Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NBN Sponsor Spotlight: IsraelMall.co.il

NBN Sponsor Spotlight: IsraelMall.co.il



“Where are you registered?” was the third most common question I was asked by people in America after I got engaged (“Who actually agreed?” was the first, and the second really isn’t important in his forum).

And so the search began. We looked high and low on the internet, and there was absolutely no online wedding registries where family friends from America could send us the gifts we wanted in Israel (and certainly nothing in English and geared to Olim).

Low and behold, just a few years too late comes IsraelMall.co.il with a brilliant idea I should have thought of first.

They’ve set up the first and only online shopping mall in Israel geared towards English speakers and Olim.

They’ve got linen, pots, dishes, appliances, gifts, furniture, baby stuff, Judaica, and everything else for the house. And for the most part their prices are quite competitive with the other online Israeli stores.

First of all, if you’re about to make Aliyah this is great because you can find out what’s available in Israel and how much it costs and then don’t have to bring it over on a lift. You can order it online and it will be sent to your new home.

If you’re looking for wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, brit, birthday present for your friends or family in Israel, IsraelMall.co.il is a convenient and easy way to shop for them.

I’m actually surprised its taken anyone so long to come up with something so obviously needed.

And of course, it makes sense that IsraelMall.co.il is a sponsor of the Nefesh B’Nefesh International Blogger Convention. Afterall, his fellow Olim are the audience.

So check out IsraelMall.co.il and support your fellow Olim, not because he is a fellow Oleh, but because he’s got a good online shopping mall, with a wide selection with competitive prices on most products.

Like their logo says, "Shopping in Israel has never been easier."

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

25 comments:

Leora said...

I decided to take a peek and see if there's anything I could send my cousins. Wow, are those prices expensive. And nothing all that interesting, either. I'd be better off buying something here in U.S. and then shipping it my cousins.

(this is basically feedback to the sponsor)

JoeSettler said...

These are typical prices that can be found in Israeli stores. Things simply cost more in Israel.

Unfortunately most people in the US come to Israel not expecting the sticker shop that comes along with standard household items.

As someone who does bring in (and ship) stuff from the US, you have to make sure that what you buy is compatible with the Israeli electricity system, and take into account not only the shipping costs, but that the recipients are likely to get hit with taxes when they pick up the item at the Post Office.

And of course if it breaks, where do you get it serviced or replaced locally and for how much?

There's more to the cost then the cost of the item.

Obviously the cheapest way to ship it over is to find a friend or relative going on El Al and give it to them, but how often does that happen.

nadine said...

I've been is Israel for four months and have actually found IsraelMall quite helpful. I have bought a number of things, they've been delivered within a week and the service was very good. I also know that my cousin made a wedding list with them in June. The wedding was in Israel, and they received lots of presents bought online from IsraelMall by all their friends and relatives abroad. A week after the wedding, the whole list of gifts was shipped to their new place and they are now recommending this idea to their friends getting married here.

Commenter Abbi said...

3700 DOLLARS for a treadmill? You can get a very reliable, name brand one on on the Israeli site zap.com for 3700 SHKALIM. Sounds a bit overpriced.

JoeSettler said...

abbi: Go look up the same exact items in the States. They selected top of the line models. The price is in line for the products.

Commenter Abbi said...

Hmm, well now that treadmill seems to be gone from their site. But I looked around at American sites and name brand home treadmill is around $1000 (comparable to the price you can get at zap.com, which would include warranty and service.). A good commercial treadmill is around $5000. So, I'm not sure what type that was, either it was a cheap commercial or an expensive home model.

Also, i couldn't even find that model anywhere for sale in the states or anywhere else (i think the model was called AST?) which sounds fishy to me.

Not all Americans coming here need top of the line everything. I think it's wiser to stock reasonably priced things that are appropriate for an oleh budget and apt size (most pple coming are renting 4 room apartments not 7 room villas. The swing sets on their front page? I don't see how that relates to the average oleh.)

As for service and warranty, I don't see why this is an advantage over the 220 stores in the Lower East Side, where you can get the service and warranty as well.

Commenter Abbi said...

Sorry to keep going, but as I checked out the rest of the site, I'm still a bit surprised- Best Rest mattresses? You can either bring in Sealy or Serta mattresses on your lift or buy them here in Israel. What is the advantage of buying a sketchy brand from this site? Also the baby products- CAM? Not a bad brand, but it's not Inglesina or Peg, which you can buy here for similar prices or maybe a bit more.

And the Soft and Sturdy block set under toys for $150? I just bought the exact same set at Shilav for 160 shekel (maybe 180, it was 2 months ago. I definitely didn't pay over 400 shekel, which this dollar price would be), made by the company Edushape, which is actually an Israeli company. The blocks are made here instead of China, so there's no import tax. Sorry, that's just outrageous and very poor research on the part of the company.

Unfortunately, it sounds like this company is trying to stock its own goods, rather than partnering with established Israeli retailers like Aminach, Shilav, etc. It's nice to have a dream to become the next Amazon, but this isn't the way to go about it.

Commenter Abbi said...

Sorry to keep going, but as I checked out the rest of the site, I'm still a bit surprised- Best Rest mattresses? You can either bring in Sealy or Serta mattresses on your lift or buy them here in Israel. What is the advantage of buying a sketchy brand from this site? Also the baby products- CAM? Not a bad brand, but it's not Inglesina or Peg, which you can buy here for similar prices or maybe a bit more.

And the Soft and Sturdy block set under toys for $150? I just bought the exact same set at Shilav for 160 shekel (maybe 180, it was 2 months ago. I definitely didn't pay over 400 shekel, which this dollar price would be), made by the company Edushape, which is actually an Israeli company. The blocks are made here instead of China, so there's no import tax. Sorry, that's just outrageous and very poor research on the part of the company.

Unfortunately, it sounds like this company is trying to stock its own goods, rather than partnering with established Israeli retailers like Aminach, Shilav, etc. It's nice to have a dream to become the next Amazon, but this isn't the way to go about it.

Gee a Moron said...

Just before Pesach I replaced our aliyah Maytag washer and dryer from 22 years ago. The dryer had been giving us grief for several months and after the third major repair I quit. (The washer is still sitting on our front porch. I tried to give it away to a needy family but there were no takers. Contact me if anyone is interested.)

Anyway, after investigating I decided to import a pair of Whirlpools from one of the 220V shops in New York. The tax is comparatively low - only VAT - on American-made appliances. I paid about $1900 + 1200 shekels including air freight. They arrived four days after my payment from my bank in the US arrived by mail at the store. I cleared them through customs myself which took about three hours at the Maman cargo building at Ben Gurion and I hired a shlepper with a truck who was hanging around the place. I installed the appliances myself.

The IsraelMall comparable pair of machines is about $3200 and they say it will take up to 3 months to deliver. Admittedly the washer looks fancier - more electronic controls but I don't need more than what I got.

Aviva from IsraelMall said...

Commenter Abbi,my name is Aviva, and I am the owner of IsraelMall. Thank you for your comments; as a new business, we welcome all advice. I would be happy to speak with you personally to discuss some of your concerns. Please feel free to call at 08-976-0345.

Anonymous said...

I suspect I am speaking on behalf of many readers when I ask Joe Settler to stop pushing his business interests on The Muqata? Doesn't he have his own blog? We come here to read witty and well crafted blogs about Jameel, not to have shady (and seemingly irrelevant, if this one is anything to go by) marketing deals forced down our throats at every turn.

nadine said...

As a new oleh, treadmills and fancy swing sets aren't exactly our priority. Basics are, and they are on Israelmall at reasonable prices, some kitchenware on sale too. Do bloggers only go online to criticise?

Anonymous said...

No, "Nadine", we don't only go online to criticise, rather to read blogs. And nobody is fooled here.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous 11:45:

Normally, I agree -- and I've asked Joe Settler to tone down the marketing.

However, 2 things to keep in mind.

1. This ad is for JBlogger convention, and NbN is kind enough to send me to the US to accompany the aliya flight next week. The least I can do for a round trip ticket, is besides blogging about the actual aliya flight, is to give some adspace to their sponsors.

2. Bloggers can make extra revenue by the web ads at the right hand side of this blog and occasional posts. However, if you (or others) feel that there are too many ad posts, please let me know (since blog content is my #1 priority)

Nadine: I don't think bloggers only go online to criticize -- I think Commenter Abbi's comments were constructive criticism. I'd be very interested in finding out if she calls Israelmall and discusses her ideas with them.

Commenter Abbi said...

Look, I'm not sure who's behind this venture and if you can't push your company on a blog you contribute to, where can you. That doesn't bother me in the least.

I'm sure IsraelMall is still finding its legs as a company, and I don't mean to stam dis them (How's that for hip hop Hebrish?). But the site needs some focus in terms of product offerings, target consumers and pricing.

JoeSettler said...

Yes anonymous, I have my own blog. But I also guest blog on the Muqata. There are actually a number of guest bloggers on the Muqata -- just check the great contributor list!

Part of my arrangement is I handle technical and revenue issues related to running and maintaining the blog so that Jameel doesn’t have to, and so that he has enough time to concentrate on writing the quality, timely and informative posts you like to read so much.

The Muqata has evolved into a very popular and important blog and it takes more time than just one lone blogger to keep it running and up to date.

You may notice that on occasion Jameel is out in the field reporting live from an event while it is posted onto his blog in real time (or you may not have noticed, or assumed that he is superman, or simply assumed it is your right to get these field reports without questioning how they got to you).

Who do you think is transcribing it for him so you can read what happens before it even hits the news?

These ads help keep the Muqata running in real-time.

Every (or almost every) posted ad clearly states on top that it is an advertisement. If you don’t want to read them, no one is forcing you to. You are hardly inundated with ad posts on this blog.

Of the last 300 posts, a grand total of 23 posts have been advertisements (including a number for Nefesh B’Nefesh – which is sending Jameel and not me on a round-trip flight) – that is a hardly inundated.

As for “irrelevant”, from what we hear, these advertisers have gotten a number happy and satisfied clients from reading the Muqata, which is why we get continually asked to write more.

And as for “shady”, there are no advertisers that I have written about that don’t have give full disclosure as to their identity, how to reach them or exactly what they are selling. You may not like a gun range advertiser, or an online yeshiva, or Nefesh B’Nefesh for that matter, but that doesn’t put them in the “shady” category.

You may not like the specific products that IsraelMall selected to put on his store, but I assume he selected them because that is what he believes or knows his clientele wants to buy. If you think his choice or pricing is wrong, then tell him.

I also don’t buy treadmills, but I personally looked at the small household appliances as that is what I (or my wife actually) do regularly buy (iron, heaters, kitchen appliances, etc.), and there his prices and products match what I pay for them in Malcha. But one thing I did notice is that for the most part he selected quality brands as opposed to the no-names. Perhaps he should carry the no-names too, or perhaps he doesn’t because of the lower quality. His selection isn’t wide yet, but if you have advice there for what he should do to expand that then tell him. He left his number. If he’s smart, he’ll consider the advice.

Seriously though, why all the negativity?

Anonymous said...

Some items seem reasonably priced, others seem quite exorbitant.

However, as with other services marketed at olim (or even just Americans), it's more expensive by definition. Say the word "oleh" and the price skyrockets.

Besides, we all know that Joe just wishes he was as popular as Jameel :-P

tafka pp said...

Nu, Joe, what was the second question?

(You do have too many Adverts, Jameel)

IsraelMall said...

As the co-owner of IsraelMall.co.il, I would like to clarify and respond to some valid (and some not-so-valid) issues and points that were raised by commenters on this blog.

IsraelMall.co.il tries to offer a selection of relevant products at competitive prices, ranging from the top-of-the-line (admittedly more expensive) name brands (often American imports) to the less expensive European and Israeli brands (which are often less familiar to the typical Oleh).

Our goal is to provide the Oleh with a local online shopping presence and experience in English - with a service level he or she would appreciate from the “Old Country”. When you contact us – (and you can even reach me directly by phone), you are dealing with fellow Olim who understand you and speak your language. Not someone who hears a foreign accent and tries to take advantage of you.

We had the experiences with what really are “shady” online and offline stores (not as one commenter loosely bandied the word) when they heard our accent, and that was one of the impetuses for creating IsraelMall.co.il.

We purposely avoid the low-end products - why would we want to deal with a high level of returns and unsatisfied clients?

As a new site, we are still building our inventory and adding new products either as we become aware of them, connect to new importers/suppliers/manufacturers, or receive a demand for them from our clients or potential clients.

As it says on our website, if there’s something you’re looking for, and can’t find, we would love to hear from you.

In fact, commenter abbi mentioned a specific toy brand. As a result we contacted them, and within a few hours, managed to negotiate a deal where we are already selling their products on our site (no small feat when dealing with Israeli companies!).

We consider ourselves to be a very responsive company to what our type (fellow Oleh) of clients want. While you yourself may not want or need the “top of the line anything”, there are actually quite a number of Olim that do. B”H, all kinds of people in all kinds of financial positions make Aliyah. We hope to grow into a position to support every type.

Specific model comparisons aside, “gee a moron” posted an interesting and relevant story.

He(?) ordered something large, traveled out to the airport, got lucky and spent only 3 hours directly with Customs, paid the taxes (VAT in this case, but it would always depend on what he bought) on his item, found and paid a shlepper to bring it back, traveled home – and essentially spent (might I say, wasted?) nearly an entire day of his life retrieving his washing machine which IsraelMall.co.il would have delivered right to his doorstep.

Was it worth it for him (her?)? Maybe, but not every Oleh relishes the thought of spending a day at Customs.

“I'm sure IsraelMall is still finding its legs as a company, and I don't mean to stam dis them (How's that for hip hop Hebrish?). But the site needs some focus in terms of product offerings, target consumers and pricing.”

Quite true, and we thank you for your constructive criticism, and I really do hope you call us at 08-976-0345 and ask to speak to me or Aviva, as we are most definitely always looking for ways to improve our services and offering to our fellow Olim.

Reuven Shenny

Commenter Abbi said...

Hi Reuven and Aviva

I was really impressed that you got those toys on the site so quickly!

I would really like to call you. I currently have all of my kids home so as soon as they get back to gan and I can find a second, I'll be happy to be in touch with you.

JoeSettler said...

pp: I bet you could figure it out with one guess.

henrylow said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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