For e-tailers, creating a good and lasting impression end-to-end of the buying process is key. This post is personal but very much inspired by my consulting work. I have been shopping online for the past ten years, with more or less loyalty to a chosen few. With time, I’ve become a demanding customer showing near-zero tolerance to e-tailers who don’t hold their promises, or rather who don’t believe they have promises to hold. This is perhaps no longer the case in North America but here in France, it is.
Traditional relailers going online or pureplayers across Europe have yet to grasp the idea that this channel must be part of an integrated marketing strategy and that online shoppers are as fussy (if not more) than in-store customers. I have been through the worst client experiences with moments of truth that killed the relationship. Lets list a few : late delivery, slight product defect, erroneous display (color is a popular one), poor (discourteuous) customer service, no integration to back office apps, no product delivery follow-up, product return lost in transit, packaging in poor condition.
So when i decided to test a new pure player,well, lets just say I was biased to begin with, and the smallest flaw would have been reason enough to call it quits. The site was good enough : useful search filters, pages downloaded fairly quickly, latest browsing features for less clics, etc.. Fulfillment went smoothly. The aftersales mails mentioned UPS and other services. I followed my delivery remotely. The package arrived on time, delivered by a curtuous and cheerful person. At this point, I was in high spirits. You’re probably waiting for the bubble to burst, right? Wrong. The packaging was in line with the image of the store (big bonus, there), inside, the two products were carefully packaged with high-quality protective gear (bonus no2) and, and a light floral sent tickled my senses (bonus no3). My thought at that given moment “Ok, now, let’s not get carried away, you still have to take a look at the merchandise.” In short, the two items matched well with the online showcase (color, design, etc..). That same day, I received a follow-up mail and survey. For a perfect score of 10.
So this is a nice way to begin a relationship. To conclude, flawless, end-to-end buy, makes for a repeat buy. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’ll give way to loyalty but it definitely is a step in the right direction. Now, only time will tell if I’m worth their investment.