Personal shoppers have become a billion dollar business and systems for providing services by these groups and others will continue to develop. Whether you purchase on or through ad’s from within a social media application, store’s internet site, personal/small business apps, shopping networks or the on-line distribution, selling and/or reselling sites it’s a brave new world.
On-line or App based purchases from “Personal shoppers” are another world onto themselves. They may have different return policies, offer pre-selected items that could be found elsewhere and/or you can purchase/shop live while you type “sold” in the message line of the social media app. Personal shoppers may save you time from going to the store yourself, but often you spend time organizing alerts and watching live streams or viewing content and reading descriptions of merchandise they are offering. Let’s break it down:
I have used two types of personal shoppers: What I term as personal distributor shoppers and on-line personal shoppers:
On Line and using social media sites: Live streaming merchandise that the host or host’s wears and then pitches the item. While this is very different from designer brands and exclusive products that some major shopping networks offer it does have a support the small business feel. While the host’s are generally helpful and friendly; it is a business. So the buyer must beware. Look at the return policy and who is responsible for shipping costs. Do they have a waitlist policy. What is the cart time (time to pay for your items). Please be aware that most only offer store credit so if you can’t swap for another size (you will likely pay for the shipping to do so) you are stuck with a credit. Things can run out quickly or some items may end up on sale but generally the prices stay the same. It is my guess that many have inventory space issues or cost restrictions or supplier restrictions. Some businesses buy overstock, limited stock or they buy new/not major designers, or smaller designers. Material preferences and sizing can be big considerations. Sizing is generally, 2-4, 6-8 and up to 3X. If you are between sizes it can be an issue depending upon the brand, material and style. Also, take note that one brand I caught on another personal distributor shopper site and it was $1.00 less but only on one specific item the rest they both sold were exactly the same. Overall, it is a nice way to shop for items you know with people you enjoy seeing on a daily, weekly basis and of course depending upon what they are selling. I am sure there are but I have not seen yet specific time’s and specific products “only” so you will be in for a 1 to 2 hour shopping experience looking at tops, pants, bralettes, food, jewelry that may not interest you. If you like the items or shop by holiday or specific vendor it is a good check it out experience. Pretty easy to do and again fun.
Personal Shopper: Now the world is on-line so we all can shop, chat, and research almost any purchase. Most if not all sites have order history which acts as an electronic personal shopper keeping record of our purchases and returns. My Amazon order history is huge! OMG. However it was seeking Disney merchandise that I stumbled into personal shopping services. Again, small businesses or individuals that have a website, Facebook page or other social media and offer services for shopping. This gets interesting if you have never used it before. You need to register with them and see what forms of payment they take. Make sure you are comfortable with that payment system and I personally would use a credit card or pay pal in hopes of some assurance. You will have to join their private group/page on Social media for live events and any special membership pages if you opt for more access. Remember you will be likely claiming merchandise that has not been purchased yet. There will be issues with availability of items and some have membership levels with upfront fees for access to “wish lists” and for first dibs on items while shopping. Let’s say you want a pair of sandals that are made for Disney to sell. The website is out of stock and the company (if branded) is not selling them on their website and you are not going to Disney yourself/friend/relative to get it. Then a personal shopper may fill the need. I check out a few of their lives and messaged them some questions. I read the shipping policy, return policy which they do not take returns, which is not unusual. This person(s) also did a live inventory shopping where they were clearing out overstocked items -all Disney. So this was listed with price but shipping was separate. It was a 1 to 2 hour live event with messaging “sold” for items claimed and pay by invoice via email experience. Not to bad with a variety of items from Disney outlets stores, park stores, large retail stores etc. Everything was Disney. As for my dress. This was different because I requested the dress and had to wait if it could be located in either Florida or California. The cost of the dress was listed and the fee for handling/picking/shopping as well as shipping costs. This gets expensive when the item is shipped from CA to Florida to me and the pick up fee is both CA and FL. You really have to like something to factor in all these things. Overall it was about $50.00 over retail from the Disney Store. Personally, I would not purchase from CA again due to the mark up and always check the shop Disney app or brand app first for pricing because the value of cost is important to know. I am happy with the system I used and would continue to shop with them if needed.
Other things I found Out: Live shopping events with the personal shopper also have levels and considerations. First of all there are limits to what anyone can buy. So there maybe only 4 of each individual item and those with membership level status will be in on special live events. But again if membership has more then 4 people wanting then that’s how it goes. Also, you need to shop when they are live as replay will not work. The site I used goes to outlet’s, Disney Park’s stores and possibly others. I found my first outlet experience to be fun to watch and they did a good job showing things and going over items. Quick but not so quick that you could not get things. They offered tips and pointers to trends and camera angles were good as well. This was at 6pm EST which is not the best time for me but I enjoyed it very much. It is important to remember that outlets do not have the same stuff. Again, charges can by via each item up to or over $5.00 or over a specific amount a percentage. This is a business so you will be paying – If you get 4 items at $5.00 per item pick up fee plus item cost and shipping is extra. Know your math however it works out pretty good given the outlet prices. Overall, if you want something that you can’t find or need outlet shopping this maybe a way to go. Again, the buyer must beware. Customer service is at the schedule of the personnel shopper as well as the event times.
Life is full of experiences and this was just another experience to share. I wish you wisdom and good vibes as you enter the world of personal shoppers.