Friday, September 25, 2009

Online Shopping and Internet Marketing: A (Bad) Example

This morning I got an email from an online shopping site reminding me that I had sent a gift to a friend on 5th October last year, and did I want to send her one this year too? My first reaction was, "I'm impressed. This is smart marketing."

Then I remembered that when I actually asked my friend a couple of weeks after her wedding if she'd got the flowers, she said she hadn't. I had been sure she had, because I had got a delivery notification, so this was a bit of a shock.

I emailed the shopping site, and after a few days I received a reply that they were "investigating" the issue. After over three weeks of that email, I got another one saying, nstead of keeping your order on hold we have refunded the amount charged to you". (Emphasis mine.)

And they were kind enough to refund my money. My friend later told me that she had received a call from them to confirm that she hadn't received the flowers. As if I hadn't been embarassed enough when I asked if she had received my flowers and she said no, they had to embarass me a second time by asking her to confirm the same thing to them. She was a friend, so it didn't affect our relationship: what if it had been a boss or a client? It would have been very awkward, to say the least.

And this year they remind me that I had sent a gift to her. (I had, but she didn't get it!) They expect me to use their services again. I don't know if they're being extremely optimistic, or just stupid. (Actually, I can guess. Their database doesn't hold accounts of errors, or if it does, someone forgot to filter that... But that equals stupid, don't you think?)

11 comments:

Starry-eyed nut said...

Seems like they want to loose their customers and are going an extra step to ensure it. Do tell me which website, will avoid it like plague?

Suki said...

Oh boy. (Bad) example just about sums it up!

simplypallu said...

An "I knew these things were not meant to work in this part of the world" moment! We just lack the professionalism to do these things the way they're supposed to be done.

Unmana said...

Starry-eyed nut: It's Rediff, actually.

Suki: :-)

simplypallu: I agree. Sad, isn't it?

CafeGive said...

Unmana,

Want a great example of online shopping? Check out www.cafegive.com. A percentage of every purchase made through their widgets goes directly to some awesome causes. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Jenna

lostonthestreet said...

Put up the link of this online shopping company :-)
Hopefully somebody from the company will take note then

indianhomemaker said...

I have had bad experiences, as in receiving a courier opened and repacked very clumsily. I agree these sites are still generally disappointing.

Unmana said...

Jenna: I'm deleting your comment because I don't appreciate spam.

lostonthestreet: As I said above, it's Rediff.

IHM: I agree. I've had more bad experiences: things not delivered on the right day, surprises spoiled because the delivery people called and told the recipient before delivering... But this one just took the cake.

CafeGive said...

Unmana - I didn't mean for my comment to come off as spam. We are just a start up company helping non-profits fundraise through social media. So we are just looking for supporters. Check us out - we are making awesome changes in the world of non-profits.

Unmana said...

CafeGive: Well, you didn't respond to anything in the actual post, and just plugged your site. That translates to spam in my book.

Your blog seems to be US-centric; do you think people in other countries would benefit from your initiative?

CafeGive said...

Hey Unmana - sorry I didn't comment directly about your experience. I was just showing a good example of online shopping. Save the world and get your shopping done (we even have flower companies). Right now we are focused on the US since we are still in beta. But hopefully we will expand globally soon! Any more questions?