Improvements Catalog

Improvements Catalog
Overall Rating: 5/5.0 store rating
Ease of Ordering: 4/5 stars
Customer Service: 4/5 stars
Selection: 3/5 stars
On-Time Delivery: 4/5 stars

Improvements Online Store; Your Reliable, One-Stop Shop

 
A review by vemartin written on Feb 1, 2004
Full review
Where can you find a reliable, one-stop place that sells those clever little problem-solvers that you don’t even realize you need, until you actually need them? I’m referring to those inexpensive household solutions—magazine holders, vertical blind repair tabs, tub stoppers, and rolling shoe racks—that are nonessential, but definitely worth having. At improvementscatalog.com, you can score many of these practical items for under $10. You can even purchase a handy container of 1500 live ladybugs for the gardener in your life. No kidding. In my case, I found my home improvement solution in the form of a “cord cover kit” on sale for $9.99.

The ImprovementsĀ® catalog began in 1992 to provide customers with "quick-and-clever problem-solvers" geared toward improving the home, yard and auto. The print catalog features hundreds of products several times a year, and the companion website has over 1700 items available online. Interestingly, you can even shop the catalog online by using the “Interactive Catalog,” a neat feature that allows you to virtually “flip” the pages of their current print catalog.

Shopping the Site

Improvementscatalog.com offers many ways for shoppers to find the items they’re looking for. As mentioned above, you can shop by “Interactive Catalog” by clicking the arrow to turn each page. When you see a product that you’d like more information on, you simply click on the item for product info, and then click on “Add to Cart” to purchase the item. This method is helpful for those who’d rather browse for merchandise in a familiar catalog format. It’s also helpful if you can’t quite remember the name of the product you saw in the catalog, but you remember that it was on the same page as the “birdbath cleaner.”

In addition to interactive catalog browsing, you can also shop by “Quick Catalog Order” if you have the catalog handy and already know the item number. New visitors to the site can “Shop by Departments” (Christmas, Holiday, Indoor, Outdoor, Exclusives, Storage, Electrical & Lighting, Pet, Cleaning, Pest, and Safety). Bargain hunters will want to “Shop by Specials” (What’s New, What’s on Sale, Outlet Mall, and $9.99 Problem-solvers). In the Specials category, you’ll find inexpensive home helpers, such as BBQ grill cleaners, tub stoppers, screw hole repair strips, and furniture protector pads.

Shipping

I found my “cord cover kit” on the sale page, read the product description, and added it to my cart for purchase. The Shopping Cart page advised that “All inventory is available to the best of our knowledge at the time of your order. If items become temporarily unavailable, we will contact you.” Available items are scheduled to ship in 48 to 72 hours. My “cord cover kit” shipped two days after placing the order. Shipping was calculated at $4.35 plus a 50 cent service charge. It may seem a bit pricey to spend nearly $5 for something that only cost $10, but since I saved $5 on the sale price, I figure it all worked itself out.

In browsing the website further, I noticed that many products carry an additional shipping charge added to the total, depending upon the details of an order. For example, a 7Ā½ foot, pre-lit, artificial Christmas tree incurs an “Additional Shipping charge of $25.00” added to the final order total because of heavy weight, large size, or direct-from-factory shipping. The additional charges range from approximately $2 to $50, and do not seem unreasonable for some of the heavier items they sell, such as the ventless fireplace, wood deck box, or outdoor furniture. However, you should consider these additional charges when you comparison shop for your overall best price.

Your shipping charges at improvementscatalog.com also provide you with “Immediate Replacement Service.” This service allows Improvements to process a replacement order for a shipment that is not received within a reasonable amount of time, based on geographic location. If your order is lost or not received within the time frame established by the company and the shipper, the replacement process will begin and will not be delayed due to tracking efforts or other research. This proved to be an invaluable service last Christmas, when an order I placed for outdoor furniture covers never arrived. I contacted a customer service representative by telephone. She determined that the parcel may have been lost in the Christmas rush, and another order was shipped out to me without delay or additional expense.

Buyer’s Club

On the product page, you are also given the option to receive “FREE shipping on today's order” if you purchase a $25 membership to Improvements Plus Buyer's Club The $25 annual membership fee entitles the customer to free regular delivery of the order you place the day you purchase the membership. In addition, you receive two “$10 off” coupons toward future orders, an 8-Pc. Furniture Slider Set ($9.99 value), email promotions, and a priority toll-free hotline. Finally, members receive 10% savings on any product that carries the "Buyer's Club" symbol. Although I didn’t personally sign up for the offer, it could potentially pay for itself in a short time if this is a site where you plan to be a repeat customer.

Conclusions:

Where can you find a reliable, one-stop place that sells those clever little problem-solvers that you don’t even realize you need, until you actually need them? Improvementscatalog.com is the place.

About the Author

vemartin
a member of Epinions.com
advisor in Online Stores & Services at Epinions.com
Reviews Written: 1572
Location:  Aurora, IL

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