Archive for May 13th, 2008

Trading on the Internet

If you are purchasing anything on the Internet and it is being despatched by any means other than the Royal Mail (which is beyond redemption) what sort of delivery notification is acceptable to you?

Bearing in mind that the Internet, unlike the post, is in the “here and now”. We can order in seconds so delivery in weeks or, to a lesser extent, days, is just no longer acceptable.

If you order from Tesco’s website, they will not only give you a day, but will also give you a two hour slot when they will call. And if you order your life-juice from Majestic Wines, they will do the same, but woll often, if you order early enough, deliver the same day. And they will ring you to arrange a time|!

Having to stay in for a whole day, especially when you are uncertain they will even call that day, is just no longer acceptable. We accept that Tesco and Majestic always have a branch near you, so a two hour slot for them is no big deal. National companies are different. But there is no reason why they cannot offer a morning or afternoon slot, some even give a four hour slot. We are all busy people, yet they expect us to wait in at their beck and call.

Websites differ from company to company. Some are very good and make it easy to order. Others are just terrible and one gives up in despair and Googles the next supplier. The world wide web has been around since 1991, the Internet since the fifties, but many companies just don’t understand how to make money trading on the web.

The people who do know, have their own servers and have the whole ordering position so automated that, although you have ordered and paid, and have received your invoice, and the money transferred out of your credit card, the first human in the company who knows you have contacted them is the warehouse man who collects your product and wraps it up for the courier. This is the only way to really compete on the Internet as people expect low prices and if you want to stay in business and make a profit, you have to totally automate, and trade in bulk.

Amazon normally have good prices (although I have just purchased an HP C7280 direct from HP which was £149 instead of £199 from Amazon) and one is willing to put up with no ability to telephone, and very difficult to leave them a message. However, if you don’t have low prices and still make it difficult for a personal contact you are defeating the objective of buying low with no customer support, or paying full prices and still not getting customer support.. This is just not on.

We won’t even go into the realms of 0870, 0871 and 09xx numbers!

What we want is either full customer service at high street prices, or a good automated site offering extremely low priced items. Preferably both, but we need to be a little reasonable here.

It is not as hard to “complain” with a faceless website as you might imagine. “Do it my way”. I complain by simply going to the next company on the Google list. If they haven’t made it easy for me to complain, then they just won’t know they have lost any business. That is the fastest way to go into liquidation.


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