If you have gone on the Internet in the past year or so, you may have come across the shopping site Qoo10 at some point during your Internet escapades. Others might know it better as its previous incarnation Gmarket, an online site for the cheapest goods from the comfort of your own chair.
Okay, some context here. Launched in 2008, the online marketplace was rebranded as Qoo10 as a joint venture program between Korea’s Gmarket and eBay, and the site is now active in six market countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. By 2012, there were almost a million Singaporean Qoo10 members, and a whopping amount of US$73 million was generated in sales. Impressive, isn’t it?
As a broke student in 2012, the low prices and exciting variety of goods lured me in. Since then, I have had a long and varied history with Qoo10 that has lasted till today.
So, for those unfamiliar with the Qoo10, here are some inspiring tales and horror stories to sate your appetite while you decide whether to wade into the pool of online shopping.
1. You can pretty much find anything there
The variety of items sold on Qoo10 is frankly staggering. You can find things like exercise equipments, tech gadgets, mattresses, and even authentic Happycall cookware or Beats by Dr. Dre headphones at the fraction of the price. Not kidding.
You can find stuff you didn’t even know you need. Try a music share cable to share your tunes with a friend; or for those who like taking portraits of themselves, a selfie tripod might be a good investment.
Similar to Groupon, Qoo10 also offers vouchers for discount deals. They can range from anything like air-cond servicing to a discounted Universal Studios pass.
2. Some items are really a steal
I was a busy and stressed out student; as such, sometimes I cared little for traditional meals and opted for the convenience of a protein shake instead. Herbalife was one of the more prominent names in Singapore, but when I saw the retail price for one bottle (S$81!), I almost got a heart attack.
But on Qoo10, I saw a deal for a bottle of Herbalife ($41) at half the price. It became my first purchase.
Subsequently, I made other purchases with discounts at fifty percent or more, evidence that can be seen in the pictures above.
Through acquiring their stocks from overseas markets and factories, the sellers on Qoo10 are able to pass on their discounts to us, resulting in items much cheaper than retail prices.
And then there is this:
Remember the horrible haze last year? When all the N95 masks were snapped up and many were in danger of being left out to choke in PSI 400 conditions? Qoo10 stepped in and released a batch of these to the public.
For that, I will always be grateful to you, Qoo10.
3. They reward their customers – especially if you come back for more
Various payment options are available for Qoo10 shoppers. Besides paying through credit card or Paypal, other payment methods like e-nets and AXS Station payment is also available. For buyers who are always on the go, Qoo10 has also recently introduced a convenient cash payment service option at 7-Eleven stores.
Priding themselves to be customer-oriented, payment made on Qoo10 is released to the seller only when the buyer clicks “confirm delivery”, ensuring that goods reach the buyer in satisfactory order. Unhappy with a purchase? You can file for exchange/refund within 7 days of your receipt of your item.
Plus, whenever you buy an item, you are awarded a Qstamp every time you submit a review. More stamps are given if you include photos. These stamps can be used to exchange for cart or discount coupons, which you can use for your future purchases. If you reach a certain amount of purchases in a given time frame, they even award you with a premium status, which means more Qstamps, coupons, etc.
So basically, the more you buy, the more you save later.
However, it is not all roses in the land of Qoo10.
1. You never know whether you’re getting the real thing – Yikes!
Remember how I raved about a Herbalife product earlier on? Turns out, the previous good feels I had about the product and seller faded pretty quickly when I read these:
When your item’s origins turns dubious, it’s probably wise to hold your coin purse and look for an alternative deal.
Needless to say, I never bought from that seller again.
2. Items that look good in pictures may not look as good in reality
That cute dress or shirt you drooled over in pictures? Yeah, they look good in the pictures because they want you to buy them. But sometimes, you unravel a package only to find something else entirely instead.
As mentioned earlier, many items were acquired in bulk from overseas markets. Sadly, more often than not, it also means that the quality of the items itself may not always be up to scratch, especially when you compare them to items sold in local stores.
3. Prices that lure you in are more often not what it seems
You know how sometimes when you pass by a shop, and there’s this huge signboard outside screaming, “UP TO 90% OFF!”? Tempted, you walk in only to discover that this “discount” only applies when you buy three items and above. Cue sighs of disappointment.
Well, sometimes you get that feeling on Qoo10 too.
I know, I know, it will still be really cheap. But you can’t help but feel that teeny bit cheated, you know?
4. The sale of oral supplements from unknown origins
I have noticed there has been a rise in the number of oral supplements available on Qoo10. Worryingly enough, often these pages consist of catchy ad-words and graphics with little scientific evidence or AVA approval.
If you do decide to buy them, it’s still your money. However ladies and gentlemen, do think of what you are putting into your body.
Final verdict – Even though there are certainly its drawbacks when shopping on Qoo10, I can definitely see myself going back to grab a deal sometime again. But if you are a picky buyer who seeks 100% satisfaction in your purchases, you may not always hit the target if you decide to shop at Qoo10.
For those looking to start out, I highly recommend reading the item reviews before making a purchase, as they can make a world of difference between getting a steal or a dud.
Tread with care, online shoppers!