Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: My experience with CSN Stores + Product Overviews

Hello everyone! Here today to share my experience with CSN Stores and review one of their products. I have never shopped with CSN Stores before, so I wanted to have the whole customer experience, first hand!

As I mentioned in the Review Preview post, CSN Stores is made up of OVER 200 STORES and they are one of the top 3 online U.S. retailer of home and office goods. CSN Stores offers furniture, home decor, housewares, home improvement, outdoor, baby & kids, shoes, bags, & luggage, health & fitness, pet, office, and school-related products. They have everything from beds to bakeware; strollers to shoes; handbags to home decor, and more! They even have FREE SHIPPING on just about everything!

The good stuff:
  • User friendly website. Easy to navigate; everything is categorized
  • HUGE selection of products; over 200 different stores to choose from
  • Reasonable prices, hassle free returns, and free shipping on just about everything.
  • Great customer service!!! Very helpful, patient, and willing to go the extra mile.
The low-down:

  • Not everyone is eligible for free shipping :(
My take: since I have never shopped with CSN Stores before, I was eager to find out how they would compete with my other online shopping experiences -- which often times, were negative.

Since I live in Hawaii, I'm constantly subjected to surcharges, higher shipping rates, and no free shipping or other affordable shipping options. I didn't read CSN Stores' fine print until AFTER I had decided what I wanted to buy. So no, I do not qualify for free shipping :( -- But you mainland people do!!!

Aside from the no free shipping, I was having trouble placing my order. I was getting an error telling me that since I was shipping to Hawaii, I needed to choose "only HI shipping options." Uh, I wasn't quite sure what that meant. Ground shipping, Next Day Air, and 3 day shipping prices were ASTRONOMICAL (3 day ended up as like $11K for some reason!! WTF?!) So for whatever reason, 2nd Day Air was the cheapest option. But even when I selected that option, it gave me the same error message and wouldn't let me place my order.

So here is where CSN Stores' great customer service comes in. I've griped here quite a few times about dealing with poor customer service from big-name companies such as Forever 21 (especially!), so I wasn't really expecting anything impressive from CSN Stores. However, I called customer service (toll free) and was quickly connected to a very helpful, patient, and understanding CS Rep. He said he had never encountered such an error and that it probably was a glitch with the particular item I wanted to buy. I could either wait until possibly Monday for their tech team to fix the problem, or he could try to put my order through from his end. Since the item was low stock, I decided to put the order through.

He had to do some major workarounds to get me the correct shipping price and allow the order to go through -- So although I did not get the 2 Day Air shipping, I got the same low price; except with ground shipping.

The Rep was very understanding and willing to take the extra steps to fulfill my order. Was on the phone for nearly 20 minutes and didn't feel rushed, pressured, or hassled the entire time. He assured me that they would get the shipping issue resolved as soon as possible.
My order was all set and ready to go, and this is what I was going to get:

Kathy Van Zeeland Crown Princess Nappa Belt Shopper in Platinum...because it has been on my wishlist for awhile.
However, here's the sad, sad, SAD part... several days later, I got an email stating that my order had been cancelled because apparently, the bag had been discontinued by the manufacturer and CSN Stores hadn't updated their stock -- Also probably what had caused my previous ordering issues. Not gonna lie, I actually wanted to cry, since I've been having THE WORST luck with online shopping lately. And most of you know that I'm a bag-whore... so it was pretty devestating for me :( So anyway, I had to scrap that idea and make a new order.

...Which I guess was a "good" thing because I decided to choose more things that I could make better use of and were a better value for the price. But that was STILL not the end of my ordering problems. I was still having trouble putting my new order through. So Jess of the CSN Promo Team offered to put my order through for me, so I wouldn't have to deal with any more shipping and ordering hassles myself. She put my order through the very next day AND upgraded my shipping with no extra charge, so my order came within a few days. Case in point why I am so satisfied with their customer service -- they truly do go the extra mile for you.

I got my order in two shipments through UPS. Everything was packed up securely and nothing was damaged or missing when I received it.
So here's what I ended up getting:

Post it note tabs and mechanical pencils for the upcoming school semester, Aveeno Essential Moisture Lip Conditioner with SPF 15, and a bottle of Greenworks spray cleaner (not pictured... gave it to my mom).

Will do a review on the Aveeno lip balm in a bit. So far, so good... except for the taste. But other than that, it is buttery smooth and uber moisturizing!
And two Goodhope bags in gold and black.

I'm a sucker for quilted fabric!
Was planning to add some deco-touches to these bags... ribbons, bows?
Not sure what I'm gonna do yet.

I did not anticipate these bags to be so HUGE though. I am tiny (5'0") so I kind of look funny when I carry around a huge bag. I guess it's a good thing though because I can carry my laptop around now :P

The lining is a faux Burberry-esque print. Cute deviation from the norm, solid color interior. Very roomy with one zip pocket on the inside that can fit pens pencils, phone, etc... a lot of stuff. The top zips up as well. The entire bag is very sturdy and feels well made. I can fit my dog in here! The straps feel strong as well and are a good length.

The only thing with these bags is that THEY SMELL!!!! Really bad. They have a very strong chemically manufactured scent. Not pleasant at all. So I'm airing them out at the moment and hoping the smell goes away before school starts :(

In the end, I am glad that I chose to do a review instead of a giveaway because I was able to go through the entire customer experience for myself. Even though I encountered several issues with ordering, I still would consider my experience with CSN Stores a positive one. I discovered that:
  • Their free shipping does not apply to everyone
  • Sometimes they have glitches with shipping costs
  • Sometimes they have out-of-stock items
  • Their customer service is fantastic
  • They will do their best to make your shopping experience a pleasant one
Disclaimer: CSN Stores sponsored this purchase. I was not paid by nor am I affiliated with this company.
This review is based upon my honest experience with CSN Stores and my honest opinion about their products.

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