I think we can all agree, online shopping is here, and it’s here to stay. Online retailers are attracting an increasing proportion of the retail market, and the trend is expected to continue. Vintage, be it clothing, homewares or furniture, is also an increasingly popular segment of online retail, especially in Australia. A simple rummage through google trends shows that Australia has the highest volume for the search term ‘vintage furniture’ in the world, and the fourth highest for the search term ‘vintage clothing’!
image source – google
Back to online shopping. There’s a lot to be said for it. On the most part, it’s easy, fun and oh-so-convenient. There’s nothing quite like making those important purchase decisions from the comfort of one’s own bed with teacup/ ice cream bowl/wine glass in hand. Perhaps its greatest downfall, aside from the relative ease with which it empties your pockets, is shipping. Getting a purchase from point A to point B. Sounds like a simple task, right? Why, then, are so many online buyers and sellers brought to the verge of tears when dealing with the ugly, confusing and infuriating logistics of shipping?
If you shop online, you won’t be surprised to hear that understanding shipping costs is one of the most crucial factors in driving purchase decisions, so sellers, take note! Getting a handle on shipping and knowing how you can present the simplest and most cost-effective solutions to your buyers could be the difference between a successful online sale and shopping cart abandonment.
Speaking from personal experience; when I started out, I had no idea how shipping worked, what companies to use, and how much to charge buyers. It was almost enough for me to want to throw in the towel and dedicate my life to playing the pan ﬂute (still plan B). Turns out though, with a little know-how, shipping can be quite simple, and strangely satisfying!
Sadly, there’s no go-to, one-size-ﬁts-all courier company for all of your shipping needs. But allow me to share a few pearls of wisdom I’ve learned along the way; here are (in short) 5 great Australian couriers for your online shipping needs.
With more than 4,400 Post Ofﬁces, and 15,500 post boxes Australia wide, Australia Post is likely the ﬁrst service that comes to mind when you think of shipping.
For products that are under 5kg that ﬁt in a small, medium or large satchel, then Australia Post’s national pre-paid or ﬂat rate satchels are a handy way to get an accurate postage price, with options for same day, next day or regular delivery
image source – via Australia Post
Australia Post ﬂat rate satchel pricing. For larger parcels, and that’s with a maximum width of 1.05 metres and maximum weight of 22 kilograms, Australia Post offer a pretty nifty postage calculator that can be used to estimate the shipping cost of your parcel. You can access the calculator via their website, or embed it into your own! Australia post is the only service that lease out and deliver to PO boxes, allowing you to have a secure, private address for deliveries, and for sellers – a place to consolidate any returns at one point. Australia Post offer a fairly comprehensive online user interface to track deliveries and send free tracking advice to receivers. If you send 250 parcels or more per year, you can apply for a premium account and receive up to 10 per cent off selected domestic and international services.
Sendle is a simple, online courier aggregate that allows you to send parcels door-to-door for low, ﬂat rates Australia wide. Sendle is great for sending anything up to 25kg, 100L and no longer than 1.2m wide. They offer convenient, at-a-glance pricing categories, which means you can remove the grey area and get an upfront, accurate shipping cost!
image via Sendle
There’s also no waiting in line at the post ofﬁce or visiting the post box either; simply create a free online account to conveniently book pick-ups from your front door, and track all order details and progress via your online account. Sendle is also Australia’s ﬁrst carbon neutral courier service. So bonus points for that, too.
Pack & Send pride themselves on being able to deliver anything, anywhere. And they can, for a price. Pack & Send is a fairly comprehensive, full-service courier that offer a range of options, right from do it yourself right through to packaging your parcel for you. Pack & Send allow you to choose the level of service you want – depending on your needs – using either their Retail Service Centres or their online self-service system.
What makes Pack & Send unique is their full-service approach to shipping. For a completely fuss-free experience, take your unpackaged item into a Pack & Send centre, and they will professionally pack your item for shipment and send your parcel direct from the service centre. Prices for this premium service can be on the expensive side, but they’re worth considering for fragile and expensive items that need that extra attention to detail in the packaging.
The online self-service option, where you manage the process in your own home or ofﬁce, allows you to keep your costs down. Pack, weigh and measure the parcel yourself, enter the details in their online quoting system then book, pay and print your shipping labels online. You must then be around for the collection of your parcel, or take it to your nearest Pack & Send centre. Pack & Send also offer ecommerce solutions including website integration and a postage calculator.
Transdirect is a no-fuss courier aggregate that offer a simple online user interface and very competitive shipping rates. Transdirect is great for midsized / awkwardly shaped parcels that don’t quite ﬁt into other couriers’ ﬂatrate categories. The general consensus is that Transdirect is a reliable and efﬁcient service with excellent customer support.
uShip is a handy online tool for shipping those tricky, larger items that the usual suspects are unable to ship. uShip connects customers with thousands of independent, registered couriers. As a customer, simply sign up and list the details of your shipment including size, origin and destination. Near-by trucks are alerted and bid to win your business! Select the most appealing quote (alongside real customer reviews), and book then-and-there via your uShip account. You can then track and manage your shipment via real time status alerts in your online account area. Having transporters compete for business allows the sender to save up to 80% on standard prices, and uShip also reduces carbon emissions by helping to ﬁll otherwise empty trucks in transit.
image – empty trucks in transit.
So we’ve only really scraped the surface, but hopefully getting familiar with some of these handy services will put you on right track to becoming a shipping aﬁcionado in no-time! Do you have any other great couriers to recommend? Please share in the comments on our face book post Great Australian Courier Services For Your Online Shipping Needs
–Samuel is a Melbourne-based interior stylist and the founder and curator of
Kitsch please, Australia’s ﬁrst dedicated online marketplace for buying and selling vintage homewares and furniture.
To find out more about buying and selling your vintage items visit their website www.kitschplease.com.au/
Thank you Samuel for this invaluable information