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This review is on the online retail giant's play.com, who sells a large array of multimedia products. I first came across this website way back in 2002, and ever since I consider my self to be a loyal customer, always purchasing my DVDs, video games and so on from their website. This review will hopefully detail the specs of play.com, the products and services they offer, the layout and navigation of their website, prices, delivery and quality to name but a few.
Play.com is a UK based retail giant, which sells anything from DVDS, games, video consoles, gadgets and t-shirts. The company was first established in 1998 as play247.com. However, it was later rebranded as play.com in late 2000. As of 2008, play.com has well over 7 million registered customers and a catalogue of over 5 million products it sold, as well as employing well over 500 members of staff.
It's very easy to access their website, simply type in either play.com, or play.co.uk, and you will be directed to the company website.
---WEBSITE LAYOUT: ---
Once you enter the website, you will suddenly get the feeling that play.com has so many products to offer, ranging from books, DVDS, video games, etc. The front page will list the current offers play.com has, for instance its current theme is 2 for £10, by clicking on this add you will be directed to a page showing all the DVDS, books etc currently within this offer, some titles include; atonement, hellboy directors cut and many more.
On the top of the website, you will be able to see hyperlink tabs, which include categories like DVD's, Music, Games, Books, Gadgets, Music, clothing and so on. These tabs have been included so it makes the customers life easier; it's far easier to look for the specific product you want.
---DVD SECTION: ----
When clicking on the DVD section the tab will first bring a drop down menu, this menu will break the DVD section down into genre, TV DVD's, kids DVD's. By simply clicking on the DVD tab, you will be taken to a page with a list of all the current DVD's play.com sells, as well as backdated films. The front page will show a list of all the new releases that have just come out usually listing only 4 to 5, however clicking on the more tab located on the side, will list the whole range.
What's also great about play.com is that they have a section of DVD's that play.com recommends, this is usually done through looking at popular DVD purchases and consumer reviews of the films.
Finally, play.com also has a section where they list the "coming soon" films, which are yet to be released, however you can pre-order them and receive them upon release.
It couldn't be easier to navigate your way through this section; on the left hand side of the web page are tabs, which break down the movies in individual genres. These sections include, top sellers, coming soon, top 100, bargains, television, thriller, comedy and so on. It makes customers shopping pleasure more preferable as it allows us to locate what exactly we want, rather than flicking through pages and pages of DVD's until we find what we want.
The prices for DVD's are some of the best around and having shopped around a lot recently I always find them to be very reasonable and in some cases very cheap. The top selling and recently released DVD's will sell for average market price of £9.99- £13.00, however I love purchasing classic oldies, films I always use to watch as a child and now feel compelled to watch again, these are the DVD's that become very cheap, selling for a few quid.
You should also note that the DVD section also allows you to purchase DVD players and blue ray DVD's, however I have yet to do either of these so cannot describe the process.
The music section is much like the DVD section only this time it lists all the current music cd's that are on offer. The front page will again usually list some type of offer that will lure the browser into having a peek, at the time of writing they have offers like 2 for £10, or 70 % off. The music section is again split into specific genres, and thus allows the customer to find what they are looking for more easily. What's great about play.com it that if your click on a specific artists for instance Kanye West, they will also show a list of all the other Kanye West related items, so if you wanted to purchase multiple items by the same artists this would be advantageous.
I have to admit, the prices play.com offers are very reasonable compared to most high street outlets like HMV or Virgin. You would expect to pay anywhere between £7.99-£11.99 for the top artists and top selling music CD's, however play.com also offer prices ranging from £0.50 onwards. Ive noticed that some of the top albums from last year are currently on sale for around £2.50, which is a pure bargain.
Play.com is well known for its games, they sell hundreds and thousands of them, catering for every console, from the PC platform, to playstation 2, 3, X- Box and so on. I have to be honest, I use the games section the most compared to the others and on average purchase at least 4 to 5 games a month. The format is much like the other examples used above, however this section also included a review of the game, giving honest, unbiased reviews, customers can vent their anger over their game, and simply talk about how brilliant it is. I find this section great as it gives us an honest opinion about the product from people who have bough it, and if the reviews are negative then you will think twice about purchasing the game.
Play.com always has a great collection, from the old to the new. Prices are again very reasonable, you can pick up bargains on games released a while back, but you will have to pay the market price for new games, especially playstation 2 and so on. Prices range from new games being sold at around £14.00-£39.99, however the older games go for a lot less.
---Other Stuff: ---
Other sections which I will not go into detail are the gadgets, books, electronic mobile and clothing section. The gadgets section allows customers to purchase cool toys and gadgets, I always found this to be a boys section, as much of the items listed here would appeal more to a male orientated person. Items such as giant beer bottles, star wars memorabilia, poker sets and so on. We also have the book section, which much like thee others mentioned above, simply caters for people wishing to purchase books. Books range from autobiographies, to children's books, adult books, fiction and so on. They also sell audio books, which I thought was a cool feature, I remember only purchasing one book from play.com, and that would be the last Harry Potter Book, which I pre ordered. The electronics section allows you to purchase cable wires, new televisions, cameras, and iPods. Although im a huge fan of play.com, I wouldn't purchase big electronic items like the ones I mentioned, simply because I feel more comfortable buying them from retailers such as Curry's or PC world.
----Purchasing and Registering Account----
In order to purchase any items listed on play.com, you first need to become an active member of play.com, which is a free service. Simply go to their website, on the top right of the page will be a link "My account". Once clicked on it will take you to page were registered users can sign on and new users can sign up. For new users simply click on the CREATE ACCOUNT tab which is on orange. Its here that you will be asked to enter your email address, create a password for accessing the site, as well as information about your address, etc. You do have the option of placing your card details at that time, however I prefer to type my card details in every time I purchase something new, its peace of mind I guess.
Once you're a member you can buy at you will, if you're interested in buying something simply click on the item you wish to purchase. Buy clicking on the BUY button; your item will be automatically placed in the shopping basket. You can continue shopping or checkout your items. By clicking on checkout, you will be asked to sign in. After this is done, you're billing address and item requested will be listed, please make sure this is correct, and click on continue. After this is done, your card details will show up if you have pre registered the details, if not you will have to put them in once done click on confirm. Once your order has been processed and card details verified a confirmation email will be sent to your account showing date or delivery.
Delivery times with play.com usually take between 3-5 working days. Items I buy usually come within the third day of purchasing and to date I have yet to have a problem with late deliveries. However, if your item is taking longer than expected contact customer services as they are more than happy to help. (08458001020)
The great thing about this company is that if you have placed a big order; say over £100, a member of their customer services department will ring you just to confirm its you that have made the order, verifying your card and home details. I found this a great feature because it helps prevent fraud and shows that they do care about their customers.
At present play.com accept the following cards; Delta, MasterCard, Solo, Maestro, Visa and Visa Electron. I have always purchased with Maestro I have heard that using credit cards from time to time can cause problems.
Playtrade will be the last thing I talk about regarding play.com features. Only a few months ago I came across Playtrade, it allows registered users to sell unwanted books, DVD's and games. It's similar to that of EBay and Amazon Marketplace. It allows users to make a little extra income selling unwanted items. There is a small fee deducted from every sale, similar to the other merchants. Your money received through sales can be either used to purchase items from play.com, or you can ask for it to be transferred into you bank account. If you're a user of play.com, and have unwanted items I would recommend using this service as it's fun, quick and easy and you can always make some pocket money.
Overall play.com has everything to offer, cheap and competitive prices, and a wide variety of products, great quality and quick delivery. There website is easy to use and their customer service is in my opinion one of the best.