Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Web Hints - Fast Delivery or Snail Mail?

Now that we're firmly lodged in the online era with online shopping reaching its highest growth rate for two years (source: IMRG/Capgemini) what is it about the very basics of internet retailing that some retailers just do not seem to be able to grasp?

I'm well aware that this is a constant moan of mine but I am continually staggered by some of the activities (or lack of them) perpetrated by some really quite large online sellers.

To give you an example; I recently placed an order with one such (who I'm not going to name), but a very large international retailer who failed to deliver their goods to me within two weeks. I called them and cancelled it, asking if I would receive a confirmation by email, which they said I would. And of course I did not - I hope they reply to me soon.

Theirs is a major example of how not to offer service, and then what not to do when it goes wrong! And if you ask my privately I will tell you who they are..............and if you know who you are you need to get your act together fast, or you deserve to fail.

In this fast growing market-place you cannot afford to think that you can get away with not offering a top level service and not making it absolutely clear to your visitors and customers that you do so. That means shouting about it from your home page and on every page of your website.

The more delivery options you can offer, the more sales you will make. It's as simple as that.

Essential are standard delivery (preferably free) and an express service, with express being next day with a cut-off time. Also if possible offer Saturday delivery.

If you are not in a price competitive market (ie offering branded goods that are price sensitive because so many others are offering them) such as electronics, cameras and the like, but are offering one-off products, then test building your basic postage rate into your price and see what happens - and if you do this announce it everywhere.

Otherwise test free delivery anyway. You may well be surprised by the results.

What you must do is offer an express service. We as online consumers now expect this. If you do not, then we may well go somewhere else because we may need delivery tomorrow, and if you can't supply you can be sure someone else can, and will, and will welcome our order with open arms.

Then (and this gets worse), we will remember that you didn't offer us the service we were looking for and we most likely won't return.

If this seems a small matter for the online retailer believe me it isn't. The competition is only going to hot up and you have to get every single detail right to be in there with a chance. Don't complain to me that you are short staffed and can't cope with having to go to the post office every day. You want to be part of this amazing, fast-growing marketplace? You have to take the pain with the gain and there is huge gain to be had.

Just back from an amazing trip to Dallas, fantastic buildings, amazing food and stupendous margaritas, not to mention excellent company and interesting work. I'm looking forward to going back. And to have a chance to properly check out North Park Mall - Dallas's top level beautiful, huge shopping mall where Nieman Marcus and Nordstrom nestle invitingly beside Armani Exchange, J Crew, Bath and Body Works, Hollister, Bebe and ....................the list is huge.
For me, as a fully paid up shopaholic to only have had time to dive into Abercrombie and buy a pair of flip-flops for the daughter was, quite frankly, appalling.

Inevitably the kids managed to break the washing machine, which is no joke in this house but thankfully I managed to get fixed within two hours of my getting back. Now why couldn't they have done that? Just don't ask.

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