This year for Christmas, for relatives that lived in other cities and provinces, I opted to buy their gifts online and have them sent directly to their homes. In the past, I would have bought the items locally and then had to take the double wrapped item (once with Christmas wrapping and a second time for mailing and return addresses and stamps) to the post office to send them on their merry way. Buying online is much easier. But not all e-retailers allow the shopper to distinguish an order purchased for oneself vs one purchased as a "gift". Since I regularly name names, the e-retailer in question here is Futureshop, the seller of electronics and appliances. I purchased a Kobo e-book reader for my niece, but all I could do in the checkout process was have it sent to her address. There was no option for a gift message (e.g. Merry Christmas and a belated Happy Birthday!). And as a regular purchaser from Futureshop, I know that all that was included with the item was a packing slip, which is probably not usable for an exchange (e.g. to exchange the "hot pink" I selected for "ice blue", or to upgrade/downgrade the edition). I can understand not necessarily providing gift wrap service, or allowing me to choose when the order is shipped (so that it arrives very close to Christmas instead of 3 weeks early as I take advantage of a sale), but the only way my niece would know it was from her Uncle was the presence of my name on the billing address.
The Frustrated Shopper
James Fong 060001NWFX JFONG@CA.IBM.COM 355 Visits
James Fong 060001NWFX JFONG@CA.IBM.COM 221 Visits
I have a perfect example to share today about e-retailing and the importance of the physical store. I recently purchased a couple blazers from Moores and one required alterations. I went to pick up the altered blazer today and when I tried it on, I noticed that there was a ripple on either side of the shoulder that I did not notice when I initially purchased the item. I tried to point out the deficiency in the blazer and the store assistant responded that it might be due to the hanger that it was on (it was the store provided hanger). I tried to point out that I didn't see the problem the other day and that the store assistant did not point out the problem. The store assistant's response was that someone else helped me the other day and that he couldn't comment. The store assistant offered to further alter the garment at a cost of $22. I was not happy.
In today's e-retailing environment, shoppers often use the online/mobile channel to avoid poor customer service. For garments that often need tailoring, it is hard to avoid going into the store to try the item on and getting measured for alterations. Some retailers are finding success with online build-to-order garments such as jeans and shirts after complete measurements are provided.
Back to my frustrating shopper experience -- what's even more sad about this story is that when I asked another store assistant who the store manager was, I was pointed to the individual I was already experiencing poor customer service from. I had no one to escalate my situation to so I looked up the Customer Service number on the company's website and talked to them on my mobile phone while still in the store. The Customer Service agent apologized for the poor customer service, asked me to pay for the alterations, and committed to sending me a gift certificate to cover the further alterations. Will I buy from this store again -- maybe, maybe not.
Frustrated Shopper Suggestion - Physical stores need to provide exemplary customer service to meet the needs of those that need, or want, to come into the store. Storefront associates are ambassadors of the brand and every interaction either increases, reinforces, or decreases brand loyalty.
That's all for now. Gotta go shopping!