My ShopArmidi.com adventure
I went on a shopping binge last night at Armidi.
Okay, it wasn’t exactly “at” Armidi; I visited the sim to activate my giftcard but it was all Firefox browsing from there. 😀
The Armidi blog recently announced that people could use their giftcards on MyGiftCard.ShopArmidi.com, a development I was very happy to hear about because I’ve been dying to use my giftcard for a while now. Okay, maybe not dying… but it felt urgent! :p The giftcard site is actually a foreshadowing of the official Armidi.com shopping site that they’re saying will come out in Spring 2008.
My initial experience with activating the gift card was a bit bumpy — visiting the website resulted in my receiving a message saying that my password had been lost (didn’t know I had one in the first place) and that I needed to visit the gift card kiosk in the Armidi sim to get assigned a new one. Okay, no problem. When I arrived there, however, the kiosk’s response was something along the line of, “You already have a password, please visit the website to retrieve it.” Like a person repeatedly hitting the crossing button at the sidewalk corner, I began to click the kiosk a bunch of times in annoyance and w00t! I eventually got my password.
ShopArmidi.com looks to be everything a shopping website ought to be — aesthetically pleasing, an intuitive layout, and it loads fast. You navigate from the landing page to the different departments (Beauty, Gisaci, Intimizzio, etc.), and each department has a series of pages that you can click through using the numbers listed at the bottom, as well as the Previous and Next page links.
Fatpack lovers will be happy to learn that they can now buy that dress or pair of jeans they’re so keen on in every color, and at a discount — a feature that is currently not available in the Armidi sim. These are not small discounts, either. Take a look at their cute Moccas boots, for example: the boots are 295L each and come in fifteen colors, so if you were to buy each one separately that’d run you 4425L. The “All Colours” option will let you grab all of them in one fell swoop for 2950L, which is a savings of 1475L. That’s like getting five of the boots for free. If you’re crazy enough about the shoes and don’t mind putting your inventory through that kind of abuse, then you should be happy with that feature. ^^
Another thing I loved about using the website was the delivery service. From the moment you hit Confirm, the speed with which your item is delivered in-world is impressive. The site’s FAQ says to expect delivery within ten seconds, although it may take as much as thirty to sixty seconds if there’s lag, etc. Honestly, I probably got all my stuff in five seconds or less; when I’d switch from Firefox to my SL client, the little blue delivery message in the upper right corner would already be waiting for me. Okay, this next point will probably seem like fluff to most people but I do love little touches like this… my items were delivered to me in a black sculpty shopping bag that gave me my purchases in a folder as soon as I rezzed them, and when I attached the shopping bags to my avatar’s hand, I saw a subtle hand-swinging animation. How cute is that?! 😀
There are a couple of things I didn’t see on the site, however, that I do hope will surface in the official shopping website when it debuts later this year. For starters, navigating between the departments involves the extra step of heading back to the landing page. While this is not a major issue, it is mildly annoying and I would have preferred to see some kind of feature that let me skip straight from, say, Intimizzio to Elephant Outfitters instead of constantly going back to the main page. Another thing I wouldn’t mind seeing tweaked is the font color of the text for the page numbers and the names of the items. The font itself is already kind of on the small-ish side; the lightness of the font color makes it that much less legible. One more thing I want to see — and I’m sure they will offer this come later this year, I’d be shocked if it weren’t — is the ability to purchase things from them and have it delivered to another avatar as a gift.
Oh, there was one more thing that occurred, and the lightning-speed with which Armidi’s staff resolved it has cemented my position as a fan of theirs. I’d used up almost all of my giftcard’s funds and had 265L left — not quite enough to purchase the 295L Roxy hair that I wanted. There’s no way to refill your card or to pay the difference out of your own linden balance, you’re simply given an insufficient funds message. I sent an e-mail to Armidi’s support address, and I don’t quite remember how long it took but it felt like maybe only five minutes had passed before I was getting IM’d by London Armidi? Anyhow, that kind of speed impresses me a lot, especially when it’s coming from a merchant as big (and therefore quite busy) as these guys.
One more thing to note — according to the giftcard site, Armidi group members will get a chance to view the site shortly before the rest of the public will be able to use it come this Spring.