Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Purchasing authentic Liz Lisa from TOM vs Liz Lisa official eBay

By now, I think many international Liz Lisa fans are familiar with Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM) as a option for overseas customers that don't want to deal with a forwarding or shopping service to purchase authentic Liz Lisa items -
http://otakumode.com/fb/8cf

But there's also a new option - the Liz Lisa Official eBay store!
http://stores.ebay.com/lizlisaofficial/
In early September, Liz Lisa announced that they are now selling a selection of items on eBay with the specific intention of catering to overseas customers and providing direct international shipping! As it is an "official" eBay store announced by the brand, you don't have to worry about authenticity but now have the convenience of shopping through eBay's familiar format.

Since TOM and the Liz Lisa official eBay store offer very similar services, I wanted to do a compare and contrast! I made a 1 item order from TOM and a 1 item order (of estimated similar weight) from eBay within minutes of each other on Sep 4, both with the cheapest shipping option. I knew I would be using SAL for my TOM package, but the eBay shipment details listed my Shipping Method as "EMS" even though the tracking number and speed indicated otherwise. I believe the shipment details were incorrectly populated (and that the shipment method was actually SAL), which is fine but a bit misleading.

I received an email from both TOM and eBay on Sep 5 that my packages had shipped! Looking at the tracking, after moving from their original locations (Chiba and Saitama respectively), they both left Tokyo to head towards Hawaii on the same day. From there, it is really my local postal services that make the difference for delivery. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the items shipped so quickly from the warehouses for both venues. I received both packages on Sep 13.
 
The packaging is reasonably similar. Nothing notable about how either item is presented or prepared for shipment. As I understand it, the stock for both venues comes from the same warehouse, so this makes sense. The eBay item did not include any invoice information or paperwork - it was simply the item itself inside. The TOM item comes with a half-size plastic folder with the payment info/receipt. This can be advantageous to some people or a little incomplete to others, but neither is a real factor for me.

Aside from the basics of the shipping process for these two items in particular, I wanted to also examine a few other factors! I will include TKL in my comparisons just to point out some major differences. This review is specifically for customers outside of Japan (since many of these variables are non-issues for those who can shop for Liz Lisa domestically) and focused on English being a positive. I'm assuming that my blog readers have familiarity with the language and can also navigate websites in English if they cannot do so in Japanese.
I hope that with this information, you will able to choose the service that works best for you!

Language -
TKL: Website is primarily in Japanese including check out, but Google translate works reasonably well.
TOM: Website is in English.
eBay: Website can be used in English but also other languages. Listing specifics are in English.

Convenience/ease of use -
TKL: Tbqh, even after a few months have passed and daily browsing, I still don't really enjoy how the site was rearranged after renewal with many of my favorite features missing. That being said, I can still navigate fairly easily and the check out process is reasonably simple once set up properly the first time.
TOM: Easy to navigate and sort using the options on the left sidebar. Can add items from other brands to your cart. Check out is straightforward.
eBay: Has similar features to the TKL website with a few categories in the sidebar. So far, based on limited use, not difficult to use. Can add items from other eBay sellers to your cart. Check out is straightforward.

Payment method -
TKL: Prices are in JPY. Accepts most major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard. Cash on delivery is another option but most forwarding and shopping services will not allow you to use this method. I use my credit card to pay for my orders.
TOM: Prices are in USD. Accepts Visa, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover. PayPal, Amazon Pay and even potentially bank transfer with inquiry. I use PayPal to pay for my orders.
eBay: Prices are in USD with an equivalent conversion to other currencies in the item listing. Accepts Visa, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover as well as PayPal. I plan to use PayPal to pay for my orders.

Shipment -
TKL: Items ship from Japan only within Japan. Domestic shipping is 540yen (unless you meet the minimum for free shipping) using Sagawa Express and usually arrives to Japanese addresses within 2 days. The forwarding/shopping service you choose will determine your shipping options and you will not know the cost of international shipping until after your items are purchased and need to make a separate transaction. If you use Tenso (located in Tokyo) like I do, EMS, SAL (parcel and small packet), Airmail (parcel and small packet) and Surface Mail (by ship) are all available, and you will also need to pay the Tenso service fee. Tenso charges you in your own currency, will store your package up to 60 days from arrival and allow you to make changes to the item descriptions/costs on the package.
TOM: Items ship from Japan (Chiba) to a number of international locations. Direct international shipping options are EMS, SAL (parcel and small packet) and Airmail (small packet). You pick your shipping method at check out and know the cost at that time. You cannot change the customs declaration or pick your shipment date. Items usually ship within 2 days after ordering, but certain items may take longer (1 week+) and is indicated on the listing.
eBay: Items ship from Japan (Saitama) to a number of international locations. Direct international shipping options are EMS and SAL (small packet only). You pick your shipping method at check out and know the cost at that time. You cannot change the customs declaration or pick your shipment date. Listings show that items usually ship within 3 days after ordering. In my experience this was definitely true, but as they gain more customers, I have a feeling there may be additional lag which is why they cushioned the ship date to 3 days.

Loyalty system -
TKL: Points are accumulated equivalent to every 100yen of the item pre-tax price = 1 point. Ex. 9936yen (9200yen pre-tax) = 92 points. 1 point = 1yen "voucher" and can be used on future orders. Ex. 530pts = 530yen in discounts. Potential points to be earned are displayed in your cart. Based on my understanding of the new system, the online TKL points are now combined with the points you earn with Liz Lisa in-store purchases by using your My Page barcode.
TOM: Points are accumulated equivalent to every $1usd = $0.01 "cash back" points and can be used on future orders. However, TOM frequently does promotions such as 10x points, 15x points or even 30-50x points on select items during promotion periods. Potential points to be earned are displayed on the item listing pages and also in your cart. You can also earn points by referring other users.
eBay: Afaik, there is no loyalty/point system associated with the eBay account, and there is no rollover to your TKL account.

Price -
TKL & eBay: As these are both presented by Liz Lisa, they have similar item costs for the items that are listed at both venues, including sale items. The conversion rate from JPY to USD does not always follow the exact exchange rate (as it varies by day), but there is no obvious inflation.
TOM: Prices are comparable to TKL retail prices but can vary based on exchange rate. TOM does not observe the same sales as TKL. If you are a TOM Premium Member, you may receive a small discount automatically on select items.

For the two items I ordered from TOM and eBay in particular, why did I choose to purchase from TOM/eBay versus TKL?
Note: JPY to USD exchange rate calculated at 109JPY to 1USD.
The frill embroidery blouson was available through all 3 venues, and to me, this was a no brainer to go with TOM. TOM was running a small sale on the item price bringing it down to $92.21, and then I also had a 10% off coupon & free shipping for $50+ orders. Any time I can get free shipping with TOM, it is almost always the best option for full price items. I also used a few points to get my total even lower, but it's obvious even without my account-specific points, that TOM was the best option.
The check heart jumperskirt was not available through TOM, but comparing it to purchasing it solo from TKL, the eBay venue has a very slight advantage. It seems like the majority of the price difference is coming from the domestic shipping for TKL since I didn't meet the minimum for free domestic shipping. Imo, there isn't really a significant difference in the price I paid for TKL versus eBay for this particular item, and I feel like that is a pattern across the board. Therefore, you should consider other factors when making your decision (such as ease of use, shipping, etc).

I don't have a solid conclusion or recommendation because everyone's priorities are different, especially between customers from different countries. Some people value being able to consolidate and hold packages and Tenso + manipulate the package description. Others just want the items quick and fast above all else. Price and available stock are usually the things that I consider first myself because I find all three venues reasonably easy to use. I anticipate that I will continue to use all three in the future and will have to consider many of the things I've written about in this post when I make my decision. 
I wanted the focus of this post to highlight the similarities and differences between these different purchase venues and get it published as soon as possible, so I will post about the items themselves in a future post (published now)! Unfortunately, based on new priorities, I will not have as much time to shoot for blog posts on Saturdays, so coordinate/haul posts will be even more delayed than usual, but I hope to focus on other types of posts in the meantime.

If you have a suggestion for a category that needs to be added for evaluation (in addition to Language, Convenience, Payment method, etc), please let me know! If I have the information to make the comparison, I will definitely include it. I look forward to being able to become more familiar with the eBay option in the future.
If you are an eBay customer in a country other than the US, please let me know if I missed something that is different for your country!

If you are interested in making a purchase from TOM, Use code EMI1718 for $5 off a minimum $25 order. Valid until Jan 12, 2018! [Go directly to the Liz Lisa page] [TOM general Jfashion page]

You can leave me (anonymous) suggestions and feedback at emiiichan.sarahah.com.
[Replies if necessary are posted to my IG story (access from the app), Twitter and FB!]

8 comments:

  1. You got the dress yay!! I think that all in all it's great to have another option and way of buying Liz Lisa especially for international customers. I really need to start checking out TOM more but I feel like all the good items always sell out so fast

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    1. Yes - they have such limited stock :|. But if you have a coupon and can get the free shipping (AND used accumulated points!!), then it's usually a pretty good deal. I only purchase from TOM when it's monetarily advantageous, so whenever I can get free shipping, I go for it lol.

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  2. Omg, the OP is love. Can't wait to see it styled!
    Also, sometimes ebay gives out coupons that you can use all over ebay (like spend XX amount get XX% off) so I guess that's potentially another plus to ebay but I don't think there's one right now though :/. Hopefully sale stuff is represented on ebay like TKL as well - that's what I'm most curious about.

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    1. I was thinking about doing a coupon section, but I think that has the potential to be user specific?
      TOM definitely has coupons and TKL has the *option* to have coupons(? they used to at least) and I do know that eBay has the option as well (if not gift cards or vouchers like Amazon does) but not the Liz Lisa eBay store specifically right?
      As far as I know, they've adjusted some of the eBay stuff to TKL sale prices but I think that was after someone complained.

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  3. THANK you for this post! It def helps one choose which site they would like to use. I'm also sad with the TKL change. It was so nice before. The only thing I like that Liz Lisa is doing is including more for international buyers.
    ~Kieli💟
    rainbowstarcandyshine.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes they are doing more but at the same time, I wish they would focus on getting one or two things perfect instead of making 5-8 things mediocre. Still, it's nice to be acknowledged (as an international customer, that we exist and that we're a decent market).

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    2. Yeah! I hear a lot of people in the gal communities wondering why their brand new Liz Lisa clothing have loose buttons and things like that in their recent releases. Part of the reason I've been trying to concentrate on bags and shoes instead lol

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    3. Actually I feel like people often have that complain but of all the Liz Lisa items I own, I had a loose button on maybe 2-3 which is less than 2%. I suppose that's still higher than 0% but unless the button comes off and you can't find it, it's usually not much of a hardship to just sew it back on. I suppose it also depends on how the clothes fit on an individual person and how much stress the buttons are enduring.
      I actually am not a fan of the quality of the bags myself (or even the shoes for more than a couple years) but it's not a specific Liz Lisa thing - it's just that they use faux leather so obviously it's not as good as real leather.

      Anyway, I was thinking a bit more about how they don't seem to be communicating certain things well lately but not exactly item quality which has always been somewhat mediocre IMO. I buy mostly for the cute designs and don't anticipate them being worthwhile "vintage" items 10 years from now considering that they're really meant to be rotated through and rebought every year or couple of years :|

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