When a representative from Octer contacted me and asked if I'd like to do a written review of their website, I was genuinely curious, because I had never even heard of them before. So, before making any kind of a decision, I decided to take a look around. I always do this as the first step of my vetting process, because I've run into websites that don't use valid certificates or that just seem to be hastily thrown together (i.e. kind of scammy in appearance) or they end up selling products that just don't fit with the typical content of my blog (i.e. wedding and prom dresses or lingerie, for example hehe).
After reviewing Octer's website, I found that it was well constructed and that it had a valid and trusted server certificate. This is always a good start. I clicked around a bit and discovered that, unlike most of the stores that I shop with, Octer doesn't actually have any products of its own. Rather, it makes it convenient for you to find the products that you want. I thought that was interesting. I hadn't used a website like that before. I think the closest thing would probably be Amazon or Ebay, but Octer works a bit differently and I'll talk more about that below. So, after checking the website, I also checked their social media presence. Again, this is always something I do as part of the vetting process.
Checking social media info tells me how long they've been around, how well they are generally received and whether they've received any negative feedback/complaints. Everything looked on the up and up to me, so I agreed to write a review of my shopping experience with Octer. In order to get the shopping part going, Octer was kind enough to give me some shopping credits. So, here's what I learned!
Basically, Octer is a one-stop shop. Similar to Amazon and Ebay, you can search for something that you want and find multiple vendors who have the item and at varied prices. The difference is that, with Amazon and Ebay, you can make your purchases directly through the websites themselves. Also, in the case of Amazon, depending on the item, Amazon (and not the original vendor) may take care of the shipping part for you. Octer is a bit different. Essentially, they make searching for what you're looking for easier by scraping quite a few shopping sites and gathering all the information you need in one convenient location. No more opening multiple browser tabs to compare and contrast similar items from different on-line retail stores. You can do all the price comparisons easily and quickly with Octer.
How Does It Work?
So, I decided that I wanted to see what kind of boots were available. You guys have probably seen the black zipper boots that I wear constantly. Hehe. Well, they're my second pair and that's because the zipper is super janky. The zipper on the pair I have now is already starting to show signs of spoilage and I know it won't last much longer. Hence, I wondered if I could find a replacement through Octer.
I clicked on "Women" in the top left corner and then I was taken to the page that you see above. It's very organized and it made it easy for me to pin point what exactly I was looking for. I clicked on "Shoes & Boots" at the far left column of the second row and I was taken to a similar page that showed different types of shoes. So, it narrowed my search even further. From there, I clicked on "All Boots."
Searching Is Easy
Here, you'll notice that there are even more options to narrow down what you're looking for. On the left, you'll see adjustments for minimum and maximum price, sale items only and select stores. The stores are somewhat limited, but I liked that Octer would automatically choose the U.S. version of international clothing stores like Dorothy Perkins and Topshop. If you look in the top right corner of the page, you'll see a spyglass icon. You can use that to type in a more specific search, also. Otherwise, all you have to do is keep scrolling the page downward. The page will automatically refresh to show you the next items, so you don't find yourself constantly having to click "next" or hit a page number to see more.
I Found Exactly What I Wanted At A Decent Price
So, I kept scrolling until I found a picture of these black boots. They look extremely similar to the ones I mentioned earlier, but they don't have a zipper that could potentially spoil. They're lace up only! Huzzah! Exactly what I need. :DDD I clicked on the picture of the boot and it took me directly to the vendor. So, this is what I mean about Octer being different from Amazon and Ebay. Whatever you click on will take you directly to the vendor. From there, you will be able to buy the item and you will be subject to whatever shipping fees would normally apply. Honestly, I had never bought anything from Sears, before. I usually have a couple go-to shops for boots, because of my big feet. However, as you can see, Sears had my size in stock. Even better, they offered free in-store pickup, so I could save a bit on shipping. :P
So, that's basically the gist of Octer! I found the website to be extremely user friendly. It didn't take me long to find what I was looking for and it helped me find something that I wanted at a store that I probably never would have even considered. So, it brightened my horizons a bit in that respect.
Octer has a good list of shops available, but as I said, it's kind of limited. So, that's something to be aware of and I hope they will expand their shop list in the future. Also, I did run into some images not loading when I was scrolling down the product pages. As far as the accuracy of information provided, I found that Octer didn't hide the ball and that's great. Whatever you clicked on would take you directly to what you had seen initially. No tricks! However, there were times when I clicked on an item only to find that it was sold out or temporarily unavailable at the vendor. So, that's another thing to keep in mind as you browse the site. I don't know how often that kind of thing is updated on Octer's end, but it would be really helpful to maybe have a filter for items that are "in-stock only" or something like that.
Finally, I did try the spyglass option for manual text searching and it was a little clunky. By that, I mean, the search function worked well enough to find items in the same vein of what I was looking for, but if I also used a filter for pricing and opted to see the cheapest items first, it would end up showing me items that were unrelated to my initial search (i.e. boot strings or boot polish instead of combat boots). So, I basically stuck to a global, unfiltered search and did quite a bit of scrolling. There are hundreds of items and having so many options can be daunting. It's a web developer issue and totally fixable, though. :D
I would definitely use Octer, again. I think it's a very nice option to have and it did make my on-line shopping experience a bit less painstaking and time consuming than it normally is. The website isn't without flaws, but they're not absolute deal breakers. I would recommend giving them a try!
Also, I'll see what I can do about showing off my new boots after they've shipped and I've picked them up from the store. :DDD I hope they fit! Hehe. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!