They are doing one of two things. They are eating the shipping or they have negotiated rates.
Here is how it works. You ship UPS for everything. FedEx comes in and offers a discount on overnight for every order that asks for it. UPS hears about this and offers lower charges for found if they keep the overnight.
Get how it works? If you have volume you have negotiating powers.
Most t-shirt shops would likely send single orders by mail.....No matter what discount you get, the surcharges for residential and/or remote locations push the prices way up....
A consolidator takes mail from 1 country to another in bulk.....For example there is an outfit in Toronto that take packages to the US Post for less than 0.75 each for small stuff...And China Post that airlifts stuff from China to the west coast for less than 1.00 per kilo...
When I first started selling online I spoke with a rep at the post office about getting discounted shipping rates. She said if your shipping around 200 packages per day than you can qualify for a discount. At that point I had sold like 3 shirts total, but its been my goal ever since. Once I reach that I'll go for 1,000. Baby steps.
If you check the same items elsewhere, you may find that the price is lower but the shipping costs are higher & vice versa. The more expensive will have lower shipping costs. 6 of 1, half dozen of the other.
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