Because shipping is such a big piece of the total cost of a tile order, most retailers do their best to lower their cost of shipping—they want customers to use their budgets on the tile, not the shipping. They use sophisticated systems and logistics companies that assist in optimizing shipping needs specific to their company. Most retailers pass along the shipping cost to directly to their customers, although, some choose to use shipping as profit source. Shipping and handling can be tricky because how do you know what the vendor is including in these costs? They don’t always make it easy to figure it out.
Some vendors include a lot in their shipping fees: boxes, packaging materials, quality control, fuel surcharges, coordination with logistics companies, order tracking, and labor. Shipping tiles can get even more confusing when you add in oversized boxes or custom boxes, additional packaging materials, a strict quality control process, and very fragile materials that can be temperature sensitive and need to be weather-protected. Some retailers are transparent others are intentionally opaque because they want a customer to believe that the tile is a bargain and don’t think the customer will know that the shipping charges are too high.
The bottom line is, when buying tile online, in the end all costs are paid by the consumer. Buyer beware! Tile customers will pay a little more to ship a wonderful product but once installed will have a lasting, easy to clean and beautiful surface. The upfront cost to ship will be recouped over time by long-lived nature of the material. There are ceramic tiles that have withstood centuries of wear and still look fabulous, and other tile materials are even more. Even including the cost to ship, tiles are a bargain compared to carpeting, vinyl, engineered wood, and other softer surfaces.