Things I look out for when I shop online

onlineshopping

Nowadays, with two kids in tow, I find it increasingly challenging to shop in retail stores or in the malls, save for the regular grocery shopping, I would say.  It’s difficult for me to take my own sweet time to choose and consider stuff to buy, and often times, I have to do it really quickly, and admittedly, sometimes I feel a little *shopaholic-unsatisfied*.

That is why online shopping has been a savior to me.  This doesn’t mean that I shop online a lot, but when I have the need to, I am thankful that this option has allowed me to do so conveniently at home, when the kids are in bed, and when those retail stores are closed.

However, there are a few things I do keep an eye out for when I shop in online stores.  They help give me a sense of security when I shop at a particular store, and give me more confidence about closing a purchase online.

  • When I pay with my credit card, I look for stores with a secure sockets layer (SSL) on the site.  You can check this by either looking at the address bar and noticing a LOCK symbol on it.  Also, the URL should start with a https:// Alternatively, right click on the page (with https://) and click on the Certificates button.
  • I also look for sites with an About Us link/page.  This makes me feel that the seller/store owner is not iffy about sharing information about themselves.  The site should also contain a seller’s address and preferably an email or contact number.  Online stores that have tons of products to sell, but contain no information about the seller is a total turn-off.
  • When buying from eBay sites, I look for sellers with a good buyer rating.  I pay with Paypal when I purchase from eBay, because I know I can take advantage of the PayPal Buyer Protection.
  • I try to consolidate my purchases to obtain Free Shipping whenever possible.  And I love sites that offer Free Shipping regardless of amount spent.
  • I look for testimonials or feedback from previous customers to get a feel of what their shopping experience was like.  Sometimes the online site may not have a Testimonials link, so I rely on googling to get a fair view.
  • If it’s my first experience with a site, I would usually email the owner to inquire about their items or policies.  I place high importance on the speed of email responses.  A timely reply shows me that the owner cares about what he/she is doing, and I would likely consider making a purchase
  • I prefer proper online shops as opposed to blogshops, the latter, I know, is becoming more widespread now.  Blogshops make navigation rather difficult and when I cannot find what I am looking for, I am more tempted to close the browser and look elsewhere.

What about you?  What do you deem important when you shop online?

Shopping at Bodybarskincare.com

bodybar

I recently made an online purchase at Body Bar Skincare.  Actually part of the reason was because I had a promotion code that was expiring soon, and being the self-professed shopaholic that I am, I wanted to make use of it.

If you have not heard of Body Bar Skincare, it is a delightful little online store that sells organic and natural products.  Since my family and I are already eating organic food whenever possible, it only makes sense that what I put on my face and body is organic too!

Body Bar Skincare has a motto that is very catchy, in that

“If it’s not good enough to eat, it’s not good enough for your skin!”

And that is just so true, I feel.  Because why would you put harmful ingredients on your skin anyway? :P

The site carries a few brands of organic skincare products, but I only ever tried the Madara line. I’ll be reviewing two of the products I purchased in a future post, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, let me share a little something about my shopping experience at Body Bar Skincare.  Overall, I found navigating the site very easy. Each product had a clear and detailed description, with the ingredients in it, and also the  number of units available.  After adding the products into the shopping cart, checking out was a breeze too.  Actually, you’d be surprised that the organic products sold at the store is actually quite reasonably priced!

There’s also a discount coupon lookup feature, which I used to double-check my coupon’s validity.  I thought that was cool…

Oh, and shipping is waived for purchases above RM250 :)

Also, email responses were quite fast, and they were very obliging and helpful in their replies, knowing me…I ask LOADS of questions…hehe.  This is very comforting, because it really helps in purchasing skincare products online.  So ask away, and I am sure you will be pleased…as was I :)

On the whole, a very pleasant shopping experience…although it would have been good if they update the order records with the tracking number of the parcel and change the status accordingly.  I received my order a LONG time ago, but it still shows up as Pending.

Body Bar Skin Care is accessible online as well as in retail stores, at several locations in Malaysia.  So if you’d like to see the products before buying them, there’s an option for you too.

I am very happy with the products I am using from Body Bar Skincare, and I know that if you are an avid organic user, you would be too!  Do check it out, and I am sure you won’t be sorry!

Bag-reselling – do you think it’s cool?


Photo credits

Coach, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Prada. You name it, you’ve loved it.  You’ve seen that coveted bag on the catwalk, in the magazines, and on the red carpet.  You’ve seen it in the stores too, but some of them are just way way too purse-breaking to get.

Lately, however, I have noticed a similar trend sprouting around.  Bag lovers do not need to pay a hand and a foot to get branded bags they can call their own.  I’ve seen online sites selling these bags for a fraction of the price in the stores, and these are supposedly originals.

Question is: would you buy your bag this way?

Yes, it is cheaper, and yes, you get to strut your stuff and yet still save money, but is it worth the while?

When I visited the Coach Factory Outlets in USA, there were many people who were purchasing bags by the dozen.  Back then, I figured they were just buying them as gifts, but now, come to think of it, those people might have been purchasing those bags to earn a tidy profit from reselling them.

I personally would not purchase a branded bag from any means other than from its original store or from its factory outlet.  The warranty and service that comes with a bag is far too important to me to sacrifice, and I have personally experienced superior customer service from Coach too.  In fact, I have another pleasant experience/story from Coach which I will share in another post, but the bottomline is Coach never fails to impress me.  And I would never get that service had I bought the bag from a source other than direct from Coach.  I believe the same goes to all the other branded bags too.

So would you spend a little extra just to get a branded bag, or would you be willing to get a branded bag for less, albeit from a bag reseller?

Gap Membership: What you don’t know

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Avid GAP shoppers, especially if you are from Penang, this might be of interest to you!

I indulged in a mini shopping spree for my kids at The Gap in 1 Utama PJ a few weeks ago.  And as the sales personnel was ringing up my total, she asked if I was a GAP member.  I answered no, because well, I wasn’t.  And she proceeded to explain that I could use my total spending for that day in accumulation for purchases towards getting a GAP membership.

After a little bit of inquiring back and forth, I discovered this:

  • Only purchases from GAP outlets in the Klang Valley count towards accumulation of purchases to acquire the GAP membership.  To be a GAP member, you need to spend RM700 either in a single receipt, or over a period of 6 months.  The caveat is that all purchases MUST be from GAP outlets in the Klang Valley (KLCC, The Gardens, 1 Utama, Mid Valley Megamall).
  • Purchases from the GAP store at Queensbay Mall, Penang DO NOT count towards a membership with GAP.
  • You cannot apply to be a GAP member in Penang, but you can do so in the Klang Valley.
  • However, if you are already a GAP member, then you still get to use your card and discounts at any GAP store in Malaysia.
  • Your friends and relatives and anyone you know can help you accumulate purchases.  They just need to quote your cellphone number when they make their purchases at GAP, assuming they themselves are not accumulating purchases for a membership of their own, that is.
  • GAP merchandise in the Klang Valley and Penang are totally different.  I walk into the GAP store here in Penang and end up getting nothing, but I end up getting RM500 plus of stuff at the store in 1 Utama.

So now I need another RM200 + worth of GAP purchases (from the Klang Valley) within the next six months to qualify for the GAP Membership.  Anyone wanna help me? :P