A drive towards domestic e-commerce.

The Facts:

1. One Birthday
2. Two Roommates With No Clue
3. A Search
4. A Decision Based On Service
5. An Experience
6.The Result

One Birthday

It was my roommate’s birthday. We wanted to let him know we care. Covid-19 makes traditional celebrations difficult.

But we had to do something.

Two Roommates With No Clue

James, my roommate and I bashed our heads together and decided to buy something online. Great! PS4 controllers, two of them. The three of us could then enjoy time together over the forthcoming lockdown.

The birthday boy was fond of his games. It would be a continued celebration so to speak. Something we could come back to repeatedly. Playing together and enjoying one another’s company.

His birthday was the following Friday. We had 13 days.

A Search

What were we looking for?

Admittedly, we wanted off-brand controllers and for the full delivery to take place within our time frame. We 100% could have planned this better. Nevertheless, we knew it could be done. The internet is a big place, you always have options.

James being the hero he is, took on the task. Within the hour I had three solid options but only one would deliver on time. The convo went like this;

James – Option 1,2,3

Me – Will any of them be here before his birthday?

James – Option 3 will deliver on time.

James – It’s £5 more plus shipping if that’s still ok?

Me – On-time is worth £5 for a birthday.

James – Agreed, send me the cash later.

A Decision Based on Service

That was it. The website was reputable with good reviews. James would not have sent it to me otherwise, we felt secure ordering from them based on the information presented. One thing of note, the company was based in Lithuania.

But hey that is still in Europe, we upgraded to expedited shipping, and our total cost was about £60. Well worth it for a good friend.

If it was not clear, our criteria were met, at a higher price but that was ok.

£10 higher, a 20% increase from our budget.

We were happy to pay for the service.

An Experience

If you hadn’t guessed yet, it wasn’t good. Still isn’t.

First off, no-show-no-call or in this case no-show-no-email. The birthday rolls by with no news or clue what is happening with our order. Not the biggest upset in the world.

I forgot to mention Connor, the birthday boy is a man-child. Seeing him light up like a kid at Christmas was worth the extra expense. It was going to be so fun.

Instead, we got to tell him to wait and we would enjoy it later. No bueno.

A week goes by, we tried contacting, tracking etc. Digital natives here, so it wasn’t for lack of effort that we didn’t know what was happening. There is a constant stream of deliveries and returns to and from this house. Coffee tables to Covid tests. (Everyone’s good 😊)

Eventually, the package arrives. Finally, we can all play.

Hiccup! Hiccup!

One controller, not two.

Seller doesn’t know, the shipper doesn’t know.

“We are escalating this now” – Seller response.

The Result

A mixture of frustration, disappointment, and mistrust.

The vocality of which has not been spared on anyone who would so much as hint towards the topic. James was not impressed.

“Retailers are using Covid as an excuse to screw people over” when probed about it he added “Just say what you’re actually going to do” and “I’m only ordering from UK sellers until this nonsense is all over.”

We do have one controller, but it feels tainted by the whole experience. Still waiting to hear back from the seller about the other. Who knows what happened?

They have an extended guarantee, decent returns policy etc. Like I said, a reputable site.

From the packaging, I think this is an error during order processing that has been compounded by slow logistics.

Who prints two labels and separately ships multiples of the same order to the same address?

Good fulfilment partners certainly don’t.

That is expensive and wasteful. If my fulfilment provider were behaving in this way, I would be looking for a new partner. Fast.

Doing it that way decreases the average order value and increases average order cost. You’re treating one order as two. Some scary questions come to mind.

Is this a freak occurrence?

• If not is it regular? – In the worst-case scenario, is it every time?

Do you get charged per order processed?

The last one is the scariest of them all. If you do and your fulfilment service is operating this way you have multiple item orders, your business will not survive long.

From my perspective, poor service like this will eventually kill your brand reputation. When you start shipping lower volumes, you’ll realise how expensive your bad service is and it’ll be too late.

If you want to know more about what an e-fulfilment partner can and should do for you, check out my article here.

But in brief, a good partner has your back. They make it easy for you to grow, keep costs low and improve your customers’ experience.

I’ll update once there is a conclusion.

Cheers,

Adam.