Monday, May 26, 2014

Selfridges SUQQU On Line Ordering Experience

little update: the Paypal holds were cleared away on Monday.  WHEW.

Words, many words.  Not even a picture to break up the monotony.

Have you noticed that the on line inventory availability of SUQQU on the Selfridges website remains unfailingly spotty?  I wonder if opening the shipping to more places globally completely and consistently wipes out the inventory.  With many of us dedicated SUQQU FIENDS ravenously scouring the site, I suppose it is no surprise that many of the items come into stock momentarily only to sell out immediately.  And of course, who knows when and if the limited edition items are available!

After springing for 2 of the 3 SS14 eye shadow palettes, Mitsucha & Yomogiiro, I was patiently biding my time for the parphal one to become available on line.  Selphia wrote me recently to alert me that it was so I sprang into action.

I thought I'd share my very recent online ordering experience on Selfridges.  Aside from inventory being sparse on the website, the actual ordering process was a little bit wonky.  When you log in to your account and select the international shipping, the shopping cart calculates to show the total pricing including the gigantic £20 shipping, but deducts out the VAT.

-___-  Apparently, a sizable order of £148 completely eliminates the VAT so that my shipping is free-ish.

During checkout, I was able to select Paypal or various usual credit cards.  I used Paypal, but was given an error which stated that the transaction failed in error.  Tried a second time to no avail and the same error message.  I finally used a different credit card and it was able to successfully complete the transaction.

While I was in my email inbox checking my order confirmation, I was freaked out to see two Paypal emails which looked to be my authorization for the two failed attempts.  Did I pay £148 three times for this order, twice on Paypal and once on another card?!

I love my Suqqu, just not that much.

I immediately wrote to Selfridges alerting them of this issue and was quickly sent an email response in a few hours that I can expect the hold on Paypal to be cleared in a few business days.  I am still waiting for this to clear (a few days in).

Payment issue aside, I made the online purchase on Tuesday afternoon, received a notice that the order left on Wednesday, and to my great amazement it was delivered on Thursday afternoon by DHL.

The box the order came in was much smaller than what I previously received via telephone orders.  There was also much more of the yellow tissue paper than before in the box to cushion the contents.  Still, there was no bubble wrapping or cushioning.  Luckily enough for me, everything came in perfect condition.

My friend Claire wrote a few months back about her ordering experience and she had some more issues compared to my experience.  She experienced the dreaded DHL clearance issue which required some crazy hoop jumping which you can read about here.  Anecdotally, I think US East Coast (specifically cleared through JFK) folks seem to incur less or none of these issues compared to others.  Anyone care to weigh in and confirm or not?

Supposing that the weird holds on Paypal disappears over the next few days, I had a pretty good experience with my recent order.  How about you?  Have you also had any recent online ordering experiences with Selfridges?


  1. Bluuurrrgghh!! Online international shopping woes are the worst! Whenever I see credit card payment via paypal, I kinda freak simply because paypal and I simply do not sync.
    When I last tried to shop from Selfridges (beginning of the year) it said in the International Delivery page that it ships to TW, but when I tried finalizing a purchase (after hours of putting in and pulling shinys into the cart) TW wasn't an option to ship to. I emailed them and got confirmation that TW was not yet a country they shipped to. Today I rechecked, and TW is still listed as a country they ship to, but I guess I wont know if that's true or not until I attempt a purchase again.
    But I do have to say that Selfridges has the fastest online CS I've encountered, and dispatch+shipping is lightning speed (I ended up shipping my order to a HK friend, telling him about it on a fri night, and it arrived on mon morning)

    1. International ordering is a very risky proposition. :( I'm bummed TW is not in scope for their international delivery. Also saw that you can return unused product back to Self, but that looks like a big pain in the butt.
      The shipping is crazy crazy fast. I need to try not to fall into all this instant gratification temptation!

  2. Hmm interesting what happen with PayPal there, I never thought of using it but I thought it would have been more straight-forward. I must give that Selfridges CS is quite good, but again, I think this is just a growing pain they need to go through from opening the line to international shipping.

    1. Doesn't that suck with the Paypal?? I totally almost fell off my chair when I saw those PENDING charges on my pp account. I hope they drop off soon.
      International shipping must be quite a burdensome thing to do, so kudos to them for doing this. You really went through a pain for your goodies. Have you ordered anything from them again after the incident you posted about?

  3. I've purchased all my Suqqu from there and it's not international but certainly has been quite flawless to be honest. I am very happy with my service, but very not happy with their inventory! I'm only glad that I purchased my brushes BEFORE all this spotty inventory started to go on to be honest. I'm sorry you had such a bad time with them, that sucks, there is nothing worse. I personally found them to be very good... i hope it gets sorted for you.x

    1. :) The US (and other global) buyers must be cleaning out all the inventory for the UK folks, too! SOWEE!
      Overall, my experience is fine. I'm just looking forward to my weird Paypal charges to clear up.

  4. I know the agony when you want something and just.. can't.. get it. There's plenty of affordably beauty in the US that are absolutely impossible to order online without paying an arm and leg.. like the Lorac Pro palette etc. I hope that problem of yours clears up. You live in New York and Selfridges is an UK shop as the prices are in pounds?

    From a lurker that hasn't commented your blog too often, this might sound weird and all, but reading this I thought I wish I could help you.. In theory I could ship you Suqqu from Japan, as I'm currently living here. :) If there was a smart method, it'd certainly be much cheaper.

    1. Hi Laura,
      thank you for taking the time to comment! :)
      UK Suqqu prices are the least expensive that I'm aware of, and since the VAT deduction offsets at least some of the giant DHL shipping charges, it is likely the least expensive (and maybe quickest! HAHA) way to get a hold of for the US. I don't mind a little work to get something I just don't want to deal with weird Paypal stuff!!!

      How is living in Japan? Must be makeup heaven!

  5. Thanks for this post. I can probably write a novel about my experience with Selfridges but it might be a little different than yours since we don't get VAT reduced (EU, sucks sometimes ;-) but instead the shipping costs are lower, but not that much lower. (15 pounds). So I like getting things together at once to save shipping but I can never find them all at once available. Like I was after 2 brushes and those were impossible to spot at the same time. You can imagine paying 15 pounds to a brush that costs 45 pounds each time is not an option, even Ichibankao is cheaper in this case. So I called the counter and they said they have them all. yay right? Right... I was so happy until I found out shipping in that case would cost 30 pounds since it is the counter sending and they have different shipping prices. I don't have problem about paying for shipping but I do have problems with fictive shipping costs, even over night shipping doesn't cost 30 pounds from UK to Germany, so no thanks. I ended up getting them from online shop but I find it all very strange. Also Selfridges does ship like after 4-5 days of order, which I found also lousy. Shops in Germany always ship the next day.

    1. I didn't realize that they still continued with the counter shipping! That's good to know except for that wahhhhhh expensive shipping! And why in the world would counter shipping be any more expensive than shipping from the website? That is so frustrating.

      I had to really bide my time on this order because I was trying to make sure other things were in stock at the same time. It's nearly impossible to coordinate that. And I agree, ordering one or two things from Ichibankao tends to work out better at times.

      I was also hoping for another M brush, but I don't think it will ever come back into stock! :(

    2. I ordered brush M from Japan. Oddly enough it is better quality than the one I purchased a few years ago from a Selfridge CP. I always thought my original M brush was scratchy and prickly compared to the L and never liked to use it because ouchy sometimes but I liked the size. Yojiya Ebony shadow brush round squirrel is very similar in shape and just as soft and silky as the good M brush I got and so much cheaper.

  6. I live in London so if you are ever stuck I could go into Selfridges in person for you (like I need an excuse!). I've ordered off the website before and been surprised with the lack of protective packaging but like others have said it came quickly.

    1. :DD thank you so much, BAIC! Oh golly. If I lived close enough to Selfridges that I can walk in at will...well, I say, thank goodness for the big Atlantic Ocean keeping me & Selfridges apart from each other.
      It's so funny when I ship makeup (esp palettes/powders) I go insane with the padding and bubble! I am always mindboggled when I see stores ship without bubble wrap!

  7. Selfridge's online services are great in some ways and poor in others. Their click & collect service is flawless and using paypal is fine. However, I'm surprised when everyone says they have lightning fast shipping. Every time I've ordered, it seems my items are despatched a few days after ordering. It would be faster and cheaper (silly delivery charges) to just hop on the tube and get them rather than wait for post.

    Customs issues are annoying, it's what's stopping me from ordering from a few US stores. Can you believe we only have to spend as little as £15 before we're stuck with paying a 20% VAT? It wouldn't be so bad if also didn't slap on a £13 handling fee, so it's quite easy to pay double for some very simple items. Stupid EU. It's so silly, when are government's going to realise that the world is becoming increasingly global and that people will order things from abroad? We shouldn't be penalised for that. I understand charging fees on large orders, but why for anything less than £100? Does not make sense. Ah sorry, rant over.

    The inventory problems are annoying, it never used to be like that. *Please don't flame me!* but I've found that problems started when international shipping opened up. I totally get chasing after those elusive unicorns that we can never find locally (hello Addiction, Lunasol, Asia/US exclusives of Western brands we can get locally... also we need a RBR counter in Selfridge's) but what I don't get is Suqqu's reasoning. If they say they can't provide enough stock to meet demand in other markets (which I've heard from the SAs themselves), then why do they allow their items to be shipped abroad for that increased demand and not give us enough stock? Doesn't seem good business practice to me, they need to make up their minds.

    On a happier note, I bought the pink summer quad in EX-20 and it is lovely. Well I was ecstatic for a pink eye palette (not pink eye! ><) because it has always been my favourite colour to wear on the eyes. I don't get that bruisy look with pinks and purples, however many brown/beigey neutrals which most people seem to love just make me look ill and jaundiced, so those are trickier for me. I'm just disappointed that we didn't get the lavender palette (I know it's a repromote and given my love for pink and purple tones on the eyes, it makes no sense why I didn't buy it last year). Ah well, c'est la vie, there will always be more pretties to buy.


    1. Ooh, your customs is quite stringent about charging you VAT. :((( When I lived in Korea, it was also very strict. I think anything over 50USD got stuck with a huge tax when inbound. I used to place several dinky orders to get around this.

      *FOOOOM* goes the flames. Hehe. I think it must be true that the international shipping, as inconvenient as it is for us outside of the UK, must be even more infuriating for those in the UK used to better inventory. Not sure if Suqqu had anything to do with Selfridges opening up the shipping, but hopefully they can better track global demand and plan what level of international expansion would make sense.

      I dunno when Suqqu (and other luxury Asian brands) will make it to the US specifically, but I think a lot of these brands have a tough time taking a hold of business. I think Kanebo Sensai is pulling out and even Shu Uemura left the US. Whatever the capital required to maintain operations in additional countries must be enormous!

      Soooooo, I am happy Selfridges online is an option and that Ichibankao, despite the markup, is something that keeps my grabby hands happy for these brands!

      Ooh! Natsubotan! I saw swatches on Swatcharama and it is so pretty! I'm on the brown side of the fence and you are on the pink side! I passed on this, but look forward to more LE releases from the brand.

  8. It's all the non-UKers fault! You're killing the stock. Stop ordering, JUST KIDDING! I am glad more people are easily enjoying the pleasures of SUQQU.

    But yes, their online stock management is really bad. I live in London so I have easy access to SUQQU, and I prefer to go to the counter since they give generous samples and usually have stock that is non online. And sometimes if you ask nicely they still have old products around. Something that pisses me off with the online orders, how hard is it to add a few samples really?

    I have to say that I've been feeling quite meh about SUQQU lately. I started buying their stuff when they first launched in the UK, still have some of the amazing single eyeshadows (best matte eyeshadows ever!). Now that I've collected something like 30 palettes I'm not that fussed about new launches. They used to be really innovative, while still maintaining the office lady ethos.

    But comparing the earlier collections when they had a unique concept with the newer ones where it's the same palettes all over again I just don't feel the urge to buy anything. Maybe I'm an old fart who likes to complaint about the past. Just feel a bit disappointed with where SUQQU is going, one of these days they will be just a really amazing Lunasol.

    I wished they could return to their (IMHO) 'glory' days of collections like the one with the pink contour shadows, or the bright colors of the single eyeshadows or their Kirari collection where the colors where designed to appear as if viewed through a layer of water.

    /rant over

    1. Please explain me what you Love about Lunasol (eyeshadows especially, or other). I just.. can't.. find what so interesting. Some colour combinations are, well, nice, but there's so plenty of glitter and not the texture changes of metal and shimmer and pearl but just glittery Japanese drugstore glitter. Prove me wrong! Note that I don't own a palette, I don't know too much, I've just swatched some in person. :)

    2. Hi! Sorry if I wasn't clear, English is not my first language. I actually meant it the other way around.

      I don't think there's anything great about Lunasol, and what I think is that SUQQU is becoming is a bit like Lunasol in terms of colours (I find it a bit boring always the same type of colours) but with the great texture that SUQQU has. So I meant to say that they are becoming like Lunasol but with great quality.

      And I find that sad, because SUQQU used to push the boundaries a little bit and not always play it safe. Now to me it just looks like the same taupes and browns around with the ocasional navy bue or pink.

    3. Ana Marta,
      Did you read London Makeup Girl's post a long while back with the same sentiments? (blog no longer accessible sadly :(( ) I think some of the very creative sensibilities that made the brand so unique isn't really there. The collections don't have the same thematic cohesiveness like in those old collections you mentioned. This is sad.

      But on the other hand, the color combinations (like the recent spring palettes grounded in the browns) are very accessible and appeals to the mainstream. I wonder if the brand made a very conscientious decision to be more marketable to a larger audience? I love the quality of all the new things, and though I wish I could have had a piece of the older beautiful collections, I'm pretty happy with the new things. Maybe I really am the very sedate OL. :)

      And sorry we're messing with your website, man! *prepares to clear out ALLL the suqqu counter inventory in one mighty fell swoop of my paypal account* *tries* *tries again* *notices weird holds on paypal account*

    4. Anon & Ana Marta again. I agree on the Lunasol. I've categorically been disappointed by the sheer, dry glittery mess of eye products from the stuff I've owned or tried at the counter.

    5. Sorry, the comment was from me, I forgot to sign in that's all :)

  9. Hello Belly:
    I do not write comments. But I this one I am going to respond to you.
    I read your blog, because I love Japanese makeup.
    So let me share with you my Suqqu order from Selfridges.
    First, let me tell you I order two time online via Harrod. Never a problem.
    Smooth transaction. Great customer service. Sent by DHL.
    Did not pay any custom fees to the United States. I live in California.
    Ordered it Sunday...Arrived on Thursday and on Friday for those two orders.

    Last year I ordered Suqqu over the counter with Tiziana. Great service. Nice person.
    She no longer works there. Order was slower. But it finally arrived.
    I paid about 50.00 for customs additionally. I bought EX 12, and EX 13
    and a powder brush and a eyeshadow brush.

    This year, I bought a Shu- Uemura #18 brush and 3 Suqqu eyeshadows.
    Over the counter again, but not with Tiziana.
    The three eyeshadows were #1, 3, 6- only available in the UK.
    Selfridges whoever it was forgot to put in the ingredient sheets
    necessary for custom...necessary to pass customs.
    That sales woman never called me back to give me my tracking number.
    I called DHL myself. It was supposed to be delivered today.
    I ordered it last Saturday.
    Her excuse was that she was busy with an event to search for my number.
    Plus, somehow, she could not process my credit card number.
    She caused it to decline. I had to call the credit card company to unblock it.
    Then it went through the third time.

    I paid for international shipment. As you know, it is not cheap.
    It is now 45 pounds, plus some service charge and then customs.
    The deduction of VAT is nothing.
    If Ichibankao could sell it, I rather go there, even if it costs more.
    Kelly does a fantanstic job.

    I am still waiting for a response.
    I am so so so ticked off with Selfridges.
    I will never buy from them again this way.
    Selfridges touts it has the best international service.
    I beg to differ. Harrods is so so so so much better.

    Love your Japanese and Kate are just wonderful.

    1. :(( Ugh! I'm so sorry you had such a terrible experience ordering from them. Have you also ordered through the online Selfridges site? I've also had very uneven experience doing a telephone order at the counter (slower service, wrong items) as well.

      I hope your order clears up at customs quickly. It's so infuriating to experience these issues when you pay so much for the international shipping service.

    2. Thanks Belly for your reply.
      It is still in customs as of today.
      The 1,3,6 shadows are not available online.
      Things I want are not available online.
      I even wanted to get the cheek blush and that is out of stock.
      Tiziana emailed back with the ingredients and told me that even when it is
      in the packaging attached to the box, they still have this problem.
      Tiziana is most wonderful. I think because of the time zone for me that make it harder to
      communicate with London. I am waiting for her email to tell me what position
      she is still at Suqqu. Then I will forward it to you, because you order more beauty stuff than me.
      Because of you I look at MUA blog sale everyday. It is so much fun to see what people have.
      DHL is helping me. I tell everyone. I know the widow of "D" of DHL.
      She's originally from Singapore.
      Thanks Belly for showing us all your unique items.

  10. Sorry, I meant 25 pounds. Harrods is 20 pounds.
    Ridiculous. For that kind of service.
    Holding up my order in customs right now.
    Sitting there till Selfridges responds.

  11. Finally, my Suqqu eyeshadow quads arrived at 2 pm PST.
    Thanks to you Belly, I bought them because you wrote on the blog that Selfridges was selling
    1-6 again. Tiziana at the counter helped me thru this saga. She is a doll.

    1. ah! They made it to you! I'm so glad! I hope you love these new (old) palettes. They are so beautiful!


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