While in the US, Amazon was my go-to online marketplace for just about anything I wanted to buy at a competitive price – clothes, furniture, books, household goods, electronics, personal care items, and even food – but here in Singapore, we have something just as good as Amazon (and in many ways, even better than Amazon). We have Qoo10 (pronounced Q-ten). Like Amazon, Qoo10 has a wide range of products, there are sales and “daily deals” that entice you to buy using the scarcity tactic, and you can also shop via their app. And also like Amazon, you can use coupons. So why do I think it’s better? Here are 10 reasons.
First off, I have to say that when I first visited the Qoo10 site (way back in 2012), I didn’t like it at all. To me, their site was messy, all jumbled up, and I felt claustrophobic. There were just too many things on their home screen trying to grab my attention. There were also a lot of weird tokens (e.g., MameQ, Qstamp) and I didn’t understand their purpose. In short, my initial impression was confusion and feeling overwhelmed. But over time, my mind began to tune out and ignore some of the more flashy things, making it more manageable to navigate their site. Here are some reasons why I’ve continued to use Qoo10 and very seldomly use Amazon.
1. Qoo10‘s prices are just as good, and sometimes much, much lower than Amazon. For example, I was looking for a new mouse recently since the button on my 5-year old mouse started to fail. I came across this one which caught my attention because it looked so unusual. Here’s the price on Qoo10 as compared to Amazon.
When you do a search on Qoo10, you can sort the results by price, as shown below. You can also sort by “More Benefit”, which will list the sale items first (I will go over the different types of sales later in reason #5…).
2. Qoo10 “gamifies” shopping. Perhaps the reason why Qoo10‘s site is so jumbled is because it attempts to gamify the shipping experience. And just like a game, the rules at first seem complicated, but will become more clear with more exposure. Their main game is a roulette wheel which you can spin daily to win bonuses. Every day, by marking your attendance card, you get a spin ticket. You can also get a ticket every time you make a purchase. I usually spin the wheel daily on Qoo10‘s app (it takes less than a minute to do this every morning). As soon as I open the app, I head to the Qoo10‘s lounge. At the lounge, there’s an attendance card that marks your progress throughout the month (if you’re using the website, the lounge can be found by choosing “Open” in the navigation bar, and selecting “Q Chance”). Some days you will get a bonus just for marking your attendance, but most of the time, you’ll have to spin the wheel to get a bonus.
What bonuses can you get from spinning? You can get coupons, Qstamps, Qpoints, and MameQs. Here’s a brief explanation of what each of these are.
- Coupons – can be a dollar amount or percentage-off coupons
- Qstamps – can exchange for coupons or Qtalk callpoints
- Qpoints – can be used to offset purchases
- MameQs – tokens that can be used for games and events, or can be exchanged for Qstamps
I’ll go into more details on these bonuses below.
3. The coupons can save you a lot on a purchase, as much as 50%. Every few weeks, Qoo10 has “events” in which they award you with coupons or other incentives. Some events require you to perform a simple task (e.g., click on a button, post a comment, search for a particular item, etc). These tasks then allow you to obtain tokens to be exchanged for bonuses, such as coupons or Qpoints. There are 3 types of coupons – item coupons, which allow you to save a dollar amount off of an item (e.g., $1 off of $10), cart coupons, which allow you to apply the savings to the entire shipping cart (e.g., 30% off of $30 of items in shopping cart), and shop coupons, which are issued by the merchant. Every once in while, Qoo10 will give out a $50% off cart coupon or a really good dollar-off item coupon (i.e.,$1 off $2 purchase, $5 off $20 purchase).
Item coupons and cart coupons are stackable, meaning you can use item coupons in addition to cart coupons. Here’s an example of how you can offset your purchases with coupons.
4. Qoo10‘s Qpoints can be used to save even more money. Every 100 Qpoints equates to $1 that you can use to offset your purchases. These can stack on top of coupons. How do you earn Qpoints? You get them through Qoo10‘s events, through confirming your purchase, through daily attendance, and through just getting lucky on the roulette wheel. In any given month, I typically will get around 800 Qpoints ($8 in credit), most of them just from spinning the roulette wheel and marking my attendance. Sometimes I might have to participate in an “event” but it usually doesn’t take any more than a couple minutes to do so. You can keep accumulating Qpoints until you’re ready to use them, but you can only offset up to 30% of your cart total.
5.Qoo10‘s daily sales come in a variety of forms – time sales, daily deal, and group buys. Despite the names of these sale categories, it seems that the same items will be featured on an almost daily basis so don’t believe the scarcity or feel pressured to buy because your item will likely go on sale again the next day. Only occasionally will there be some special items that are put on sale just once (this usually happens during holidays and will be highlighted in some way). When an item is on sale, it could be a few dollars off, or up to 15% off. Items that go on sale in any of the categories (time sales, daily deals, and group buys) cannot be offset by item coupons.
6. Qoo10 also sells vouchers for services, activities, and dining. Unlike Amazon, you can buy vouchers using Qoo10. I recently bought a buffet voucher for a buffet at Atrium Restaurant in Holiday Inn to celebrate my birthday. The same voucher was also listed on Groupon (for the same price of $35), but I chose to use Qoo10 because I could use coupons and Qpoints which made Qoo10’s voucher the least expensive option. Here’s how much I spent for the Qoo10 voucher.
7. You get rewarded for your feedback. You can get Qpoints just for confirming delivery, and Qstamps for rating your item. If your feedback contains a photo or video, you can get additional Qstamps. Remember that Qstamps can be exchanged for coupons or for Qtalk callpoints.
8. Qoo10 supports local and regional sellers. Most items listed on Qoo10 come from this region. Some come from local sellers and delivery is within a few days. In my experience, the shipping is reliable, even when its done through normal post. Often, when it’s delivered via courier, you can arrange for delivery (though not always). Why buy from Amazon whose warehouse is in the US, when the item is probably made from this region anyway?
9. The Qtalk app allows you to make long distance calls for free. A new feature for Qoo10 is their Qtalk app. I believe they introduced this app to allow people to chat about their purchases, making shopping a more social experience. This app, like Skype, is a service that allows you to chat and call other mobiles and landlines in other countries, but calling and messaging other users via the app is free. Calls are made using Qtalk callpoints, where 1 min will cost anywhere between 2 and 14 callpoints (callpoints can be obtained using Qstamps, as 1 Qstamp = 10 callpoints; you may also purchase callpoints). I sometimes use Qtalk to call friends back in the states (who do not use Whatsapp). Although you have the option of buying callpoints, I find that I accumulate enough Qstamps through spinning the roulette wheel and other activities that I always have a constant supply of callpoints.
10. Sometimes you can get free items on Qoo10. Every now and then, there will be a free item (this is usually a service voucher). Here’s an example of one I recently came across.
A Word of Caution: Qoo10 has been my go-to online marketplace for finding deals for the past few years, but as with all deal and marketplace sites, it can become addictive. The gamification, element of daily exposure, and social aspect of Qoo10 can make a person overspend and buy things he/she doesn’t need simply because it is a good deal or because he/she has a coupon that will expire.