For my purchases the shipping often makes a big difference. I only see the total on the very last step, when everything is being confirmed. Is there a way to see the shipping cost much earlier, for example even before it is added to the shopping cart?
Well, there are many reasons. This has been brought up before. Let me provide a low down (I currently work at Amazon for process improvement and web development).
The algorithm we run takes into account several factors when determining shipping costs:
- Weight of the item
- Size of the item
- Where the items are shipping to (Alaska costs more than California for example)
- Speed of shipping
- Who is selling the item (we support third party sellers)
- Current information for multiple carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS, LazerShip, etc)
- Stock and location of the items in our fulfillment centers
- Several other small pieces
- How the shipping will be broken up (one order can be 4 shipments for example)
The reason we don't just say "This item will cost $6.98 for shipping" is because it might cost $4.00 and it might cost $12.00. We don't want to create a false expectation for the customer by promising $6.98 and having it cost $9.00 at the end of checkout.
Too many variables. We must check all of the parameters to give you an accurate figure.
Amazon does not want to create a false expectation until we determine the actual cost we can provide.