Friday, 1 February 2008

Retail is detail

A well known clothing retailer offers free delivery for all items when the combined spend online exceeds £30. In the recent sales a customer who bought salegoods online plus other non-sale items was disappointed when he was told several days later that, due to demand, the sales items could not be supplied and irritated extremely when that meant that the combined total of the goods to be delivered was now below £30 and therefore liable to a delivery charge of £3.50.
Eventually the customer's cries of indignation prevailed and the goods were delivered free of charge, but not before their trust in buying online from the retailer had been badly shaken.

Several questions come to mind

* why couldn't the system immediately advise that the sales items were out of stock, thus avoiding all the subsequent problems?
* why couldn't the computer system pick up the anomaly of a customer losing a benefit because of non- availability, so that it could be looked at and if need be, overridden?
* why wasn't this sort of glitch identified when the system was being set up?

Trust on the internet is key for buyers. Lose that trust and the customers not only never come back they will pass the word to others of their poor experience. The downside of online shopping is much bigger than most people imagine.

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