Decent experience for me - no real problems ...
A review by tgregoryt written on Jan 5, 2008Full review
So Im sitting on Continental, and of course in the seat pocket is a SkyMall catalog. Lacking anything better to do, I flip through it, and instantly solve all of my Christmas shopping problems! Here are a bunch of gift items I can buy without having to leave my house! Well, that is worth something right there. So after my trip I went off to Skymall.com to purchase these things. The website was not very well designed it was difficult to find the items I had picked out in the plane. And after I ordered the items, one was backordered and arrived after Christmas. But still, the selection of products is good, you dont have to fight traffic in the mall or outside of it, and at least for me the remaining items arrived quickly. Ill give the site itself three stars it has a great selection of interesting items, but the site is not all that easy to navigate and not all items were in stock.
The first thing you should note is the name: Sky Mall. The company is really geared towards flyers, who they know have disposable income (most decent items in the magazine cost more then $100), and who may buy something while sitting there. On top of this, they are a mall, such that they really dont stock any of the items in their catalog themselves. Instead, they list what they think are the most interesting products of several different stores (such as The Sharper Image, Brookstone, and Hammacher Schlemmer). Since they dont stock any of the items themselves, they ship all your items separately, which may end up costing you more money.
The fact that they dont ship the items themselves may lead to problems further on, although I didnt experience any. Their policy states that once they place the order with the shipper, they are unable to change it. So if the item is backordered and you want something different, I suspect that you are pretty much hosed. Also, as suggested by other reviews of this site, if you have problems with the item later on, you are equally hosed.
But heading on over to the website: the first thing that greets you in the upper left hand corner of the site is SkyMalls logo, followed by a search engine. I can say that I remembered the things I wanted to purchase from the airplane (including an upside-down tomato garden), but when I typed in the words into the search engine, they didnt work. I got fifty different items, none of which were the one I remembered from the catalog. Thus for me, at least, unless you have the item number from the catalog, dont expect the search engine to be worth very much. This is the first indication that the website is a bit difficult to navigate.
Also on the first page you will see what they consider to be their most popular products, as well as a list at the top of the page which separates their products into categories. Again, however, the category list at top was not was looking for; going to home living, for instance, did not bring me to the tomato garden I wanted to order. A second indication that the site was a bit difficult to navigate.
Instead if you scroll down a bit, on the right-hand side of the screen you will find a small icon for their virtual catalog. There is also a small place you can click on the upper-right and corner of the site virtual catalog if your eyes are good enough. This catalog will be exactly like the catalog you left on or took off of the airplane, only the writing is really, really small. Once you get to the catalog, you can see the pictures, at least, and once you find what you think you were looking for you can click on the picture and it will zoom in for a general description of the item. From there you can order the item in the same manner as any other online store: add to basket. This online catalog is where I finally found all of the items I had previously found, and the virtual catalog, at least, is well designed.
From here the website is like every other website: you click add to my cart, then continue shopping until you are done, and check out with a credit card.
In my case I ordered several items from Sharper Image and Hammel Schlemmer. All items except the tomato garden were shipped within two days and arrived via UPS ground shortly after that.
As for the tomato garden, I received an email stating that the item was out of stock and would be shipped within three weeks. Then I received a regular letter saying the same thing. The item was actually shipped after two weeks, and arrived via UPS ground again. I cant say that I had a problem with this, although I didnt try to call customer service to get a refund or anything of the sort. I can say that in their policies, they state that once an item has been forwarded to the manufacturer, the order cannot be cancelled. Thus, if your item is backordered, and you cant wait, you will probably have significant difficulties getting any kind of refund.
As for getting extra airline miles, Im not really sure how this works. It is certainly not something that is emphasized on the website. If you order directly from the catalog while on the airplane, you can get a bunch of miles. But once you actually go to SkyMall.com, there is no place to add your frequent flyer company and number. Thus, if you want the extra miles, make sure you follow the directions in the catalog and dont just go to SkyMall.com.
Overall I had a good experience with SkyMall.com. The nice thing is that it is much better to do your Christmas shopping while stuffed into that camped seat then to try to sleep, especially when your sleep keeps getting interrupted by the chainsaw imitation by that snoring fat guy in 15E. SkyMall allows you to shop the gift stores of Brookstone and The Sharper Image simultaneously, without facing traffic or walking through an over-crowded mall. My experience was decent, the service was decent, and the selection was decent. Three stars for being a decent site to do your Christmas shopping.
About the Author
a member of Epinions.com
Reviews Written: 249
Location: Winter Garden, FL
Location: Winter Garden, FL