Cooking.com : Is It Good?

Earlier this month, I was asked by Cooking.com to do a review of their site. I was sent $50 in gift certificates to buy something from them in order to do the review. [I want to get the details out there up front, so you can decide whether or not I’ve compromised whatever journalistic integrity I may have had.]

I’m still not exactly sure how one can review a website, but I asked fans of gezellig-girl.com on Facebook what this review should include, and I got some pretty good questions.

How good the website was to use: I found it a little difficult and overwhelming to navigate through, frankly. For instance, after looking around for a while, I found an interactive selection guide, buried halfway down in their cookware page, which will display only the cookware that meets your specific needs (non-stick, cast iron, oven-safe, and so on). It was easy to use and incredibly helpful in finding what I wanted (I used it to pick a new cast iron skillet), but why this feature isn’t front and center when you click cookware, I have no idea.

How fast and accurate was the shipping: Surprisingly fast, particularly as the aforementioned skillet I bought was backordered, but it arrived at my door several days before it was going to be back in stock. However, this brings up another downside to the site: it’s not immediately obvious what’s out of stock when looking at a list of items. Scroll through this page of casseroles… did you pick up that the ones with a tiny “Info” button (rather than one saying “Buy”) are out of stock right now? (I know I didn’t.)

How competitive are the prices: The prices, even on their sale items, appear to be on a par with Amazon.com, although a few items I checked on were a couple dollars more expensive on Cooking.com. More importantly, unlike Amazon (and really, unlike most major online retailers these days), there’s no free shipping of any sort. In fact, their shipping process seems a bit byzantine: “Approximately $4.99 for the first four pounds + $0.50 for each additional pound. Actual shipping charges may be lower or higher.” And “there may be more than one shipping charge applied to your order,” depending on if your item ships from a third-party vendor. I bought a (much-needed) digital scale, which shipped directly from a vendor ($6.99) and the skillet shipped from Cooking.com (for $7.74) — so, nearly $15 for shipping two items, both of which are currently selling for the same price from Amazon with free shipping besides.

So… is it good? …Eh. I can’t give it an outright “no” here, just because the site is absolutely enormous and has items that someone must be looking for. Surely some cooks are just absolutely bereft without a Le Creuset citrus juicer in Caribbean, and I assume many people don’t avoid Paula Deen and Rachael Ray like a fresh dog turd on a hot summer sidewalk — but I’m not in either of those potential market segments. For the average online shopper, a cook who’s looking for something not very specific and for not too much money, I’m sorry to say that you probably want to look elsewhere.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

4 thoughts on “Cooking.com : Is It Good?

  1. I ordered something from the site about six months ago–ironically in light of this review, something I searched for on Amazon and was referred to cooking.com through Amazon–and I kind of remember something hinky about the shipping. That they sent me a “We’re happy to tell you your order has shipped!” email a day after the item actually arrived, or something, and not having my order status updated at all.

    And I clearly remember that it took me several tries to get unsubscribed from their mailing list.

    So, yeah, not awful if they’ve got what I want, but not the first place I go looking for it.

    1. Yeah, I’m still not sure who their target market is, other than the aforementioned lovers of Food Network chefs (or “chefs,” rather).

      It’s a bit like… they’re relying on the fact that their name is cooking.com and therefore they MUST be the best for cooking gear, because HELLO THEY ARE COOKING DOT COM AFTER ALL.

      Between that and the clunky site design, the whole shopping experience feels like 1998.

  2. That is kind of a … strange solicitation. “Here’s $50 in gift certificates, what do you think of our site?” The carte blanche of it is what I think I’d find daunting, like, in what sense were they expecting to be critiqued? The integrity of the merchants they promote? The web design, seeking QA input? The substance of the articles, the dressing of the articles?

    If you can use the gift certificates, awesome.

Comments are closed.