A tale of two brands

A tale of two brands

I admit it, I do a lot of shopping online. In fact, some people, my husband and the staff in the mail room at work included, *might* suggest I do too much. To them, I scoff. Shopping is my therapy. And as the joke suggests, I tend to get kicked out of stores if I turn up in my PJ’s, with a glass of wine at 10pm. So online shopping it is.

Groceries, clothing and don’t even get me started on Christmas. It’s the convenience,  the ability to shop around and loyalty to particular brands – even when they are half way around the world. Or just up the road.

I recently placed two orders within a few days of each other.

One was with a small but growing Australian fashion brand, 17 Sundays. A couple of dresses, perfect for the office and casual. Winning.

The second, a grocery order with Woolworths. Which was the same order (well, pretty much) that we place week in, week out. The convenience of not having to spend my weekend in a grocery store, or drag a tired, overwhelmed Poss around after school, draws me back every time.

And unusually for me, but probably not statistically unlikely, given how much I do shop online; there were issues with both.

The order arrived from 17Sundays promptly. I wore one dress straight away (to this event), washed it and wore it again. Then it tore. Having bought things from them before, I was disappointed. There might have been tears. It seemed out of character for the brand. So I emailed them. And I waited.

They responded early the next day, apologising profusely and arranged to send me out a replacement dress via express post. It arrived the next day. From start to finish, two days passed and I had a brand new dress in my hands.

It was a small bump in the road; their immediate and caring response outweighed any inconvenience or disappointment.

You’d think the grocery order would have been straight forward. I mean, we get it delivered each week. To the same place. Almost at the same time.

So, three days after the agreed delivery date, when our order still hadn’t arrived, I started to get annoyed. Ok. I’ll admit, I’d moved well beyond annoyed and moved to a state my family fondly call ‘stabby’.

I called. I waited on hold. I emailed. I messaged them on Facebook. I tweeted. Eventually, I posted on Facebook publicly. Still no groceries.

Eventually our groceries did turn up. Four days since we ordered them and missing a half dozen items, but they were in our hallway, which was a big improvement from wherever they were previously.

A tale of two brands 2

Over a week later, and there have been multiple phone calls with Woolworths; trying to get a refund on the items not delivered, and some sort of explanation as to what went on. Trying to recover the relationship. Giving them a chance to make it right.

Finally I was offered a credit of $30 for my inconvenience. And a baffled apology, but still no explanation or any sort of reason to continue to shop with them. It’s a nice gesture, but honestly it’s disappointing that this is how it ends.

Working in a corporate, I get that it can be hard to put the ‘customer first’ when it comes to these sorts of things. Process meets bureaucracy. Yet, they are backed by a team of people who can investigate issues and often, a budget that can ‘make things right’.

Meanwhile, it’s a given that small businesses need to protect their customers, but they are also often constrained by budgets and resources; responding quickly and appropriately to issues comes with it’s own challenges.

And let’s be clear… in the scheme of things, I fully understand that both of these problems, with both brands, are first world complaints.

However, when I compare the experience with these organisations; they could not be more different.

One brand will continue to get my money. The other won’t. I’ll leave you to work out which is which.

Meanwhile, tell me, do you shop online? Have any horror stories to share?

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Comments

  1. All my horror stories seem to involve brands that use FastWay couriers for their deliveries. It is almost like FastWay don’t want to deliver the package. Nightmare to deal with.

    Oddly I am sitting down planning my next Coles Online order at the moment.

  2. I broke up with Woolworths a while ago. The only thing I will continue to buy there is Don Salami and that is only because no other local place stocks it and it is our favourite on a pizza. If I buy two at once, I don’t need to go back there for a good couple of months and they have a long use by date – the ones I bought this week are March 2016.

    They need to rehash their rewards program because it is utterly confusing and nobody knows what the deal is with it. At least with Coles, I know my points can be redeemed for $. I prefer the simple to understand stuff and it does make me shop at Coles more as a result. However I used to visit all 4 local supermarkets if necessary – Aldi got the bulk of the shop, Coles and Woolies got brand name stuff, IGA for the obscure stuff none of the others stock.

    Woolworths also need to employ more staff because every time I go in there, I wait 20 minutes to check out, even in the 12 items or less line. And then, they need to work on actually being the fresh food people and not the mouldy food people.

    Maybe then I will return, but until then we’re over, Woolworths. 🙂
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  3. I do shop online but there have been tines Woolworths have failed…. Eg. The chicken that expired the day after it was delivered (I expect a few days for a full price chicken)… Still, overall convenience wins out. My real gripe is the way Australia post treats the things I order…. Online shopping has kept the post office alive, after all!

  4. Renee,

    I think you’ve been incredibly restrained in your reaction to Woolworths apathy. I don’t shop o line, I don’t even use the “self service” checkout. I don’t because I prefer to interact with people and crucially compared to you I have the time to do so.

    The few times that I had shopped on line were for musical items and books that were impossible to find. However each of those experiences was not a good one. Incorrect or indeed no goods arriving and money wasted. talking to answering machines and robots that didn’t resolve the problems.

    So I go into the store pay and get a receipt and note the date, time and sales assistants name, that way should their be an issue I have all the relevant information to remedy it. But again I have the time to do so.

    Good luck and hopefully Coles, Adli or IGA will give you better service.

    Ciao for Now.

  5. When online grocery shopping was first introduced, I gave it a go and gave up in the end due to groceries missing, late delivery and poorly selected fresh produce. I’m about to try again, so thanks for the post: Coles here I come.

    • Well worth a shot. I’ve done two orders with them now, and while there was a minor issue with one – they could not have been more helpful in resolving it. It’s such a time saver!

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