said, the quality IS very good. I saw one of my pieces printed on canvas from Mpix and I was blown away at how great it looked; better than on a computer screen. I used a few local professional print labs for myself and I noticed a big difference there as well - much better than Costco.

    (3) Costco ships their prints, so not necessary to drive to/from the store unless you want to examine the prints before taking possession to make sure they are up to standard. But I agree about the care not being put in; it is a job for them, not a professional career, despite the machines being, supposedly, of high quality.
  • craigk7craigk7 Member Posts: 4
    edited July 2013
    I believe the OP was talking about price of shipping, not quality. Customers see ~$8 for shipping for a flat envelope, they click the "cancel" button 9 out of 10 times. Paying for quality, sure. Paying a completely off the wall price for shipping, nope.
    Post edited by craigk7 on
  • I think making the shipping cost part of the order screen that calculates the price for the photos is the best solution. My observation is that picking the photos, cropping to fit, and calculating the price is simple enough, but then when a buyer gets to the shipping page and sees options depending on the size of the print (not really the quantity) that aren't acceptable to them, they bag the order. They also have had a poor buying experience which means they are never coming back to your site. This is more of a problem to me than the price as it is the surprise for someone who otherwise is pretty happy picking out photos. And while I might not think the shipping cost for a small order is excessive, I'm not the important guy in the equation - the buyer is.
  • Nicky JamesonNicky Jameson TorontoMember Posts: 107
    Are customers actually aware of how much shipping is? How much are they expecting to pay for their shipping? They see $8 and they are abandoning cart? Maybe you need different customers or you may need to educate them because $8 to me is not unreasonable.

    I can tell you that shipping just within Canada is around $10 for an envelope up to 500g, particularly if you include very basic insurance. In most cases it's between $13 and $15 (Canada Post. Shipping internationally is anywhere between $18 and $25. Using a courier or similiar is even more - without factoring in customs at the other end for the customer. I have not shipped prints but I have shipped other goods within and outside Canada recently so have an idea of shipping costs generally... they are high. I have ordered from the US - and paid around $15-$25 for shipping to Canada. Internationally it is even higher. Canada is known for having high shipping costs as does the UK, but very often you have to include the fact that fuel prices and various taxes are beyond anyone's control and have to be factored in. I know the customer doesn't want to hear that but it's a fact. I note that within the US shipping can vary and is cheaper with USPS. A solution might be to mark up the costs of prints to include shipping and offer free shipping. I have done that before with mixed results, but it can work. Or sell prints on sites other than Zenfolio... Committed Photography is just one I would consider and that some Zenfolio users recommended but there are others.
  • Add one more lost sale due to the cost of shipping in small/individual prints. *sigh*
  • Hey there, So Is there a way to limit the customer to only 1 type shipping? I only want to offer the base price USPS shipping because I am getting all prepaid. No I'm not doing self fulfilled. Anybody know how to change/alter shipping options in checkout?
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,462
    Yes. Upgrade your account to Premium Business.
  • Jim WhetstoneJim Whetstone Member Posts: 1
    I totally agree. Shipping costs are too high for a small guy like myself. How can I sell a print or two when the shipping is more than the print. I will have no,as in NO customers if this continues. Please change.
  • Why not just offer a "discount coupon" for shipping...
  • I also think the default shipping should be the least expensive, USPS and not Priority.
  • I use a service to self fufill my usa and Canada orders, my printer has flat rate shipping costs, has drop shipping to clients in the USA and Canada with no branding on their envelopes, they offer USPS and fed ex rates, the prints are always high quality, with several finishing choices, glossy, matte, metallic, lustre, etc. the company is they do offer a refereal for sign ups, and a second referral when the first purchase is made. if you do sign up, please use W. Smyers as your referral person. give it a look, increase your profit, and cut your shipping.
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,462
    I think the best option is for Zenfolio to allow photographers to determine default shipping methods / cost themselves. This is a feature only found if you subscribe to a Premium Business account @ $300 per year. Why on earth Zenfolio would package this, as well as other selling features that would help photographers sell more, in a $300 package is beyond me. Why can't they include these in the Premium account at $140 yr. You would think that after increasing their fee 16% recently that they could do this as it would benefit everyone including Zenfolio.
  • vintodvintod Member Posts: 6
    gerard: I believe discount coupons will only deduct from your net profit; they will not decrease the shipping costs that Zenfolio charges on their end.

    At this point I'm considering just making a Wordpress site and pushing for direct contact for prints, which I can fulfill on my own. I can even have two tiers of print quality at a price differential : (1) standard prints (Costco) or (2) professional quality (at a legit photo printer nearby, on better paper). Most of the business I generate is for discs of high rez images anyway. Actual print orders are rare for me.

    Not to mention the Zenfolio website templates are kinda lame and not very customizable. I wanted to revamp my page last week and was surprised at the lack of options. A basic Wordpress page offers so much more.
  • Kevin KrowsKevin Krows United StatesMember Posts: 1,462
    +1 on changing the default shipping from Priority Mail @ $8.25 to First Class Mail @$4.25. This is very confusing to the clients.
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