Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything

Hey all, I'm pretty sure you all have heard/read about the war that occurred at Diary of an E-shopaholic's chat box not too long ago as well as the existence of the fashion-truth blog. Well, I'm not here to make any judgement, just to share a little of what I know from my encounters as a reviewer, e-shop owner and a customer myself.

Frankly speaking, I'm sure the owner of Fashion Truth meant well when she started the blog, to share experiences and price comparisons, for the benefit of the customers. I mean, we all wanna save some moolah and get the best deals, don't we? As a consumer myself I have my fair share of encounters with bad experiences in service and the items purchased. Having said that, there were times I complained and other times I just let it go. After all, we all know buying online comes with a risk and it is partly my fault for not inquiring further about the material, size etc etc. But that's me. I understand how it is I wanna COD at a place for my convenience and time and usually prefer to COD rather than pay postage. I mean, as a student myself, I try to not spend so much as I don't get much.

But yet on the other hand, this is rather upsetting for the e-shops. That is, their reputation is tainted once price comparisons are made. I'm totally in for the price comparison thing, but sometimes I feel that it's rather mean that somehow people are attacking the e-shops based on the price, forgetting the quality and the customer service that comes into play.

As a reviewer, I've come across what would be called user-friendly layouts of e-shops and some that are a little difficult to navigate. I also noticed that prices vary from shop to shop for the same item, which is one of the reasons why I do not review items that I have reviewed before (Having said that I know I still do sometimes, forgetful me. Do remind me if I do such a thing, it is totally unintentional). While some may think I'm siding the e-shop owners instead of giving out good deals to the customers, I personally want a variety in the reviews and for readers to know what's out there and not what's just popular or in trend. I thought of reviewing what I like personally but hey, everyone has different taste, no? Hence the crazy updates of everything! While it might not be something I fancy, you know what, I always find something nice to say about it!

Despite having the same items, I am pretty sure all e-shops will sooner or later develop their own style and bring in what reflects their styles. And some of you might think I'm always on the e-shop owners side because I get deals and what not, personally I feel for them as I've been through those experiences as well. I enjoy reviewing simply because it's interesting and getting to know people is really fun.

While some may say it isn't fair to charge COD fees, we have to take into consideration that some of these stay pretty far away. Yes, petrol prices have dropped but there is still toll charges and such. Yes, both parties have to meet up but then again many meet up at universities where the customers already are. And yes, I highly believe there should be no COD charges should the e-shop owner also goes to the same university. And about how meeting 5 customers at one shot and profiting from COD charges, that's up to the e-shop owner to determine. After all customers come from all over the place and the likelihood of getting them all to meet at one place at one time isn't so easy.

As an e-shop owner myself, I also know how it is to deal with customers. Prices range from supplier to supplier. As you all would have known by now, the prices vary depending on how much stocks are left. On another note, suppliers don't really have a fixed price for their items. Different e-shop owners do get different cost prices and hence the variation between the prices. Whether the e-shop owners are out to profit only or they enjoy the job, that's their prerogative. As for those who run away with customers' money from pre-orders, well, we would just have to help each other out in warning fellow shoppers to not purchase from that particular e-shop.

As for photography, not everyone is a natural born model and not everyone is good at camwhoring. While this is a skill to be learned, I understand photos play a huge role in branding the e-shop as well as marketing the items. Having said that, I personally think this shouldn't give anyone a reason to judge the model or the e-shop. People pose the way they like and feel comfortable with. And beauty is skin deep, no? As for photoshopping and stealing photos from other e-shops to use as their own, I wouldn't deny that it is unethical in every sense.

While it seems like its easy-peasey earning big bucks from running an e-shop, it definitely isn't. It is a lot of work to buy the clothes, take down info, photoshoot, upload them, prepare details, ensure transactions are safe etc etc while handling class work/ work for working adults. Sometimes, I feel that the e-shop owners aren't given enough credit for the work they do. And as for profits, most e-shops are run by more than one person and the profits are shared. In the end, you end up with not that much after all

As for customer service, well, I would agree that some e-shops are totally unethical in selling off items that are reserved by someone else as well as scolding customers and such. As for the horror stories of flaming e-shop owners, I personally have shopped with Rainbowmallows once and she was rather nice to me (that is she didn't know I was the reviewer behind ASD). I had my fair share of good and bad customer service, but I would say it is true that one incident may leave a bad impression but at the same time, but would one incident be so bad to justify that the owner and everything else is bad as well?

As a result of this, it has come to a point where the e-shop owners are pretty demotivated to continue their business due to the constant flaming and such which I find a real shame because you have to agree with me they do have gorgeous clothes. While some are out to make money only, which I agree, others are caught in this when they really try to do their best in providing customers with the best service and quality. I suppose it would be good that customers and e-shop owners get to know each other as friends more than just a business transaction. Which I find, it's really fun meeting new people, that's the best part of being a reviewer! You get to know so many people and make new friends :)

Besides that, some joy buyers are also an issue to the e-shop owners. As the feedback I receive, many e-shops appreciate it that customers who are no longer interested in the item to let the e-shop owners know. After all in order to have smooth transactions, both parties need to communicate well, no?

Lastly, (you must be thinking goodness, why she so long winded wan?! Oops!) personally I think online shopping is fun, it's great to get bargains like these while meeting people who you never know, could end up being your best friends. I see the existence of e-shops as complementary to one another as everyone has their own style and concept rather than to compete. As for prices, hey, it is their prerogative to decide how much they wanna profit to make up for the time and effort invested. Who are we to judge after all? You wouldn't know unless you stand in their shoes. As an e-shop owner myself, I'm still learning a lot and I'd say it's a great experience (though it is hard work!) in seeing customers happy and that makes me happy too

There is no right or wrong, I'm no one to make judgements of any kind. Freedom of speech, I totally agree, after all we need to be more proactive, constructive criticisms that is without calling people names and what not. But, do remember that it is true that words can pierce the heart like a million swords thrown at you. How would it be to stand in the shoes of the person you just flamed?

Shopping should bring us girls together as a community in enjoying what we do, no? Rather than bringing each other down. Of course, this is my very own opinion as I feel that some really nice people have been wrongly accused of. What say you?


Your sister in shopping


bling**bling said...

What I can say more? I totally agree with you be as a e-shop owner or a customer myself...

may said...

may i noe the link to fashiontruth??

Anonymous said...

I frankly think there's nothing wrong with the price comparisons. In fact, I think it's a rather good idea. We're living in an age where information flows seamlessly from one user to another. With the incredible amount of online shops, it is inevitable that customers will be comparing prices. Any prudent consumer would do so.

But I think "flaming" e-shop owners are totally uncalled for. Different people have different ways of doing their business. So lets not judge others so harshly.

Think Glamz said...

As a newbie in owning an e-shop. you've open up my eyes so much in this post. And Many Thanks for reviewing my e-shop =) Thanks again!

jiar said...

Agree with anonymous. Price comparisions can be done, as it enlightens the shoppers of what sites are overpricing. But 'flaming' is often rude and it's really like trashing a site instead of providing constructive criticism.

Abriella said...

I feel there is nothing wrong with the price comparison. Me myself is a consumer and for sure I would like to buy things is a cheaper price but at the same time, I do look at the quality itself. One example is Rainbowmallows. I like her clothes although the price could be quite exp because currently I am staying at Sabah. Including the postage fees, one top might cost me about RM 50 ++ which I am still a student. Overall, price do bring effect but the quality is more important. I don't think there would be anyone who wants to pay cheap stuff with low quality.

Anonymous said...

hmm, am aware that certain custmers will ask for discount no matter how high or how low the product pricing is. So if owners price at the best they can give(for ex:profit of Rm10/piece)and customer press for extra discount of Rm5 or less or more, what would they be earning?And we live in different areas, thus, cost of petrol will be different as well to get stocks, i think it's only fair that pricing of price will include petrol cost as well as per physical boutiques they add the employess wages, rentals...into the pricing! If you as a customer are comparing, say, cost of proudct A which has a cost price of Rm20, blogshop A sells for Rm40, blogshop B sells for Rm30, you are gonna accused blogshop A for being greedy, but if investigate furter, blogshop A stays in Shah Alam and blogshop B stays 15mins away from the suppliers place. Even so some of you may consider this a small deal and owners should shoulder the differences. Some of you argue that why other blogshop can sell cheaper price, and they too made an effort to hunt for the item, truth to be told, if you alr have an item set in mind it's easier to find and the risk of the item for not being saleable is lesser, as you alr know there is demand for that item from the other blogshop that brought in tht item! Customer shops with a mind tht we e-shop owners are all out to cheat them, i doubt it any blogshop owners would like to cheat their customers to end up getting no business!An on going business will benefit us more than to cheat a customer once, disagree?Plus,if you complain the pricing of Tictactoe, Dainty Dresser, Dressinglab to be too expensive, thus you stop supporting them, imagine with them stopping this business, those copycats that undercuts their prices to steal customer doesn't have anyone to copy, what will happened to the online shopping?(Not everyone steals customers tht way ,just an example, and it doesn't mean only those shops mention are the only ones to bring in nice clothes...). Some customers says that certain online shops sells more expensive than physical boutiques, another truth, those boutiques are the wholesale owners themselves, so the cost price is lower than what we on9 boutiques get them for, can't compare that way right?We shop owners are business ppl, if the business becomes too troublesome and that effort taken overweighs the earnings, we doubt it this online thingy will sustain!and of course without all those lovely customer we won"t be around as well thus it's a circle!Owners need customers to keep spirits up to bring in fab clothes whereas customers need e-shop owners to make their shopping life easier! Let's help each other and not take each others necks off!

Anonymous said...

one of the e-shop owner's attitude and service is totally bad!!!!!!!! she reali make me lost all my confident in buying online item..i think i will stop buying the thing online.... till now, i dont understand how can she did all these thing to her customer...

simplyprettyt***** owner, u make me disappointed...:(

Beauty And Her Bits said...

Hi! ASD!
Beauty and Her Bits is a brand new boutique online!
Do Have a look at it and feel free to leave any comments.
Didn't know how to beep you so decided to leave you a comment!
Have a Nice Day!