Monday, September 10, 2012

Ask Mudra: Rating the online shopping sites

Hello, my name is Katrina and I am an online shopping addict. 

I don't know how or when or why this started. One day, after the nth time browsing my favorite shopping sites, I just bit the bullet (and whipped out the credit card). Life hasn't been the same since.

OK, OK, that's a bit overdramatic, but to be totally honest, I much prefer online shopping now to going to the mall. At the mall I get stressed: by inattentive salespeople, by too attentive salespeople, by entering an empty store and knowing the attendants' eyes are following me, by knowing that yes, there is no way in heck those cute pants are going to be available in my size. Online, I can browse for as long as I want and dither about which choices to make without worrying about whether my companions are bored or whatever.

Anyhow, since I do this a lot, I was recently asked which online shopping sites I'd recommend. Here  are the sites I've tried, and here's how I rate their service. Because I want YOU to shop online too! Lalalala!!

 

I started buying Human Nature products in October 2011 after attending the Read the Label event and learning about all the toxins in the beauty and personal care products you and I use each day. The fact that they are a social enterprise as well that creates jobs for Filipinos while maintaining ethically and environmentally sound business practices made me want to support them all the more! Now, almost all the grooming items I use - shampoo, conditioner, body butter, lotion, hand soap, sanitizer - are Human Nature. I also sell Human Nature products as a dealer because I believe in them so much I want my friends and family to know about their amazing products! It doesn't hurt that their e-commerce platform is ridiculously easy to use -- and so pretty too. They also have monthly specials and discounts to make shopping even more addictive.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars. I had slight issues when I ordered mega bulk gift packs during the last Christmas rush -- some items doubled, for example. But on the whole I order from them every month and only experienced this a couple of times.

Zalora Philippines


I've ordered three times from Zalora Philippines now -- to get shades and nail polish, Collective.com goodies and birthday party gifts -- and I'm super happy with their services. Delivery was fast, within the 24-48 hours promised. All the goods come wrapped in paper and sealed in plastic. I love that they carry lots of local brands that I would have otherwise never discovered and they have great customer service policies too, like Cash on Deliver and 30 Day Return policy.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars. Just a little more tweaking on their e-commerce platform and this would be perfect. For example, it'd be great if they posted size equivalents directly on the product listing (e.g. beside a bag they could note "11 inch drop, 8 inches across" or for clothes they could say "XL = 44" bust" etc. They do have a sizing guide in their about page, but it'd be more convenient if it was more accessible/right beside the product.

BrandsFever


With time-based exclusive sales, killer brands, email catalogues dripping with pretty things and a spare, simple interface, BrandsFever is a very tempting shopping site. I've gotten a couple of things from them - a bag and sandals - but, barring some extremely wonderful deal, won't probably order from them again anytime soon. Here's why:

- It takes forever for the items to arrive. They do say upfront that items are shipped four weeks after a campaign ends, so yes, this does mean your stuff gets to you a whole month after ordering. Kind of a buzzkill.
- All of their stuff is shipped from Singapore, which means they charge an extra P300 on top of the product price.
- Their stuff passes through the Philippine postal system. This means the dreaded CUSTOMS! It's hit-or-miss too: with the bag I bought I paid an extra P1,000 in customs duties (OUCH), but with the sandals I was only charged P80 to claim.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars. Lots of pretty stuff, but ultimately a bit of a hassle.  


Ava

I got my pretty yoga bag from this site, which also has a goofproof, spare e-commerce platform (with all the sizing and material details in each listing, *cough cough Zalora*). They started out with a lot of luxury goods (I remember when they had a Chanel and Balenciaga sale) but now they concentrate on  artsy, indie Filipino products, which is great for discovering new Pinoy talent. Right now for example they sell illustrations and paintings by Tokwa Penaflorida.  At the same time, that customer focus is a bit...hmm, narrow. Aside from that, their service is quick and pain-free. So my rating is:

Rating: 3/5 stars.

BONUS material

Johnny Air

I haven't tried shopping from US-based online sites, but all that may change after I experienced Johnny Air Cargo.

See, my Kindle broke, and since it was under warranty Amazon could replace it for me. The catch: they could only ship to the US. After consulting with Amazon's customer service reps, I worked with Johnny Air on a solution: they could ship the replacement to Johnny Air's New York office, which would be then forwarded to their Makati office. (Same process in reverse when I sent my defective Kindle back to Amazon). All in all I was just charged about $6 for the package, plus about $20 in tax and surcharge for handling valuable items, and no headaches dealing with customs too. And I have my Kindle again, WHEEE!

Based on that hassle-free experience, and dealing with their polite and attentive staff, I think Johnny Air is the way to go!


Eranzi

Now this site I haven't ordered from yet -- aside from their expensive goods, can you imagine what customs will charge if this passes through the post office?! -- but I just love looking at this site and wishing hard with longing for the exquisite bags they sell. Like this. And this. And oooooh, this. Sigh. Ultimately, Eranzi might just be fantasy fodder for me.

What about you? Do you shop online? What are your favorite shops?

4 comments:

impossible girl said...

Luisaviaroma is my eranzi. Like you, I just browse on the site. Kaya lang, the scary thing is that as the items I browse become increasingly expensive, suddenly buying a $200 YSL arty ring doesn't seem so unreasonable. Haha...

BTW, have you tried Romwe? I like their accessories and my experience with them has been quite good.

Katrina said...

Haha, I know what you mean! I find myself thinking "30 grand for a canvas Gucci isn't bad" and then I get a reality check (HELLO IT'S CANVAS) hahaha! Will look into Romwe too, sounds interesting!!

saras wathi said...

Nice blogger.

I like to share one think happy recently i brought this Nokia Lumia 520 in Ezeekart with 20% discount.Its one of the best online shopping for mobiles



http://www.ezeekart.com/p-30384/nokia-lumia-520-(yellow).html

Aileen Lualhati said...

Nice recommendation. I love Human Heart Nature! by the way you can also buy these products at https://www.goods.ph/. :)

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