Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Online Shopping Experience

I was very excited when I received my Quick Curve Ruler this week. As I opened the package, I was reminded of all of my online shopping experiences over the years and the argument that online shops are killing bricks and mortar retail. I am happy to shop bricks and mortar retail to buy what I need, but if I can't get either the product or the services, I will look online.

Let me take you on a journey ... I purchased the Quick Curve Ruler and I received a message a few days later saying it was in the mail. When it arrived it was cleanly wrapped, and when I opened it I found not only the ruler, but inside some lovely ribbon a pattern (which I didn't expect) and a lovely note.

The note was a nice touch, personal and a demonstration of the ruler as well.

It made me feel happy that I made the decision to purchase this product.

Over my many online purchasing years, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum. From missing parcels, to beautifully wrapped "gifts" that arrived in the mail.

The worst, would have been when I purchased a clock from Domayne, which is the "online arm" of the Harvey Norman stores. After the purchase I received an email telling me that it was in the mail. After three weeks after the purchase I emailed them to ask them where my order was, and there was no answer for several days. So I rang and was eventually told to ring the store that the order was sent to. I chased up the number and rang them and they told me that they were out of stock.

After ringing Sydney back and kicking up hell, Melbourne rang me and told me that they had just received stock and that it would be in the mail shortly. The clock arrived, shabbily wrapped box (re-used) and the product was broken. Luckily the Hubby manged to fix it. I couldn't think of anything worse than having to try and return something to shop that clearly didn't want my business.

There was a good opportunity for Domayne to include a brochure, a thank-you or even gift wrap the product. But the opportunity was lost. They assumed that all I wanted was a product, what I also wanted was service, customer service.

Compare this with Portmans. Delivery of your chosen piece of clothing in 2-3 days when you purchase online. No frills with Portmans orders, just the garments plastic wrapped and sent via express. It would be nice for the product to be gift wrapped, but the product is still high quality and promptly delivered so I can overlook the giftwrap experience. The communication between Portmans and the customer is promoting new products and specials. Not a week goes by when I don't receive something from them. I have never received any customer emails from Domayne .. another opportunity lost.

Another great online shop is Top3 in Sydney. Purchases arrive promptly, wrapped and if you are a first time customer a lovely Membership card is included for future purchases. I get an email every time there are new products launched through the web site.

Lark is also another great online shopping experience. I purchased lots of stuff through Lark for birthdays and Christmas last year and all purchases arrived promptly with a nice thank-you. Emails are received regularly telling me of specials and new products. Which of course draw me into their web once again!

Do you have an online shop?

How do you make your shopping experience special for your online customers?

Share your thoughts with me!


Nicole said...

Great post Margaret - thank you. I have a webshop and how other businesses process their online orders is a topic of great interest to me. Of course I wish to give great customer service too.

I like to email as soon as I can after the order arrives, thanking them for the order and advising a day when it will be posted (usually the next working day). Then I email again to say that it has been posted and to please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Orders are sent with a personalised thank you note, hand written of course! As I sell vintage clothing, they're wrapped in acid free tissue paper and brown paper packaging or box (depending on the size of the parcel).

Your post has given me ideas; perhaps gift wrapping or a recommendation to subscribe to the blog.

CurlyPops said...

I often wonder about the same things. I'm always surprised when I don't receive a confirmation of my order by email.

When I receive orders, I always email a thankyou immediately and let the customer know exactly when I'll be posting their order.
They're always wrapped and tied with with yarn with a thankyou postcard and a business card. I usually add in a little freebie with large orders. You just never know when they may want to order again!

Bron66 said...

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a top from They were very efficient, friendly and welcoming. It really made me feel like buying more from their store!