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Friday, December 18, 2009

8 Vocabulary Lessons for Shopping Online

Having been plugged into the online shopping community for 18 months, and having called myself YourShoppingKaki™ for the last 11, I think this is a good time to write this blog post! :D Here's to sharing the kind of info I wished someone would have told me when I first discovered online shopping. :)

Picture credits to TheMovingTarget

Lesson 1: A post-mortem on local post.
Before you start shopping online, it would be very useful to be familiar with how the local post system works. Here in the Malaysian online shopping community, we usually use three Pos Malaysia services: Pos Laju, Pos Ekspres, and Pos Daftar. There are also external courier services which are equally affordable, such as Skynet or Kangaroo.

(Pos Laju picture credits to

Out of the three Pos Malaysia methods, Pos Laju is the safest and fastest way to get your parcels delivered. However, it is the most expensive (click HERE for the rates) - especially if you are shipping to East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak). The heavier it is and the further it goes, the more expensive it is. But if you think that RM5 to RM9 is a reasonable amount to pay for your purchase, then this is a pretty good delivery method because it requires a signature upon delivery - and your item is covered by insurance (you have the right to be compensated by Pos Malaysia). You can track your parcel HERE.

Personally, I don't like Pos Laju. I will only use it if I'm purchasing bags or many items, and COD isn't possible and the stuff can't fit into Pos Ekspres envelopes. Here's why:
  • You have to be home to receive the parcel. Otherwise, they'll give you a Missed Delivery notice, and you have to call them for Second Delivery. If you miss that Second Delivery, you have to collect your parcel from the Pos Laju headquarters - if that's nearby, good for you ... but imagine if it's far away! :(
  • One of the Pos Laju delivery people in my neighbourhood does not do his job properly. He doesn't ring the doorbell, he just honks his motorcycle twice and then stuffs the "Missed Delivery" notice in my mailbox and drives off. :( So all I can do is hope that he's not the one on duty the day I receive my Pos Laju parcel!

My personal favourite delivery method: Pos Ekspres. :D Click HERE for the rates, click HERE for the gossip. The best things about Pos Ekspres:
  • You don't have to be home to receive the parcel - they just pop it into your mailbox. :)
  • It takes only 1-3 days to get your parcel.
  • The Pos Ekspres delivery people for my neighbourhood are good. :) So yes, it does depend on your delivery guys. :)
  • Relatively cheap: usually, we use the RM4.50 envelope. If the item is too thick, then the RM6 or RM7 boxes are used.
The disadvantages of using Pos Ekspres:
  • You can track your parcel HERE, but if your parcel gets lost, there's nothing that can be done. Pos Malaysia doesn't offer any compensation except to give the sender another Pos Ekspres envelope.
  • Bigger risk: If your parcel is delivered to the wrong address, anyone can receive your parcel. No signature required.
  • We're not actually supposed to use Pos Ekspres envelopes to send anything other than documents ... so some blogshop owners don't offer this postage option at all. :P
  • Do NOT use this postage method if you do not have a postbox! One time, I sent a parcel to someone using Pos Ekspres, and there was no postbox at the address (something I didn't know), so the envelope was missing for 2 weeks after the failed delivery - until one day, it turned up again at the delivery address.
  • Lack of ethics at Pos Malaysia: Not only have I heard and read similar stories, I've experienced it once myself! I bought something from a blogshop and opted for Pos Ekspres, but when I received the envelope, it was torn open at the top - and the entire envelope was wrapped in a plastic bag. Someone obviously had itchy fingers and wanted a peek into my parcel - luckily, nothing was damaged or taken. So it's very important NOT to put any cash into your envelopes!

The third option - Pos Daftar (Registered Post). This takes 5-7 days to reach your recipient, quite long for those who can't wait! :P It is also the cheapest option, around RM3 only (depending on parcel's weight). Requires signature, but overall I wouldn't really recommend this postage method because it takes so long and there's nothing that can be done if your parcel goes missing.

Lesson 2: It's not just an order, it's a Pre-Order.
Pre-order blogshops offer huge varieties of items from catalogues, and are usually more affordable than locally-sourced items. The items are usually imported from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea or Japan. Your orders can take anywhere between 2 to 5 weeks to arrive, depending on the blogshop you're shopping at. :)

A word of warning:
the items may sometimes not turn out like how they look in the picture (eg: different colour or size) and the quality may not always be that great. It depends on that blogshop's supplier.

Animal-print bodycon RM33 | Dual-toned tier dress RM37 | Knitted cardi RM35 | Khaki shirt-dress RM39

Lesson 3: Spree Fi Fo Fum, heads up when they come!
Something a little different from Pre-Order blogshops. Sprees are usually offered on short-term blogs or websites (although the two reviewed below are permanent ones), such as Supre sprees or Forever21 sprees. It's basically an opportunity to buy something from places abroad that you otherwise may not get a chance to shop from. :)

A word of warning:
Beware of being scammed! There have been incidences in the past where blogshops are set up for sprees, only to take your money and disappear. :( Go on sprees only with reputable blogshops - ask around!

From Maker/Breaker European Brands Spree
Black sequined jacket RM150 | Chained bags RM150
The first blogshops to bring in some of the biggest European Brands not available here!
From Spain's Stradivarius to UK's River Island, to Sweden's H&M and more ...
if you've got the savings for this, now is the time to splurge! :D

From Forever21 Spree on Lowyat.net
Get first dibs at the newly-launched Forever21 line, called "Twist" - think Parisian chic! :D
Out of all the sprees online for Forever21, this one is the most affordable by about RM20 to RM30. :)

All the blogs/websites with sprees offer different price quotations for the same items - so definitely do your homework before you commit to one! Also, for example, the prices quoted are actually sometimes more expensive than the prices in our local Forever21 outlets - so if you have access to a physical outlet (1Utama/Sunway Pyramid/Pavilion/Penang), you may want to check there first! :)

Lesson 4: Ready Stocks rock my socks!
If pre-orders and sprees mean too much of a wait for you, a new breed of blogshops have started to offer Ready-Stocked items - and yes, the same items from those pre-order catalogues! :) Usually more expensive and less variety, but no waiting required and you can ask for the real measurements/seller's opinion. :D

From Agape Boutique, which carries both ready stocks and pre-order catalogues
Top row | Owl necklace RM12, Studded belt RM18, Studded bracelet RM10
Bottom row | Argyle cardigan RM36, Floral cardigan RM29, Eyelet dress RM35, Crochet-backed top RM30

I've done quite a bit of scouting around Ready Stock blogshops over the past few months, and I think I can safely say that Agape Boutique is one of the best options for us to shop at. :) The layout and navigation is different, which means some of you may not take to it at first, but once you get used to it, you'll find that it's fast and easy - do give it a chance, because you can save a lot. Their prices are seriously really affordable compared to most ready-stock blogs. :D

Lesson 5: Pre-owned, Pre-loved, or Re-selling?
Here's one of the three trickiest words in the blogshop-sphere! Every blogshop should have their specific terminologies on the sidebar, but here's a general guide so you know what to ask if they don't! :)

From Clothes For Sale RM30 | Garbage By Tka RM35 | One Day RM45.50

Pre-owned: Owned but never used or worn. Take, for example, the cute yellow babydoll dress in Clothes For Sale! We all know the story of the girl who buys a dress thinking she'll wear it someday, but two months go by and she still hasn't used it yet - so might as well sell it off, make some extra money, and the dress' new owner gets to make full use of it! After all, there's that girl in every one of us. ;)

Pre-loved: Used (or "loved"). For example, Garbage By Tka wore this beautiful white Padini dress once.

Re-selling: This term can mean anything that you bought (usually online) and you're selling it off. However, here in the online shopping community, we usually use this to mean that you've bought it - and you don't like it/it didn't turn out to be what you expected, so you're letting it go immediately. Without using it even once. Example: The studded faux leather dress is originally from Miss OCD, but One Day is re-selling it.

Lesson 6: Wholesale or Retail?
Quite a new idea to be introduced in blogs - bulk-buying or wholesale purchases! Very useful for budding entrepreneurs who want to start a blogshop or take part in a bazaar, but don't have the means to get to on-location suppliers or wholesalers. With the new breed of WR (Wholesale/Retail) blogshops that're popping up, you'll find that you can run a business without ever leaving your home. ;)

From Kooki Fashion RM39 retail (RM26 wholesale) |
From Ladies Fashion RM25 (Enquire within for wholesale prices)

Lesson 7: "COD" is not a type of fish.
It means "Cash on delivery". :D Recommended COD locations: somewhere public, in the daytime - like at a mall on a Saturday morning. Do note that some blogshops impose COD charges, which is understandable as COD costs include calls/text messages, petrol, and valuable time. Some blogshops also allow "self pick-up" - you can collect your purchase from their office or house. :)

Other ways to pay for your online purchases:

PayPal (click HERE to learn more) | Maybank2u | CIMBClicks

With online banking, it becomes very easy and convenient to shop online. :) However, please be careful - there have been cases where people have been scammed. For example, through "mirror websites" - websites that look like Maybank2u but actually are not - so check that the URL is indeed www.maybank2u.com or www.maybank2u.com.my. The other common scam is the unsolicited email from someone claiming to be from Maybank. Do NOT respond to such emails - Maybank does not send out emails to its account users other than the automated emails saying you've received RMxx. If you have any further doubts, call their Customer Service Hotline at 1-300 88 6688.

Lesson 8: Have I enquired, reserved, or ordered?
To maximize the chances of making your online shopping experience smooth and glitch-free, it's good to know which stage of the transaction you are at. :D
  • 1: Are you merely enquiring? No strings attached! "Will item 1001 fit my bust at xx inches?"
  • 2: Have you decided you want the item, but can't pay yet? "I want to buy this item! Can you please reserve it for me until I get my salary next week?"
  • 3: You are definitely buying the item. You've sent in the Order Form. You will pay immediately! "I want to buy this item! Please send me your bank a/c number, will bank in within 24 hours. Thanks! :D"
FAQ: What is a "Backout Buyer"?
If you cancel your order after committing to points 2 or 3, you are a backout buyer. It's not the end of the world, sellers understand that people change their minds - and at least you're not a backout MIA buyer. A Backout MIA Buyer is someone who reserves an item or promises to bank in immediately, and then Poof! ... disappears. The worst kind of backout buyer to be is the kind who doesn't turn up for COD appointments, and then avoid the seller. Be considerate - don't be a backout buyer! :) Understand that the seller may have turned down other potential buyers and invested their time and energy on your purchase.

FAQ: What kind of questions should I ask about an item?
  • Will it fit me? Ask for measurements or size estimates, and find out if the material is stretchable. It also helps if you know your own body measurements and to compare the item's measurements against your own clothes. :)
  • Different blogshops have different sizing/measurement guides. Compare the 3 blogshops below to see the 3 common ways of describing the size.

From Over Here RM36 | The Pop Look RM64 | Poisonous RM26

FAQ: I'm plus-sized, can I still find clothes online that fit me?
Yes, certainly! :D How do I know this? Because I'm plus-sized too! :D There are many plus-sized blogshops online (see the plus-size blogroll on the sidebar), but don't limit yourself to just those - sometimes standard-size blogshops bring in items for curvier girls too! :)

From My Clothes Affair (Tights) RM30
My most recent plus-size find - just received this yesterday,
so didn't have a chance to blog about these until now. :D
To all plus-sizers who are looking for lace leggings, these fit me so comfortably -
and with room to spare! :D I'd say these will fit hips up to 46 inches.
My stats are at UK14-16, at 5'6". Just email the blogshop owner for more details. ;)

Happy Shopping!
Your Shopping Kaki :)


the parceller said...

man, i wish i had this when i started online shopping! :/

on another note, the pic that you showed for registered post is actually what they call parcel post, trackable under e-parcel rather than posdafter. regd post is actually just a rectangular sticker. i dont know about compensation for regd post, but parcel post definitely compensates - up to RM340.00 if the parcel is about 20kg (which ours will definitely not be haha. but i think its about rm100 for a package of online shopping-wise weight). and registered post can actually be more expensive than parcel post.
but if posting from west to east malaysia (and vice versa), i would recommend registered post because parcel post is usually used for like those really big objects, so your small parcel can be lost among the big stuff (what the post office dude told me). and never ever use sea mail for parcel post because it takes minimum 2 MONTHS to arrive (which they didnt tell me at that time, but now i'm telling you guys so it doesnt happen to you!)

so yup. haha :)

cheapprettythings said...

this is a gooood one!

SuatMay said...

If there was a 'like' button for this entry ala Facebook, I'd totally click it :D

Your Shopping Kaki said...

Hi Parcelled,
Thank you so much for your input!!! :D I'm sure that will help a lot of people reading! :D x

Your Shopping Kaki said...

Ahaha thanks SuatMay and CheapPrettyThings! :D x

Shoppingroller ♥ said...

and i'd 'like' it as well! ;)

Anonymous said...

love love love love so much for the article, it is jz simply useful, as i am going to start selling online soon, it is really giving me such a helpful tips!! xoxoxoxo

Ithar said...

As Salamu 'Alaikum

Thank you very much for this post. Is really helping me a lot. I'm not from this country, so still I don't know many things.

I want to start to sale online, Insha Allah. And this article is very useful.

Thanks again.

Take care!!!

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