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.
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?