Restoring Faith in Buying Things Online2September 22nd, 2012Personal
Many of the irregular (you can’t be that regular with how I often I post here!) readers of this blog may well recall me having a bit of a whine about delivery issues with products bought online causing me to question whether or not I actually wanted to continue making purchases from websites.
There was a whole palava with the delivery company Yodel that culminated in my getting rather irate and ranty online – but ultimately – this got me nothing (except a whole load of Yodel related web traffic, and the ability to see with the peaks and troughs in traffic on these terms when they are having bad days/weeks).
I kept that post updated with my progress, which ended up with me just getting a refund from the supplier & vowing to keep away from Yodel wherever possible.
So, what has happened since – did I lose my enthusiasm for purchasing online? Well, no, of course I didn’t, it’s way to easy to do it, and it typically ends up being cheaper than the high street.
I have found myself continuing to buy things online. Amazon’s allure remains strong, it’s too easy to buy various books, CDs and films from there (as well as office essentials lately), but I have found myself tending towards digital downloads of late – their MP3 store and Kindle bookstore are way, way too easy to buy from, and I also geeked out recently buying a NAS/personal cloud harddrive and media streaming Blu Ray player.
I’ve continued to have a few encounters with Yodel – one of which scared me a little, as they left a bunch of birthday presents unattended by my front door, in pretty much plain sight. That could have been disastrous, but we got lucky in that it wasn’t raining that hard, and at least they delivered it, without leaving it in a bin like many tales I’ve heard about them since.
I will admit though – there have been successful Yodel deliveries too – they seem fine as a delivery company with anything that can fit through the letterbox – I’ve consistently had issues with the larger packages, and still do my utmost to avoid them wherever possible.
I also gave Sports Direct another try, after my issues that led to my initial rant – I found their customer service had much improved since that encounter, and managed to get a new t-shirt for playing football in from them too.
In fairness again to Yodel – they appear to be trying to take some of the feedback they’ve been getting on board. They respond on Twitter now, which was a major gripe – they were impossible to get hold of via any channels that I tried at all.
The lessons I’ve learned from this are going to encourage me to get my Christmas shopping done and dusted as early as possible this year, so as to avoid some of the delivery periods where things will be going nuts for couriers and customers alike.
I’m happy to feel good about buying things online again – it really irritated me as an digital marketer that I’d lost faith in this – as I said before, I’ve always felt an online evangelist, and it was not great to lose faith in something I’d been encouraging others to take part in for so long.
For these markets to continue to grow though, its not just going to be about throwing up a website and starting to sell online. Distribution systems are only going to come under further pressure as time goes on, and uptake increases, and I think that sellers need to bear in mind how their courier selections reflect on them as a business. I understand that margins are tight, but you are in danger of losing repeat custom if you go down the cheapest delivery options and let people down in the process.
But this is also about the user – one thing that I’ve started to do more of with my online ordering is paying for better delivery options. I think as customers, if we accept that we aren’t going to pay for delivery, then we need to be realistic about how that free service will be delivered. I don’t know that its ideal, but I’m coming round to the mindset of “you don’t get nothing for free” – so by paying a few quid, I expect more from it – and demand more from it. I’m yet to be let down by this, though as ever with these things, I don’t expect it to never-endingly perfect. Hopefully, this will draw a line under this topic for me now!
Over and out…