If you haven't heard yet, ASOS quietly and stealthily introduced shipping charges for international orders last week. This means that your cheap impulse buys now suddenly come with an additional $4.99 on top for delivery, implying that in many cases, buying internationally is no longer a bargain.
There's no clear information available as to why ASOS have taken this step, though it's possible that the technical glitch they suffered in February, where an IT upgrade caused the suspension of express delivery orders, and a subsequent backlog may have cost them a fair bit, and this is their way of clawing back a few cents. That's not official though.
It's not all doom and gloom though - if you order over $30 at a time, your delivery is free, so for the most part, many of us won't be affected - it's really largely the impulse buys that suffer. If you buy from ASOS a lot, there's also their VIP club where for the grand fee of $39 a year (currently, it's normally $49) you can buy as often and as little as you like for your free delivery, just six purchases in a year will just about cover your annual membership.
There's also the lure of free express shipping, where (unless you live in one of a handful of places) four express shipping purchases in a year will see you more than cover your membership fee, to have your items in hand in two days. All fine and well, but CaptainJack found more than a few disgruntled ASOS Premier customers in his recent blog post. He did determine, however, that Premier might be good for those who make at least 4 or 5 purchases from ASOS within a year, those who are in the habit of making purchases at the last minute (saving you from having to pay $10 extra for express shipping on orders under $125) and who value the flexibility of being able to return an item at zero cost once you’ve had a chance to evaluate it in person (saving you the usual $5.95 to $10 cost for returning goods).
I've been reading the comments from people across the web with their thoughts on ASOS' new fee, and not everyone is upset about it. Opinions range from "now I won't buy from them anymore" to "£4.99 is nothing". Personally I'm in the second camp, as $4.99 is definitely on the lower end of the International shipping rate scale. I was looking at the Cath Kidson Pocket Mirror on ASOS as an example - It's discounted to $5.88, so add $4.99 delivery and it'll be $10.87 delivered. Try to buy the same item (different design) from Cath Kidson direct though, and they'll charge you $5.99 for the mirror but sting you with a whopping $36 shipping fee.
Some ASOS regulars, however, seem to be feeling a little let down (or crushed, to quote the exact words) by this new charge and say they'll be shopping elsewhere for now. Others, meanwhile feel that ASOS offered free delivery for long enough, and it's only fair that they introduce a fee, while others are just grateful that shipping doesn't cost much more than a cup of coffee in the big CBD areas.
So while you may be better off shopping locally for some of your smaller, single purchase items, it doesn't really take much to add up to $30, at which point your delivery is free anyway. We're curious though - does this new delivery charge impact on you? Would you consider joining up for Premium ASOS or will you be spending your dollars elsewhere till they bring back free delivery?