banthafodder wrote:Just as an example let's take a set that is $100 MSRP. If TLG sells it to a retailer for $65 they take a potential profit loss of $35. Let's assume that shipping is $10 and they give free shipping, that's an additional $25 profit they could earn versus selling via another retailer. I think it is a win for TLG to offer free shipping year round.
This. It's astounding that TLG hasn't done the math on this. I am one of many who are not within range of a B&M store, so the best alternative is their online store. Even with the disappointing payback on their VIP rewards program, I would be much more willing to purchase directly from them via S@H at MSRP if shipping were free. As it is, it's always at least $12 cheaper to buy ANYWHERE but S@H because virtually nobody else will charge for shipping. Add in that it's fairly easy to come by sales and deals at lots of other retailers, and I only end up buying direct from LEGO (S@H or B&M) maybe 2 or 3 times a year.
If they don't want to offer free shipping, the other alternative would be to sweeten their VIP program to a 10% or 15% return. But shipping charge + nominal rewards = I'm virtually always buying elsewhere. Are they still getting my money? Sure. But they could easily be pulling an extra few hundred annually from me alone, so multiply that by 5% of their customer base and you're talking at least a noticeable (if not substantial) increase in total profit.