After more than a decade and a half of being an avid online shopper, it’s amazing just how frustrating Canadian e-commerce shopping can be. Whether doing business on a USA-based site operating in Canada, or Canadian-based sites, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Sure, there are a few bright lights around, like Well.ca, for example, where I’ve enjoyed great service in the past. Cineplex continues to evolve and innovate, streamlining the customer experience at every turn. But, many sites continue to create frustrating experiences, leaving me wondering if we’ve lost focus on the basics.
My most recent experience – purchasing a new computer (ok, so it’s a desktop, and not a Mac, or laptop, but that shouldn’t matter), and a monitor. Let’s leave out the frustration around finding desktop computers these days (again, don’t judge). I finally settled on a Dell computer, and a touchscreen (ah, redemption) monitor from HP, purchased from Best Buy. Simple, right? They’ve both been at this for years now. Should be just a few clicks, and Bob’s your uncle. Well, no. Not even close.
BestBuy.ca: After placing my order, I waited for several days before I received an email asking me to call in. Really, I’ve used this credit card a gazillion times (yes, I’m one of those who knows my credit card number) online, and Best Buy wants a call to verify my information. Turns out, perhaps I included the wrong phone number on the billing information. But seriously, do YOU know what phone number is associated with your credit card (home, work, cell)? Oy, after 4 phone calls, and 2 escalations, and several emails, they finally “agreed” to send out the monitor, along with the cable I ordered. No other site I’ve ever used has cared about ensuring the phone number is an exact match to what the bank has on file.
Oh, did I mention cable? Sure, I bought a cable because the product description said it only came with a power cable. And listed under accessories, the site offers 3 cables to purchase in order to connect the monitor to the computer. So, I bought a cable. And, when I received the monitor, it had 3 — yes 3 — cables inside. Good for HP – that’s just awesome. But now I have a return to make at Best Buy. I guess I could have just gone to the store in the first place.
Dell.ca: Ordered the desktop. I didn’t pick the model based on the fact that the site says “Smart Selection ships [next day’s date here]” – but that sure was a great sales proposition. So, I didn’t customize the computer at all. I wanted it shipped out the next day, as noted on the site. The next day I get the order confirmation, and the expected shipping date – 2 weeks out. Really? Really! Impossible I say. This is Dell. They’ve been doing this for years. They know what they’re doing. The confirmation must be wrong. Wrong. The rep over chat says they sometimes have inventory issues. Sure, but why does it still say ship tomorrow on the site? The rep says, they just haven’t updated the site. And after a week, it’s still not updated.
We can do better. And we need to do better. Here’s hoping, as the web continues to unfold, we’ll remember to focus on the basics of delivering solid e-commerce experiences, instead of taking our eye off the prize, making social networking priority one. Remember, bad experiences still travel faster and further than the good ones.
The plot thickens… After downloading my @Microsoft Office which I purchased with my @Dell computer, I discovered, for my $99, I had purchased a 1 year subscription. I don’t know about you, but if you were buying a subscription service, I’d think you’d want to know about it. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to find information on the Dell.ca website that indicates it is. You can only find this detail if you know the product code for MS Office 365. And, you would not see it if you followed the buy flow for purchasing a computer.
Needless to say, I contacted Dell. Initially, they suggested I was mistaken, that I had surfed their site, left the buy flow, and purchased MS Office separately. They also suggested, as the product is called 365 I should have known it was good for a year. After looking at the site them selves, they finally capitulated, and looked after my issue.
That said, after several days after recognizing the error, Dell has yet to make any changes to the Canadian site, which clearly misrepresents the product.
connecting.the.dots. one at a time | JIH | Enjoy!