Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Online shopping: Beauty Products. Here are some lovely sites for Malaysian shoppers.

Remember when I went a little excited at the launch of Clinique Malaysia e-shopping website?

It's a no-secret that I love shopping beauty products online. I feel less harassed, I am able to enjoy the freedom to choose without being pressured and I don't need to feel the need to buy many various different products from the same range/brand as I get to pick and choose which products would suit my skin needs best.

I have to admit that Malaysia is a little slow in the e-shopping department. A decade ago, our friends in the States have already enjoyed this service with added benefits too - they'd usually receive samples with purchases made. Here, samples are hard to come by. Instead, samples are sold to us even.

Whatever it is, I welcome this positive development. More and more user-friendly online sites are made available to us, with lovely promotions and shopping experience made easier. Here are some of them which I'd usually check out:

1. StrawberryNet (multiple brands under 1 site)

This is my number ONE go to online site for beauty purchases. It's not the neatest site but the layout works well for people like me who's familiar with the site. I think searching for products, brands or type of beauty products you need is easy too as the buttons are all there on the front page.

I have to admit that I check this site every day because they have the "Daily specials" where only several selected products are sold at a huge marked-down price and in limited quantities. I have enjoyed several good purchases like a RM300+ eye cream slashed down to just RM91 or RM100+ cleansers sold at just RM80. I've also missed out on the sale of Dior's collagen lip gloss twice as they got snapped up much faster than my finger could click on the "Add to Cart" button -.-

They are based in Hong Kong so your package would usually come from there. But there have been times when I'd get the package couriered from Singapore.

The site has a loyalty programme where every time a purchase is made, you'd receive a percentage of discount for your next purchase, with a ceiling 10% discount after your 20th order. And, if you purchase more than 1 item in each session, they will award you with more discounts for every additional item, up to 5% discount for 6 or more items.

Be aware though, that NOT everything is cheaper here. So you really must know what you want to buy or rather how much the item really cost if bought at the counter.

1. Huge huge discounts for "Daily Specials" products.
2. Loyalty discounts up to 10% for each purchase and additional discounts for more items purchased in each session.
3. Hundreds of brands available.
4. So many organic/natural products available like Ren, Terre de Mer by Thalgo, Eminence, Juice Beauty, Jurlique, Weleda, Melvita, etc.
5. Frequent promotions to engage with customers in an effective way.
6. Customer service online is very prompt and helpful in your queries.
7. Free shipping!

1. NOT everything is cheaper here. Be aware of the local prices because some of them from EL, Dior, Kiehl's or even Aveda are not really cheaper while some are.
2. They don't usually carry a full range from the brands so you don't really get to shop in a "complete" experience
3. No ingredients lists furnished with any products.

2. The Body Shop

I loved this site especially during their sale period and I especially love some of their exclusive online promotions where you can get more slashed down prices compared to if you were to buy the same product in their stores, physically. You know how much I love their body butters and most of the time, I dislike their sales personnel in stores... of the many visits to their stores, I only had one really genuine SA attended to me in their Paradigm Mall outlet. So, this online shopping site is really a wonderful escape for me to choose what I like hassle-free.

The homepage is pretty busy and it's easy to lose yourself in it. Like you need to look at skincare but you saw all those promotion banners on the right, the left and bottom parts of the page. You'd want to click here there and everywhere and then forget why you came to the website in the first place. Quite good marketing tactics if you are a fan of their products.

1. Delivery is free when you purchase over RM120.
2. Major plus points for publishing a complete list of ingredients of their products.

Cons: Not everything sold in the stores are available here. For instance, during the Christmas sale, only several types of the small-sized body butters were sold in the website whilst you can get all sorts of variations in the stores.

3. Melvita

I like Melvita products but I always find going to their stores boring. I don't know... perhaps it's the lack of energy on their SA's or too much hard sell of things I don't really need. Or perhaps its the look and feel of their stores that lacks energy... 

So, when I read that we can now get Melvita products online via their local website, I was intrigued. I like it that their website feels so soothing to the eyesight and they used very pretty artwork. 

And if they still have issues with awareness on what they offer or what kind of products are available for those who are only discovering the brand, they did a good job laying out their products with offers and prices clearly stated.

Major plus points for them too for publishing the list of ingredients of their products. Knowing the ingredients of a skincare product is quite important for me but many websites or brands don't believe in publishing a complete list. I truly appreciate such a feature.

I've not bought anything yet from them and once I have, I shall update what I think of their service. My favourite would definitely be their floral waters.

4. Guardian (multiple drugstore brands and personal care)

I have not tested this online shopping site before and was surprised when I found out that my favourite drugstore has an e-shopping service. It's always a hassle to go over to Guardian especially since their shelves layout are so narrow that pushing a stroller in between their shelves and promo stands can be a nightmare! Worst part would be to bang into an unwanted promoter trying to shift your focus to buying products you don't need from their brand and I'm sorry if they're just doing their job, but I find them a nuisance.

So, I browsed through this site and although I have put several items under my cart, I stopped short when I searched "whisper"... and I'm mad because I don't understand why this brand is not sold online. They have Kotex, they have Stayfree and whatever not, but no Whisper. And I'm mad because I know they do carry this brand in their stores. So, why not online? Sheesh.

Anyways, I checked their delivery terms and it is stated that items will be delivered to you between 3-5 working days via a courier service company of their choice. Hmmm... though I do welcome this online site, I'm always amazed at our local service because I could get a package from Hong Kong within 5 days and I even received a package from Spain within 3 days. Oh well, you can't win them all.

5. Luxola (various brands)

I've visited this site many times but I've never confirmed any purchases. No particular reasons except that I do have plenty of skincare and cosmetics and that it was only gluttony that brought me here ;P

There are 3 brands offered in this site which I've been eyeing for awhile - Mario Badescu, Alpha-H and Harnn. Mario Badescu can also be found in Sephora stores since they came to our shores but before this, I actually had to ask from a friend who was working in Singapore to purchase it for me. As for Alpha-H, I've heard so much good things about their Liquid Gold and since I am a fan of glycolic products, my fingers have been itching to click on the items and purchase them. The only thing stopping me is the many good products that I'm currently trying and I feel bad to replace them because they're working so well. Harnn, on the other hand I've used since it was known as Harnn & Thann back then in 2005. The products were available in Langkawi and they had an outlet in 1U and then poof! they disappeared and focused on providing spa experience instead. I'm not sure how different they are now compared to then but the current price range offered isn't that strong of a pull factor for me yet.

But the website has really good brands and I'm sure I'd be placing my order with it soon ;)

6. HiSHOP (various brands)

I think this is quite a newbie on the block too. Perhaps slightly more than 1 year old? I'm not too sure.  I've not ordered anything from them yet and though they have hundreds of brands - most of which I've not heard of before - I'm not that interested in any of them. Well, except for Antipodes and Juice Beauty, though.

I just think the website is a little too busy and noisy with too many products and offers. I don't doubt that they have good offers but I always get lost and distracted whenever I'm in their site. After awhile I'd just lose interest. Still, I'm always drawn to this website because of Antipodes and Juice Beauty. As you know, my interest in organic and natural skincare piqued recently, and I've only heard rave reviews of these 2 brands. Naturally, I'm eager to try them out but I hadn't earlier as their prices are a little bit steep and also the fact that I'm using products that are working quite well for me... so, maybe later?

What I like about this site is that it offers products from the cheaper range and it also carries specific segment of products like Organic/Natural and Tools/Accessories - you'll most probably find what you're looking for, and more.

So, there you go... these are the online sites that I'd usually visit to satiate my thirst for beauty, even if it meant just "window-browsing". What's your favourite?


lyn said...

Didn't know Guardian had an online shop and I had to laugh when you couldn't find Whisper pads :-) A couple of others I have tried are colourscosmeticsmalaysia.com and nailfiesta.com. Both local and offer very fast postage.

toughcookie said...

hi lyn,
haha i was frustrated because what's the point of ordering online when i can't get all i need, right?

thanks for the additional sites! :)

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