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It would be a fare comment to say I love to shop but at times I can be a lazy minx and simply can't be bothered with the hassle of getting up, ready, out and driving to a shopping centre full of crowds, teens, double buggies and stressed out mums.
While busy at work one day - well, wasting time surfing the net and filing my nails - I came across a website called asos.com which stands for As Seen on Screen. The site is like an on-line department store and has everything for men and women; we're talking cosmetics, hair products and ornaments, jewellery, accessories, shoes, underwear and clothes. It is very easy to navigate using the drop down selection menu on the left of the page so you can go to 'most wanted', 'new in' and so on and so forth. ASOS stock un-branded items as well as products and clothing by GHD, FHM, 6ixty 8ight, Dolce & Gabbana, Miss Sixty, Cosmopolitan, Hooch, Birkenstock, French Connection, no romeo, LoveKylie, etc, so you are bound to find something to suit your taste and budget.
The idea of the site is people often see the clothes celebs are wearing and really want to buy the same, however, that chic little skirt worn by Kylie is bound to be designer and would set you back 3 months salary so ASOS copy the design or design something similar or that they think would be worn by a particular celeb and say 'in the style of …..'. There is also 'as seen on' but ASO's tend to be designer brands so will be a bit pricier.
If you click on the clothes rail left of screen, you'll be asked if you want skirts, tops, dresses, trousers, clearance, etc. Once you have selected what you are looking for, you'll be met with a page of clothes. Practically each one, be it a t-shirt, vest top or shorts will be 'in the style of' some celebrity or other, ranging from Britney, Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton, Rachel Stevens - I could go on but won't. I must admit some of their 'in the style of…' are rather weird - an example being a gorgeous bejewelled sandal 'in the style of Joss Stone'. Now, I was led to believe Miss Stone performed bare-foot and that when she did happen to put something on her feet, as she was a boho babe, diamante would hardly be her first choice, but who am I to argue?
The good thing about this site is that you can get up to date fashions at reasonable prices, the frustrating thing is you can be waiting an absolute age for the item you want to be re-stocked as some items sell out really fast - two examples are the silver ballet pump and the white gyspy skirt. I got so fed up checking each day incase they'd had a new delivery that after 3 weeks I gave up. Whenever they did get a new ballet pump delivery, it would be in a size 4 (4!!), and would sell out in less than one hour. They do have a customer services section but they say that they are unable to answer questions concerning when an item will be re-stocked and suggest you check back regularly. Despite this, one day they finally DID have the Pink Soda skirt I wanted 'as seen on Kate Moss' and the sandals 'inspired by Joss Stone' (I love a bit of sparkle - I think I was a magpie in a previous life). Stifling a yelp of delight, I quickly added these items to my basket and went to Checkout.
I was then had to enter my email address and either tick New Customer or enter my email if I was a returning customer. I ticked New Customer and was taken to a screen where I filled out my name, date of birth, home and mobile numbers, password and email address (again). The next page you enter your billing address - where the credit card bill will be sent - you can either enter the address manually or type in door number and postcode and it does it for you. You can then choose a delivery address. ASOS say that deliveries are between 08:30 and 17:30 and say it is worth entering your work address for this which is SO handy as some companies refuse to be this helpful. You need to be indoors or have someone there when the parcel is delivered as it has to be signed for, if no-one's in the courier leaves a card so you get to go through that whole song and dance of trying to arrange a re-delivery date only to find they don't 'do' Saturdays and that they are located in a bizarre industrial estate in the backend of beyond and only open from 9-11 on a Saturday and when you finally get there at 10am, you find they've all knocked off early 'cos the boss wasn't in that day.
After putting in my address, delivery address, email, contact number and credit card details I was asked which delivery option I wanted - Standard or Next Day. Standard costs £2.95 and takes around 4 working days; however, as my order was over £40, it qualified for free delivery (hurrah). I could have selected next day for £4.95 but decided against because aswell as being a lazy minx, I can sometimes be a tight-fisted one too. Provided you place your order before 2pm on a weekday next-day delivery is next day, after that time or orders placed at weekends mean delivery in 2 working days.
Once I'd clicked 'confirm order' I had a white screen thanking me for placing my order and telling me my order reference code. It said it would send me an email shortly to confirm my order and let me know if there were any problems with my credit card and if there were what to do next. Luckily, my email came through confirming my order had successfully gone through within seconds so I could breathe a sign of relief. You can use the reference number as a tracking code to keep tabs on where exactly your order is which is quite handy; this can be found on the website if you click on Your Account, entering your email and password. You then get taken to a big white screen showing your order history, billing & delivery addresses, your credit card (all but the last 5 numbers are starred out) and Tracking. Click on the View tab of tracking and you see the current status and date shipped.
1. The site is has a VeriSign Secured logo which means encrypted data transmission and that ASOS is the verified owner of the site. 2. It also has a SafeBuy Assured Logo which if you click on shows ASOS's registration number and tells you that they process your credit card details securely, promise not to use SPAM for marketing, keep your personal information safe, show full delivery charges so no hidden extras and give their full contact details. 3. You get emailed a receipt of your order plus a tracking number so you can keep tabs on how things are progressing. 4. Items are reasonably priced (I saw one of the skirts in a local independent clothes shop for £4 less). 5. You can pay online using credit, debit or charge cards and you don't even have to be in the UK as they accept the eruo, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Kroner and the Dollar. 6. They can deliver to practically anywhere, although obviously this will take slightly longer and cost a tad more. 7. You can actually find their Customer Care section really easily, unlike some other sites and they list all the questions and answers you should need. You can contact them at email@example.com if you have any problems.
1. If once you get an item and find you don't like it or it's the wrong size you have 14 days in which to send it back - you have to pay postage costs for this as they don't include a free returns label like catalogues do. Items on the website marked (+) cannot be returned. 2. They don't accept Maestro cards. 3. They can run out of popular items really quickly and you have no idea if or when they will re-stock your size so you need to constantly re-check. Would be helpful if they just added one line under the item saying 'this is all that's left' or 're-ordering all sizes /colours this week'. 4. I have only seen ladies clothing in sizes 6-14, so not suitable for larger sizes. 5. They don't list a contact number. 6. Some fashions can be a bit "fashion-victim" - example being that they stock the PUFFBALL SKIRT (oh dear Lord, please, not again!!).
Placing my order (when it was finally in stock!) was very easy and took less than 5 minutes. I placed the order on Thursday 4th August, it was shipped on the 5th and arrived on Monday the 8th at around 08:40. The 2 items were in a cardboard box with an ASOS label on it. The shoes were wrapped in tissue paper and then put in a shoe box and the skirt was in a clear plastic bag, the box was then filled with chunks of foam to keep everything snug. In the box plus there was a Despatch Note showing my address, delivery address, items ordered and cost and on the back, details of how to return any items. Luckily as the skirt and sandals fitted I won't have to make use of the returns policy and I am happy with my purchases. The only wee gripes are that I was going to cut the box open with a knife, I am so glad I used scissors or I could have cut the skirt and the sandals aren't anywhere near as sparkly as the website led me to believe, but then again, they had the benefit of powerful studio lighting!
In the name of research I did skim the men's clothing section but the site is geared far more towards women than men - the men's section is really tiny with only a few items per category and the prices are much higher than I expected (e.g. £40 for a t-shirt ). The only celebrity name I saw in the men's section was Lemar and I can't imagine the average man seeing it and saying "Wow, Lemar has one of these - I simply must buy one too". Anyway, must dash - I'm off out in my Kate Moss skirt and Joss Stone sandals…
** ASOS was set up in the year 2000 initially under the name AsSeenonScreen changing its name to ASOS in 2003. It has received a number of awards ranging from 'Best Trendsetter' and recently, 'Rising Star of the Year'. The celebrities mentioned on asos.com have not endorsed, recommended or approved any of the items advertised. **
Sorry this review is so darn long but I wanted to cover everything!!