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I was invited by Collective Bias to participate in an on-line shopping project for the children’s store, Hartstrings.  Though I wasn’t very familiar with the name, as soon as I got on-line, I was very familiar with the styles.  Classic, traditional pieces perfect for family portraits, holidays, special occasions and vacations.  I know I boast about being a hip mom of four, but secretly, I love gingham! And bows! And Smocking! And shortalls!  I love dressing my kids up in coordinating outfits, and I love the classic look of the babies in the cotton pique sets with grosgrain trims.  Happy camper!

I was asked to shop both the previous site and their new site, which launched March 1st. While shopping on the original site, there was a warehouse sale happening.  The Sale banner was the first thing that caught my attention, so naturally, I checked it out.  Having never been on the site before, I didn’t really know what to expect.
What I loved:
  • Pretty easy to navigate, found almost everything I was looking for.
  • Loved how I could shop by gender and size.  Time is of the essence for me, so anything that makes shopping quicker is key.
  • I could match up boy/girl, baby/boy, or family and it would pop up the items that went together in each collection.  Love that!
  • I appreciated how the shopping cart showed the original price and the sales price, so I could see how much I was saving.
  • The shopping cart also had a cool feature that allowed me to pick an item, then shop according to what was available in each size.
  • Size chart was available on every page.  Great feature because I often find those are tricky to locate on other sites.
Room for Improvement:
  • I couldn’t find everything.  I would pick pieces to an outfit, then it would mention hair bows, but I couldn’t find any.
  • The selection felt limited, which could have been due to the sale going on.
  • Shipping process and check out seemed fine.  There were no obvious glitches and went pretty smooth.  However, I thought my items would have arrived by now as I ordered them a week ago.
Even though the quantities were a bit limited, I still had a hard time choosing.  I thought about what the kids already had, and added some new pieces to give those items a new look. We have family portraits coming up and I want them to coordinate.  I chose the khaki and white stripped cotton shorts for my older son to match the ones the twins already have. I also picked out three denim oxford shirts, all on-sale, 1 for each of them.  For my daughter, a floral print that was on sale, along with a white tuxedo blouse and, of course, I couldn’t resist a Balinese inspired sundress, not on-sale.
When I went back to visit the new site, I noticed right away the difference.  Though the old site was just fine, but I must say, the new site is quite impressive and enticing.  It seemed like there was an abundance of product, and so much more to choose from.  In addition to the classic, heirloom pieces, there is now a larger, designer boutique-like shop that appears to cater to the “big girls”.
What I loved:
  • Aesthetically pleasing.  I loved the colors and the bold, big pictures.
  • The site had a more mature, groomed, feel about it.  Kind of like it grew-up a bit.
  • I could easily find what I was looking for under the header tabs, including the hair bows!
  • I really liked how things were categorized by Special Occasion, New Arrivals, Sales, and Brands.  This made it a little quicker to get through the site and to where I needed to go.
  • The Brother/Sister feature is a great way to pair up matching/coordinating outfits from the same collection in one spot.
  • The shopping cart was very user friendly and not time consuming.  I knew where to find everything and how to input needed information, including promo codes and gift cards.
  • I also enjoyed being able to effortlessly find their facebook, twitter and blog accounts so I could follow them right away.
What I Missed:
  • It may have been on there, but I couldn’t locate the shop by size feature.
  • I also missed the ability to shop by family themes.
Overall, I didn’t really have many complaints about utilizing either site.  When I look back through my photos, the newer site seems obviously updated and makes a bigger statement.  There is an element of excitement and sense of urgency to shop and purchase items.  I love the larger selection in the designer lines.  It is a beautiful site and I plan on shopping there again.
To see more from my shop, visit my Hartstrings Google+ Story.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  All opinions are my own.