I came up with this idea after getting very annoyed with Hobby Link Japan's customer service despite hearing many many positive things about them. They were confusing, rude, and generally just annoying. Online shopping is not just about getting the product but about having a easy time getting it.
Toyslogic is a California based retailer of anime goods. I first saw them at Anime Expo 2008 and decided to order some figures from them because they ship from the US and have an active user community.
Site Layout/Information Presentation: The site has few mistakes and operates like a standard web store. Romanization is standard and products are easy to find WITH photos. Toyslogic deals primarly with figures so photos are very important :) Most questions are answered in the help files but not all (I heard about price matching but cannot find proof) You can see shipping BEFORE checkout or even logging in. This is a must have feature for webstores.
Example Shipping Chart for a mouse pad(generated in real time from weight + zip code)
|United Parcel Service (1.13lbs) (Next Day Air)||$39.95|
|United Parcel Service (1.13lbs) (3 Day Select)||$12.54|
|United Parcel Service (1.13lbs) (Ground)||$9.78|
|United States Postal Service (1.13lbs) (PRIORITY)||$9.60|
|Store Pickup (Walk In)||$0.00|
|Flat Rates (Shipping to US (1.13lb(s)))||$9.99|
Payment: Toyslogic does not require all money up front (but offer the option which I prefer). They take credit card, money order,and PayPal. Credit cards are charged only when TL recieves the item stock (for preorders) and other payments require 10% upfront. Any other money due is charged when Toyslogic recieves the stock. Preorders can be cancelled but if the item is released in Japan already there is a fee of 10$ or 20% which ever is greater. Split shipping is the default but combined can be requested. The massive relaiance on the comments field for order specifications worried me at first but everything went without a hitch.
Stock/Price: Almost everything from TL is a preorder as with many figure sites. Prices are pretty good (theypossibly offer price match?) but not unheard of. The downside for ordering from ToysLogic is that stock is very late compared to Japan based companies because they need to ship all the items to thier warehouse first. Orders will often be DELAYED. They have just switched distributors so maybe this will be fixed but my Rin Natsume figure (on order since August) finally shipped today. Don't order anything you need urgently, your better off paying a higher price to ensure delivery.
Customer Service: Fantastic. All my emails have been answered promptly and politely, communication is top notch. Order status is updated so you can see exactly which items are on hold or on order from the distributor. When my dear Rin was delayed I recieved an email around the arrival date every month announcing she was being pushed back another month. Oddly, both of my delayed figures (Komari and Rin) arrived very close (within a week) from the last delay notice, closer to that than the scheduled date. The staff is genuinely nice, when I requested information on the delay this month I was given the reason (distributor) and a more accurate arrival date which was correct. I was not told to "go read the FAQ" like lesser companies do (since if I could have found the relevant FAQ I wouldn't be emailing would I?).
A user forum also has many helpful people (staff and not) who will give more information on figures (and bootleg information! TL does not carry bootlegs of course but the user forum will help investigate ebay sellers etc) . I trust this seller and expect my latest order to show up fine.
Overall: An A rate company. Good prices and service, the only issues are stock delays but its just a hobby ^^;