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Looking for input on BrickOwl.

iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
edited January 2014 in Buying & Selling Topics
I was wondering how many of you have used BrickOwl since it's inauguration. How does it compare to Bricklink and other similar sites? If you have used it would you recommend it to others and/or use it again?

I have explored the site to a moderate extent and found it to be relatively easy to navigate as compared to Bricklink. Is this a shared opinion?

I'd love to hear what everyone has to say.


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,764
    I found it more difficult to navigate and enter items for sale than at BL, but that is probably more because I know my way around bricklink rather than it being more difficult.

    As a buyer, I tend to buy from BL rather than BO. Simply because prices are better at BO, no doubt down to there being more sellers there.
  • ludzikludzik US (SoCal)Member Posts: 430
    BrickOwl is amazing. I have made transactions through both and BrickOwl was just easier to work with.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,764
    ^^ Mine should have said prices are better at BL, not BO.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    edited October 2013
    ^ I have the same feeling as @CCC. It may also be that I am just used to Bricklink, but to me the more modern look just makes it harder for me to navigate quickly as I like my data concise and while BL has its outdated website/backend issues I find that the organization of the data works well with how I work. I opened my store on BO and made one sale but decided that the effort of maintaining my inventory wasn't worth it at this point.

    I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to other people though.
  • Renegade007cjhRenegade007cjh Essex, UKMember Posts: 687
    A few weeks ago I opened my store on Brick Owl (previously only used BL); found it to be a lot more intuitive and simpler when adding items to sell (so you can see the current prices / add your own very quickly). As mentioned above, the prices on BO seem to be a tad higher than BL, so I pitched myself between them so (in most cases) I was the cheapest on BO.. strange that I've had over 600 viewings / visits to my BO store but only one sale :(
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Denver, CO, USAMember Posts: 1,673
    I was about to switch, but I can't get the shipping method to work properly, like it will select First Class to ship medium size empty boxes. I got not response on forums so I just gave up on my BO store. Also I always had to over estimate shipping to avoid being burned on that. On my BL I charge the actual shipping cost+2.9% and I prefer it that way as I do not feel I take advantage of the buyer.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    ^Stay on BL Colorado...I've bought a bunch of orders from you, and I so appreciate the actual shipping charge.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    I know from a buyer's standpoint the shipping at checkout and payment on the spot are nice but I agree with @ColoradoBricks that there are too many shipping options for automated to get it right for smaller shippers. I too charge actual shipping+$0.50. Automated probably averages out fine for larger sellers or people that have high volume shipping discounts but it would burn the lower volume shippers and people like me that have no minimum. Without being able to charge actual+$0.50, I would actually be paying to ship out some of the < $2 orders. I shipped an order yesterday that was 1lb 1oz that I was able to ship in a flat rate padded envelope that was like $3 less than what a parcel of that weight comes to under normal 1st class.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    edited October 2013
    I recently made my first purchases from both BrickLink and Brick Owl in the last week. While I had been using BrickLink to look up parts and inventories since I came out of my dark ages about a year and a half ago, I hadn't used it for much else. From a "newbie buyer" perspective, I think there are advantages to both.

    I much prefer Brick Owl's implementation of wish lists. Neither site makes adding something to a wish list it as intuitive as it could be, in my opinion, but it is easier with Brick Owl. More importantly, when you go to a store on Brick Owl, the number of items it has that match your wish list is shown, and adding those items to your cart is made simple. From what I can tell, this isn't possible (or perhaps as apparent) with BrickLink.

    As for navigation, I think both are pretty equal once you become familiar with them. BrickLink's may take a bit more time and not be as immediately usable, but I don't think there is a distinct advantage for one or the other in this case.

    When it comes to layout, I prefer BrickLink. Brick Owl does look nice and obviously more modern. But in terms of usability, things are just too "big" for me. I don't see the need for such large images of parts. Casual buyers (i.e. parents of kids with LEGO) will surely see this as a benefit, but I'd rather have a more data-centric view.

    From a account management and checkout standpoint, I prefer Brick Owl because it's generally more intuitive.

    BrickLink obviously wins in regard to selection and pricing simply because of the amount of stores.

    At this point, it's a wash to me. If Brick Owl had the same stores that BrickLink does (and the resulting selection and variety in pricing), I would probably use Brick Owl exclusively.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    binaryeye said:

    When it comes to layout, I prefer BrickLink. Brick Owl does look nice and obviously more modern. But in terms of usability, things are just too "big" for me. I don't see the need for such large images of parts. Casual buyers (i.e. parents of kids with LEGO) will surely see this as a benefit, but I'd rather have a more data-centric view.

    This is exactly what I was thinking.

    As for the wanted list on Bricklink, when you're viewing the main page of a store it doesn't automatically tell you how many items in a wish list the store has but there is a link at the top of the index that says "Show All Items this store has on my Wanted List (All Items)" and then allows you to filter based on your various wanted lists.
  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    So far I like all the input. I started a store a few months back and like a previous member stated I too get a lot of views and not many sales and for the most part my prices are lower than most. This is perplexing.
  • ObserverObserver Member Posts: 60
    Not impressed. Sticking with bricklink.
  • bluedragonbluedragon United StatesMember Posts: 505
    Unlike most, I am actually getting more orders in Brick Owl than on Bricklink, albeit generally smaller orders (under $20). I price at the low end on both sites but not necessarily the same exact price.

    When I opened my store on BO, I decided to split the inventory more or less 50/50 between BL and BO to avoid sync problems and have been transferring items that sell better on one site versus the other. For example, in my experience minifigs sell better on BL and technic parts on BO. This could be random because of the small sample size.

    I think I have set my shipping bands fairly accurately. No USPS Priority available at the moment but I have only needed to use it for sets using the quote system anyway.

    I prefer the BO experience overall- order in, money in the bank; I also like the way we add items to the inventory. At the moment I am slowly moving my inventory over to BO. If things keep going the way they are I may close the BL store soon, or alternatively sell only minifigs and sets there.

    Keep in mind BO is a new site, which will likely see significant improvements and an increase in buyers/sellers over time.
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    Bricklink is good for buying but horrible to use. I've not made any purchases yet on BO but will be soon.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    I've browsed Brick Owl but am not overly impressed with it, possibly because I am more familiar with BL. When I searched for a specific item I barely noticed the note that there were no items for sale, it would be nice if that information were more obvious. I also noticed the higher prices, and many items not having pictures.
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,292
    edited October 2013
    I'm a buyer only, but I can't stand BL in terms of purchasing. I find with BL I have to learn the BL way... whereas BO is more intuitive. Maybe because I'm not as familiar with Lego parts, but I find the visualization on BO helpful. I also want to buy parts from as few sellers as possible, but it's really difficult to do without spending loads of time on BL. BO's biggest advantage to me is the use of the Wishlists, as I can separate out parts that I want according to particular need (mostly either sets I need to complete or projects I have in mind), populate it as needed, and then afterwards I can remove all the items I just purchased from my wishlists in a single click. Not as much time is needed maintaining lists and keeping all the parts I need straight.

    I started using BO in August of this year (while I was in the US) and made 4 purchases in a week. I started using BL almost a year before but thus far only made 2 purchases. I'd use BO more in the UK, as I've only used it twice more since I've moved back, but don't find the parts availability that good... yet?

    I do find the prices in general a bit higher on BO than on BL, but mostly I don't mind paying the extra bit in order to make it faster and easier. I expect that if BO got more sellers and such the prices would become more competitive over time. I also prefer the checkout process through BO better than BL.

    The thing that does bug me about BO though is that I find the interface slow and glitchy at times.

    I know I'm a bit of a n00b when it comes to BL, but honestly, the interface makes me not want to learn. I can actually use it fine, but find it frustrating enough that I just don't want to. So for me it's BO all the way. Unless my boyfriend makes me start selling some of my LEGO (which he has hinted at :( ). Then I'll try 'em both out and see!
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,649
    ^ If your boyfriend makes you sell your LEGO then probably time for a new boyfriend, surely ?
  • iancam33iancam33 Member Posts: 407
    ^agreed. lol
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270
    ^ Seconded. I'm sure there are plenty of people on the forum who'd take his place =)
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,150
    Im a BL'er buyer, sadly even with BrickOwl as an option. I just have been so conditioned to using BL that a new system to learn is something I do not want to deal with now. I do have an account in BrickOwI though. I also have to agree though that the pics are way too big. Makes it look like it is designed for a 5 yr old, and when I did check it out (some months ago) there was not a lot so I'm guessing that has improved as well. I guess I am just a glutton for punishment with using BL but it is what I know.
  • ljames28ljames28 Member Posts: 88
    I think you guys might have a point about the pictures being too big, I had thought about this when looking at inventories of sets. I think they are about the right size for sets/minifigures but too big for parts. I will see if I can come up with some sort of compromise, probably in the form of different viewing options.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,150
    I should also add I think it is good to have multiple marketplaces to choose from and I did not mean to sound over critical about the pics.
    I do plan on browsing and learning about BrickOwl, I just do not have much time right now to do so.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    I would think that one thing that might help BrickOwl get more traction would be if atxdad's cost optimization tools could incorporate it into their calculations.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,270

    I just do not have much time right now to do so.

    This for me too. I've already spent time building up my personal tools for inventory and a process on how I part out, update inventory etc when using BL and I have other things I'd like to spend time on other than doing it all again or learning something new. If I sold LEGO as my full time gig I'd consider it but I already spend most of my time outside of my full time job sorting sets I part out and handling the few orders I get.

  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    edited October 2013
    I have a BO store to sell things I don't want/need, though no sales yet. I much prefer the style of BO to BL. I only have 3 minor quibbles to be honest. Firstly, when viewing the list of available lots for any particular item or set, the inclusion of shipping costs might seem like a good customer service idea, but it's not always accurate. I offer free shipping if the order value is above €30, but this is never displayed so is lost on that list.

    Secondly, stores that also pass on Paypal charges should be highlighted as such with perhaps an estimate of the charges, because as it is now the prices they show aren't actually accurate, and this buys them a higher place in the list when sorting by price (which I believe is the default). Lastly, would be nice to have the option to switch between TLG colour names (Brick Yellow) and popular names (Tan).
  • ljames28ljames28 Member Posts: 88
    @Aleydita do you have any examples of stores that pass on PayPal charges? That is certainly not allowed.

    The free delivery should be taken into account when showing the shipping cost of items over €30, obviously let me know if this is not the case.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    The shipping charges displayed assumes that the person is going to order that item and that item only. It's potentially not reflective of the eventual shipping charges should that customer plan on order several different parts, which is why I think it'd be better to show "from x.xx" - with the x.xx being the lowest charge offered to the country that the customer is from.

    The Vault is one that adds Paypal fees in some circumstances. There are others that I've noticed but I'd have to look through all the stores to list them for you :)
  • ljames28ljames28 Member Posts: 88
    @Aleydita righto, they do indeed assume they will only buy that item, unfortunately there's not much room to indicate potential free shipping requirements and saying only "From £0" may be misleading

    The Vault have now updated their delivery page, it looks like they just copy the terms over from BL as they can't charge PayPal fees anyway.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    As a buyer I wouldn't find 'from free' as being misleading at all as long as it wasn't being abused, I.e. some cheeky seller offering free delivery over £2000. In fact I would prefer that to be shown in the listing and it might make me spend more.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    Listing postage as from "x.xx" (lowest available in that country) might encourage customers to purchase more in order to hit that free postage threshold, and in that case everybody wins - the store, the customer and BO (unless commission is taken from postage costs - I can't remember).

    Displaying postage costs as though they're only going to buy that one item (which is surely rare in the case of parts particularly) is misleading. The store that on face value offers the cheapest postage might actually have quite expensive postage compared to others stores that don't immediately seem to represent good value.

    For example

    Item cost 0.04, available from 2 stores. Store 1 lists postage as 1.95, while store 2 lists postage as 3.95. However, when ordering 100 of these items, or in conjunction with many other items, store 1's postage is 5.95, but store 2's postage is still 3.95.

    I don't suppose there's an easy way to reflect this on an item's page where many lots and sellers are listed. The only options you seem to have are (1) show what you do now, meaning there's an assumption that they're only going to purchase that item only, or (2) show "from x.xx" which shows the minimum postage from that store for the customer's country. This second option would probably work best if it came with a tooltip (when clicked) that summarised the postage costs to the customer's country.

    I'm not sure whether this is easily implemented, or even possible but, as I said, one of very few gripes I have with BO. Thanks for asking for feedback in the first place, the best way to improve your product in my opinion :)
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    Received my first order today. I'm really impressed with the back end of BO.
  • SilentModeSilentMode UKMember Posts: 577
    This may be a good opportunity for a comparison weblog post... I've had experience of buying and selling on both sites.
  • kylejohnson11kylejohnson11 Member Posts: 508
    @Aleydita I think I might of found a simple solution to the free shipping at a certain threshold and just suggested it on the BrickOwl forums. On the item page where it shows the listing of all the stores with the part, but under the total price have a small line that says "Free Shipping when you spend $X"

    I also received my first order today, very smooth. Much smoother than my first experience with Brick Link.
  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 931
    Yes I think that would be great. It might help drive down shipping costs which would benefit buyers and drive more of them to the site.
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