After posting a deal about the free shipping offer at Big W on small and standard sized products (i.e. <10kg), what caught my attention was their definition of 'regional' locations. The difference this makes in shipping charge is that even though you live in the Perth metro you are paying $15. Compare this with the $8 you pay for it in Sydney or Melbourne.
Shipping can be a fairly contentious issue in Australia but more and more online retailers are starting to offer free delivery, flat rate deliver, free deliver on a min order value and generally just addressing shipping as a priority. Big W seem to be lagging behind in this respect and its perplexing that they consider Perth to be regional.
Being a household name in Australia, with the first Big W store having opened back in 1976, by now their distribution network must be very well established and capable of handling large volumes of products. When you consider too that they're already using their existing network to supply products to all their stores in Western Australia, then surely being able to offer competitive shipping prices to customers in Perth shouldn't be an issue?
Big W are missing a trick here. Compare their delivery strategy with that of other national Australian chains.
Harvey Norman base their delivery prices on how many kilometers away from the nearest store you are, which makes more logical sense to me. So for medium sized packages you are looking at paying $6.95 for delivery if your address is considered to be regional (up to 100km) or $9.95 if you're remote (100km or more). Small packages all carry the same delivery charge of $5.95 no matter where you are located. There's no free delivery option if you spend over a certain amount with them though.
Dick Smith on the other hand offer free shipping on orders over $250, while the rest of their shipping charges are based on which "zone" you're in. Perth falls into Zone 2 and carries the exact same shipping charges for standard sized products as Zone 1 (which includes NSW, VIC and south east QLD) of $9.95. For those living in Zone 3 (Country WA, NT, west QLD, nth QLD) you'll be looking at paying $14.95. So while not as cheap as Harvey Norman, they're still cheaper than BigW's $15 and $20 for regional and rural locations.
I then looked at Target Australia who are offering fixed shipping rates nationwide. Small/medium/large items ship for $9 while big and bulky products (105cm(L) and/or over 140cm(W) and/or over 22kg) cost $69. The only noticeable aspect about their shipping in relation to Perth is that the delivery estimates for both small/medium/large and big and bulky packages are double those when compared with Melbourne.
Based on the above it does appear as if BigW is lagging behind in terms of the competitiveness of their shipping costs offered to customers, as well as their perception of Perth being out in the sticks. When looking at their website's store locator and typing in "Perth", I'm shown a list of 10 stores within a 21km radius of the city centre. So they're not short of having to make deliveries to their own stores in and around the city. Taking this into consideration along with the fact that Perth became the main economic contributor for Australia back in 2010-2011, I'm left feeling slightly bewildered by their assigned "regional" status by BigW.