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Will you play?
Member Name: jb899
Advantages: Competitive prices, delivery options, massive catalogue
Disadvantages: No mobile website or app
Play.com is the second biggest online retailer in the United Kingdom and is in the top 50 largest online retailers in the world, so it is quite successful. It sells DVD's, music CD's, video games, books, electronics, gadgets, music downloads, clothes and accessories. I personally always like to shop around when I am intending to buy such things. I check eBay, Amazon.co.uk, Tesco, HMV and others before I sign on the dotted line, it varies across the board as to who is selling the product the cheapest but quite often it is Play.com.
The website address is www.play.com; it is unforgettable for first time visitors and effortless to recommend to friends, family and colleagues - a great decision by the directors, surely! Once on the actual site, you will find that it is fairly simple to navigate. If ever you get lost when browsing just click on the company logo in the top left corner of the page and it will take you back to the homepage, a nice little feature for the less experienced computer/web users. The main navigation bar runs along the top length of the page. It lists the sections/products of site from left to right, starting with 'DVD' on the left to 'Toy's & Baby' on the right. The bar is a glowing grey colour, with white text. This colour combination contrasts well, giving it a clean, organised look. When the cursor hovers over a product on the navigation bar a drop down menu automatically appears giving a list of that product's categories, for example hover over 'Music' and will give you a choice of 'Blues, Christmas, Classical, Country' etc. This is a very standard, simple and efficient setup. A search bar is located in a top, central position on the homepage, from here the user can type in anything to look for. To the left a drop down menu reveals a department to search in and a bright orange 'Go' button instigates the search, simple! A search of 'Madonna' in the music department returns three pages of items. They are presented in a very straightforward fashion; the album art is predominantly positioned with the title and a price underneath. This is standard across every page, which means browsing is efficient. A large orange 'Buy' button is placed under each item, and when it is clicked the item is added to the basket, which is located in the top right corner, a notification appears confirming this and the shopping can continue. Again this process is very, very straightforward - a major winner for Play.com. Each product section can be, which can also be refined. For example, under 'Books' > 'Art & Photography' you can refine your own search by 'Sub Category' (history of art, sculpture, fashion design, etc) by 'Format' (paperback, hardback, audiobook) by 'Author', by 'Price' by 'Narrator' and by 'Age'. This is very helpful if you don't know the exact product you want to buy. Another good thing about the website is that it has a bestsellers list, which can be helpful if you are buying a gift for someone, you can browse through the list to see what is popular. There are a few adverts on the website, they are quite attractive and easy on the eye. They are not necessarily intruding - not over the top.
Play.com started off just selling region 1 and 2 DVD's. Now it continues to sell region 2 DVD's as well as Blu-Ray's, music CD's, video games, books, electronics, gadgets, music downloads, clothes and accessories. Each category has a very wide selection of products, an absolutely massive catalogue of merchandise. The video game section has products for every current console including handheld ones and hardware. The bookstore is extensive, ranging from crime thriller novels to children's picture book to art and photography reference books and also audiobooks. Music has every genre and also has a bargain section. The clothes section has men's, women's, boys' and girls'. A lot of designer clothes are listed and things like jeans, shirts, swimwear and accessories. I purchased a hoody from Play.com, I received it in plastic cellophane wrapping and it was folded well with the tag so it is perfectly okay to buy clothing from here. Mp3 players, TV's, sim-free mobile phones and such things are also stocked; I have not personally bought from this section. And finally there is a section for toys and babies. Most products are competitively priced, but it is always good to shop around.
PlayTrade is a relatively new feature on Play.com. It's a way of selling your own items through the website, it is extremely easy to use and hassle free. I have had a lot of experience with this and can recommend it. All you have to do is search the item you're selling, click on 'sell it here', enter a selling price, and list the condition and a brief description, that's all. It will be listed immediately. There is a 10% commission for Play.com plus a 50p closing fee. I think this is good considering how easy it is to list and how many viewers it will get because of the website being so high profile. As soon as an item is sold you will be notified immediately by email from Play.com and once the item is posted, log on to the website and mark it as dispatched. Most of my items have sold very quickly. I have listed the same product on eBay at the same price and at the same time and every time PlayTrade has sold quicker. So if you need get rid of things quickly then I would go for this option. The money is stored in you PlayFunds account, you can use this to buy things on Play.com or you can transfer the money to your bank account for a small fee. You can also buy things from PlayTrade. I always do this if possible, although the items may not be new, they are far cheaper than buying direct from Play.com, it is safe to do so and I have never experienced any trouble.
Payment and Delivery
The website is available in Pounds and Euros and the prices can be changed at the click of a button (located in the top right corner). VeriSign, Visa, MasterCard SecureCode and NatWest provide secure payment and all major cards are accepted. Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Solo, Gift Vouchers and as mentioned before PlayFunds can be used for payments. Everything is automatic so no need to worry about paying through PayPal or similar services. There is free delivery on every single item, items are usually dispatched within 24 hours and will take 3-5working days for delivery, this is very acceptable. However if you require a faster delivery then a first class postage system is offered, but this has an additional cost. This option has a delivery time of 2-3 working days, it costs £1.49 for a DVD sized package, clothing is £3.59 and items over 1kg carry a £5.99 price tag. Also there is an express delivery option (UK only), orders placed before the cut off time will arrive on the next working day, this costs from £4.99 to £8.99, I recommend the free option, but the choice is yours.
Play.com is a huge website, millions of people use it and this proves it is a great online retailer. There is a massive catalogue of products and I have never been in a position where the item I want is not offered. Postage is quick and from my past experience, never delayed and items are always well packaged. Customer service seems to be good as well, I submitted an item query to the service team once, I received a prompt, exact response, well done Play.com. Prices are competitively priced, I do recommend looking through the PlayTrade section as you can probably save yourself a couple of pounds every time. Happy shopping!
Summary: As per conclusion