CHOICE membership

Woolworths Delivery Unlimited – sounds good for lockdown, but do you actually save money?

With around 40% of Australians currently in lockdown, the Woolworths “Delivery Unlimited” subscription sounds like a good idea if you want to avoid going to supermarkets.

But it seems like the subscription won’t actually save money for lots of consumers…

The “Personal”, “Any Day” subscription costs $19 / month (paid monthly, a bit cheaper if you lock in for the annual option) - and gives you free delivery for all orders above $100.

But, based on Woolies’ standard delivery pricing (shown in this table on their website), a lot of households won’t be better off with the subscription. On my calculations:

  • If your average order is $150 and you’re happy to use next day 5-hour delivery windows, then you would need to be doing 3 shops each month to save money with Delivery Unlimited (based on the monthly payment option).
  • And if your average order is $250, you’d need to shop 20 times in a month to save just $1!

Woolies has a tool on the Delivery Unlimited webpage to answer “How much could I save?” But the tool doesn’t seem to factor in whether a consumer might choose to use longer delivery windows - and doesn’t go to much effort to point out when a consumer won’t be saving money.

Worse still - with the demand for delivery rising through the lockdowns, anecdotally (and from personal experience) it can be pretty hard to find same day or shorter delivery windows when you order online with Woolies. And their terms make clear that the subscription doesn’t guarantee any delivery options - you just have to be happy with what’s available online from time to time (clause 7).

If that’s true, it could actually make it impossible for lots of consumers to benefit from the subscription right now (because they are forced to choose later delivery options, which are reasonably affordable without the subscription)!

Woolies might want to consider whether it suspends subscription fees while it’s unable to keep up with demand for shorter delivery spots. Until then, consumers should do some calculations before signing up to Delivery Unlimited thinking they’ll save money.

6 Likes

I think the unlimited deliveries are only worthwhile if you have frequent big shops. I don’t, so I have never signed up. I usually wait til one or more delivery windows are cheaper (early morning, long window) and do it then, and usually only twice a month. Sometimes its over $100, but not always. I don’t really see it as a saving so I don’t even consider it :slight_smile:

4 Likes

But if it’s a big shop, the delivery prices are cheaper anyway (eg $0 for next day windows for shops over $300)!

So it’s no good for small shops and no good for big shops. Sounds like a Goldilocks subscription…

6 Likes

A big shop is all relative. A big (weekly) shop for us would be around $100, for others it would be $300+.

If you do regular shipping (once a week or more), then subscriptions might become attractive. If you do shops once a fortnight or less, they might not pay.

What you have raised is one shoe does not suit everyone, and one should look at their shopping pattern and value to see if subscription is a financial benefit…or a paid convenience.

1 Like

Yes, this is the main point. But the extra angle is that - at the moment - there are fewer situations where anyone would get lots of value (or convenience) from the subscription option. Because there is less availability for earlier / shorter booking windows, which is what delivers most value with the subscription (for all shop sizes).

3 Likes

Reading this I wonder. Why would Woolworths make an ongoing service like this more expensive? Surely it would be in their best interest to offer better value with the subscription, as it is unlikely Delivery Unlimited customers would ever shop anywhere else.

2 Likes

Prior to COVID I had an average weekly shop of $240. Using delivery unlimited I have split this into two weekly deliveries, Monday and Saturday. I enjoy the convenience not having to do a large weekly shop and two deliveries means fresher produce. The service itself has been pretty good, very few product substitutions and only one major problem (which was rectified with 30 minutes) in over 150 deliveries. Excess packaging has been an issue but has improved with the introduction of paper bags. I am often critical of Woolworths but I am happy with this service.
Goldilocks.

4 Likes

I have been shopping online for about a year. I only do it because I can no longer push/pull a shopping trolley easily to my home because of a few steps along the way. It is a great help for heavy things like
Tinned dog food and large packs of toilet paper. The checkout price
Gives me a shock but it’s around the same every time.
By one BIG complaint is that the website is so slow and messy it takes up to and over 3 hours each time. I need to constantly refresh the page and take to banging on the screen. It just doesn’t respond. Each time I swear I’ll never do it again but my choices are limited.

3 Likes

You’d think so, but I suspect that many who sub don’t actually do their sums…

1 Like

I have used this for years and shop every 6 days. I pay annually and it works out about $2.50 per order min. spend $100. If I paid each time without a delivery subscription it would be $13-15 per order.

4 Likes

The below table, based on information from the Woolworths website, shows for each delivery option the minimum annual number of orders required to recoup the $228 ($19 per month) Woolworths Unlimited membership fee.

1 Like

Physiological warfare and customer realignment. Business growth and Marketing strategies.

We often bump come across Woolies staff filling trolleys in the store for customer orders. It must be expensive considering the labour required. The only time per trolley where the customer is in store is the checkout service staff or self checkout warden.

How likely is it that Woolies and Coles are looking forward to automated fulfilment centres as per Amazon? Robotics and automation. With more F&V products coming in prepackaged options is it part of a longer term customer retraining strategy? For the mega-cities of Australia’s near future will it be cheaper to shop on line and more expensive to shop in store for our groceries?

P.S.
I’m not anti the home delivery service. Along with the savings & convenience (marketing hype) of prepackaged meal options, home delivery of cooked calorie/kJoules and fridges that tell your chosen store more milk is required, are we being reprogrammed to have the AI do the boring and uninspiring food shopping/ordering for us?

With 40 years between generations in our family there are two very different answers to that question.

By spinning convenience, the importance of using your valuable time to do other things, the stressless experience and absolute savings - there’s so much to be gained. Mostly by the seller! And nothing to loose, except……? :roll_eyes:

1 Like

It’s a ripoff, and I won’t be renewing. The delivery service was working well for me when I could get deliveries on a Wednesday at no additional cost if my order was over $100. Then Woolworths arbitrarily cancelled all deliveries on a Wednesday in my area, leaving an inadequate number of delivery windows on Mondays (and only on Mondays) and no option for free delivery: my annual subscription is not saving me money, it’s costing me money. And Woolworths still have the effrontery to advertise this service - one that they can’t actually fulfil - on their website.

4 Likes

I had problems like that with the website and rang them about it. Then weeks later the problem disappeared but I agree, it was incredibly frustrating! Have you made a list of your basics for quick reordering? I find that helps but of course it still takes time to look at specials etc. It is still a lot more convenient for me that going to the supermarket etc.

I am very happy. I pay $119 per year but can only get delivery on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but this is not an issue for me. I shop weekly and, although there are only 2 of us, easily spend over $100. So for me it must work out to be a few dollars per week even accounting for times when I am away etc. I never see options under $13 and it is often $15 or $17 so I am perfectly satisfied with the system I use.