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Having traded on cdwow for over 2 years now, I feel it is customary to tell you all about this fantastic company and what they have to offer.
cdwow is a small company that started off in February 2000 and fast became a popular site, having been voted no2 in .net magazine's 'The World's 20 Best Online Stores'. The company has worked hard on not only offering competitive prices for cds, dvds and games, but priding it'self on excellent customer service.
How do the prices compare to other online stores? ************************************************************
The cds that they sell are probably the cheapest you can find anywhere on the Internet, but once you do find it cheaper somewhere else, you often find that you have to pay for p&p, which works out dearer (p&p on cdwow is completely free to the UK). It's main competittor is probably www.101cd.com, which offer very similar services. Before making a decision on which of these sites to buy from, I check the final cost of the product that is inclusive of delivery and cdwow beats them hands down every time. 9/10 times, cdwow will have the cd album or compilation you are after at a cheaper price than 101cd.com or any other cd retailer.
You can expect to pay £6.99 for Dido - Life for rent, Blue - Guilty and Westlife - Turnaround (Limited Edition). Most other chart cds are priced at £7.99 or £8.99.
Although I have bought many cds from the site, I have never purchsed a console game or dvd. The main reason behind this is that although they are cheaper than high street prices, there are other sites on the Internet that are better. Play.com is probably the best for purchasing games or dvds, so cdwow will always come off second best in that department.
Delivery & Order Tracking ***************************************
Delivery for items is normally 2-3 working days. If you order more than one item, it is possible for some to arrive a day beofore others, as all items are shipped seperately.
Cdwow also has an order tracking facility, where you can track your order all the way from the factory to your front door. If you sign up as a member on the site, you can quite easily access this facility from the 'my orders' section of your account.
I have only ever used the order tracking facility once, so by memory I believe that they keep you informed as to when your order has been processed, packaged, despatched or delivered.
Since I have been a customer of the site, everything that I have order has come within 3 working days, so you can be asured that your goods will arrive on time.
What I have noticed with deliveries is that they always come with a little extra. I've had both car stickers, beer mats and '50p off' vouchers included with my packages.
Customer support ********************************
I have only ever had to raise 2 issues to cdwow after receiving an order.
Firstly, from being an ipoints member I had enough points to order a free cd album from cdwow, who were a participating retailer. After my double cd arrived, I noticed there were some scratches on the second cd and after playing it, discovered that it was faulty. I had never had any problems with my orders before, so this was a first test for cdwow's customer suport. I e-mailed them with my issue and said that I would like a replacement sent out because of the faulty cd. The next day I got a reply which gave their apologies for the fault and stated that a replacement would be sent out imediately. I was told to send back the faulty item using the address they gave me in the e-mail, but I did not have to pay, as all returns are posted by 'free post'.
My second issue was because of a damaged jewl case that my cd arrived in. You would expect your goods to arrive in perfect condition, so I wasn't very happy to see that the front case was cracked and the part in the inside that is used to hold the disc in place was all broken. After e-mailing the customer supoprt team, I was again greeted with an apology and they sent out a new blank jewl case straight away.
So having had 2 problems quickly resolved with both an apology and no extra cost to myself, I would have to say that their customer service is highly rated.
Site layout, design & features *****************************************
On the home page you are presented with the latest cd and dvd releases down the centre of the page, which also includes essential pre-releases and prices.
On the left-hand-side you are presented with a list of the top 20 chart cds with the prices and on the right-hand-side there is a search facility to find the item you are looking for and various links to other sections of the site, which includes the 'Bargain Basement', 'Top 75' and 'The Best of 2003'.
The speed of the site is another one of its strong points, browsing is very fast and both search facility and checkout procdure is very quick and easy.
The search facilty is normally excellent for finding exactly what you want. For best results you should either enter the artist name or title and not both. Once you click the 'search' button, you will be presented with the following:
CD matches by artist
CD matches by title
The site also includes a 'wishlist', where you can add items to this list for future purchases if you don't wish to buy there and then.
If you haven't visited the site before, you will have no problem navigating through the site as it is well laid out and it's design is very appealing. You can change from CD listings to DVD or Game using the Pictured links in the middle of the page, but most of the navigation is done using the menu on the right-hand side. Depending on what you are looking for, I will now give a run down of some of the most popular sections.
Site sections *************************
Common Questions (customer support) - This is probably the most important section on any web site as it includes how to return items, how to track your order, what to do if you experience technical problems and all of cdwow's policies.
Compilations - A list of all the CD compilations that are on sale. If your looking for the 'Now that's what I call music' CDs, or Ibiza albums, you'll find it here.
Top 75 - A list of the top 75 selling products in CD and DVD categories based on sales.
New releases - A list of the latest titles to hit the shelves for CDs, DVDs and Games (XBox, PS2 and GC).
Pre-releases - A list of forthcoming releases that can be pre-ordered and would be despatched on release date.
Browse catalogue - A complete A-Z listing of all CDs and DVDs on the site.
Bargain basement - This comprises of a list of all the bargain items listed on the cdwow site. You can expect to find both old and new albums here as low as £4.99. This is one of the sections that I visit most often as you never know what bargains you might find.
Unsigned....as yet! - cdwow have a special area just for unsigned bands and artists. This is a window for them to sell their music in a real retail setting in turn for some great exposure. This section will also list the band's or artist's official website, e-mail address and future gig listings. You could find yourself listening to the next Stereophonics!
Final thought ***********************
In comparison to other similar online retailers, cdwow are one of the best. They are a well respected company who offer great prices for CDs and don't charge you a penny for p&p in the UK. Their customer service is excellent and you can expect no less than 100% customer satisfaction from them. Highly recommended!
I see this review was written back in 2004 and I probably would have agreed with every word then but the standard of service has dropped dramatically since. Over the last couple of years I've had to cancel several orders because they were delayed by weeks and weeks, not just the odd day. Even recently I've made two orders, one for a common CD which was already released, and one for a new release. The first one was ordered on September 6 and was only shipped on September 22 (no out of stock message or anything like that). The second one was released on September 22, pre-ordered, but the shipping is still "pending" today (Sep 26).
If Amazon and most other online retailers can ship on the same day, or even one day early sometimes, I don't see why the dispatch times are so long for a company as well established as CD WOW.
To be successful to sell things like CDs online, which anyone can walk into a shop and buy for a couple of pounds more whenever they like, they really need to be shipped immediately.
emilne82 27.09.2006 16:49
Never heard of them, i shall investigate :) Thanks for the great review.
nickie_sale 10.11.2005 17:58
Excellent review. Good information in regards to the problems that have been incurred its nice to know that if there is a problem you are dealing with a company who will rectify the problem.