As a self-professed beauty junkie, I’m always looking for good lobang to shop for branded makeup. I recently learnt about StrawberryNet, which is an online makeup store based in Hong Kong.
I checked out their website – the prices seemed reasonable, and I didn’t see any red flags.
According to the “about page”, StrawberryNet’s been in the business for over 10 years (since 1998) and have several branches to cater to markets in China, East Asia, U.S., and more. So while I have never ordered from them before, I think if you if you place an order, you’re likely to receive it lah.
… What you receive is another thing.
Is StrawberryNet legit?
Short answer: No, it doesn’t seem so.
In 2010, Murad filed a lawsuit against StrawberryNet for selling “defaced” products. The Murad products had their brand hologram stickers and batch codes removed, making them indistinguishable from fakes. Dodgy leh.
SkinMedica, another skincare brand, also classified StrawberryNet as an “unauthorised internet reseller”, warning that they bear no responsibility if the product is “diluted, expired or counterfeit”. Yikes!
But despite all these, there are tons of positive reviews online. Yup, there are actually happy and satisfied shoppers too.
It’s hard to say if StrawberryNet sells genuine products, but one thing is for sure – it’s definitely a risk. They are a grey market channel, which means they are not authorised dealers of the brands they carry.
I personally don’t recommend risking it because you could really hurt your skin, but if you’re not concerned about this, keep reading to see how their prices and online shopping policies stack up against the local Sephora’s.
TLDR; StrawberryNet vs Sephora.sg
Lazy to read the whole thing? Here’s a quick and dirty summary of our findings:
Pricing: Both feature similar brands and prices, but StrawberryNet has a price guarantee. However, StrawberryNet has extra “taxes” for perfumes and hair care products.
Free shipping: Sephora has a lower minimum spend requirement for free shipping ($40).
Payment: Both accept credit cards, but only Sephora allows cash on delivery.
Delivery: Both offer delivery (shipping), but only Sephora allows self-collection via SingPost POPStation lockers.
StrawberryNet vs Sephora.sg prices – which is cheaper?
It is impossible for me to check the prices for everything, but from the handful of products I picked out, it was pretty 50-50.
|Tarte pro glow to go highlight & contour palette||$31||$29|
|Dior Addict Ultra Gloss||$41.50||$50|
|Philosophy renewed hope in a jar moisturizer||$51.50||$62|
|Lancome Teint Idole foundation||$70.50||$68|
|Estee Lauder advanced night repair synchronized recovery complex II (50ml)||$150.50||$170|
For the brands that have boutiques in Singapore, Sephora’s price follows the local retail price. That’s normal, and you’d be hard pressed to find these things any cheaper at any “legit” retailer here.
Think popular brands like Lancome, Dior and more.
For these, I’d advise checking on StrawberryNet simply because they have a price guarantee policy. It’s a little leceh, but if your bill comes up to $100+, then it may be worth the trouble.
If you add up all the costs and find that Sephora.sg (or any other site, for that matter) is cheaper, you can write in to StrawberryNet to appeal for a price adjustment.
Sometimes it’s cheaper on StrawberryNet, right off the bat. However, this depends on the individual product, even within the same brand.
For Mario Badescu, the cult favourites were cheaper at StrawberryNet: The drying lotion (1oz) was $31 ($36 at Sephora), and the special healing powder (0.5oz) was $23 ($27 at Sephora).
But when I checked other random stuff, like the facial spray with aloe, herbs and rosewater (118ml), it was cheaper at Sephora ($15 vs $16.50 at StrawberryNet).
But wait! StrawberryNet has additional costs for perfumes & hair products.
One thing you need to be careful of is the hidden charges at StrawberryNet. Well, they’re not really hidden because they’ll be added to your cart total upon checkout, but it is still annoying.
For perfume-only orders, there is a 10% “tax” that’s added onto your order (capped at $14.31). You can easily avoid this by adding any non-perfume item to your cart.
For hair care, it’s not so simple. They considered “heavy goods” so for products above 250ml, you’ll be charged US$2 to US$15, depending on the volume.
There is no workaround for this, so I would just advise against ordering any hair products altogether.
StrawberryNet vs Sephora – delivery fees, welcome discounts & more
|Free shipping + 5% off first order||10% off first order|
|Min $50 for free shipping||Min $40 for free shipping|
|Credit card payment only||Credit card, gift card, PayPal & cash on delivery accepted|
|International shipping only (4 – 10 days)||Local delivery & self-collection at SingPost POPStation available|
So aside from the price – which I will give to StrawberryNet for its price guarantee – Sephora wins everything else.
10% off your first order at Sephora.sg
Most e-commerce sites have welcome promotions for first-time customers. For Sephora.sg, you can get 10% off your first order with the promo code ONLINE10.
For StrawberryNet, you only get 5% off, but you do get free shipping. If your order is under $40, then this might be better.
However, if your order qualifies for free shipping anyway, then Sephora gives you a better deal.
Free delivery at Sephora.sg with min. $40 spend
Speaking of free delivery… Sephora.sg also has a lower minimum spend requirement to qualify for free shipping. For Sephora.sg you only need to spend $40, whereas you need to spend $50 on StrawberryNet.
The other delivery charges are as follows:
|Shipping & Delivery||StrawberryNet||Sephora.sg|
|Free shipping||Free for first order, and subsequent orders above $50||Free standard shipping for orders above $40, free courier shipping for orders above $65, free next-day shipping for orders above $110|
|Standard shipping||$7.50 for orders under S$50||$7 for orders under $40|
|Express shipping||From $15 to $37.50, free for orders over $250. Not valid for perfumes.||From $3 to $10, free for orders above $65. Next-day shipping free for orders above $110.|
Sephora.sg offers cash on delivery
Because Sephora.sg is a local store, they can afford to offer more delivery and payment options.
If you prefer to pay cash – although I can’t imagine why, there are so many perks to online shopping with your credit card – then Sephora is better. They allow cash on delivery as long as your order is under $1,000, which is plenty.
You can also pay via PayPal or credit card. For StrawberryNet, you can only pay via credit card.
Sephora.sg allows 24-7 self-collection at SingPost POPStations
In terms of delivery, Sephora is also better. First of all, it’s probably faster because domestic shipping mah. But on top of that, they also offer customers the option of self-collection via SingPost’s POPStation service.
POPStation lockers are open 24-7, so this is a great option for those who are often unavailable to sign for deliveries.
StrawberryNet only has international shipping, although they do have quite a few different types. The highest tier is the express shipping (2 to 3 days), but that’s really pricy ($37.50).
Also, many delivery options exclude perfume orders. Apparently it’s tricky to ship fragrance bottles across the world. For the full details, check the delivery page on StrawberryNet.
Conclusion – should you order from StrawberryNet or Sephora.sg?
Generally, StrawberryNet seems cheaper than Sephora.sg. However, in terms of the other policies and fees, Sephora is preferable.
Therefore, if you’re very price conscious and think you can jump through all the hoops, then try StrawberryNet. Of course, you must also accept the possibility that you may be ordering a fake or stale product.
Otherwise, ordering on Sephora.sg may just be safer and simpler. If you’re worried about the price, you can always take advantage of the first-timer promotion, or wait for their bi-annual storewide 20% sales (yup, it’s applicable online too).
What do you think – is Sephora.sg or StrawberryNet better? Share your thoughts with us in the comment below.