“ Perfume Plus Direct selling the best name and best quality fragrances. „
As I get older, I'm getting more clever at saving money. I don't like to think of it as being meaner, as at the end of the day I'm trying to put money aside for a rainy day for me or my family, or so that I can enjoy a nice lifestyle and have a holiday or another treat sometime soon. It's just a weight off my mind and also something to look forward to if I know a few pounds are mounting up in an account I won't let myself touch.
So, I'm learning a lot of ways in which I didn't even realise I was wasting money - and I've discovered a lot of them learning from you lovely people here on dooyoo! The latest of those is Quidco, which seems to be part of a big growing trend. I'll review that in full as I'm a relatively new member and have yet to have a cashback payment (for the uninitiated, Quico.co.uk is a cashback website through which consumers can receive money back for their purchases - good economy if first of all it works - as I say I have yet to have any of my theoretical cashback earnings paid to Quico and therefore on to myself - and if you only use the website for things that you would purchase anyway), but this is a review of my experience with a company that I used because of their association with Quidco.
***PERFUME PLUS DIRECT***
As I said above, Quidco in theory is great if you can avoid the promotional offers there that you wouldn't usually go for, and instead look to use the site in a way which offers a small repayment on things you would normally buy.
I'm a bit of a cosmetic junkie but one thing I never change is my perfume. I found a scent which not only suits me on a chemical level - they do smell different on different people, after all - but also on a personality basis. I'm going to keep the scent in question a secret until I think I can pen a review that does it justice, as it is the one product that I unfailingly buy and take everywhere with me. In short, I love it.
Over the years it has also become somewhat more affordable, to the extend whereby I can pick up a 30ml bottle in stores like Wilkinsons for £10 - which I was always happy to do, and did so in person rather than online. But, having discovered Quidco and as part of my responsible spending regime, I am trying to see if any products I buy regularly like this could be found cheaper online. I didn't hold out much hope, as it is a popular brand and £10 is ridiculously reasonable for such a good perfume anyway.
However, a quick gander through Quidco revealed a few perfume retailers online. One of them was Perfume Plus Direct (perfumeplusdirect.co.uk), which was offering a pretty handy 8% cashback for purchases tracked through Quidco. I decided to click the link through just to see how the prices stacked up.
The homepage is a bit cluttered but by far not the worst I've seen for this. There are promotions for their top products and seasonally relevant ranges, and it is quickly obvious that this retailer no longer just restricts itself to perfume - you can also buy aftershave and sun products, for example.
Down the right of the homepage is a search facility - you can search by brand, prices, categories and also just click through to grouped products, such as New Arrivals.
I found my product quickly and with ease - and to my astonishment, 20p cheaper than the high street's lowest price I had found to date! To the basket with you (clearly displayed in the top right of your browser). But wait a minute - what about postage?
The website proudly displays at the top by the company name that prices INCLUDE postage in the UK. Result, I hear you cheer! However, hold fire a minute - when I went through the checkout process I noticed that the default postage setting is chargeable for First Class - the inclusive postage is only for Second Class and you have to manually change this or you will be charged. It's always worth reading through your online orders anywhere thoroughly to avoid being stung like this, as to be charged for the postage instantly makes this false economy also.
That gripe aside, I found the website fast, easy to navigate, easy to join up, secure and also the website-generated order confirmation paperwork arrived in my inbox swiftly. So far, so good. Quidco soon tracked 79p of cashback and I waited for my product to arrive.
I was impressed with this. Despite selecting second class, my product which I ordered on Tuesday was waiting for me when I got in on Thursday night. Luckily I have someone at home who can take in parcels for me - this arrived in an adequately sized brown cardboard box. There was a significant dent in one corner but this can be attributed to any stage in the postal process, so I can't deduct a star here.
In the box - which was securely taped with a clearly printed address label - my perfume lay snuggled in again perfectly adequate amounts of bubble wrap. There was no sign of the dent on the outer packing affecting the box of the perfume, and the bottle was intact.
In short, my perfume was delivered as I expected and in just-bought form as if I had picked it off the shelf myself. There was no printed confirmation of the order in the box as you commonly get with online orders, which is fine for me as I think it would be a waste of paper when you already have this on email.
First off, a note on the website - there is an FAQ page and I would urge you to read it. As I was happy with my transaction I have had no need to use their returns policy but it is clearly laid out what you would have to do if you were not pleased with a product, and that you cannot cancel an order once placed unless returning the item within seven days after receipt.
I am very pleased with this website. My product is the cheapest I have found it, with free postage (75p First Class, you can also pay express rates) AND if you use cashback websites as well this is a savvy way to purchase a product that you would anyway. Delivery was efficient and swift and I will definitely be using this website to purchase future products and any fragrances I buy as gifts. I will also probably try buying multiple items together and trying their cosmetics if, again, they are cheaper than the highstreet.
Recommended! Thanks for reading.
***HOW I CAME ACROSS THE WEBSITE***
I was actually looking on amazon for some perfume and was looking for a particular brand which was Thierry Mugler, Angel. I have purchased perfume from amazon before and have been equally pleased with the fast delivery and cheap prices. I couldn't find this particular perfume on amazon but it gave me a link to the website so I decided to check it out. I know this perfume can be quite expensive and although I wanted to treat myself to something nice I thought I'd check out prices to see if this website sold the perfume any cheaper than in the shops.
As soon as you go onto the website you will see current offer's and prices of some items, these include perfumes and body care products such as fake tan and make up. Along the top there are tabs, which make it easier to browse and to find what you are looking for. They are split into the following categories:
* Perfume - You can then choose from different categories such as summer, Celebrities, Every day, Tester's and more.
* Aftershaves - This is split into the same categories as above.
* Skin Care - This includes Toners, Moisturisers; Make up Remover, Specialist and other skin care products you may be looking for.
* Gift Sets - includes Perfumes, Aftershave & Cosmetics.
* Cosmetics - Face, Eye's Lips, Fake Tan, Nails, etc.
* Sun - After Sun & Sun Protection.
* Toiletries - Body, Hair & Gift Sets
* Accessories - Hair Styling, Brushes & Tools.
You can search for a specific item by typing in a keyword, name of the product or you can search by gender and category.
Along the right hand side you will see sections such as New Arrivals & Special Offers; you can click on these to get more information and to view the products. There is also a FAQ section, Contact Us, Fragrance Guide, Terms & Conditions and Privacy information as well. You simply just click on these sections to bring up information so you can read more.
There is a section on here where you can buy perfume a lot cheaper as they are unboxed, some of these unboxed perfume can save you up to £10, if you are not bothered about having a box for it. I think this is great, especially if it's just perfume for yourself and you aren't too bothered about a box.
After finding the product I was looking for I added it to my basket. You can view your basket at any time and add or delete items that you no longer want. When you are ready to pay simply click on your basket and the checkout button and this will guide you through the payment process. They accept plenty of different cards and they have also got a banner showing that all transactions are secure. You don't have to sign up to this website to shop here, how-ever they will ask for your e-mail address so they can send you information about your order and when it will be despatched. I ordered the perfume on 13th January; I received an e-mail with a confirmation of my order. Postage costs were just £1.49 for first class delivery. I received an e-mail on the 14th saying that my order had been despatched and it would be with me soon.
***RECEIVING MY ORDER***
I received my order on the 17th January, which I thought was very good, and was pleased with how fast I received the perfume. The perfume came in a plain cardboard box and it didn't have any mention of where the product had come from or what was inside. My perfume was sealed in its box and was protected with bubble wrap. I was surprised that there was no invoice with the order; how-ever I did have everything I needed on the confirmation e-mail so I wasn't too bothered about a paper invoice. The perfume was in perfect condition with no dents, marks or scratches on the perfume box at all.
I think this website sells some fantastic items at great prices. The particular perfume I purchased would have cost me £39.99 from The Perfume Shop & £41.87 in Boots. I paid a total of £38.26 which included postage so although I didn't save a huge amount it was still cheaper to buy it from the website than anywhere else. They sell all the celebrity perfumes on here including Britney Spears, Victoria Beckham and popular brands such as Hugo Boss, David Beckham and many more. I will definitely be using this website again for myself and when shopping for birthday and Christmas presents. I would highly recommend this website.
(review may also appear on ciao)
Ok, so it's very nearly Christmas- has the panic kicked in yet? Don't know what to get your dad? What about your sister?! ARGH! Well, have I got news for you! How about an online shop that sells all the same brands as Boots and Debenhams- both Christmas shopping staples- but for a much, much, MUCH (in some cases!) lower price? Interested? Thought so! Even if you're one of those annoying people who completed your Christmas shopping months ago (grr...), read on- with this website, you'll fix many a birthday gift dilemma and probably even find a few goodies for yourself.
Enough already! What's the website?
The site in question is www.perfumeplusdirect.co.uk, and I actually stumbled upon it by accident. A few weeks ago, an idea for a Christmas present was suggested to me- Armani Code perfume, which retails at a whopping £45.00 for the 50ml bottle in Boots. Now, I pride myself on being a bit of a bargain hunter and thought I'd have a scout round to see if I could find it cheaper elsewhere. The Perfume Shop? £43.05. Hmm... House of Fraser? £47.95 (whoa!). How about Fragrance Direct (online only), which specialises in discounted beauty lines? £37.99. Ok, not bad. As a last-ditch attempt to satisfy my bargaining needs, I Googled 'cheap Armani Code' and at the top of the results was Perfume Plus Direct (here forth referred to as PPD), which I hadn't heard of before. Intrigued, I clicked to enter the site...
Aesthetically- nice. Fresh and neat with a predominantly white background, it is accented with hot pink and grey. A large, colourful banner reminds us to order in time for Christmas. Practicability- also good. There are seven tabs across the top of the page:
- There are some interesting revelations here, for example, the site was only launched in September 2008. Also, they aim for same-day dispatch and they offer international shipping. Impressive!
- An explanation of the low prices is offered (no pricey advertising; no actual shop) plus a rather promising statement, "Excellent customer service is extremely important to us and we are very pleased to offer you a safe, secure and straightforward shopping experience." There is a friendly, welcoming tone throughout and they even bid us "Happy shopping!" at the end.
The stories here are current and relevant. Alongside practical information about the recent VAT reduction and last posting dates for Christmas, there is a step-by-step guide to festive make-up. This piece is helpfully studded with direct links to the products they suggest, meaning you don't have to trawl through the site to find them.
This is simply a giant list of all the items sold on the site- good if you fancy a general browse. The list is sorted alphabetically by brand and is 99 (!) pages long.
- Formatted as a question/answer session, this is really easy to follow. There are some interesting findings- for instance, it is not mandatory to have an account before placing an order. While this would save a bit of hassle, there's a promise of discounts and special offers if you do sign up!
- They sell quite a few fragrance testers on the site, which are described here as full-sized products without the fancy packaging. Having had a look at some, a small sticker usually indicates that they are a tester and they often come in a plain white box.
- There is a thorough and fair cancellations/returns policy, which complies with legal requirements.
Aside from smoke signal or carrier pigeon, they've got it covered- there are phone/fax numbers, an email address and an enquiry form.
Anything you have added to your basket will be shown here, plus delivery options and order total.
Beneath the tabs is a Quick Search function, where you can search by product type and/or brand. There is also an empty field to enter keywords and below there are direct links to particular sections. A series of images sit below- there are four categories to click through: featured, best sellers, new arrivals and special offers. Featured products seem to be extra-special offers- the rest are pretty much self-explanatory. Having visited the site quite a few times of late (ahem!), I know that all four sections are updated frequently. In particular, the new arrivals are definitely refreshed at least every few days- perhaps even daily. This collection of images serves to give an idea of the brands offered, which are top names like Jean Paul Gaultier and Hugo Boss. To the right is an introductory paragraph to the site and across the bottom of the page are links to the Terms and Conditions, About Us, and Contact Us, the latter two appearing for a second time, as they are also featured in the tabs at the top. It's reassuring to know that information about the company and how to reach them is so easy to find. At the very top of the page is a ProTX logo- again, this is a reassuring sign, as ProTX is a secure and reliable payment gateway. There is also a login/register account facility and quick links to the delivery charges section and shopping basket.
Let's talk prices!
Ok, ok, I'll get down to the good stuff. As I mentioned earlier, I was seeking Armani Code perfume at a suitably bargainous price. Did I get my wish? Drum roll please!
Hang on- £29.35? For 50ml?! That can't be right... Wow, and what is this? A gift set with the perfume AND body lotion for £31.20? How can this be?! To say I was shocked is an understatement. To say I was thrilled is an even bigger one. At this point I went to check out Boots again- nope, it was still £45.00, my eyes weren't deceiving me. Now the body lotion had been thrown into the fray, I had to see how much Boots were charging for that too- £24.00! It is a large one at 200ml but I could get it with the perfume for just over £30.00. Needless to say, I snapped that gift set right up! Not before having a look for more potential gift purchases though, which is when I came across Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey perfume- 75ml, no less- for £29.95. In Boots (poor Boots), it is £46.49. Add to basket? Yes please! At this point I got the hell out of there before I bankrupted myself- there are far too many good deals to be had. It's worth pointing out that both fragrances I bought are eau de parfum, which is more concentrated and lasts longer than the more commonly found eau de toilette.
For the most part, PPD sells fragrances. However, they also sell cosmetics and skincare, as well as various accessories such as make-up brushes, etc. I have conducted a price comparison experiment against Boots (who else?!) on selected cosmetics and skincare lines, to discover if the savings are as good as those found on the fragrances:
- Rimmel Sun Shimmer bronzing compact: PPD- £2.93, Boots- £4.93
- Max Factor Colour Adapt make-up: PPD- £5.82-£6.84 (dependent on shade), Boots- £11.70
- Lancôme mascaras (L'Extrême and Hypnôse): PPD- £9.78, Boots- £19.50
- Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish mousse make-up (melba): PPD- £8.80, Boots- £19.58
- RoC Renewex Micro-Dermabrasion Expert Kit: PPD- £9.78, Boots- £39.14
- Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Purifying Toner: PPD- £1.95, Boots- £19.58
I'm sure you will agree that they are awesome savings! All the products above are current and the majority are probably cheaper simply because of overstock or good wholesale deals- more often than not, the products on PPD are exactly the same as those sold in high street shops or on Boots' and other retailers' sites. In the case of the toner, however, it looks like Elizabeth Arden updated their packaging and there is surplus stock of the one seen on PPD- hence why it is so cheap. For the sake of a slightly prettier bottle, I would guess that most people would go for the £17.63 saving instead! Generally, there are better deals to be had with the premium brands. PPD also features discontinued lines and brands that are no longer available to buy in the UK, such as Almay and Cover Girl- this is great if you used to be a fan.
So how was the service?
Did my purchases arrive safely or was it all too good to be true?! Well, everything was very efficient- after double-checking my order and entering my personal details, I was taken to ProTX, which I have encountered before. If you haven't, it's a straightforward method of payment. They accept the usual card types (Visa, MasterCard, Solo and Maestro). Once I had completed the transaction, I received a confirmation email from PPD within a few minutes. Speedy! I'm pleased to report that not only did my package arrive very well packed with no damage to either of the boxes, it was delivered the day after I placed the order! I paid for the standard 1st Class delivery, which is just £1.95, no matter how many items you order (there are no additional charges with any of the delivery options). Next Day delivery costs £6.95, which sounds like a lot. However, it's guaranteed to arrive the next day, so it would be the most sensible option if you need your item/s urgently. Here is a rundown of the delivery charges:
1st Class- £1.95
Next Day- £6.95
Just an idea- if you have relatives or friends abroad, perhaps send their gifts directly to them- the international charges are very reasonable, especially when you consider that you can order as many items as you want without there being any extra charges. The only problem here would be the lack of gift wrapping- this is not a service PPD currently offer but I may drop them a line to suggest it.
To conclude, I had a very pleasant shopping experience! The site is easy to navigate, product descriptions are sound, the images are clear and it generally looks neat, tidy and professional. When you bear in mind that the site has only been up for a few months, they're running a pretty slick operation. And the prices- wow! I think that other fragrance/cosmetics retailers really need to pull their socks up as PPD is shaping up to be real competition.
I really believe I've found a little gem of a site here, which is why I wanted to share it with you- as PPD themselves say, happy shopping!