Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anime Shopping Stores

It's end of the year, the season where merchandises overflow and wallets shrink. These are some of the vendors that I have patronaged or visited. Maybe these information might an extra bit of knowledge on online purchases. I mainly purchase my anime related merchandises from HLJ, Yesasia, Play-asia and recently Bookcafe.

Let's go shopping....

HobbyLink Japan
Link: HLJ
Establishment: 1997
Location: Japan
Credibility: Very High
Popularity: Very High
Ideal for: Gundam kist, figures, crafts and anime collection. Minimal selection for books, CD, fun goods and apparels
*Economical and offer SAL shipping
*User friendly navigation
*Poor at combining orders for shipping
*Slow processing due to large amount of orders
*Slow shipment (SAL)
Personal experience: > 13 orders
Comments: HLJ has been a great place to purchase figures until my recent order seem to be lost.

Link: Global
Establishment: 1998
Location: HK, JP, Korea,
Credibility: Very High
Popularity: High
Ideal for: CD, DVD, Book, Movies & Dramas, Games
Not ideal for: Toys, Gundams or figures, Manga
*User friendly navigation
*Decent customer service
*Allows order amendments
*Support several languages website
*Free shipping for selected items
*Slow in acquiring, processing and shipping
*Expensive shipping cost
*Inconsistent product handling
Personal experience: 12 orders
Comments: Yesasia used to offer free shipping to manga and books but dropped it last year. You cannot combine manga with other products to be eligible for free shipping as well. Thus it loses the effectiveness of the free shipping offer.

Link: Play-asia
Establishment: 2002
Location: HK
Credibility: High
Popularity: Medium
Ideal for: DVD, CD, Games and minimal selection of toys
*Economical shipping
*User friendly ordering system
*Several choices of shipping method
*Rather new and less appealing
*Self-advertisements prone website
Personal experience: 5 orders

Link: Star Bookstore
Establishment: 2003 Dec.
Location: TW, HK
Credibility: Good
Popularity: ---
Ideal for: Manga CH, Novels & Magazine CH, Minimal selection of JP Artbooks
*Economical price for CH manga (mostly range from HK28-30)
*Fast processing
*Shipping charges at 500g bracket
*Order cannot be amended
*Chinese language only website
*Harder to navigate, less user friendly
*Less payment option
Personal experience: 2 orders (27 manga)
Comments: Guess what 2 days to process my order and shipped already. Yesasia can never do that.

Other Stores:

Amazon Japan: Giant amazon store in JP. Offers a large variety of anime-related items. However, it only offers express shipping after March 2007 and items such as figures are not shipped outside JP. Only books, CD and DVD are permitted to be shipped internationally. Thus, becomes less ppopular due to shipping and variety. Personal experience: 1 order

Hobby Search: An online store specialize in anime figures. Base in Tokyo, JP. EMS shipping only. More information. Personal experience: 1 pre-order

Angloz : A hongkong based online store dealing in a variety of goods including figures and gundam kits. More information. Personal experience: 3 orders

Animaxis: An online store based in Tokyo, JP and incorporated in 2002. Offers many anime-related accesories and fun goods not available in other online store. EMS shipping only. More information.

CDjapan A Japan based online store specializes in CD, DVD and collectibles. This is the only online store (among above) that ship any first print bonus to the customer, which is important!.

Practical Examples:

Case I: Yesasia Vs Bookcafe
Product: Manga
Yesasia: US$4.49 (HK 35) + Shipping (Shipment + Unit)
Bookcafe: HK 28-30 + Shipping
Average unit cost [5 units + shipping] is $8.48(Yesasia) and 7.58(Bookcafe)
Average unit cost [12 units + shipping] is $9.01(Yesasia) and 6.64(Bookcafe)

Case II: Yesasia Vs Play-asia
Product: GSD Alliance VS ZAFT II Plus PS2 Game
References: Yesasia and Playasia
Yesasia: $62.42 (Discounted) + Free shipping
Playasia: $64.90 + 3.10 shipping

Case IIIa: Yesasia Vs Play-asia
Product: Jyukai AMG OP ED Single
References: Yesasia and Playasia
Yesasia: $11.25 + shipping
Playasia: $9.90 + 2.60 shipping

Case IIIb: Yesasia Vs Play-asia
Product: Aria The Natural Vocal Song Collection
Yesasia: $27.25 + shipping
Playasia: $28.90 + 2.60 shipping

Case IV: Yesasia Vs Play-asia
Product: Suzuka DVD
References: Yesasia
Yesasia: $53.25 + Free shipping
Playasia: $57.90 + 3.10 shipping

Case Va: Yesasia Vs HLJ
Product: MG Strike Freedom Gundam
References: Yesasia and HLJ
Gundam Kit: MG Strike Freedom
Yesasia: $99.99 + Free shipping
HLJ: $43.46 + $28.97[EMS] or $15.21[SAL]

Case Vb: Yesasia Vs HLJ
Product: 1/8 RAH DX Lacus Clyne Figure
References: Yesasia and HLJ
Yesasia: $61.99 + Free shipping
HLJ: $36.22 + 20.10[EMS] or 9.78[SAL]



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