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5 Ecommerce Post-purchase Irritants

deliveryDigital CommerceecommerceInvoicingonline retailPackagaingReceiptsReturns+-

You would have though that when you finally hit the ’Place Order’ button, most of your troubles would be over. Yet Ecommerce has a number of intangibles which can seriously impact on customer satisfaction if not handled properly. Most of these issues involve being one removed from the source of the service - such that you can’t always just pop into your nearest branch to solve the problem.


I order regularly from all the big players, including of course Amazon, Ebay and John Lewis, and really there have been far too often crinkles in the service, including all of the following:


Broken Delivery Promises

For almost a year after Amazon launched its own Amazon Logistics delivery service I was having delivery issue nearly every week. A packaged promised ’Out for delivery now’ failed to arrive on that day, in fact a couple of times it arrived two days after the confirmed one day delivery.


Often when I order from companies - say John Lewis, I order well before noon, which I would have thought entitled me to despatch by end of day, but all too frequently the despatch does not happen until the following day. A lot of promised ’One Day Delivery’ happens from the point of despatch, which if not on the day your placed your order hardly amounts to one day delivery at all. Even when it says 2-3 days delivery or similar, this is often just despatch, and the promise is frequently broken on that too.


All I’m asking for is a little integrity here! If you say one day delivery - state the cut-off point - 12:00 / 15:00 and then stick to your promise. Often when you order Standard / Free delivery, this means (do not despatch in haste) - rather than just using a cheaper delivery method - say second class post. Frequently I order standard delivery, and it takes 2-3 days to despatch.


Lack of Invoicing / Receipt Detail

This is particularly bothersome for clothing purchases - when you’ve been through the checkout, placed your order etc. and need your receipt to contain the pertinent details so that you can be 100% sure you ordered the correct item. However, far too often the actual product attributes, key references are missing - including size and colour - so you can’t be sure from your receipt that you ordered the correct item.


Similarly when you get a despatch notice from the vendor, it is nice to receive the full details - ideally with picture reference of what you just bought, so that you can validate the purchase and be confident that the correct item/s is on the way.


Poor Packaging

I keep harping on about the need for quality packaging materials, as these can totally make the whole purchasing experience. If something arrives in a tatty outer layer, it immediately lowers the perceived value of the purchase. I want to see minimalist, yet elegant packaging - which is easy to open and reseal, and easy to shred down and recycle - with not too many fiddly extra bits.


A pet annoyance with Amazon is the matryoshka nature of its packaging when on occasion you get a box within a box within a box. Also I get a monthly parcel from Candy Kittens - here the box arrives in an unnecessary polly bag, and the actual cardboard inner is quite tricky to prise apart. They need to ditch the plastic outer and go with a tear-strip on the box!


Stalker Campaign Tracking

So you’ve just bought something from someone - possibly a rubber ducky for a nephew or niece - and following your purchase, and wherever you go on the web you get harassed with prompts for more and different kinds of rubber ducks!


I usually quite like Amazon’s prompt alerts, but if you click on anything on the web or woe-betide buy anything even - you get hounded and harassed in various devious ways for as much as a month after. Sometimes this service is beneficial, but often it is anything but. Also when you share a computer and are attempting to surprise you girlfriend / boyfriend, they may unwittingly already be wise to your activities through just such a service.


Sure you can continually clear your cache and delete your browser history - but you don’t always necessarily remember to do such ...


Tricky Returns

Again a slight bugbear with Amazon - whose returns service is otherwise superb. You just have to click around a bit, fill in form and print off first. Much preferable is an already-included returns slip with tick box options and signature field, including return labels.


This needs to marry up with returnable packaging - best for it to be of the peal-and-seal nature (something Amazon does not do). So that you open with a tear strip, but can then easily peal and reseal the box - filling in the form in 30 seconds and applying the return labels onto the box in designated areas. Next you either drop off at a CollectPlus facility or similar or call for a doorstep pick-up - that’s how simple it should be.

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