Online retailers – listen up

I buy a lot of stuff from online retailers and it never fails to amaze me how bad some aspect of the experience is always poor, seldom do I get a good experience end to end (purchase to delivery).

So, this is Kens 4 step plan for online retailers to raise themselves from ‘one of the crowd’ to ‘the leader’.

google_checkout Step 1 – Get Credibility
The term ‘ID fraud’ is on everyone’s lips right now. You have to give people the confidence to buy from you and that you are not a fly by night outfit that is going to take their money and run.
paypal_logoHow do you get credibility ? get some testimonials, use PayPal as an option for paying, use Google Checkout as an option, at least show me a valid SSL certificate and give some words around how safe it is to do business with you – most people don’t care (really) about the technical aspects of payment security they just want to feel safe – Google feels safe, PayPal feels safe, a statement telling me I’m safe feels safe.

Step 2 – Have Stuff in Stock (or Tell Me If You Don’t)
out_of-stockThis is important, there are a thousand other people out there selling that very same item. if you don’t have it in stock then they’ll just move on to the next one. Hand in hand with this is, “be up-front about the fact if you don’t have it in stock”. If you imply you have it in stock, someone buys and then has to wait 235 days for delivery they will most likely cancel the order (in which case you just cost yourself admin time for nothing) and you can also be sure they will not be using your services again – better to be honest and hope they come back than try to force the sale and know they’ll never come back

boxesStep 3 – Don’t Rip Me Off With Shipping / Delivery Charges
Ship at (or close to) cost. People do not appreciate being ripped off (and that is often all it can be called) with excessive shipping, handling and delivery charges. You want to charge me £8 for shipping and handling for a book that you send me in a small padded envelope, I’m going to get annoyed and look elsewhere. Everyone (and by that I mean everyone) has cottoned on to the retailers’ great money spinner idea of making ‘shipping’ a profit centre. 

Step 4 – Ship It Fast
This is my personal bug bear – when I choose to buy something, I have persuaded myself I had a ‘need’ (or more likely a ‘want’) for it. I took the plunge and ordered it from you, I’m excited about my new purchase. I do not want to wait 5 – 8 business days for delivery. Actually I see no need for this every to happen (unless you are bound by the delivery service) – as a retailer / warehouse manager you are either keeping up with orders or you are getting behind, if it’s the latter then you need more staff because things will just get worse (if you continue to sell stuff, which you probably hope you do); if it’s the former then just get the 3 day continuous backlog cleared and you can then keep up with a continuous 0 day backlog and your customers are all happy.

Do these and you’ll get my custom…

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