No more free shipping with iHerb

I was trying to put together a new order on iHerb, and i was startled to find that the shipping is no longer a flat US$4 for orders below US$40, or free for orders above US$40, as it had been for the past 6 years during which i have been a loyal customer. I’ve only just placed an order on 25 Dec 2016, but, apparently, iHerb has overhauled the business from 2017.

There is, unfortunately, no clear explanation about the exact change in the shipping fee calculation on the website, which is a shame. The claim in their announcement about what’s new in 2017 is this: “significantly lower prices across the majority of our products, better shipping rates to your country–or both!”. Yeah, right. The supposedly lower prices (i checked, some items are around 10% cheaper, but others are the same price or even more than before!) may not offset the shipping fee.

I played around by adding various items to the cart to see how the shipping fee changes. Obviously, adding heavy but cheap items (such as those contained in a glass jar) causes the shipping fee to shoot up, while adding light but expensive items (such as supplements contained in plastic containers) lowers the shipping fee. You get the idea.

It is still possible to get free shipping, but it seems to me that it is more worthwhile paying a little bit in shipping fee to ship more items in the same order. Here are some examples of the shipping fee you might expect to pay with the change in shipping fee calculation.

US$25 might be the upper bound of the shipping fee for shipping around 10kg of goods. US$23 is the shipping fee i was quoted when i added 10 jars of jam (the best example of cheap and heavy stuff that would not subsidize the shipping fee at all) that cost US$2.70 each to the shopping cart.
You can get some subsidy to the shipping fee if you include some supplements (light and expensive stuff) in your shopping cart
Just for illustration, i added one more quantity of a supplement into the shopping cart and got US$1 shaved off the shipping fee despite an 80g increase in weight

Another change i noticed is that the loyalty credit (which offsets your next purchase if utilized within a month) has been reduced from 10% to 5%. Okay, so, the prices are lower for only some of the products, but iHerb now always charges shipping fee, and dishes out half the loyalty credit they used to. Not a good deal, NOT AT ALL.

So what does this mean to iHerb customers (especially those of us in Singapore)? Well, i think it still makes sense to buy from iHerb, especially the supplements, but you have to be really selective about what you order now. To get the best bang for buck, it is better to ship a mixture of some cheap and some expensive stuff. I used to have to buy more than what i need in order to hit the US$40 required to get free shipping. Not anymore. Which is good, in a way.

Update 18 Feb 2017

Maybe there were too many complaints, or there was a drastic drop in business, iHerb has now reinstated free shipping, except, instead of a minimum purchase of US$40, it is now US$60. Well, at least they allow up to 10kg per shipment now, up from 6.3kg, and that makes it easier to hit US$60 worth of purchase.

US$60 for free shipping

New to iHerb? Get a discount as a first-time customer through this link.

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12 thoughts on “No more free shipping with iHerb”

  1. Same issue for Taiwanese customers, less discount and much higher shipping fee (twice the previous price).

    I may stop buying there as it is not that cheap now compared to local competitors.

    1. Hi JM, not sure about Philippines, but iHerb has reinstated free shipping to Singapore (with a higher minimum order), so it is again worthwhile for us to buy from iHerb. Thanks for dropping by!

    2. Hi. How does iHerb process the order? I mean I am planning to buy a Life Flo Rosehip Oil but I haven’t ordered from that site yet, so on my checkout the fees are the delivery charge and the price of the product itself. When delivered to the country (I am from Philippines), are there still other fee that I am going to pay?

  2. Hi, what do you mean by :”while adding light but heavy items (such as supplements contained in plastic containers)”

    1. Hi Sha, I meant to say “light but expensive”. I have corrected my post, thanks so much for pointing out this error.

  3. Hi, I think I herb has introduced new individual shipping charges on almost all its products except a sell few that are marked as “shipping saver”. I just put and order through that would have been otherwise free according to compliance with requirements for free SingPost shipping, yet still occurred a S$20+ shipping charge!

    Do you know more about this?

    Many thanks for your insights, if any!

    1. Hi Claudia, I have no idea. The last time I ordered was probably February and maybe there were changes since. I was able to get free shipping with an order above US$60.

  4. Thanks, it looks like they’re trying different approaches and gauging the reaction/ impact it has on volumes. Anyway, still cheaper on some products..

  5. Iherb just change its shipping policy again. It used to be free shippomg above $80 but now they charge chipping for every item. Which i dont think is worth it. Are there other similar iherb website? Can anyone recommen me?

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