Today’s article will focus on the online Chinese retailer Shein. It seems that I have been living under a rock for the past several years as I had no clue this retailer even existed until a few weeks ago. The reason for that is most likely my lack of interest in clothing as yes, the majority of products sold on Shein are indeed clothing, but they do carry other products as you might already know or guessed by the fact that this post made its way on this blog. This will be the article that strays the furthest away from the topics covered on this blog, but I do hope that you will find it useful.
In this article, I am going to cover a bit more about what exactly is Shein, about my shopping experience as well as everything I wish I knew before placing my first order.
Table of contents
- What is Shein?
- Delivery Options
- Products and quality
- What would (do) I purchase from Shein?
- How to shop at Shein
- How to get the best deal at Shein
What is Shein?
Shein is an online retailer that specializes in trendy and inexpensive clothes for women of all shapes and sizes. This here needs to be emphasized. Unlike many other retailers, Shein does indeed offer size-inclusive clothing. I have seen everything from XXS to 5XL or more and not just one piece or two, but hundreds if not thousands of pieces in said sizes. Regardless of your size, Shein has you covered and the offerings are quite trendy as well.
However, Shein not only gives you new options for your wardrobe but also saves you money on the clothes that are the latest trends as their products as quite inexpensive.
Shein has customers all over the world and is one of the best places to find new outfits for work, school, parties, and even off-duty days. Shein also offers merchandise like home décor items, stationery, beauty products, tools on top of clothing. If there is anything you need, chances are that you will find it at Shein.
Shein currently ships all over the world. The shipping options differ based on the country and there is usually a relatively low threshold for free standard shipping. This threshold is also different from one country to another.
For example, you can get free standard shipping to Berlin, Germany for orders over €9. For other countries, mine included, standard shipping is free over €19. Even in the EU, this threshold for free shipping depends on the country you are shipping your parcel to.
If we are to take another country – let’s say the UK, we will see that the rates for shipping are different. In the United Kingdom, you can get free standard shipping for orders over €11.92 (approx £9.95). But also if you were to choose to place an order below this value, the shipping fee would be different. The UK, as shown in the photo below also offers express shipping which is not available in that many countries.
The idea is that, as you have seen above, shipping rates differ vastly from one country to another. However, that should not stop you from placing an order. Shipping fees are relatively low and it is incredibly easy to reach the threshold for free standard shipping. Furthermore, the information regarding shipping fees is easily accessible on the website and the Shein app and it is made clear for all customers while taking into account location.
A bit about the standard delivery option
While looking at various countries’ delivery options, I noticed that these also differ from one country to another. I have seen Economic, Standard, or even Express shipping options.
If you don’t have an Express shipping option, don’t be disappointed. I did not have one either and I had no reason to complain.
Shein’s standard shipping option is incredibly fast, especially when compared to that of other Southeast Asian retailers. I placed my first order on the 25th of January and by the 8th of February, I was already able to enjoy my new purchases. You should expect your parcels to arrive in a little bit over 10 working days but the estimated delivery date will be indicated at checkout.
Not sure how it is for you, well unless you are from the UK where I am indeed familiar with the system and it is pretty straightforward, but where I am currently based, I cannot afford to get my parcel delivered to a post office, particularly if said parcels are delivered from outside the EU.
Unlike in the UK, the (national post) mailman does not bring parcels to my front door and I have to go and pick them up. That can be annoying, but unless the parcel is from outside the EU, it is doable. If the parcel is delivered from outside the EU, I need to go to a special post office that also deals with customs procedures. Now, that is something I would rather not do ever again. There is a lot of paperwork involved and a lot of other factors that just make the experience not worth it.
With Express Shipping I know that there are no issues as the parcels get delivered by private couriers where you can deal with the paperwork (if appliable)and whatnot online and there is no doubt about having my parcels delivered at my front door, but with Standards Shipping that is usually not the case.
What I was trying to get to is that there was no reason for me to worry. Standard Shipping at Shein is done through private couriers such as DPD. Plus, all paperwork was dealt with by the retailer so similarly to how Cult Beauty deals with it behind the scenes (unlike my recent and first order from SpaceNK since Brexit where I had the unpleasant surprise that I had to fill in the customs declarations to hand it to DHL myself – no extra fees to pay or anything but had to fill in the paperwork….).
Another thing to add to this section is that there were no customs fees or any other unexpected fees to be paid for my Shein order. Everything was settled by the retailer.
Shipping Guarantee fee
If you decide to place an order, you will find out at checkout that there is an extra fee you can pay. This fee is typically less than €1 and it is for some sort of insurance. If you choose to pay this fee and for some reason, your parcel gets lost, you can get a replacement free of charge and with no questions asked.
There is a lot of info above. I know, but I wanted to share this info as your country might have similar procedures to mine. The idea is that my parcel from Shein via standard shipping was delivered in around 10 working days and that the parcel was delivered to me at home via private courier without having to pay any extra fees or fill in any customs declarations myself.
Four orders in and no issues. Each Shein order was handled and dealt with by Shein and everything went smooth and problem-free. I did not need to worry about anything. There were no extra fees to pay or time-consuming procedures to be followed.
I have no personal experience with returns at Shein (does anyone?), however, the Shein return policy allows you to easily return your order or the items that did not fit.
You do need to cover the return fee yourself in most cases, but the good part is that the return address is not the same as the original shipping address so you don’t need to pay for a return label to China is what I am saying. Based on what I have seen, the cost of a return would be around the same as the standard shipping cost.
This information is also clearly explained on the website or in the app and it is country-specific.
I doubt that I will ever return anything as for my country returns are not free of charge. Based on what I have purchased so far, chances are at the items I might not enjoy would be worth less than the cost of return so it would make no sense to return them. Now, if you place a huge order and there are lots of things that do not fit or that you do not enjoy, then sure, it might be worth returning them. Like I said, for some countries, it is also cheaper or free to make a return so do consider that when making a decision.
Products and quality
There would be a lot to talk about here, but I will try to keep it relatively short.
Like I’ve mentioned in the introduction, there is pretty much everything you could need at Shein, except for perishable products of course. Shein has a wide range of products at very affordable prices and you can find pretty much anything from home accessories to beauty products, stationery, and clothes.
The prices range from a few cents to around a hundred euros. I have yet to see anything over €100, but there just might be a few pieces. However, most of the products are in the lower end of the range.
The quality of the products from what I have experienced is actually good. There is no doubt that you will end up at some point with products that are not that great, but so far I have no complaints. The probability of ending up with a dub does increase the more you order. However, you can limit this probability by having a look at the reviews and most importantly at the photos posted by customers. I also recommend looking closely at the details of the products both in the photos posted by the retailer and particularly at the specs.
For example, I looked at some bags that were around €2-€3 that looked quite cute, but they were made of some foamy material. It is pretty obvious that no matter how cute they show up in photographs, those bags are pretty much useless in real life and they are most likely squishy and won’t hold their shape. Some of the €10 bags however looked significantly more presentable and durable. Of course, a €10 bag will most likely never look like a hand-stitched designer bag, but it could be a great alternative for a fast-fashion brand item. Pay attention to details and you will manage to avoid most bad purchases.
The quality of the product does tend to increase with price. So pricier items are more likely to be of greater quality, but it depends on the category.
What would (do) I purchase from Shein?
Interestingly enough, I would and have purchased clothing from Shein. However, in terms of clothing what I am looking at are items that I either cannot purchase in my size in local (online/brick and mortar) stores or styles that are not available.
I don’t know about you, but I find many of the pieces in SE Asia simply incredible, but some of those trends have yet to make their way to Europe or the States even. Since discovering asymmetric pieces or ones that combine different fabrics or patterns in a stylish, elegant manner I have become a bit more interested in fashion once again. So those are kinda the items I keep my eyes open for.
Shein even has a premium clothing line that looks great both for regular as well as Curve and Plus size. The line is called MOTF and I encourage you to have a look. The items are stylish, but most are a bit more elegant. You can have a look at the MOTF items here.
There is a lot to choose from, but you need to dig a bit for the great stuff. Some items look better than others. Some look elegant and can elevate your interior design while others do indeed look cheap.
In terms of home decor trays, storage solutions, and artificial plants or similar items you can stick in a vase are what caught my attention. In these categories, you can not only find items that look great but also some that are significantly more affordable than what you might find in local stores. I cannot even begin to tell you just how many feathery branches or even flowers caught my attention in stores only to find that they are like €10 a piece… You normally need quite a few for them to look great in a vase. Well, Shein sells such items for around €1 apiece.
Many storage solutions are quite beautiful – I particularly like the clear acrylic ones. You can find some that are meant for jewelry, cosmetics, or some that are meant to go in your pantry or fridge. They are simple, but definitely look better than some colored plastic ones I found locally. Most importantly, they are way more affordable.
In this category, I would place all sorts of tools, gadgets, and utensils. I am not entirely sure whether I will actually find anything life-changing here, but there are so many cool “concepts” that could potentially make my life easier.
For most of the products in this category, I have seen ads on FB from all sorts of dropshipping stores. I never ordered from any of them, but was curious to try some of the products I have seen advertised. It is a guilty pleasure for me so I won’t apologize. If I do end up finding a lint remover, a noddles portion measure thingy or who knows what that solves a problem or annoyance at least, why not?
Tech & co
In this category, I look for phone cases, earphones, all sorts of cables, and stands.
While I usually have one or two phone cases per phone model, this time I kept my phone for longer and my favorite phone case broke. I can only get it from the UK now which is not really an option nowadays so… Locally, I cannot find that many options since my phone is more than 3 years old, but Shein does have a huge variety of designs and they fit many phone types and models, including really old ones.
In addition, I got a lot of colorful accessories for my smartwatch, for my laptop, or other devices. I love colors and lately, I don’t care who knows it, you know? I focused so much on neutral, black and white, or shades of grey which I do like, but I need happy colors just like in my happy place which is tasty coourful. I also have a rather “colorful” personality (in more ways than one) which you know more about than people IRL actually and feel the need to express it, but rarely have in public.
There are a lot of things and if I can find the things I need in cute designs and at affordable prices…At the end of the day, most items we purchase have the same origin except they have a heftier price tag.
Of course, Shein also sells beauty products. They even have their own makeup line which is very similar to the one at ColourPop in my opinion. I won’t say never, but getting makeup here is not a priority for me and I doubt it will ever be. I might try a product or two, but yeah, not sure about that.
However, they do also sell tools and gadgets. Now, that I am more interested about. I mean, I did get a replacement for my Dermapore that was around 9 times cheaper that works really well (review soon).
How to shop at Shein
I realize that I am so doing this in the wrong order, but now that you know a bit more about the products you can find at Shein, how about we talk about how to go about getting them.
You can shop at Shein either via their website or the app. Personally, I prefer the app as it is much more convenient.
You can save the products you are interested in on your wishlist and place the order once you have enough items you want. You can easily check the new offerings whenever you are bored or waiting in line somewhere etc. and then add them to your list.
Keeping a wishlist is way more important than with other retailers. The offering is simply huge, so in this way, you can easily track the products and the prices of the products you are interested in.
Whether you shop via the app or the website the shopping process and the checkout is easy. The site or app is not different than any other retailer. You add the items you want to your basket, enter your details, and then checkout.
Once you’ve gone through the process, you can even save your personal details to speed up the process the next time around.
I honestly cannot believe I am writing this, but the payment is upfront. You need to pay for the items when placing the order. You can pay by card, Apple Pay, or PayPal but you cannot pay upon receiving the parcel.
How to get the best deal at Shein
You would think you are already getting the best deal when shopping at Shein given their small prices and all, but no. The retail offers many other facilities to sweeten the deal.
Some items at Shein actually go on sale. Shein offers flash sales where you can get great deals, oftentimes up to 70% off. I found that this type of sale is more common for clothing, but you never know.
One of the reasons why I suggested adding items to your wishlist is because of these sales. You will easily notice if one of the products you are interested in is discounted at a given time and perhaps decide to place an order then rather than pay full price.
Okay, you will never actually pay full price for any items at Shein as the retailer has various promo codes running at all times. The most common ones are for 10 to 15% off and depend on the value of the basket. Many times though, you need to spend around €30 to €50 for these discounts to be applied.
You can also collect points which can then be used to lower the total cost of your basket, These points can be used even if you’ve applied a discount code.
The value of one point is one cent.
It might seem impossible at first to think that you will ever have enough points for them to make a difference to your total, but you rank up these points easily and quickly.
On the app, there is a daily check-in activity. You get one point every single day and if you visit the app several days in a row, you get bonus points.
Every order will also come with points.
In addition, you can get points by reviewing and posting photos to go with the reviews.
There are also special activities for various occasions and contents you can enter to gain more points.
To put it another way, I placed my first order a couple of days after learning about Shein. In around two weeks, so right after placing my second order I already had around €3 worth of points and this without writing any reviews. Two days after placing my second order, I already had around 28 cents which I was applied to apply towards my third (I don’t normally place so many orders in a row, but the new collection clothing items I wanted were heavily reduced).
The point is that you without a doubt rank enough points without too much work, you can rank enough for them to make a difference to your overall basket.
Another interesting and surprising way to get an even sweeter deal at Shein is by purchasing a gift card from them. The gift cards are also discounted (I have yet to not see them discounted). For example, you can purchase aa gift card with a value of €100 for just €93. They have gift cards of different values, but this is the one I usually get.
The gift card can be used on multiple transactions if you do not use up the entire amount in one go. Also, it works in conjunction with discount codes and points.
Shein is an interesting retailer for sure and one that provides good quality products and services. You can get affordable clothes and accessories that are on point with the latest trends for a small price tag. The best part is you can save even more by applying Shein promo codes and Shein discount codes.
As you have seen above, ordering from Shein is relatively easy and safe. The orders do not take that long to be delivered and the process was rather smooth.
While I will try to not make it a habit to order from Shein or at least go to them just for the things I cannot find elsewhere, I am glad that I discovered this online retailer as I’ve been curious to try quite a few things that I found on websites such as YesStyel which I could not order due to the shipping restrictions and most of all due to the shipping options available.
Yes, so far I have no reason why not to recommend this shop, but be careful not to overdo it 🙂
If there is anything you wish to know about Shein that I might have missed, do leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer your questions.
Shop at Shein using my discount code.
Have you ever shopped at Shein before?
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