Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Guide: To Ebay Fashion, Jewellery & Cosmetics

Ebay is almost a sinful place, a dirty word and traversing it is quite a task. But how does one get the best out of Ebay and not get duped? Here is an easy and quick guide to buying cheap Ebay products and not get burnt! This guide is a prereading for my new series of reviews called "Ebay Finds"!

Above: Two pairs of Skeleton Hand Hair Clips (Kreepsville666 Dupes)

  • Use the Right Keywords
 One of the biggest problems is that product listings are usually made by foreigners (yes, mostly Chinese people). They either lack the really proper language skills ending in what we know as Chinglish (and other '-glish' forms) or they use different wordings and descriptions that are off or don't match the item at all. Because of the copy and paste nature of Ebay sellers you are likely to find that they all use similar or the same words to describe a particular product. 
Say I want a something with spike studs. I could search 'spike' or 'stud', but what I found was that a lot of listings use the work 'rivet' to describe this attribute. It's not the first thing I would have thought of but this tends to be the word that the sellers like to use more than spike or stud. Sometimes the sellers will translate too literally. They will call something 'leather' but actually mean it looks like leather but is synthetic. People see 'cat fur' but I have doubts they are actually made of that.
Another example is titles with lots of imagery. I've come across lots of listings that call things "ancient wind...", "personality" and other weird words that are just not a search criteria.
  •  Check Locally
There are many items that are now available locally and are similar or the same price as buying overseas. Buying locally gives you several advantages like shorter shipping times, easier communication and more buyer protection. For example phone screen protectors can easily be found in Australia for virtually the same prices.
  • You get what you pay for
If something is cheap it will probably be of cheap quality. If you do find a similar item at higher prices then there's a better chance it is better quality. The reason why this so strongly corrolates is because most prices from the "cheap nations" reflect the actually manufacturing costs.

 In Front: A Brush Holder from Ebay holding Ebay nail brushes and other brushes
  • Be extremely discerning
When you buy online you can never see the real product and sellers often use stock photos or highly photoshopped images to sell their items. If you can see even the slightest defect, crease, glue marks, etc. you best avoid these products because you may often find that when you receive them the problems magnify.

  • "Free Shipping"?
The main reason most sellers provide free shipping (especially from Asia) is that it secures them full ratings for shipping when it comes to feedback and it can make their prices look more appealing. Their shipping costs are low and easy to hide but not negligible. So be aware that if you buy multiple items you may be overpaying on shipping.

  • Be prepared to wait it out
Often you'll find that the same item will cost less over time. The more they sell the lower the manufacturing costs by the unit, or potentially a lack of interest will give the sellers cause to clear out excess stock.

  • Try to buy back from the same seller if buying multiple items
Sometimes you just want to buy one of an item to see if it's good or not. On Ebay the use of stock photos often leads us to believe that a range of sellers sell exactly the same items. Sometimes that's the case but other times you'll find a cheaper version arrive and you might be severely disappointed. That's why if you've bought from a particular place and you are pleased with it you might want to buy from the same place again if you want to buy more.

Above: Filigree Ear Cuff

  • Check the details
When it comes to fashion one of the biggest problems is sizing. Clothing and shoes that come from China in particular tend to run small because the average person is a smaller frame. The good news is that the oversized look is right in fashion at the moment and if you're lucky you might find something that will fit you.
  • Beware of fakes
People have been conned by fake MAC, Urban Decay Naked Palettes, Benefit products and lots of other famous brands even from places like USA. There is no way of telling online if you are getting the real deal because even the photos may be pulled from websites. (Even Target accidentally sold fake MAC in the past which just goes to show how easy it is to get tricked by high quality fakes).
  • My Big No-Nos
I absolutely do not recommend buying shoes from China *period*. They are often hard, lack the necessary grip on the base, are narrow or too small a size and are of disastrous quality. I've had shoes die after one use even after paying $20-40. Platforms are the worst contenders. It's not worth the risk!
Avoid synthetic clothing as they are often unbreathable, smell chemically and shed or peel easily.
Avoid makeup if you haven't heard of it and especially if they come from third world countries. There is a high potential for dangerous chemicals to be used because there are no regulations and it will be hard to chase them up if something goes wrong.

 Above: 7 Piece Nail Art Brush Set

These are just some of the tips that have come to mind and I'm sure there are lots more which I may update later. My new series of posts called Ebay Finds will be reviews of products I have bought on Ebay. There are a few things I would like to mention:
  1. There generally won't be links to actual shops. The customer service of shops is another matter altogether since multiple shops sell the same item and buying one item does not accurately reflect whether the store is good or bad. 
  2. There will be a simple set of criteria and ratings including: Price, Shipping, Relevant search terms, Score out of 5
  3. There won't be information about shipping, order processing or the online experience. This will differ from person to person and the Ebay system is the same whoever you buy from.
Thanks for reading and I hope you will stick around to see the reviews to come!

Love Porcelaine.

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