Founded in 2011 by former Google and Yahoo engineers, Wish.com is a direct-from-China bargain hunting website that features hundreds of different stores and millions of products from all over the world.
Compared to other “online shopping malls,” Wish.com allows you to personalize your shopping experience using their unique algorithm that recommends products based on your past purchases, as well as products you view and reject (more about this in a moment). You can even save your favorite products to your Wishlist and buy later, or share them with others through Facebook.
But you’re not stuck browsing items on your computer, because Wish.com also offers apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Amazon devices. Taken together, the company claims to make shopping fun!
There’s no doubt that shopping can be enjoyable (that’s why they call it ‘retail therapy’!). But just because Wish.com might be enjoyable—not to mention their rock-bottom prices—does this mean you’ll get a good value? Or, will you wait a long time, only to end up with junk? We’ll cover your most important questions here.
To start things off, let’s begin from square one: How to set up your Wish.com account.
Setting Up Your Wish.com Account
The first thing you’ll notice after landing on the Wish.com website is that you have to set up an account before browsing their products. This involves entering your email address, first and last name, and choosing a password.
In our experience, this seems to be a trend with many of these online discount marketplaces, but we think it’s a little annoying. In our mind, you should have the opportunity to learn whether or not you like a website before handing over your personal information.
At any rate, you’ll then need to enter your birthdate and gender in order to help the site “find products you love.” Remember that algorithm we talked about above? This is where it starts by tailoring your results based on your age and gender. Then, as you browse and view different items, the algorithm will continue refining your selections.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at exactly how you browse through Wish.com’s listings.
Browsing the Wish.com Website & Using Wishlists
Wish.com’s home page will display their most recent listings, but you can also narrow your search by category (e.g. fashion, accessories, gadgets, etc.), or by product type (e.g. shoes, tops, underwear, and so forth).
If you come across a product you might be interested in, simply click on it and a separate window will appear with a description, pictures, and price. Here, you’ll also be able to view shipping charges, estimated arrival times, previous customer ratings and reviews about the product (as well as the store/seller itself), view related products, and more.
An example of what you’ll see after clicking on an item, including product and store ratings, shipping information, and more.
From here, you can buy the item or save it to your Wishlist. If you haven’t created a Wishlist yet, you’ll be prompted to do so, which only involves choosing a name for your list and pressing enter.
Under your account, you can create multiple Wishlists and add or delete items as you see fit. Wish.com also gives you the ability to follow your friends and view their Wishlists, and even make Birthday Wishlists that can be shared to Facebook.
Sure, these are some pretty cool features, but how much will they cost you?
What Products Does Wish.com Sell? Are They Expensive?
Signing up for a Wish.com account is completely free, and you won’t have to pay anything until you decide to buy.
As we noted above, Wish.com features products from a wide range of categories, from gadgets to fashion—and even some products that defy categorization.
Overall though, they seem to specialize in inexpensive electronics and gadgets sourced from overseas (most of which are knockoffs of popular products from mainstream companies, such as smartwatches intended to look like an Apple Watch), Bluetooth earbuds, action cameras (knockoffs of GoPro cameras), storage media (USB flash drives), cables, and speakers. For the most part, the site’s products are less than $100, and usually fall somewhere between $5 and $50.
Pro tip: According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Mr. Szulczewski [one of the company’s co-founders] said Wish vendors are free to price goods and make claims about discounts as they see fit.” As such, you’ll want to take any listed retail prices (the crossed-out number in the picture above) with a grain of salt.
Since Wish.com only acts as a marketplace for other sellers, each listing comes with its own shipping charges, although we found free shipping to be the norm.
As you browse Wish.com, add items to your Wishlists, and purchase products, you’ll earn rewards in the form of gift cards, which can be viewed in the Wallet section of your account. These gift cards expire within a few days, so be sure to use yours as soon as you get them!
All products purchased through Wish.com come with a 30-day refund policy (from the date of delivery), less S&H charges. In order to initiate a refund, “Simply click on ‘Contact Support’ next to the item you wish to request a return or a refund.”
But is it really this simple? What are customers saying?
Is Wish.com’s Customer Reputation As Cheap As Their Prices?
You probably understand that, for the most part, you get what you pay for. But despite their ultra-low prices, does Wish.com rank high on the list of their customers?
On ComplaintsBoard, there were dozens of customer complaints about Wish.com, including unauthorized transactions soon after placing an order, poor quality products (especially related to electronics), long shipping times (as you can see from the picture above, it could take a month or more to arrive), difficulty obtaining a refund, and poor customer service.
Wish.com, based out of San Francisco, CA, also had an F rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research, based on 245 closed complaints (as of 1/12/16). Nearly all of these appeared to reference difficulty obtaining refunds, and the company’s tendency to continuously send automated email responses to very specific requests). On top of this, there were still 72 complaints that the company never bothered responding to.
Pro tip: Looking for similar products from different websites? This Reddit thread might provide some good alternatives.
But what about Wish.com’s apps? In contrast to their business model, their apps were rated highly, earning 4.5 stars on Google Play based on more than 2.2 million votes, and another 4.5-star rating on iTunes, based on 4,200 reviews.
Is Wish.com a Rising (Or Falling) Star?
There’s an old project management saying that goes: You have the option of fast, good and cheap. Pick two.
And in the instance of Wish.com, nearly all of the emphasis is placed on ‘cheap,’ basically to the exclusion of ‘fast’ and ‘good.’ So, although you’ll be getting rock-bottom prices, you’ll have to wait a very long time to receive your order, and in general, the product(s) will probably be of less-than-stellar quality.
On top of this, should anything go wrong with your order, you might experience difficulty getting in contact with the original seller (remember, Wish.com only acts as a storefront, but doesn’t sell items directly). And if you need to get Wish.com involved, many customers have complained that they weren’t much more help.
Taking all of this together, Wish.com certainly isn’t a scam, although many of their vendors could be. After all, they’re probably located overseas and completely anonymous (at least to customers), and it’s not clear if they’re required to go through any kind of vetting process before opening their Wish.com store.
Despite this gamble, Wish.com has millions of fans who regularly buy from their vendors, and sing praises about the products they purchased and the ultra-low prices they received. Only you will be able to understand whether or not it’s worth taking the risk.
Are you a Wish.com customer? Did you just use the site once, or are you a regular shopper? Tell us all about it by writing a review below!
20 out 30 people found this review helpful
I have used Wish on a regular basis, and have had no problems. I don't always get top of the line items, but sometimes I get lucky. I would recommend Wish.com but be sure to read all reviews before buying. That seems to make all the difference.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend