“ Online shop selling a range of items such as gifts, clothing and footwear „
I have a secret addiction to HalfCost, particularly around Xmas and birthday time. They have a good range of items to browse through, although their website can be very slow at times so patience is definitely required. There are many discount codes floating about on the internet that allow for a small % off your order price, and the website offers free postage on orders over £25 (reduced to £10 at certain times of the year). They have a pound-range of handy household items and some of their gift items can be real bargains. Many new items sell out really quickly so don't hang around if you spot something you want. Delivery has always been reasonably quick and you get emails notifying about dispatch of goods. I have found their household items to be great quality at good prices, and some of their clothing items have tempted me in the past. They don't have many children's clothing sadly, but a good selection of ladies and gents fashionwear. They also stock electrical goods such as digital cameras, televisions and mobile phones.
Halfcost.co.uk is a subsidiary of Studio 24, the catalogue people, and it's an online retailer selling off the old Studio 24 stock at heavily reduced prices. The site is mostly very easy to navigate, tabs across the top of the screen take you to the different sections: clothing, toys, gifts, homeware, audio and visual and the ever-popular pound shop. There's also a seasonal Stocking Fillers section. Some sections have sub-sections so you can see just the specific things you're interested in, and all have a View All option. There's a counter for every item so you can see how many are left in stock, which is something I really like. Having said that, everything is "when it's gone it's gone", and sometimes I like to go away and think about my purchases but with this sort of setup you risk them going out of stock on you. The checkout is secure and powered by the Verified By system, which is great, and I've never had a problem with items not turning up - normally they come 4-6 days after I've ordered, and since I'm not normally in a rush that's fine. There's no express shipping option, though, which would be nice, and £3.99 delivery (flat rate no matter how heavy your order) seems ok although I sometimes wonder if £4 shouldn't get me a faster delivery. Customer service has always been good to me too, and I am subscribed to their emails and so get advance notice of things like discount codes, special events and free shipping. They have ongoing discounts for high spenders, 10% over £100 I believe. I can't get the site to work properly in Firefox, which seems to be a common problem, but in general I enjoy browsing around the fairly random selection of items on offer and it's a great resource for cheap-ish gifts.
I found out about Halfcost via the Money Saving Expert website. The company is part of Studio 24 - a discount company that post catalogues through people's door - and Halfcost sells Studio's excess stock at discount prices. The site is pretty easy to navigate - there are tabs on the top of the page which take you to different ranges of stock (for example - the pound store, clothing and homestore). You are then presented with a list of items at low prices. When you click on an item the site tells you how many items they have left in stock and occasionally they run 'buy one get one free' and 'three for the price of two' offers. You can get some real bargains on the site, but I advise that you snap up items you want as quickly as possible because once it's gone it's gone. I recently purchased a Manchester United watch for my nephew as a Christmas gift (I like to plan ahead), the watch was only £6.99 (it's £17.99 in other places) - I knew the watch would probably sell out quickly so I ordered it ASAP - that stock line is no longer available... I am also a big fan of the pound store range, I have got lots of bargains from there over the previous few month - including a ceramic football mug and money box - both of which look like they cost a lot more than £1.00. Packaging is £3.50, but when you've been shopping with Halfcost for a while you'll find that they start sending you discount codes for postage. Also, I always type "Halfcost discount code" into Google before I make a purchase because there are loads of 10% off codes floating around the internet - in fact I'm yet to make an order without a discount code! The Halfcost website keeps you informed of your order status and they will e-mail you once your items have been picked and dispatched. All of my items have arrived promptly and they've been well packs. So far I've had no issues with the company. Like most discount store the store content is very 'hit and miss', sometimes you'll go on-line and find 30 items you want to purchase and other times you won't find anything. Also, they aren't as quick as they could be when it comes to removing sold out items off the site, so you might attempt to purchase something which is in fact sold out. Overall I'd say this site is definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially in the run up to Christmas, because you should be able to bag some great, low cost stocking fillers from the Halfcost site. Four out of five stars!
Now where to start with Halfcost. I have a seriously large love hate relationship with this company! Halfcost is part of Studio 24 (those annoying catalogues which get sent you with about 5 different prices for the same item in each one of their many catalogue), and Halfcost sells left over Studio stock, as well as stock from some other seemingly random selection of companies at discount prices. The website is a law to itself, you can search for items although whether this works or not is rather temperamental. You can also use the tabs across the top of view products in their category (often they will pop up in 2 or 3). The stock changes regularly, at the moment they are selling everything from furniture to Mickey Mouse gardening tools to pots and pans. Prices range from 50p upwards. You choose your items in the basket then check out, well you would on any other site but this is Halfcost and it doesn't work like that! Sometimes it will let you check out, other times it won't and you might as well give up trying that day as no amount of trying will let you do it. I use the site a lot and I THINK I've worked it out, place your items in the basket but don't check until you have finished putting items in, then you can remove things and check out. If you check before you have finished then it won't let you. Postage is £3.50 but they often do free shipping on orders over £10, they will email you about this if you join their elist. Customer service is non excitant, there is no phone number and don't expect a reply to your email. I often say I am never using them again but then get tempted back, for between £10 and £15 I can send a huge box of goodies to a seriously ill child on www.postpals.co.uk which is why I keep going back, I've not found any other companies who can beat them for price on toys and gifts (I even brought my Mum a pair of new shoes for £1.99!). I would never recommend Halfcost as a company, however their products do tend to be good and are good prices (prices often change on the site with no warning)