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Logistics & Fulfilment

Australia Post’s Shipster to close next month

Australia Post is closing Shipster, its free shipping subscription service, less than two years after it launched with buy-in from major retailers including Myer, Target, Cotton On, Birdsnest and Showpo.

While the service was popular with participating subscribers and merchants, it failed to gain the critical mass it needed to make the offer sustainable, Australia Post said in a statement on the Shipster website.

The service will officially be wound up on July 31, 2019. Existing subscribers will receive a pro-rata refund for any months remaining on the subscription from the end of May.

Expectations have changed

Shipster launched in October 2017 as a way to help retailers compete with Amazon’s Prime program. Customers could sign up to Shipster and pay $6.95 a month to get free shipping when they spent $25 or more with participating retailers, as long as the shipping cost was less than $20.

Dozens of retailers signed on to the program at launch, but mass adoption never transpired. At the time of this writing, 69 retailers were advertised as participating in Shipster.

At the same time, the e-commerce sector and consumer expectations have changed, and the cost of shipping is no longer as much of a barrier to purchase, an Australia Post spokesperson said.

“Over the last 18 months the e-commerce market has evolved rapidly and many e-commerce merchants now operate their own subscription services,” the spokesperson told Internet Retailing.

“Free shipping is now more commonplace and customer expectations have also changed. Where free shipping was once the barrier to online shopping, online shoppers are now focused on getting their items fast, they want more personalised experiences, more choice in how they receive their deliveries and simpler returns.”

Australia Post said it will focus is innovation investment on new products and services to meet the evolving needs of Australian online shoppers.

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