Collections Etc. - Great Stuff at Great Prices
Written: Feb 5, 2005
|Ease of Ordering:
If youve ever ordered anything online, you probably noticed a short time later that your snail-mail catalog volume increased a little. It certainly happens to me, and most times I just toss them, but on occasion Ill receive one that catches my eye. Such was the Collections Etc. catalog. That big, bold Every Item in this Catalog $14.99 or less! really got the attention. In addition to that teaser, you also see that hundreds more items are available online.
After being hooked by the kitschy fare in the book, I had to hit the online store to see more.
Collections Etc. is a place to find the cute, kitschy, classy, functional, unique, and sometimes strange, at prices to love. From home décor to garden accessories and gifts, youre sure to find something you like here.
Fare & Navigation
I am truly impressed with how well laid out this site is. The navigation design fits the needs of those looking for one thing in particular, as well as the casual browser.
Products are divided into categories, and each category has specific sub-headings that allow shoppers to browse for what they want to see without wading through hundreds of things they dont. Of course, you always have the option of wading through everything in a category at once, if you wish. Simply dont choose a sub-heading.
On each display page, you may choose to view large or small thumbnails of products, set the number of items per page, and even sort by price.
Main Category Headings & Brief Descriptions
There are so many types of items available, it is impossible to list them all, but a brief description of items within their categories will give you a good idea. A lot of these categories have items intermingled youll see them in more than one category.
Seasonal - Just as the heading suggests, this category contains merchandise to fit seasons and holidays, such as Valentines, Christmas, Easter, and so on. Items range from home décor such as figurines, ornaments, table, window and door dressings, outdoor decorations, and specialty dolls.
Gifts/Occasions - This is a hodge-podge category with a mix of home décor, exclusive items, garden, special gifts, clothing, and toys.
Home Décor - This section is devoted to decorating the inside of your home, with tons of figurines, table, door and window dressings, swags, lamps, firewood and magazine racks, tables, mirrors, and more. Sub-sections are divided out into styles such as nautical, inspirational, mens den, retro, etc.
Housewares - The housewares section contains some of the more functional items like decorative kitchen caddies, tool kits, bakeware, hampers, racks, and bins.
Outdoors - This section contains tons of garden accessories such as decorative solar-powered lights, pond accessories, planters/plantstands, garden stakes, small statuary, etc. It also contains neat outdoor toys for the little ones, like tents, playhouses, pool accessories, kites, and even a lemonade stand.
Around the Home - This one is very similar to Home Décor, but a little broader based, including furniture, personal care items, lamps, stationary, electronics, dolls, pet accessories, and jewelry.
Favorite Collections - Favorite Collections lumps items into themes: angels, dolphins, butterflies, roosters, Kokopelli designs and more.
Exclusively Ours - A huge selection of exclusive, one-of-a-kind products by their own designers. Includes toys, designer dolls, home décor, and more.
New Arrivals - Another obvious category. This is where youll find the most newly-added merchandise. If you visit this site a lot, this is the best place to hit first.
Sale Items - Something about that word sale makes you want to click here. This is the home of limited-supply and closeouts. Save up to 65% off on already great prices.
The top button menu has quick links to the home page, and repeaters of Exclusively Ours, New Arrivals, and Sale Items, but they also have a quick link to their Best Sellers. This section presents the most popular items in each category. Collections Etc. warns that they try to keep these particular items in stock, but they move fast.
Have a paper catalog and want to order online? Collections Etc. has a special section that allows you to bypass searching for what you just saw in the catalog just put in the item number from the catalog and quantity. When you are done, add the items to your cart and either continue shopping or check out.
Other Site Features
Request a Free Catalog
About Us All about the company. . . how it started, FAQs, contact numbers, customer service, policies, guarantees, job opportunities, shipping rates and information, etc.
Found something to buy?
Collections Etc. has a standard cart system very easy to use. When you are browsing and find a product you like, simply click on it, and you will be taken to a product detail page, with a much larger picture and description of the product. From here, you may enter a quantity and add to your cart. Once an item is added, you are immediately taken to a view of your cart, where you have the option of continuing your shopping or checking out. You may update quantities or delete items in your cart very easily.
Checking out is pretty standard. You can be assured of shopping safety, as this company uses VeriSign® Secure Buy software with security encrypting technology. If you are a registered customer, simply log in to your account in the space provided and all your information is complete for you. You also have the option of becoming a registered customer from this page as well. If you opt to not become a registered customer, thats OK, too. Just fill in your billing information. After completing your information, you have information opt-in and opt-out choices, as well as the option to ship to another address than the one used for billing. There are also choices for returning to your cart and to continue shopping.
Sales tax is applied to orders delivered to Illinois and Kansas.
Collections Etc. ships anywhere within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Guam. They do warn that shipping outside the continental US requires a steep $6.50 per item in addition to standard shipping charges.
Shipping typically occurs within 48 hours of credit card approval. They accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Standard shipping (7-10 days) is via USPS parcel post, but they also offer Express delivery (4-6 days) for approximately $4 more. Shipping charges are somewhat reasonable and are calculated by price range rather than weight. For example, $0 - $29.98 yields a Standard shipping charge of $6.95, and $11.95 for Express delivery. A complete chart of all shipping charges is available in the About Us section of the web site.
Collections Etc. offers an unconditional 100% money-back guarantee (minus S&H, of course). If you are not satisfied with a product for any reason, simply return the item within 100 days from the date of purchase for exchange, refund, or credit. Return labels are provided with each order, and detailed return instructions are given in the About Us section.
A nice bonus Ive noted about this site that isnt stated anywhere is that they notify you via e-mail when your items ship or are backordered. Ive been ordering from them for a couple of years now, and Ive yet to have anything placed on backorder.
Sure, there are some cheap & cheesy items here. What do you expect with such low prices? The really good thing about it is you can pretty much tell how cheap & cheesy something is going to be from the product descriptions. From these descriptions, you can see what the item is made of, measurements, etc. Just pay attention to them, and youll be happy with what you order. Ive ordered dozens of items from Collections Etc., and Ive been rather impressed with the quality of almost everything Ive purchased (the dolls are absolutely beautiful). Ive never felt the need to return an item, but if I did, I feel secure in the fact the company makes it easy to do. I have a slight problem with online retailers who dont provide sufficient contact information.
Order accuracy has never been a problem for me. They've gotten my order right every single time.
On shipping, I usually use the Standard shipping, and find my order is usually processed and shipped the next business day. Even with items purchased around Christmas time, my order arrived in about 5 days. Id say that is pretty snappy, especially for the USPS. Depending on the items you purchase, several items will be boxed together in one huge box. I have received some larger items in their own box.
The site isnt perfect. . . and I do have one tiny little gripe. Just like the paper catalog, this online store touts every item online is $14.99 or less, and this is mostly true, but I have found several items priced at $19.99. Call me a curmudgeon, but they should change that to say almost every item. . .
In addition to paper catalog and online store, Collections Etc. even has one lonely little brick and mortar store called The Collections Etc. Cash & Carry Outlet Store, located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Strange though, operating hours are Friday Sunday only.
All in all, Ive had nothing but good experiences ordering from Collections Etc. Many a gift has come from this place, and the recipients were all quite happy with everything they received, and thought I paid much more for the items than I did. I find that to be a slight personal coup. . .
I have to give this site a big two thumbs up.
© 2005 Donna Standridge
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? Dolls, home decor, garden accessories, etc.