Is Hermie.com cheaper than Bol.com or Amazon?

We all know them: the giant sales platforms such as Bol.com and Amazon. Many online buyers surf directly to these big players to order their favourite product. Understandable, because through these platforms, you can buy all kinds of products easily and quickly. Their return policy and free shipping are also very appealing.


In addition to their own product range, these well-known names also work with many partners, such as Hermie.com, who offer their products for sale on their e-commerce platform. These are often small(er) or local webshops that do not yet have enough brand recognition and want to boost their sales.

But why is the price sometimes cheaper/ more expensive on our own webshop than at Bol.com?

Although some competitors do this, in Belgium it is legally prohibited to sell at a loss. So for our own webshop Hermie.com and the sales platforms, such as Bol.com, we have to set a minimum price that includes all our fixed costs. For the platforms, there is also a fixed commission that we have to include in this price. Because we want to be transparent about our pricing, we have created a handy overview of our costs below:

📦 Packing costs

The packing costs consist of the manual work by our packers & warehouse staff + packing materials (such as boxes, protective padding, tape, recycled plant blisters, etc.)

Don't be fooled: our packers do their best to package all products as well and as safely as possible. On our own shop, there is a greater chance that the customer will place an order with several products that can also be sent in the same box. This often results in a price advantage compared to selling a single product on a platform.

This is also more sustainable, because at our webshop it is often only possible to send one package with multiple products, while at Bol.com you can place an order with multiple partners. These partners have to send their parcel to the customer separately, which results in the transport of multiple parcels compared to 1 parcel.

 Before your order can be packed, the products are first collected in our warehouse and checked by our pickers. They are also an important but invisible part of the chain.

We are also constantly trying to make our packaging process more sustainable. At the beginning of this year, for example, we purchased a shredder (Shrek the shredder) to recycle old boxes into protective packaging. We also ship our plants in recycled and recyclable plant blisters. These were made from PMD waste that was given a second life.

🚐 Transport costs

 Although as a customer you can often enjoy "free shipping", nothing comes for free. Transport companies also have to make a profit. Because the large Internet giants have a huge volume, they can obtain cheap transport rates from the courier companies.

However, this is always at the expense of someone. In this case, it is usually at the expense of the couriers who have to work very hard and will not get rich from it. However, they are under tremendous pressure to deliver as many parcels as possible in the shortest possible time, so we urge you to greet your courier with a smile and show understanding if your parcel arrives a few hours later than expected.

Even if you place an order at Bol.com or Amazon with multiple products, if these products come from different sellers, they will still be shipped separately by each seller. As a partner of Bol.com, you must therefore include these shipping costs in the total price of the product if you do not want to sell at a loss.

💶 A fixed commission

Bol.com and Amazon charge a commission (this is a fixed percentage on the selling price of the product) for using their platform. We take this commission fee into account when setting our prices on the platforms. These commission costs are usually a little more expensive than the marketing and transaction costs on our own webshop.

⏪ Retourkosten

On major platforms, it is very easy as a customer to return goods for free. In 2018 we started Hermie.com as a vegetable garden shop so we have a green 💚. We do not believe in free returns. This because of the extra transport, costs (for you returns may be free but we as a seller pay a cost) but also definitely as awareness to the customer. We already live in a throwaway society and we don't want to encourage this any further, but just want to offer some counteraction.

After you have brought the parcel to the parcel centre free of charge (for which we pay a fee), all returns must also be checked manually: do the Christmas lights still work, are all the small accessories from the Smoby kitchen present and can the returned artificial Christmas tree be completely assembled? These are just a few examples of how much time & work the checking of returns takes.

In addition, there are no less than 12 times as many products returned on the platforms as on our own webshop. On our own webshop, we do not offer a free return label (you can send the package to us yourself, deliver it to our pick-up location with a return form or purchase a return label). The effect is therefore unmistakable when you see the results above. We can certainly conclude that customers will think twice before returning a shipment when the return label is not offered for free. We pass on this return cost in our prices on the platforms.

Would you like to read more about our return policy? Click here!

Conclusion:

The above invisible costs for you are partly passed on so that we eventually arrive at a minimum price for both our own shop and the platforms.

In general, we can conclude that the cheaper the product, the more important the above costs will be. For example, cheap products are usually sold more expensively on platforms by the partners. An example: a €2 seed bag must also be delivered free of charge when purchased through a platform. So it's impossible to make a profit on a € 2 seed bag that has to be picked, packaged and shipped for free. Therefore, this small bag of seeds will probably also be sold at a more expensive price on Bol.com and Amazon.

Besides the fact that we first set a minimum price for our products, we also have to take into account our competitors on the platforms. Our prices may therefore change automatically every half hour on the platforms, depending on the offer from our competitors. In our own shop, we do not want this price variation and we only change the prices there once a day. Generally, the products on our own webshop are cheaper than on the platforms, but in exceptional cases, it is possible that a product is temporarily cheaper on the platforms due to the automatic price tooling.

Do you order from our own webshop?

Then you become a Hermie customer and support the (local) entrepreneur directly. Don't forget that at the small(er) webshop you get a lot of tailored advice. After all, we have a large but more limited assortment than Bol.com and we know our products through and through because we have selected each product for you ourselves.
We also try to convince the customer to bundle cheap purchases as much as possible. For example, you will pay a shipping cost for the same € 2 bag of seeds on our own webshop. However, do you buy for 35 euros? Then you will enjoy free shipping on our own web shop! In this way, we encourage consumers to bundle their orders and they will also think more carefully about their purchases.
We also often run seasonal promotions in cooperation with our suppliers (e.g. a free box of grass seeds, free hand gel, gift vouchers...). We cannot offer these promotions on a large platform such as Bol.com because the same product is offered there by different partners (who do not follow these promotions).

You can also enjoy graduated discounts on certain assortments (fertiliser or potting soil) in our webshop. So it is always advisable to compare prices and promotions before buying!

Will you buy through a platform or directly from the entrepreneur? The choice is yours!
Hermie.com does both and we try to do this as well, fast and correctly as possible, according to the demands of today's consumers.

However, we do not participate in the "free shipping" subscription packages and "free return policy". This is always at the expense of the environment and people (think again about your parcel delivery man).

We are, however, committed to free advice, as well as a high-quality and easy-to-reach customer service! We believe this is the only way to continue to grow, prosper and remain relevant to our consumers.

The product has suddenly become cheaper after I ordered it. What do I do now?

As discussed above, we work with an automatic pricing tool which means that prices may vary on a daily basis or several times a day. However, these prices are temporary and not retroactive.

This means that you can, for example, buy a product today at a bargain price while the price may be higher tomorrow. Then you've been lucky and will be a happy customer! But wait until tomorrow? Then you will be less satisfied but we cannot lower the price any more. Also for products you bought at the beginning of the week at a higher price, for example, we cannot refund the difference. It's all about the price at the time of purchase, so pay attention when shopping!

Do you still have questions? Our customer service is ready for you! 👇