Advantages Good choice of items, competitive prices, free delivery, easy to navigate
HMV.co.uk is a site that I've only shopped at or odered from a few times but yet its one that I check regularly and that I find is very competitive. I tend to buy alot of DVDs and video games and the main recreational stuff I like to collect/buy on Ebay but when I decide that I want to buy brand new items online then the two websites that I check first are Play.com (I've already written a review about this site - check it out if your interested) and hmv.co.uk.**Postage/Delivery Options**
They offer free UK delivery. If you want an item delivered more quickly than through the free delivery (which from experience tends to take about 4 to 5 working days max., I also notice that items are sent from Guernsey, hence the cheaper prices as I believe thats a tax haven... Play.com is the same though, their based in the channel islands too), you can also select special delivery, which should get items delivered within 2 working days (or 1 if the item(s) are ordered before 5pm, presumably, certainly within a couple of days anyway), though its not cheap at £5.00 per item for this delivery option and each individual item ordered is shipped seperately I believe, so I've always stuck with the free delivery, it may take a few more days but it saves me money and I've never not received anything ordered there, so it seems to work fine. Items are packaged pretty securely within cardboard boxes.When opting for free delivery, you don't get sent any tracking info. but you should do if you go for special delivery. You can enter that code online through the postal service and that should let you know where your parcel has reached, for tracking purposes.
**Site Categories/What it sells/Main Tabs**HMV offers a wide range of CDs (albums and singles), DVDs, Video games, gadgets, downloads (music downloads). These different categories are all clearly labelled as tabs on the website and I find it pretty easy to navigate around the site. As well as those tabs identifying the 6 main categories, you'll also find a 'Coming Soon' tab, which takes you to a screen that lists some of the forthcoming items for sale, that they reckon you'll be interested in. There's also an 'Offers' tab, that lists links to all the different current offers within each main category (such as under 'DVD Offers' at the moment you'll find a graphic link to '3 DVDs for £15' etc.). This is a quite well designed website, with the tabs laid out so that its quick and easy to find the latest offers and to navigate between categories.
**DVD Prices**Brand new DVD releases are can be found for around £9.99 (for Premonition starring Sandra Bullock, which was released in July) or for £11.99 you can buy the Bourne Identity/Bourne Supremacy DVD boxset which is an HMV exclusive. Also like I've said, you can buy older DVDs on offer for very good prices, some are as cheap as £2.99 (currently The 40 Year Old Virgin is on offer for £2.99 and thats only a year or so old).
**CD Prices**CD Albums you can find for anything between £6.99 to £8.99 for newer releases, or £11.99 for 2 disc compilations such as the new Now compilation (Now 67), again of course as with everything, with the option of free UK delivery.
**Search Facilities**Its easy to search for items, within the 'albums' and 'singles' sections, there's a list of different music genres down the left hand side, so you can narrow your search by which type of music your interested in and also there's a general search box at the top of each page, under the tabs, so that you can do a quick search for an item by its name and next to the search box there's a dop down menu listing each of the category names, so you can quickly type in a film name and select 'DVD' from the drop down list then hit 'Go' next to it and it should show up with the price and details with it. If you want more search offers, there's also an 'advanced search' option next to the 'Go' button next to the drop down menu, this allows you to enter more details on the item your looking for, such as the actor/actress the film you want stars, or the name and genre of the music group your interested in etc.
**Purchasing from the Site (cards accepted)/Security & Privacy**In order to purchase from this site, you have to register for an account but its not too difficult to set up an account and the good thing is, once you've entered your details you don't have to bother doing it again. You get issued a login and can set your own password (keep this hidden and never write it down, of course) and the site remembers your previously entered debit or credit card details, so when you sign in to confirm your purchase(s), it gives you the option of paying using any of your previously entered card details (they use pretty good encrypted software to ensure privacy and security. The site accepts payments from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club International, Maestro, Solo and Duet cards.
**Competitions**HMV.co.uk often runs competitions, at the moment their running one in conjunction with one of the biggest movies released this summer:- The Simpsons Movie. You can win a trip to Hollywood, with no purchase necessary. The competition is very visible on the website, with a banner link to the competition page at the very top of every page, so its easy enough to find. I'm sure they'll run other, similar competitions too, so even if you don't want to purchase from the site, it may still be worth checking it every while or so incase there's a competition you might want to enter. Of course this is a popular site though, so there are no guarantees you'll win but as their free to enter, you might as well!
**Affiliate Program**HMV.co.uk offers an affiliate program, for webmasters wanting to earn some revenue from advertising HMV.co.uk on their owen website. It appears to be pretty easy to sign up and start up as an affiliate, the link to the affiliate program is provided at the bottom of most pages. For reference, the affiliate program registration process is done through TradeDoublers site, not HMV.co.uk. I've no experience of this program but from the details shown when clicked on 'Affiliate Program', it certainly sounds quick and simple to get an account set up, so may be worth thinking about if you own a website and would like to advertise the site through it and potentially earn yourself a little extra money.survey/opinion site Test and Vote. When logged in to your account, you have whats called an 'E-Wallet' where you enter details of any gift certificates you have earnt and when you purchase item(s), you have the choice of using any of the remaining balance from your E-Wallet as payment or part payment towards your item(s). I tried searching for 'gift certificate' as an item using the search facility but I couldn't find any results for that, so it doesn't appear as if you can purchase them to give to others for gifts, like you can do on sites like Amazon, which surprises me...
**Other Info., help etc.**There's a very informative, good help section on the site, again well laid out with many sub-sections for different topics, listed on the left column, under 'Help Menu'. These include an FAQs section and other sub-sections covering 'Product Availability', 'Pricing & Payment', 'Shipping Information', 'Returning Items' etc. The help button can be found on the top of any page, one of the white links above the main site tabs (third from the right). If the help section of the site doesn't answer your query, then you can phone them for help on 0845 603 8576 (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm). This phone number is also clearly shown at the bottom of all webpages, as well as the link to the help section, if you don't find it at the top of the page. Within the first grey paragraph under the help section, you'll find a link to a 'contact us' page, which takes you to a screen where you can provide your details and enter a message thats emailed to HMV.
As well as that, other white links at the top of the sites webpages include one to 'In-Store Events', which of course lists any upcoming events in high street HMV stores, 'HMV International' which contains info. on the company', 'Gift Certificates' as mentioned above, for logging into your account and going straight to your 'E-Wallet' to enter any gift certificate codes you may have, 'My Account' for logging in to your account and 'Sign in', to sign in so your details are shown on screen and once items are added to the shopping basket, you can confirm and submit them without logging in. Under the shopping basket clearly shown down the right hand side column, there's a box for entering any extra promotional code you may have found or been given online, which may give a discount such as 10% off a purchase of £50 or more or something similar. Once items are ordered, the discount should be applied to the total price and be listed as such before you finally submit the order.At the bottom of pages you'll find more links, some other ones of potential interest include 'HMV Careers' for anyone interested in working for the company, 'Terms and Conditions' to check before registering if you want to be sure that your happy and 'Legal Information' and also 'Store Finder', incase you can't seem to find something on the site.
**Conclusion**Once you've registered for the site and set up an account, its pretty quick and easy to purchase and the site offers a good range of cheap DVDs, CDs and video games, with a good range of new and old titles (subject to availability, which is shown on the search results page, with basic info. such as price and item title).
This is a good site with competitive prices and is easy to navigate and purchase from. I haven't had any problems with items being lost in the mail, having ordered 4 items from them so far and having seen some of the offers their currently running, it certainly tempts me to buy from them again. I recommend the site.
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