* Prices may differ from that shown
If somebody had told me a few years ago that I would soon be shopping on line I would have laughed in their face, particularly as I would always enjoy my weekly visits to the shops. I was always reluctant to use the internet for my purchases for a number of reasons where I was concerned about the security in relation to my credit or debit card details and I could not see or feel the items I was purchasing. However, a year or so later saw me making many online purchases, particularly as I discovered that I could obtain my items for much lower prices without the need for standing in busy stores and subsequently joining a lengthy queue.
Don't misunderstand me, as I still enjoy physically visiting the high street stores, but due to the ever increasing costs for both fuel and car parking and the fact that the shops are always extremely busy on weekends, my shopping days out have considerably reduced. Whenever I am on the internet I often find myself surfing and looking for new products and services and a few months ago I stumbled across a website, named Everyone Loves Gifts, a family run business located in South Yorkshire, which was launched in March 2010. Consequently, I have made a number of orders and this review discusses my experience with using the site together with the items I have received.
ABOUT THE WEBSITE
There are a number of websites that I have accessed where I take one glance at the home page and will continue no further, which is often due to a number of factors, such as the page is too cluttered, difficult to navigate or I experience problems when opening up pages. However, my first impressions of the website belonging to Everyone Loves Gifts were that it was easy on the eye, attractive and user friendly and it was due to these reasons that I decided to further explore. Their logo can be found in the top left hand corner and it is considerably eye-catching, as it shows an image of an opened boxed present with a heart shaped balloon, which has risen from the box. There is a moving banner on the home page, which changes every few seconds and informs the consumer of some of the products available together with the fact that the business has not increased any of its' prices due to the VAT increase earlier this year.
As the name suggests Everyone Loves Gifts sells a large variety of products, such as games and toys with the largest focus being on their reasonably priced cards. Whilst I would never describe myself as a skinflint, I much prefer to spend more of my hard earned cash on a gift as opposed to an extortionately priced card, which is on display in the recipient's home for a week or so, then later banished to a drawer or the recycling bin. The home page is extremely easy on the eye with all of the available products categorised on the left hand side. An important factor for me is the colour of the website, as far too many display an array of vibrant colours and as a result I feel flustered and unsure where I am supposed to be looking. As I consider myself to be a very organised and methodical individual I always like to be prepared for every eventuality. Consequently, I choose to keep a fairly large stock of various cards in my home at all times, as I do not wish to be in a position to be hunting around the shops for cards at the last minute, which unfortunately, during recent months have mainly been bereavement or to offer get well wishes.
My first visit to the site involved me browsing for literally ages at the array of beautiful cards on offer; all of which are extremely reasonably priced. What I favoured when using the website was that in addition to it being easy to navigate the pages loaded quickly, so I was easily able to skip back and fore to browse through the dozens of categories of cards. The main factors I look for when purchasing cards is their quality, the image on the front of the card and most importantly, the verse. Whilst I will often add a few words inside a card, the deciding factor for me is always the words inside, which can be very personal and therefore, have to be carefully selected dependent upon the recipient. I can vividly remember my husband selecting a card for an acquaintance and how can I sensitively say that we didn't particularly get on. However, as a gesture of goodwill and to show no ill feeling I wanted a simple card with a simple verse, but unfortunately, my hubby failed to read inside, which read words to the effect that they were always in my heart and that I was sending them all of my love! Consequently, the card was not sent!
CHOOSING MY CARDS
As I clicked on each of the categories I was able to witness a huge number of choices where I am provided with an image of the card with the price located underneath, which ranged from around 55p upwards with the majority of cards costing approximately £1. To obtain further details I simply needed to click on the card of my choice where I was given the option to enlarge the card. An area I found of great importance is that there are full details of the verse or wording contained inside the card, together with its' dimensions, manufacturer, number of cards available and the finish of the card, eg matt. Selecting a card is a simple process, as I need to select the number I require in the quantity box and click the "add to cart" button. What I found extremely quirky was that each time I selected a card it would move to the left hand side of the screen and a shopping cart would suddenly appear.
Whilst all other online sites simply show the total cost of items in your shopping cart what I found particularly helpful with Everyone Loves Gifts is that I could see each and every one of my purchases despite not having clicked on the shopping cart, so in addition to the running total I was able to see a full description of each item. This was of huge benefit to me and a welcome addition to the website, particularly when making multiple purchases, as more often that not I have placed duplicate purchases in my basket when using sites such as The Body Shop, which has resulted in me having to carefully scrutinise my basket at during the checkout process. Whilst I do not intend listing all of the categories, I would advise that the website offers something for everyone from plain any occasion cards where you can write your own message, luxurious hand made cards to comical cards. My latest purchase from this website saw me making a purchase of eight cards, which totalled £6.48, which in my opinion is excellent value for money. What amazed me the most is the low and very reasonable price for postage and packing, which is £1.50 for items weighing up to 560g, which is obviously a huge amount of cards.
As soon as you click on the "checkout" button you are taken to a screen where you are asked whether you wish to sign in as a guest or register an account with the site. I chose the latter, which would enable future ordering much easier, as obviously my name and address is securely saved. It was at this point I was asked if I wished to subscribe to the site's newsletter and I generally always select this option when ordering online, as I like to be informed of new products and/or special offers. There is a privacy statement that needs to read and I was prompted to click the appropriate box to confirm that I had read the necessary information. I was prompted to apply a coupon for my purchases to be discounted, which I will discuss later in my review. As previously stated, a real worry for me when shopping online is the security of my personal information, but my initial impression of this site was that my information would be totally safe and my payment securely transmitted via SSL encryption. A huge bonus with this site is that you are given the option of adding a message to the seller, which on other sites I have used often has a very low character limit. Whilst I have never had the need to leave any comments for the seller other than the fact that I am thrilled with both the quality of their items and service, there is a large amount of space to enable me to say what I would need should the occasion arise.
At this point I reached for my debit card in readiness to input the long 16 digit card number, start and expiry date, which I find so laborious when ordering online, but was delighted to see that the method of payment for Everyone Love Gifts is via Paypal. I always favour making my payments via Paypal because you have the additional security that they will address any issues should there be any problems with your purchase, which of course, should firstly be addressed with the seller. I would advise that I have previously experienced a number of problems with ebay purchases and after investigation PayPal have refunded me on each occasion.
After making my payment I witnessed a message on screen advising that I should receive an email within 60 minutes and if this was not the case to email the site to let them know. However, before I had opportunity to even log out of my account an email appeared thanking me for registering with the site, which informed me that I could access information such as my order history, print off invoices and edit my personal account information. A few seconds later another email arrived from Paypal, which was my payment receipt. A further email arrived from Everyone Loves Gifts providing me with my unique order ID number together with a full breakdown of my order. A short while later I received another email thanking me for my order and confirming the date it would be despatched. In the case of my last order with the site, which was last Sunday, the email advised that my order would be despatched the following day and a further email was received on the Monday confirming my order had been despatched. Whilst this may sound like a lot of emails they were of great importance to me because I knew exactly when my order would be despatched. A real pet hate for me is with the website belonging to the Disney Store where I have placed many orders and they usually send me an email informing me that my goods have been despatched after I've received them!
RECEIVING MY GOODS
My experience with this site has been extremely positive, as the speed of delivery is simply first class where goods are received within a matter of days. Despite me placing my order on Sunday my goods arrived on Tuesday and as always, were perfectly packaged where they are contained within a white paper back inside brown outer packaging. The quality of the cards are always of the highest with thick white cardboard similar to that you would find in expensive high street stores such as Clintons. Each of the cards had been placed into their corresponding envelopes, some of which were pink in colour and others were white. I have previously purchased many cards from the high street only to arrive home to discover that the envelopes have been glued down in various sections making them impossible to open. All of the envelopes have always been immaculate and of a high quality and whilst not all cards are protected with cellophane covering they have always been clean and in perfect condition. Accompanying my goods was a copy of my order so I was able to check that I had received all that I had ordered together with a business card and a code, which can be used to enable me to receive 10% discount on my next order. As you have probably guessed by now, I cannot speak highly enough of this family run business who clearly prides themselves in a high standard of customer care, a super fast delivery service with exceptional quality cards. Consequently, Everyone Loves Gifts receives 5 stars from me, together with a huge recommendation.
For further information please see their website at:- www.everyonelovesgifts.co.uk
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
This review will appear on both Ciao and Dooyoo under the same user names.