Will we ever get to a point where there will just be a cost for a product and shipping charges will go away?
I remember a time where folks would either charge you extra to use a credit card or not take credit cards at all because of the fees credit card companies charge the vendor. I also seem to recall certain vendors only allowing credit cards if you purchased a minimum amount.
This rings very similar to the model we have now where vendors charge the shipping charges back to their customer. When I go to a brick and mortar store there is obviously a cost to them to move the product between the manufacturer and the warehouse and the store, but I never see a separate charge on my receipt for those shipping charges.
We are to the point with credit cards where I can spend a few cents on my credit card at a store and have no penalty. Certainly it is possible to have shipping be a cost of business, spread across everything a vendor sells.
On the subject of reducing those costs, some of it might could be done by shipping to the customer directly from the manufacturer. Another thing could be to have a shipping co-op where multiple vendors can leverage lower shipping charges. If I order something from Amazon and Tiger Direct and some other place and somehow the shipping co-op can group things going to the same address together.
Even if none of these cost reductions are possible, I don't believe a vendor should hide the total cost of the product by splitting it into separate charges. Then again the phone companies do it all the time with all the various fees and taxes. Even stores do this with a separate line for sales tax. It seems like that should be a cost of business too. Tax is going to be charged, so account for it in the cost of the product without hiding it from the customer at the bottom line.