free shipping: why it’s a bigger deal than you’d think.

by clé tile | published: Dec 10, 2021

We’ve all become accustomed to “free” shipping. But should we be?


It may be fine when you’re selling shoes (In reality, you’re likely paying for “free” in the product price–or getting a substandard product). 


But free shipping is a big deal when we’re all trying to keep elevated artisan tile affordable.


If you’ve ordered before, you may have been surprised that the cost of shipping exceeds the cost of the tile. It can happen on small orders. And it can happen when the tile comes at lower price points–and clé’s popular cement tile is the most affordably priced cement tile on the market.


Here’s why (and what you can do about it)

  1. Tile is heavy–a lot heavier than most of the items we purchase with free shipping. 
  2. Free isn’t really free: when companies offer you free shipping, they’re still burying the costs somewhere else. And you often end up paying for that “free” shipping–you just don’t know that you are. 
  3. Know before you buy. Budget for, and check the shipping rates before hitting that buy button. 
  4. Shop and enjoy our Cyber Monday event! It’s our gift to you for another tremendous year. Thank you. 


Want the details? Here’s more on why free shipping is such a big deal.

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Tile is heavy–very heavy–to ship. Our tile–even small quantities–ships on pallets to ensure that it arrives in the best condition. Tile weighs from between 1-3 lbs per tile, with our cement coming in at the higher end of the scale. So when your bathroom project comes in at (let’s say) 50 square feet of cement tile, you’re talking about approximately 400 lbs. 


That’s a lot of shoes. 


We were the first company to sell artisan tile directly to consumers without loading up prices with fancy showrooms and wholesale markups. Being direct with our customers about pricing and shipping is a part of that commitment, and the reality is that so-called “free shipping” isn’t really free. 


Shipping companies don’t work for nothing–the costs are being borne somewhere.


We could offer you free shipping if we…

bury the costs. We won’t. Many companies offering free shipping (of anything) often bury the cost in the price of the product you’re buying, but we don’t do that: we want you to know what the tile itself costs–we want you to understand the value of an artisanal product. 


source cheaper product. Never. Substituting offerings such as cheap porcelain lookalikes of cement tile is an option for others–but we won’t. We simply will not compromise on quality and artisanship. 


absorb the costs of “free” shipping. We can’t. As a small business, we would have to find other ways to make up that cost, and that would likely be through higher prices across the board. That’s not what anyone wants.


Last year, during our cyber monday event, we paid thousands in free shipping on behalf of our customers–which is a big deal for us as a small business. We hope you understand why it’s a big deal for you, too. 


This year, we’re delighted to do it again, out of appreciation for our customers and their continued support for clé; their love of artisanal tile; and their big dreams and bold designs. 


We’re honored to be a part of it all, and this is our way of saying thank you. Enjoy. 

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(above) design: Elliott Meyers Design / photo: Dwelling Photography