Saturday, October 15, 2022

Buying Stuffs Online

October 2022 ~  Listen everyone. Specially artists / artisans out there who love beading and acquiring their materials online just like me . I got here some tips for you to learn & consider seriously  which are solely based on my recent experiences. 

I am really so fond of buying my beads online mostly from overseas over the last few years. Aside from several trips to my local beadshops here in Singapore  which now came down to just 2 trusted shops located in Chinatown, I do buy most of the stuffs via Instagram or ordering from online shops like Fire Mountain Gems, Pandahall , Etsy, etc. No more Ebay though coz I had ceased to deal and sell in that platform since 2018.

My designs require a lot of semi- precious stones so I made sure I can find them from sellers which unfortunately are based mostly oversea ~ Indonesia, India, China and the US.  So my shipping costs is somewhat a big pain in my budget especially if I buy from different sellers. But lately, Instagram sellers had fixed their postage costs to US$5- up to $7 no matter how many pieces you buy from them. Sigh of relief when purchasing bulk items !

But then again, shipping cost is not the only main factor to look at when trying to buy beading materials online and at the same time minimizing the costs incurred. Product Quality and seller service must be added to the main factors too.

Things to Check When Buying Your Materials Online :

1.  Online Photos Of Item

 I often had this problem of items I had received were not the same as how it looked in the photos online when I bought them. The colors were totally enhanced in photos making them look either more bolder or lighter in color for a more appealing. look but at the same time deceiving the buyer. Some beads got polishing defects like little minute cracks not seen in pics and some chips behind or by the sides not shown on videos as well. It's a rule of thumb to ask seller to show the whole or certain parts of the said items you are not sure of if you;\'re really keen to buy it. Don't hesitate to Ask the size / dimension as well. Some of them look bigger/ smaller than the actual item.  Let the seller measure their items just to be sure you're getting the measurements right. No point in blaming each other after the sale for not checking the item properly. 

It can be troublesome for sellers to perform this but hey, if they need your business, they will do it and go an extra mile. Trust me. Customer service counts big time in making a sale. 

2. Product Familiarity

I always buy semi precious stones in Cabochon Shape ( my prefererred and favorite )  items which were normally called the flatbacks. Some sellers say they 're  cabochons  but said items will come out to be dome shape in both sides. 

Some sellers are not familiar of the shapes and names of what they are selling so a buyer should always have a sample picture on hand to show them for comparison with what the sellers have available in their stocks. This way,  confusion will be avoided and a buyer get the right type of stone really needed for the beading project / design. 

Not only shapes / sizes, the name of a particular stone  must also be provided for easy counter checking with the invoice. This way a buyer Can differentiate one item from the others especially if they had ordered in bulk and most items look almost similar with each other in the order. If a seller is familiar with all the products they sell by heart , he is a reliable business person who can name all his merchandise no matter what. 

3. Packaging & Shipment. 

It's always a good part of the seller's service to track the parcel sent and update the buyer and that buyers receive their much awaited package on time without any damage. Buyers spending  their  hard  saved $$$ for shipment /packaging costs only expect their items to be well wrapped to arrive in good condition and in specified time. 

 I had several shipments were items were broken especially the Crystal clusters and towers which were delicate and needed bubble wraps and a stronger thick box for extra care. A good seller would do that normally. But some sellers were cutting costs and only re-use newspapers to wrap items and place them inside recycled boxes and delay the posting of the parcel to await for more orders to add.  A big No no no !

 Inform them of the seller of their shortcomings ( I always do ! ) and let them either refund the damaged item's cost or replace the item with a similar one with free shipping or they must try to compensate buyer for the ite's damage..  

Despite of sellers cutting their packaging costs, I had also encountered some sellers who on the other hand were too generous and had wrapped my crystals and bead items endlessly with rolls and rolls of toilet paper before putting them in rolls and rolls of bubble wraps then rolls of scotch tape all around! .Yes, no joke ,so space consuming and adding more weight need for such at all ,, toilet paper  ? indeed !  i had saved them for wiping dusts at home or wiping water drops on the floors or for even more recycling purposes. Matter of truth is It took me months to finish using all these rolls . 
 Holy Molly ... praise the toilet paper ! 
No wonder people went in panic during the toilet roll shortage few years ago. 

Wa ha ha , made me laugh so hard ! 🤣🤣🤣

My word of advice to sellers out there. please don't put too much tape all around the items like it was totally mummified ! I hate cutting layers and layers of tape with scissors / cutters coz they had made so many of my sharp scissors/ cutters dull and totally useless afterwards.  Extremely troublesome with excess tape . So please don't do that !

Hellooooo ... Please please hear me ! 

Last but not the least is :

4. Customer Feedback 

This is the best part now. One way of knowing if the seller can be trusted and come up to buyer's expectation is to check their customer's feedback .Customer feedback is the information, insights, issues, and input shared buyers about their experiences with the company or seller, product, or services. This feedback guides improvements of the customer experience and can empower positive change in any business — even (and especially) when it’s negative.

 A negative score even less than 3 is considered  already a red flag for me. I would surely hesitate and worst is to ignore them and not buy any item from them at all. Why take a risk ? so, What about you ?

Ok, Tricky sellers can only make business with me once and that's it whenever I find flaws in their service & quality of sent products. I had paid the amount they need so they should give me the items and service I had paid for. Not defective craps they wanna get rid off and not their being such a cheap charlie attitude in cutting packaging costs to profit even more.  Good service , Confidence and Trust are the keys to a repeat buyer. Think about that ...
By the way
Oh and By the way, let me say a big thank you to all my repeat sellers who had gifted me for my orders and putting up with my meticulous ways.
 Thanks much greatly for your generosity. 
Looking forward to keeping a good business relationship with you in the coming years.