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Last minute present ideas here!
Member Name: sy2kgbr
Advantages: Free delivery on some items.
Disadvantages: Lack of personality.
Originally founded in 1991, Gadgetshop was a household name in the newest, quirkest gadgets and gismos. Our local store was full of funky bits and pieces, with electronic toys whizzing around the shop and battery operated birds attached to the ceiling and flying in circles. School children loved it and would often wander in, have a poke, then leave. (As one of them at the time, I can certify this happened on a regular basis!)
As some of the best pieces were the more expensive ones, I can't say an awful lot of purchasing ever went on. Our Gadgetshop was great to look at, but I personally never bought anything as the products on sale mildly appealed to me, but not enough for me to part with money. It's probably not surprising therefore that in 2005, the chain went into administration.
Since 2005, Gadgetshop has been trading as an online store (with different people in charge), probably because it's less expensive to run! With stiff competition from more established online retailers like Firebox and IWOOT, can Gadgetshop keep up?
EASE OF USE
The site is divided up into the following sections: urban living, fun stuff, retro, books, games, party!, as seen on TV, activity days, eco friendly gadgets, techno toys, big boys toys and accessories for ipods. At the moment, there's also a special Secret Santa section.
There is no option to view all gadgets, but you can view everything within one category. You can search by name or product code, if you know it.
The site is fairly easy to use, but I have found at times it loads rather slowly.
At GadgetShop.com, there are currently 77 products in a special Secret Santa section. If you order one of these items, delivery is free! However, if you order something else that's not in this section, you do have to pay a delivery charge, so watch out for that.
Prices range from £3.95 to £17.95, and at the time of writing, 59 out of 77 products were still in stock. You have until Tuesday to order Christmas presents, so it may be worth a look for some last minute stocking fillers (probably too late for the office Secret Santa though).
Some of the items, such as the "Poo Pooing Reindeer" are quite frankly rubbish, and you will have seen them for sale on the high street everywhere for the past ten years or so, but there are a few gems if you look hard enough. The USB powered vacuum for example, at £5.95 looks to be a useful addition for anyone with a computer (the cable is long enough to use with desktops by the way!) and the special Jack Daniels gourmet coffee and mug set for £7.95 would be a nice present for any JD drinker. For £6.95 you can pick up a set of salt and pepper retro dice shakers, which is a quirky little stocking filler that I haven't seen anywhere else.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Secret Santa section definitely offers the best value for money across the site, so if you're currently at the panic stage, where you still have loads of presents to buy and not enough time in which to find them, it's worth going straight to the Secret Santa part of the site and skimming for ideas.
Online discounts are hard to find, but a 10% discount on products can be found if you look hard enough. Try hotukdeals.com for the latest discount codes. I used Quidco.com for a further 10% cash back, but there are probably lots of other cash back sites offering a similar deal.
This year is the first time I've ordered from GadgetShop.com, so I can't comment on this. They do have a phone line open from Monday to Saturday (9am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 5pm Sunday) if you need to get in touch about anything, and although it's an 0870 number, a quick search on SayNoTo0870.com reveals a geographical number you can call for a more reasonable price.
Standard delivery costs £3.90, which is pretty average for an internet gadget retailer. The Scottish Highlands and Islands attract a higher price, which I thought was a bit rubbish, but after checking the T&Cs of other sites, realised this was actually pretty standard. Express delivery starts from £5.95, and again, this is on average.
My order arrived when it said it would, but I was disappointed with the packaging. With one of my orders from IWOOT, my items obviously didn't fit neatly into a standard box, so they had been put in a large box and padded with air pockets to ensure they didn't get knocked around in transit. With my Gadgetshop order, everything had been crammed into one box, and consequently some of the individual product boxes had been squashed and looked a bit like they'd been pulled out from the bottom of a pile. I checked everything to ensure it was all in one piece, and my goodies do look in good nick, but I was disappointed with the state of the packaging. I think good presentation always makes something look that little bit nicer, and this was therefore a let down for me.
Because everything had been crammed in, I damaged the packing of one item slightly when trying to open my order.
This may not be a major issue for most people, but if you're a perfectionist like me, this is something to bear in mind!
The site works fine most of the time, but I feel it's missing a bit of personality. Firebox for example has very touch in cheek descriptions of their products and invite customer reviews, pictures and videos. The descriptions on Gadgetshop aren't particularly funny, and as all you get is a photo (or at best, a couple of photos) it can be hard to figure out what you're getting before you order it. I suppose that was the best part of their high street stores - you could have a play before actually buying the item.
I would consider using Gadgetshop again, but it wouldn't be my first choice stop for shopping. I'm used to emailing questions to IWOOT and getting a quick response, and opening my orange Firebox parcels to find free sweeties inside! There's nothing seriously wrong with Gadgetshop, but it doesn't seem particularly special.
Summary: Buy gadgets online here (but only if IWOOT and Firebox have sold out already!)