Identify the advantages and disadvantages of different platforms before you shop online (1)

Table of Contents

The test from Consumer Council

Online shopping is really a great invention to everyone. You can almost buy everything, even a helicopter at home and wait it to be delivered to your door. Including me, I buy most of the daily necessities online as the delivery is fast and I don’t need to carry them to home. However, the disadvantages of online shopping are that you can’t touch and see the real products. There may be differences from what you see online and risks to bear for delivery and refund. If you want to avoid these troubles, you need to choose a good online shopping platform. 

Recently, the Consumer Council selected nine popular online shopping platforms in Hong Kong, which are Amazon, Asos, Big Big Shop, Gmarket, HKTVmall, PChome, Rakuten Rakuten, Taobao/Tmall and Zalora, to conduct an online shopping test to make comparisons in terms of the easiness of purchase, delivery and return from different platforms. 

Who should I ask if I have questions?

Identify the advantages and disadvantages of different platforms before you shop online (1)

Each platform has its own operation model. For example, AOSO and Zalora are categorized as buyers. They buy the goods from other places and resell to customers. If the seller belongs to the platform, you can contact the platform support right away. Amazon, Taobao, G market, PChome and Rakuten are all intermediary platforms that allow different sellers to sell goods on their platforms. These platforms can only assist buyers and sellers to contact and negotiate tougher. The Big Big Shop and HKTVmall are the online shopping platform that consist the above two operation models. If there is a problem, you need to figure out whether it is sold by the platform itself or from the business partners. 

What takes time for online shopping is not how long you spend to shop, but the time it takes to solve the problem. The followings list out the ways to contact the customer support in different online shopping platforms when problems arise. 


Contact customer service directly

Big Big Shop,HKTVmall,Rakuten:

Contact the supplier by means of the product information page or confirmation email

Taobao / Tmall:

Enter the data on channels and pages that are preset on the platform

From a consumer perspective, it would be convenient for the shopping platforms to respond to consumers on behalf of all merchants who sell goods on their platform. If customers need to contact the supplier personally, it will take more time. And they have to bear the risk that the e-mails or messages being ignored, and the goods cannot be returned!

Online shopping shipping cost

Identify the advantages and disadvantages of different platforms before you shop online (1)

Although shopping online is usually cheaper than buying in store and there are more choices to choose from, the calculation of shipping cost is not easy. As a 

As a responsible online shopping platform, it should inform consumers in advance of the total cost of the purchase and shipping cost in a simple and transparent way. The following is a brief description of the difference in calculating the shipping cost.

Big Big Shop, HKTVmall: The main target customers are Hong Kong residents, so even if the user does not enter the shipping address after selecting the goods, the shipping cost is already displayed on the shopping cart. Note that there are two delivery methods for the two platforms: “delivered by the shopping platform” and “delivered by the supplier directly”. Thus, there may be two different ways for delviery and two shipping costs even placing one order.

PChome, Asos, Gmarket, Taobao/Tmall:

After selecting the item and the region, the shipping cost will be displayed.

Amazon, Zalora:

The web page displays the shipping cost only when the user enters the payment details and the purchase process is almost completed.


Even after the user enters the address, payment information, confirms the goods, and completes the order, the shipping page does not display the shipping cost. Buyers need to confirm the shipping method and shipping cost by email after one or two working days before the supplier will deliver the goods. Assuming that 10 items from different suppliers are purchased, users will need to reply 10 confirmation emails and pay 10 shipping costs individually, which is very inconvenient for overseas customers.

Online shopping is closely related to our lives. As a savvy consumer, we should know more to avoid any traps. In the next article, we will share some insights when dealing with the return goods. Stay tuned to our blog!

Users experience

We conducted a small-scale interview and found that most of the interviewees had made purchased from the different online shopping platforms. Some said HKTVmall might not help you to cancel the order every time and sometimes users need to contact the suppliers to do refund. And a few say the shipping fee of Taobao/Tmall is relatively low, attracting more users to choose. 

We hope that you will know more about the online shopping platforms after reading this article!

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