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cbccomputers.com - Online ICT services.

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      12.04.2012 09:57
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      A shopping experience with a difference, it took me by surprise and is highly recommended.

      ~~CBC COMPUTER SYSTEMS Ltd: ON-LINE SHOPPING~~

      Just before Christmas I realised I had run out of an item which I use very often, the Magic White Board. I tend to use it both informally as my notice/reminder board at home and more formally for my private tutoring sessions. The product ran out at a critical period when most online shops were clogged with backlogs of Christmas shopping and I knew I wasn't going to get it before Christmas. I searched all over my local stationery shops including Staples which had it in stock at some stage but it was nowhere to be found. I was left with no choice but to go back to Amazon where I had bought the previous one in Jan 2010 for £27.00 but this time the product was very expensive with price ranging from £29.00 to £34.00 including packaging and delivery. Out of desperation and in search for a bargain price as cash was very limiting after doing lots of Christmas shopping, I plugged the product into Google search engine to see what it would bring up. Not surprising a lot of online stationery shops and other online shops including Amazon had the product but all for at least £30.00 except for one outlet, CBC Computer Systems Ltd on-line shop which had it for £22.88 including VAT & standard delivery. This seemed very odd and I was very hesitant about this source so I brushed this aside as I had never heard of this on-line shop but after searching for hours with not satisfaction, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a go. So here it goes........


      ~~MY EXPERIENCE~~

      ~A Bit of History~

      CBC Computer Systems Ltd official website: http://store.cbccomputers.com/


      ~Who Are CBC Computer Systems Ltd~

      The company was founded in 1986 and is located in Sheffield City Centre, in South Yorkshire. Their mission is to provide unrivalled service levels to their customers and solve business problems with information technology.

      They are Yorkshire's largest independent provider of ICT infrastructure services.
      CBC Computer Systems Ltd is a tightly focused and highly motivated independent solutions provider with many years experience in the development and management of IT solutions.

      Source of information: http://www.cbccomputers.com/info/about-us.html

      ***My review is based my experience using the on-line store and not the other services offered by this company.


      ~Layout & Design~


      The front page of the website is well presented, with the new logo clearly visible on the top left corner and main headings nice and bold in white with blue background. Each main heading is a category name for products and has a drop down menu which shows the products in that group. As soon as you place the pointer on the main heading the list automatically drops down allowing you to choose the product you want in that group by clicking on it which then takes you to another window with a range of the chosen product. This facility is good if you know the category/technical name in which the product you want belongs but doesn't always work for me as I am not good with the technical names so I tend to use the search tool.

      The search tool is also clearly visible and located above the main headings and you can search by a few key words in the product name or by part number for replacement components. The search tool works well and is rather fast and specific rather than being asked to refine your search endlessly until you luckily get to the required product. Typing in "white board" in the search tool box brought up 5 products one of which was the magic white board. Again this is always safe as products may have different names depending on the manufacturer. In this case it was exactly the product I wanted and this made my life a bit easy which also means I could have searched directly using the real product name "Magic White Board". When I did this it brought up only 1 product, the Magic White Board.

      Immediately below the main headings there is a very catchy message which I will paraphrase to, "free delivery every day ....when you spend £20.00 or more...."

      **Of course their delivery is not every day as you will see when you get to the delivery details so this is a bit misleading.

      The rest of the page contains colourful highlights of products on special offer. This includes "deal of the day" products, and products on reduced sale cut price.
      And lastly at the very bottom on the page are the various acceptable card payment options, Goggle checkout and various logos to show that card payments are verified through mastercard secure code and that the website is VeriSign Trusted. When buying online this information gives you some assurance of the genuineness of the site in handling your money and your details. I wasn't very sure of the Goggle checkout as I had never used it before. This is then followed by their small declaimer text and the full contact details of the company including Company & VAT registration numbers. You can also follow them on the usual social networks, facebook, twitter & you tube. I didn't do this bit and I still haven't done so as I rarely use these networks.

      At the very top of the page above all the main headings are small headings with the Delivery information, Returns & refunds policy, Customer service & contact details, and My account log in. Clicking on any one of these takes you to a new window with detailed information. The contact number is clearly visible on the top right hand corner and is a standard landline number not the 084.......or 087......which you find on some websites which are rather expensive to call. I never used this number so cannot comment on their efficiency related to this.


      ~Navigation & Content Update~

      It is fairly easy to navigate and find your way on the website. The home page is updated daily which is encouraging for me as it gives me the confidence that I am not dealing with obsolete information. The English language used is good and clear. The website is relatively fast, and ok to navigate without losing your patience.

      ~Site content and Information~

      The website is well populated with products which can be found using the category drop down menu or the search tool box. Details have already been covered above under Layout and Design.
      I usually prefer to search using the search tool bar as I can never be sure in which category to find the products.
      As soon as I found the product, I was informed of the following:

      * The manufacturer-: important to assure me I was looking at the right product I really wanted as there are a lot of copycats out there.
      * The product code on the website-: for my reference
      * The stock availability-: this determined whether I was going to proceed or not and luckily the product was in stock
      * Price information with & without VAT
      * View product-: this takes you to another window which allows you to see more details of the product, including illustration pictures & delivery options. Once satisfied, you then precede to purchase by pressing the Buy Now yellow button which is clearly visible on the right bottom corner.

      **Improvements necessary for stock availability, in stock alone is not sufficient at least inform the customer how many of the products are in stock to increase their confidence that they will get the product after paying rather than pay and later be informed that the product was actually out of stock because someone else had purchased the one product which was in stock at the time of placing the order. Again might not be a major problem depending on how synchronised their systems are in terms of updating product stock on the website.


      ~Range of Products & Services~

      The company actually sells a wide range of products on the on-line store and according to information on the website the online store has over 65 000 products and is available 24/7. In addition to selling products, the company also provides ICT support, consultancy and hardware installation services and boasts of being Yorkshire's largest independent provider of ICT infrastructure services. CBC also supplies ICT support, consultancy and hardware installation services to schools throughout the UK.

      ~Prices~

      The prices are very good and competitive with free delivery for orders over £20.00 in mainland UK based on standard 5 working days delivery.

      ~Purchasing & delivery~

      Once you have identified your product buying is easy, clicking the Buy Now button takes you to another window which confirms the product and quantity in your cart. You can add or subtract on quantity. You can continue shopping and this takes you to the first page to find another product and meanwhile what you have chosen is safely kept in the in your shopping basket for you. Once satisfied you can then choose the delivery option and where you want the delivery to be sent out of the 6 options e.g. mainland UK. After this you then proceed to Checkout to pay by credit or debit card or Select PayPal or Google Checkout. For me as I do not have much experience with PayPal or Google Checkout, I automatically chose checkout for credit or debit card payment.

      On this page you are also provided with all the delivery options for the various regions. After choosing Delivery Information for mainland UK, this is the information I got:
      Delivery options to mainland UK (Monday-Friday)
      * Next Working Day Pre-Noon Delivery :£22.94
      * Next working day delivery : £6.98
      * Express 2 working day delivery : £4.95
      * Express 3 working day delivery : £3.95
      * Standard Deliver £2.35. Free when you spend £20 or more
      * Small print, terms & condition for delivery.

      All delivery charges on this website include VAT, so no hidden charges for me.
      Deliveries are made from 7.00 am - 7.00 pm except for option 1 which is delivered between 7.00 am - 12.00 noon.

      Please allow up to 5 working days when selecting the free delivery option. Free standard delivery is only available to UK mainland addresses excluding Northern Ireland.
      All the information really which enabled me to make an informed decision. As money was very limiting, my order was over £20.00 and the product was going to be delivered to UK mainland address, I chose the free standard delivery option. Although I had to allow up to 5 working days for this delivery, I just hoped for the best.

      Delivery options outside mainland UK (Mon-Fri)
      * Include Scotland, Ireland (Northern & Southern) & Isle of Man

      During card payment I was taken through the verification process which was reassuring as I go through this stage on most of the on-line shopping I do.
      As I was a new customer I had to put all my details including an alternative delivery address which I certainly did as I didn't want to miss this delivery so I put my work address and for sure the product was delivered there and before 3.00 pm.

      ~~Summary sequence of events:
      * Day 1: placed the order on line
      received itemised confirmation of the order (cost, VAT, delivery & method of payment) and my order reference number on e-mail on the same day
      * Day 2: e-mail confirming that payment had been accepted & what would appear on my bank statement.
      * Day 3: e-mail informing that my order had been dispatched by which method & also confirming product ordered and order reference number.
      * Day 4: Package received via Royal mail recorded delivery & delivered before 3.00 pm to my work place.
      * Day 6: e-mail requesting me to review the service I received.


      ~Conclusion~

      This was really a pleasant shopping experience, no hassles, no phone calls, no surprise hidden charges, a smooth process indeed and a very satisfied customer, me.
      I was really pleased that I got a fantastic deal from this site saving me about £7.00 for this product.
      Now that I have some experience dealing with this company, I will certainly buy from them again and Yes I would recommend friends and family.

      My rating 5/5 stars. I hope you keep it up!

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Thank you for reading and rating

      ©hildah11 April 2012

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