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~ * HALLMARK * ~ * For those of you who don't know and have never heard of Hallmark, they make a large range of greeting cars and products and their products can often be found in stores such as Clinton Cards and WHSmith, you may also have come across some of their stores as well. As well as selling a large range of their stock in selected shops, they also have an online website where you can order gifts, cards and other items such as gift wrap and stationary. You may recognise some of their products as they make the Forever Friends card and gift range. Their products are normally of very good quality and reasonably priced. I actually came across their website on a search engine when I was looking for online cards. I wanted a card for my nephew but wanted something different to what I had seen in my local shops. Although the Hallmark website was about the 3rd one down on the search results, I decided to look on their website as I know their products are of good quality and normally reasonably priced. I often shop at Clinton Cards, how-ever I quite often feel as though their cards are over-priced and quite expensive, which is why I decided to look online instead.
* ~ * THE WEBSITE * ~ * As you go onto their website which is www.hallmark.co.uk you will notice all the bright colours and the recent occasion which in this case is Mother's day. The main screen changes every few seconds and the second banner is about personalising cards. Along the top there is a deep purple coloured banner with The Hallmark logo on the top left corner. Along the banner you have different things to choose such as Personalised cards, Shop, eCards, In Store and Mothers Day. When you hover the mouse over these it will drop down another menu where you can again choose other categories which I have gone into more detail below:
Cards - This enables you to choose a card for a specific occasion and make the cards you own by adding names or photographs to the card. You can preview the cards before and after personalising them and this is very simple to do as it takes you through the process of what to do and shows you how your card will look when it's been printed.
* Shop - You can choose cards, Gifts, Wrapping Paper and Card Packs. You can search using a specific occasion or you can just browse the different types of paper and Stationery.
* eCards - This allows you to choose a card from hundreds of designs and send it to someone's e-mail address. You can add you own photos, videos, music and more. This is free and doesn't cost you anything.
* In Store - Here you can locate your nearest Hallmark store by typing in a postcode.
* Mothers Day - As this is the current occasion when you click on this it will bring up all the Mother's day cards and here you can choose specific one's for mum, mummy, Nan and more.
* ~ * ONLINE SHOPPING * ~ * I wasn't necessarily looking for a personalised card; how-ever I went into this section and choose the occasion which was a birthday. I then selected nephew from the list as this is who I wanted to buy a card for. The page will bring up all the results for Nephew cards and I saw the perfect one here which was a Lego construction scene. This happened to be a personalised card so I clicked on it to find out some more information. On the front I was able to type his name in so it said 'Happy Birthday Simon' on the front of the card. You can change the font and the colour of the writing on the front of the card, how-ever I stuck with both the same colour and font style and this looked good. You can also look inside of the card and also write a personalised message if you wish. Once you have previewed the card and are happy with it, simply click on add to basket. When you click on add to basket you will need to log in or create an account which only takes a minute or two. The place of the item is shown in your basket.
After creating an account or logging in you have the choice whether to send the card to yourself so you can write the card or you can have it sent direct to the recipient. I wanted to write in the card myself and give it to my nephew so I choose to have the card sent to me. I then filled in my details where I wanted the card sent to and chose a delivery date. If you order before 2pm Mon-Fri you can receive the card the next working day, so I choose this option, even though the birthday wasn't for a few weeks yet. When you continue with your order you have the option to change the card size which will of course change the price of the card as well. The card I was buying was a standard sized card and cost £3.00 which I didn't think was too bad seeing as it was personalised. You will of course need to pay for postage and this varies depending on the size of the card and how many you order. In the end I actually purchased 3 cards from the Hallmark website and it cost me just 80p in postage for all 3 cards to be sent to me, so that I could write on them. You can checkout using paypal or a credit-debit card and once this has been completed you will be sent a confirmation via e-mail saying they have received your order.
* ~ * RECEIVING THE ORDER * ~ * In the evening on the same day I ordered the cards I received a despatched confirmation stating that my cards had been posted to me. Sure enough the next morning my cards were posted through the letter-box. I thought the cards would have been in one package; how-ever these were all in different packaging. The packaging was a strong card envelope to ensure the product itself didn't bend too much during transit. Sure enough all cards were in perfect condition with no bends or creases in them. The cards of course came with their own envelopes which were all white in colour. I was really pleased with the personalised card, and this looked really good and was printed on good quality card and given a slight gloss coating to the front of the card as well. The cards I purchased were perfect and now I was ready to write my own message in them and give them to the recipients myself.
* ~ * OVERALL OPINION * ~ * The Hallmark website sell a range of fantastic cards, wrapping paper and gifts. Most of their gifts are focused on the Forever Friends bears and this ranges from teddy bears to address books and other things. In terms of gifts I'm not sure I would actually purchase anything from here to give as a present, although their gifts look very nice and of good quality. I easily found 3 different cards for upcoming birthdays and for Mother's day without any problems. Personalising your chosen card is very simple and is done very quickly. In fact I thought this was going to be quite completed but was surprised by how straight forward it was. The quality of the cards is very good, printed on thick card with a gloss look to some of them. The colour on the cards is sharp and isn't blurry so the actual print quality is also very good. The cards got delivered on time and there were no problems at all with my order. In paid approximately £9.00 for all 3 cards which included postage which I think is reasonable. If you have any problems with your order you can contact them using the website to help resolve any problems. As far as I can see on the website they don't have a return policy, how-ever they probably offer one if the wrong product is sent. I have to give the website 4 out of 5 stars because they have a fantastic range of cards for all occasions; how-ever they do lack gifts.