Newest Review: ... information. The search tool is also clearly visible to the right and located along the same tool bar level as the main ... more
ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE WITH A DIFFERENCE
Member Name: hildah11
Advantages: Unique gifts and fantastic customer support service
Disadvantages: A bit pricey
Early last year I was tasked with a responsibility to shop around for ideal gifts to give guest speakers for our church ladies conference. I should say, it was really a hard task as I really wanted something of sentimental value. I also wanted something which would remind them of the conference so I was thinking of something with the logo of the conference imprinted on it but not the usual such as mugs, T-shirts, but something visible and one they would keep as an ornament. An idea about the printed gift plates suddenly came to mind, I had seen several ornamental plates around but where could I have one printed with a personalised image? This was no ordinary task as none of the High street or on line photo shops do plates ornaments. After some searching, I came across Xarim.com on the internet. I had never heard about this online shop or seen their products so I was a bit apprehensive but with no alternative, I decided to give them a try.
~Who Are Xarim~
Xarim is a British business Established in 1993 and is located in, Ffordd Derwen, RHYL, Denbighshire in Wales. It specialises in creating a range of unique clocks, personalised clocks at very competitive prices. The company also specialises in another aspect of business, the Photos 2 Gifts which includes personalising a wide selection of gifts which can be created from customer's photographs or general pictures. It is well known for creating unique designs and for souvenir Fridge Magnets, Key rings, Badges and Clocks. The company supplies wholesale and retail in addition to internet sales to customers like me.
**My review is based my experience using the on-line store.
~Layout & Design~
The front page of the website is well presented, with the logo and name of the company clearly visible on the top panel. The main headings are located on the top tool bar below the logo but they are rather small and in plain black font. Each main heading is hyperlinked so will lead you to another page with the relevant information.
The search tool is also clearly visible to the right and located along the same tool bar level as the main headings. You can search by a few key words in the product name and the search tool works well and is rather fast and specific rather than being asked to refine your search endlessly until you luckily get to the required product.
Typing in "photo on plate" in the search tool box brought up two products, both photo plates but different sizes; 8" (200mm) and 10" (250 mm) showing the possible designs. Again this is always safe as products may have different names depending on the manufacturer. In this case it was exactly the products I wanted and this made my life a bit easy.
On the left hand side of the front page you find other headings which are also hyperlinked. The most important to me was the product link, which lists all the product by categories. Below that you find important customer information about the on-line store including, how to order, the terms and conditions and the other information about cookies, whatever they are?
At the very bottom of the front page are the company's contact details: address and telephone number and at the very top right hand corner is the log in and contact us links.
The rest of the page contains colourful product pictures, price and relevant information about the product. This information given also compares the price with other on-line stores such as Amazon.
~Navigation & Content Update~
It is fairly easy to navigate and find your way on the website. The product page is fairly up to date which is encouraging for me as it gives me the confidence that I am not dealing with obsolete information. The English language used is good and clear. The website is relatively fast, and ok to navigate without losing your patience.
~Site content and Information~
The website is well populated with products which can be found using the category link or the search tool box. Details have already been covered above under Layout and Design.
I usually prefer to search using the search tool bar as I can never be sure in which category to find the products.
As soon as I found the product, I was informed of the following:
* The brief description and preview of the product and the various sizes available ==>important to assure me I was looking at the right product I really wanted.
* The stock availability ==> this determined whether I was going to proceed or not and luckily the product was in stock and actually indicated how many were still available.
* An option to add a personalised message in your chosen font and colour and the message will be printed on the plate together with the image
* Choice of how many items you want to buy
* Then once satisfied, you then precede to purchase by pressing the Buy Now button which is clearly visible on the right bottom corner. This takes you to the price information. .
I chose two 8" photo plates at £22.95 each and 2 presentation plate boxes at £7.50. The total cost was £60.90. The delivery is however not free even for an order this big financially, I had to pay £11.50 shipping charges (recorded delivery) bringing the total to £72.40. The price quoted already includes VAT.
Once I had identified the product I wanted, buying was easy, clicking the Buy Now button took me to another window which confirmed the product and quantity in my basket. You can add or subtract on quantity. You can continue shopping and this takes you to the first page to find another product and meanwhile what you have chosen is safely kept in the in your shopping basket for you. Once satisfied you can then choose the delivery option and where you want the delivery to be sent. After this you then proceed to Checkout to pay by credit or debit card or through PayPal facility. You can also pay by Cheque or Postal Order Payments to made payable to Xarim Photos 2 Gifts. I automatically chose checkout for credit or debit card payment.
After completing the purchase, I received an automatic email with my Unique Order Number and request to submit the picture to be printed onto the plates. Unfortunately you cannot send pictures before, or during a purchase. Apparently this is to ensure your image is linked to the correct order. If for some reason you cannot send pictures by attachment, they also accept prints, negatives, slides, or drawings and these have to be send by post with a printed copy of your order. . The prints are then returned together with your order. The e-mail also contained confirmation of my order, and all the other stuff I needed to know about my order.
~Customer Service after purchase~
The customer support was excellent. I was guided through the requirements for the picture to be imprinted onto the plate. They helped me make the necessary changes to the picture in terms of picture format, size, colour contrast etc to make sure that the final product would be what I really wanted. All the communication after I had placed the order was done via e-mail and their response was prompt within 24 hours. I felt they really wanted me to get the best out of the service they offered.
~Delivery Information for mainland UK~
Most standard completed orders are shipped within 2 working days of finalising the order. Orders are shipped by recorded delivery and there is a charge for the shipping.
My order arrived on the day I was expecting it. It was nicely packed to avoid breakage.
Order number: NM37HW10003063
This was really a pleasant shopping experience, no hassles, no surprise hidden charges, a smooth process indeed and a very satisfied customer ==> me.
Now that I have some experience dealing with this company, I will certainly buy from them again.
If you are looking for unique gifts, try them. Yes I would recommend friends and family.
My rating 5/5 stars.
Thank you for reading and rating
İhildah11 Feb 2013
Summary: Ideal for unique gifts