When I first arrived in Hong Kong I was really surprised how unpopular e-commerce and online shopping is. Hong Kongers prefer to shop in real stores and it is very convenient, there are big chain stores in every shopping district, shopping malls at almost every MTR station and lots of tiny specialty stores that sell thousands of bolts, cables, ceramics, ribbons and anything you can think of. Plus most of the shops are open every day, some until late in the evening. So what’s the point of online shopping if you can just purchase the product down the street?
Well for me it’s also about convenience – there are things like groceries that I don’t want to carry home, it’s a hassle to search for the right brand of cosmetics or the best deal on consumer electronics and sometimes it’s easier to compare prices online.
Back in the UK I ordered my groceries online on Sunday night to get them delivered the next day – here in Discovery Bay I actually have to go to the supermarket, make my choice, place the products in the trolley, pay for them at the check-out and then the non-perishable items will be delivered to my home. It’s a bit of a hassle and so far I’ve not found many well-designed websites to place online orders here in Hong Kong – and there are often challenges, e.g. they don’t deliver to Discovery Bay or the website is only in Cantonese.
You can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Pet Project, a website that caters to cat and dog lovers in Hong Kong. Not only is it well-designed and easy to use, it has a large range or products available. Given that we’ve only had Sam for two months now, I’m still trying out different pet food brands and Pet Project has a wide range of Australian, American and other brands – even special organic and grain free products. That’s great, so Sam can taste different brands and I can figure out which cat food is better for him.
Delivery is free once you spend more than 200 HKD and surprisingly they also deliver to Discovery Bay (at no extra cost). You can collect reward points and reorder your previous purchases (so you don’t have to search for your usual brands) easily. You can also decide to pay via bank transfer, so you don’t even have to share your credit card details.
Not everything was that easy though – I’ve had a few issues in the beginning with the delivery, I missed the courier and then I could not stay at home the next day, but we sorted this out easily. Now we came to an agreement that the courier drops off the goods in front of my flat door – I know that’s at my own risk, given anyone could pick up the cat food or cat litter (but this is Hong Kong and I trust my neighbours), but everything worked out fine. The courier even calls me when he’s about to drop off the goods at my flat, isn’t that great?
I’ve been very pleased with the customer service (thanks Carol and Sam – not my cat, but actually a very helpful Logistics Manager at Pet Project) and the overall shopping experience. So far all the products I wanted were in stock, they were delivered quickly and the price was correct – some items are cheaper than the prices charged in the two pet shops in Discovery Bay, while others are slightly more expensive than what I’ve seen in the small shops in Wan Chai. Pet Project offers a best price guarantee, if you see the same product cheaper online (but not in a physical store) they will refund the difference. I’ve not tried this, but it sounds like a good promise.
Overall, both Sam and I are happy that I discovered this service – for me the ease of use wins and Sam is happy that his pantry is fully stocked. I’ve not been asked by Pet Project to endorse them or am related to Nishant and his team, but I just thought I’d share this great experience I’ve had so far – especially as this is a local start-up that I’m happy to support.