A very important aspect of deal hunting, which we try to educate our Buckscoop followers about, is how avoid being duped by deceptively low prices in flashy advertisements. One of the first mistakes novice deal hunters often make after performing a quick search to price compare something online, is to head straight to the merchant offering the "lowest" price.
By not spending an extra minute or two, however, to run through each retailer's checkout process until shipping costs have been added on, you're risking paying way more than the average market value of an item.
The reason for this is that even in 2014, huge disparities still exist between what Australian retailers are charging for delivery. To prove this I'll demonstrate by referring to recent deals posted on Buckscoop which serve as clear examples of just how big theses differences can actually be.
To begin with, take a look at the comment in this deal where deal-poster vikk attempts to determine what a good price on a particular model of LG dishwasher is. It didn't take her long to figure out that because The Good Guys had a low shipping cost on bulky items of just $2 (to Sydney), their offer managed to trump all other stores selling this dishwasher since the average cost of delivery elsewhere worked out at around $30.
Then there was the deal on an adult toy from Wild Secrets priced at $22.95, to which you needed to add a fairly standard shipping charge of $9.95 on top of. One of the price comparisons in the deal showed that Shop Erotic actually had the lowest list price online for the toy at just $18.78. However, their delivery costs were a jaw-dropping $45.10 in addition (which would only really make sense if we were talking about having an entire crate of these delivered).
I had a bit of a rant at Target in a recent blog post concerning their less-than-consumer-friendly charge of $5 for click and collect services (on orders under $25) compared to practically every other retailer who offers this for free. I'm mentioning this as it's yet another example of how costs are often hidden behind deceptively low list prices - i.e. buying something for $5 and then finding out you'll need to pay that amount again just to pick it up.
It therefore shouldn't come as a surprise that Target's shipping charges aren't always very competitive either. In another deal posted for a toddler's bed at Deals Direct advertised for $149, Target actually had the exact same amount listed for it on their website too. What ultimately made Deals Direct's offer way more competitive though was their capping of shipping charges at a maximum of $2 on selected items. In contrast, Target was whacking on an astonishing $69 in delivery costs as this item fell under their "big and bulky" category, bringing the total to $218 (versus $151 at Deals Direct).
You'll also see in this deal that the Babylove car seat falls under the $2 shipping cap from Deals Direct as well. Harvey Norman, on the other hand, have the same base price advertised of $149 but are charging anywhere between $25 (to Sydney) and $100 (to Perth) for delivery based on your location - Western Australia, beware!
So as you can see, turning a blind eye to shipping costs when running through your price comparisons can be a very expensive mistake to make. It's therefore definitely worth your while spending a little bit longer to factor in shipping charges and avoid getting ripped-off in this way. Alternatively, you could just monitor Buckscoop's Deals board regularly and let the deal posters there do all the hard work for you!