Miss Terry Shopper

Miss Terry Shopper and the Shopping Club Buy-Off

Sales at Ozsale

Ms Terry Shopper puts her credit card on the line in the name of research and compares how two of Australia’s most popular member-only shopping clubs are operating within the m-commerce channel.

Since I’m now the proud owner of a mortgage house, I’m determined not to pay full price on anything I buy for the new digs. As that immediately rules out ‘going’ shopping, I get comfortable on the couch and reach for my iPhone – it’s time to shop 21st century style.

Recently, two Australian member-only shopping clubs, Ozsale and brandsExclusive,  launched and updated their iPhone apps respectively, so these pureplayers seem like the perfect place to start.

** Duty of Disclosure**

Before the story continues, it must be known that:

  • My first and only experience with Ozsale ended with the wrong goods being delivered. Why this was particularly frustrating was that at the time of the order’s delivery, I was recovering from a nasty asthma attack. I followed Ozsale’s return procedures, however, as I was unable to leave the house (try walking when you have a limited amount of oxygen in your blood….better yet, try breathing) to send the incorrect goods back, I asked the company to send a courier and explained why. Customer Service was very quick to point out that with its Reply Paid service, I wouldn’t have to go into a post office, I could simply drop the package at any postbox which would make it easier on me. Really? You know what’s going to make it easier? Not having to leave the house. And besides, the product to be returned was not going to fit into a postbox.
  • Ozsale also never offered any vouchers or discounts for its stuff up and the trouble it caused me.
  • I have also ordered from brandsExclusive previously, and out of a dozen or so times, only once has my order ever been correct. From missing and incorrect items, to wrong sizes being sent and cancelled orders (from the bE end), I’ve experienced the full gamut. Upon taking brandsExclusive to task on this, the explanation was that on the rare occasion, human error does come into play.  Yet this many times does not a ‘rare occasion’ make. It does though, make a good talking point in an article such as this.
  • brandsExclusive has given me a number of credits and vouchers, sometimes up to $40 worth, for these incidents which is why I keep going back.

Without further adieu, let’s see how I get on.

Ozsale

What could be better than spending an afternoon sipping cocktails by the pool shopping from my iPhone? I’ll tell you what – spending an afternoon shopping from my iPad.  Have to say, after newly acquiring an iPad, I’m disappointed that Ozsale doesn’t have an app for this.  Yes, the iPhone app can be used on the iPad, but of course everything looks fuzzy, pixelated and wrong. So I stick to using the iPhone.

I’m quite impressed by the number of shoe sales on offer.  I have to admit that for a few minutes there, Mr. Terry Shopper becomes dangerously close to drinking his morning tea out of a black pump stiletto with a 13cm heel. However, Ozsale allows the shopper to choose the category from which they wish to shop, so I select the rather sedate (by comparison) ‘Home’ category, and all distraction is removed.

Positives

  • All in all, the shopping process is very easy.
  • Users can select the category they wish to browse – such as ‘Home’. This saves on scrolling through events a shopper isn’t interested in, and also prevents people from accidentally skipping a relevant brand in the process.
  • Sale information, including when sales finish and upcoming sales, is prominently displayed.
  • Calls to action are displayed at the bottom of the app, and also prominently on product pages. Product pricing is clear too.
  • Categories within each brand are clearly marked.
  • Images are clear and it’s fun scrolling through all the different items.
  • Product and brand information is readily available, and the shipping and returns policy and pricing details are also listed underneath the items on sale.
  • Checkout is easy too, with payment options via credit card or PayPal. I’m able to update details to make sure the items ordered are delivered to the new address.
  • Order tracking is available.

Negatives

  • While each brand is separated into categories such as ‘cookware’, ‘bakeware’ and ‘glassware’, once a category to browse is selected, it simply runs onto the next category, without any indication. This is a little bit confusing and it’s easy to lose your place as a result.
  • Some vital product information is missing. For instance, a five-piece cookware set is added to the cart but nothing tells me what material the pots and pans are made from. I’d also like to know what the manufacturer’s warranty is.
  • A user cannot shop across brands.  Desired items from one brand must be paid for before selecting items from another brand.
  • I get stung at the checkout process with a whopping $30 delivery charge. I check back on the pricing information and nothing indicates it would be this much.  I know the last time I ordered from Ozsale, delivery was $10 so I’m not sure why the sudden hike. As I scroll through the mobile app, there is nothing explaining the delivery costs or processes. And considering I’m not even sure I’ll get the right order delivered, that really sucks.

brandsExclusive

Out comes the trusty iPad, yet any attempt at t-commerce is again thwarted. Back to iPhone browsing it is. By the way, in case anybody is wondering, ASOS has an aweomse iPad app.

Of course the shoe sales catch my eye – but alas! I must scroll through ALL sales events to find the categories I’m after.  That shoe/tea-cup scenario enters my mind again…

Positives

  • All in all, the shopping process is very easy.
  • Sale information advising of events about to close is on offer.
  • Brands are divided into separate categories.
  • Calls to action are displayed at the bottom of the app, and also prominently on product pages. Pricing is clear too.
  • Categories within each brand are clearly marked.
  • Images are clear and it’s fun scrolling through all the different items.
  • Product and brand information (including materials!) is readily available.
  • Delivery is a flat $9.90 per brand.  No hidden surprises.
  • Checkout is easy too, with payment options via credit card or PayPal. I am able to update details to make sure the items ordered are delivered to the new address.
  • Order tracking is available.

Negatives

  • While FAQs are included in the app, there is no shipping and returns policy available on product pages.
  • There is no option to browse interested categories only.  In order for a user to locate brands of the relevant category, it’s necessary to scroll through all sales events.  As a result, It’s easy to miss a sale or two that might be relevant to the shopper.
  • A user cannot shop across brands.  Desired items from one brand must be paid for before selecting items from another brand.
  • There is no upcoming sale information.

Summary: Who Does It Better?

The customer experience across both the Ozsale and brandsExclusive apps is fairly similar – each retailer has one or two unique features and aspects it does better, and each retailer has a few areas that could be improved upon.  In fact, both companies could learn a little bit from each other.

The browsing and purchasing experience for both of these e-tailers is great. I do love the convenience shopping from a smart phone affords me, and as mentioned earlier, both of these companies provides apps that are fun to shop with. However, its brandsExclusive that has the edge over Ozsale and the reasons are centred around the delivery costs, as well as the fact that when something does go wrong, the customer gets some compensation – and an incentive – to use the retailer again.

Still, what happens between now and delivery remains to be seen. It doesn’t matter how fantastic any smart phone or tablet app is (there I go mentioning t-commerce again!) if a retailer can’t deliver – literally.

Watch this space. I will update the post as the orders are received.

Miss Terry Shopper

Article by

"The ghost who types"... Many wonder who Miss Terry Shopper is... Some swear to have seen her in the flesh... others say she's a disturbed bald man posing behind a keyboard... no matter what you believe, her calling is clear. Miss Terry Shopper IS scouring the web 24/7 - determined to unveil the good, the bad and the outright bizarre of online retail practices.

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