I’m quite angry at the moment but I will try to keep this as civil as possible. If you log on to Australia’s official online LEGO store and try to shop around, you’ll be greeted by a very nasty surprise. LEGO has increased the threshold for free shipping from $150 to $200. That’s a whopping increase of $50! When I saw it on the Shipping and Handling page, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes.
There is a little blurb that appears when you hover over the Checkout button on the site, informing you that “Due to changes with our shipping logistics, we have recently had to review our free shipping threshold.” I’d really like to find out what these changes are.
Australia already has a sordid reputation for being constantly overcharged for products that this just seems all too familiar. The original Free Shipping threshold of $150 was already comparatively higher than the US (they just have to spend $75 and above for free shipping) or the United Kingdom where you qualify for free shipping on orders over £50.
I am really having a hard time trying to understand LEGO Australia’s rationale for increasing their Free Shipping threshold by so much in one go.
But first, a little bit of history about LEGO.com’s Australian store and the costs associated with transporting boxes of LEGO sets to our beautiful Land Down Under. If you visit the Shipping and Handling page of LEGO Australia, you’ll notice a very obvious disclaimer – Please note that all goods are shipped from Europe.
This should come as no surprise for regular shoppers on shop.lego.com – all the LEGO we buy comes from Denmark, not from a warehouse in Australia because there is none. The stock levels, content and even bonuses on the site also reflects the European stores, except that we’re charged Australian RRP on LEGO sets.
LEGO is one of the largest toy companies in the world, pulling in sales of US$4.65 billion in 2013. That’s pre-The LEGO Movie, and judging by how much LEGO has been flying off the shelves this year in Australia, I’d wager my Mr Gold Minifigure that they’re not exactly struggling in the profits department.
With an enormous presence globally, LEGO should have their distribution and logistics channels all figured out. “Changes in their shipping logistics” feels like a very weak excuse to raise the Free Shipping in Australia. It’s also very very odd that out of all the other countries that LEGO.com ships to, we seem to be the only one affected.
If you’ve been living and buying LEGO online in Australia, you will remember that the $150 Free Shipping threshold was a relatively new occurrence.
Check out this snapshot of the Australian shipping and handling page from August 2013, taken from the Internet Wayback Machine which archives the World Wide Web.
Previously, we Australians only received Free Shipping offers a handful of times in a year, typically around holidays or special events such as Bricktober. My memory is a little fuzzy but I distinctively remember Free Shipping offers around Christmas.
That all changed in September 2013 when LEGO introduced the $150 Free Shipping Threshold and it was a little less painful to order from LEGO.com. It was a bit higher than I would’ve liked, but hey, shipping big boxes of LEGO from Europe probably isn’t cheap and frankly, it wasn’t that hard to hit $150 with the high RRP for Australian LEGO sets.
And now on 18 July 2014, it all changed and we’re slapped (metaphorically in the face too) with a $200 free shipping threshold, which I feel is downright absurd and unreasonable.
I guess I’m more disappointed than angry because I actually enjoy buying LEGO online from LEGO.com. Thanks to sweet bonuses such as the recent Classic Spaceman Minifigure set above, I’ve happily ordered quite a number of sets because sometimes, I don’t mind paying RRP if they come with exclusive sets. As I mentioned earlier, hitting $150 wasn’t the easiest but it was doable.
Thinking of buying the 10242 Mini Cooper and getting it delivered to Australia for free? Nope, that won’t happen any more. You’ll need to add on another $50 of LEGO on top of the $150 it costs for the LEGO Mini Cooper.
Want to buy Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP before it comes out in Australian toy stores and get it shipped to you for free? NOPE. Can’t do that either, you gotta pay $35 to get it shipped to you or purchase another $50 worth of LEGO.
What can we do to reverse this decision? Email, email, email LEGO with your dissatisfaction! You can contact LEGO Australia via their Customer Service Page and let them know that this isn’t cool. In the meantime, I’ve reached out to LEGO Australia for an official response but I haven’t heard anything yet.
Updated with the official response from LEGO Australia:
The LEGO Group strives to offer you an unrivalled shopper experience. Due to changes within our shipping logistics, we have recently had to review our free shipping threshold. As shipping costs have constantly increased in the past years, and with products being shipped from Europe to ensure ANZ customers have access to all the latest launches, we have simply had to adjust our free shipping threshold. For full information on shipping and handling to the ANZ region, please visit http://shop.lego.com/en-
The response doesn’t really say much, to be honest.
In closing, I have to express how disappointed I am with this change. I almost feel betrayed because I’ve been such an ardent supporter of LEGO’s online store, and this feels like unjustified punishment and a backwards step in getting people to shop online. LEGO Australia, why would you go out of your way to actively discourage fans from shopping on your online store?
To lighten up this rant, here’s a meme.