Grove Collaborative has started adding what it calls a “supply chain fee” to all of its orders.
The new $2.99 fee is in addition to any shipping fees, which are typically $4.99 for orders under $50 and free for orders over that threshold.
“Due to rising shipping, production, and labor costs, we’ve added a small Supply Chain Fee to your total. This flat fee allows us to continue delivering orders using sustainable practices and maintain our commitment to fair wages. Thanks for understanding as we continue to build a more sustainable world — together,” the site’s explanation reads in an apparent attempt to convince customers that it’s some kind of team effort.
Grove sells a variety of natural cleaning products, household items and more via its website as well as in retail locations.
Many other companies that ship products have been either eliminating free shipping or increasing existing fees. Sometimes these changes are announced, other times they aren’t widely publicized.
The increase in fees comes at a time when companies of all types are facing higher labor, supply and shipping costs. Shipping companies have been tacking on a fuel surcharge thanks to rising gas prices, so that cost either has to be absorbed by the seller or passed along to the customer.
In effect, Grove is basically raising its shipping fees by $2.99 — no matter what it chooses to call the new fee.
Calling it a “supply chain” fee appears to be a way to attempt to explain to customers why the fee is being added — since most consumers are aware of the tremendous challenges supply chain systems have been facing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and that are continuing today, over two years later.
The move has echoes of food delivery services’ myriad of fees ranging from “delivery fees” to “platform fees” to “processing fees,” all of which are attempts to recoup just a bit more of the costs of running the service and paying employees easier on the company’s bottom line.
Every company has the right to charge whatever additional fees it wants as long as it clearly discloses them, and Grove shows the added fee on the cart page, including a tooltip with the explanation above.
The use of the term “supply chain fee” isn’t new, though it’s more commonly used in commercial freight shipping contexts, so Grove may be one of the first brands to use the name in a consumer-facing way.