The Ultimate Guide: Shopping for bicycles and gear online is a multipart report with tips, trends and analysis of the Australian Market. You can download the ebook version here. This part looks at shipping costs and shipping times.
Some price comparison websites fail to include shipping costs so when it comes to making a purchase, although Shop A may be a few dollars cheaper, their shipping costs may make them the poorer alternative, if price alone is the deciding factor. The most up-to-date online retailers allow you to choose the delivery destination (country) and view the shipping costs as soon as you add an item into your shopping basket. Some online shops however force a user to start the order process and even register and submit personal details before the total shipping cost is calculated.
One popular trend that some shops have introduced to encourage customers to purchase more is to offer free shipping for orders above a certain value. 81% of survey participants have been encouraged to complete an online purchase at one time or another because of the free shipping incentive. When considering a purchase, if free shipping is offered above a certain purchase amount and you are close to the limit, adding a few wear and tear items may mean an overall saving. Alternatively, some of the larger retailers run specials with free shipping available for limited time periods or free shipping with the purchase of certain items.
A common complaint of consumers is that shipping costs are not always relative to the weight or size of an item, so take care when ordering multiple items and double check the total shipping costs.
The LBS has a considerable advantage over an online retailer when they are well stocked. The LBS can be a more reliable option for purchases on short notice as an online shop needs to first dispatch and ship each order before it arrives in the customers hands. For larger orders, the online shop may need to first wait until all items arrive before sending the goods. Overseas orders may also face delays during shipping to Australia, particularly with Customs when taxes and duties have to be paid and the delivery is held up.
The rule of thumb when ordering online is to order well in advance as delays can happen. Sometimes email communication with the retailer can be slow and calling on the phone is inconvenient and potentially expensive, so if timing is important, allow for more time in case there are unforeseen delays. Usually once items are dispatched, the customer doesn’t have many options other than to wait. Only when delivery is unusually late (for example three or four weeks after the expected arrival) will the customer have a better chance of cancelling an order and demanding a refund.
The flipside in shipping are the extremely fast deliveries from overseas. The most popular online cycling retailer in the UK for Australian shoppers is Wiggle. With growing sales, Wiggle have established a fast and efficient dispatch and delivery process and can usually deliver to Australian cities just days after an order is placed.
This is article is from The Ultimate Guide: Shopping for bicycles and gear online. You can download the entire ebook (free) from here.
You can discuss this article and the ebook in the Australian Cycling Forums.