Monday, December 29, 2014

Why Have Online Retailer Satisfaction Levels Dropped?

It is hard to believe that many in the industry are surprised that customer satisfaction ratings for major online retailers are down again for this year. Maybe the people that analyze the data and/or write the recaps do not order very much from major online retailers.


What is ironic is that the latest statistics came out within hours of separate research showing a noteworthy increase in the amount of mobile shoppers during the 2014 holiday season.


Consumers appear to be more willing than ever before to make a bigger percentage of their retail purchases online. Yet, retailers appear as not being ready, willing, or able to catch up to the increased demand.


Solving this problem should be relatively simple for retailers, whether for an online division of a retail store or a primarily online entity.


For the retailers with stores across the nation, such as Target, WalMart, and Best Buy, they all need to make their online wing more of a priority than it appears to be. They often fail to realize that their customers expect these web sites to be updated and provide necessary information at all times.


We the consumer should never again have to experience going through the steps of logging in and entering information to order a product to THEN learn it is “out of stock” or “not available”. It is really time to start complaining to the Federal Trade Commission every time this happens. Retailers should not be allowed to advertise an item if they can’t provide it immediately. Or at the very least, tell consumers they can’t get it right away at the beginning. If they are willing to wait, let it be by choice ahead of time.


There are more reasons why the likes of Amazon and QVC are also among the online retailers showing a drop in consumer satisfaction. Sorry, but when selling products online, especially when online only (such as the two just mentioned), these retailers should always be ready to ship immediately.


When ordering something online, we should EXPECT immediate shipment. The retailer is supposed to have the item(s) ready for immediate sale, expect orders, and have arrangements in place to ship within a few hours. If the order is placed at 3 AM, and the location is closed until 8 AM, the notice of shipment should come by e-mail no later than 10 AM.


If a retailer is not staffed enough to handle a large amount of orders, that should only be the case for one day until help is called in. It isn’t hard to hire people to box and send items these days. If a retailer has so many sales it can’t keep up with shipping, it means they are generating enough revenue to hire enough workers to keep up with production.


As The Frustrated Consumer sees it, with more consumers ordering online, there should be fewer delays in the fulfillment of orders.


I happened to order something via Amazon a couple weeks ago, and waited more than a week to receive it, when the “Your Item Shipped” e-mail didn’t arrive until the second business day after it was ordered.


Before I received the package, I received a follow-up “Satisfaction Survey”. What did it ask? It asked how I liked the packaging.


Great! Amazon was more concerned about the packaging when it took them more than two days after the order was placed to send it. If only they were half as concerned about the time it supposedly took to package it.


Now it is “news” that Amazon is among those companies with a lower customer satisfaction rating.


Hopefully this situation will improve. Of course, we won’t know for a while. I’m betting it will take them several business days before any of their decision makers decide to read the research.


For those that missed it, here is one of the stories about this:








Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pulling Out The Staples

It's one of those seemingly minor things that the majority of people don't give a second thought to, and don't complain about. Not complaining about consumer issues is not a good thing.

For the past few years, Staples has been among office supply sources offering a credit for returning finished printer cartridges to their stores to be recycled. Just a few weeks back, I got a $6.00 credit for bringing in three of my recently used cartridges.

Last week, I was going in to Staples for something unrelated, and, of course, used the opportunity to bring in two finished cartridges. When I handed them over, I was then told that "the program has been changed". The rep said something about how much I need to buy over a period of time, and told that I would not receiving any credit for these. Sure enough, my receipt showed "$0.00" for my returning the cartridges.

It is true that a $4.00 credit isn't worth this time time to deal with. But that isn't the point. Staples had been giving these credits for a few years (that I know of). If they were giving away "too many" of these credits, it really meant that they had a successful promotion to guarantee return business. If they weren't giving away very many of these credits, there shouldn't have been any reason to mess around with this promotion. This was not something they only did on a limited basis.

However, this action hurts them more than it hurts me. I can simply start throwing out my finished printer cartridges, and not have a reason that in the past would get me to go specifically to Staples. For years, I would often go there even though their nearest location to both my home and business is further than a couple of their remaining competitors.

This is nowhere near as strange as when OfficeMax did away with their Perks program a few years ago and took away a huge reason for frequent shopping there. And it wasn't long after that when that company's problems began.

While it's true that these businesses don't have to provide regular customers with additional benefits, taking them away is another story.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Think Before You Promote

There is nothing wrong with AMC Theatres sending out special offers to its e-mail list. But there is something wrong with, on January 25th during the coldest winter in years, sending out a promotion for a free ICEE - when you purchase one. Oh my!

Granted, doing this is probably the least costly promotion they could implement, but the idea is to give people reasons to visit their theatres. It's a lot cheaper to stay home and enjoy a hot chocolate.