FIXTURE TRIP UP #1 – NOT KNOWING HOW E-COMMERCE WORKS
Sometimes a simple E-commerce purchase can turn into one’s worst nightmare. Though millions have shifted their shopping habits to a cell phone and an Amazon account, most have never questioned the process of how the items they’ve ordered actually get from the e-brokers and the e-stores to their actual homes. This non-understanding of e-commerce processing often arises when confused customers try to orchestrate their way through a delivery problem. Despite lightning speed e-commerce technology, all hands at one end or the other, are still just human. Orders still need to be processed, items need to be pulled off of shelves, packed up, labeled and shipped via a carrier. And contrary to the brick and mortar stores, where one can waltz in with package in hand to dispute an item, dealing with an e-commerce store is a different ball game.
TIP #1 – LEARN HOW E-COMMERCE STORES WORK Crystorama 9045-CZ
1) Ordering: As soon as you order something, print out the online receipt and put it in a large white envelope. Store the envelope where you keep important office records. Be sure to read, and print the returns/refunds page as well. Make sure you have written down the store name and phone#. If you’ve ordered via email, create an email folder for each store that you order from and put the receipt in the folder.
2) Processing: Though Amazon and Ebay are open 24/7 – many e-stores that sell on them may be closed on the weekend. So if you ordered late on a Friday, and ordered expedited shipping, guess what? You order may not even get processed until Monday. Processing an order is different than shipping an order. Processing includes receiving the order in, preparing the item for shipment and entering the ship details for labeling, aside from releasing the product to a carrier for delivery. Processing can also sometimes mean that the e-store selling the item then e-sent the order to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer e-sent it to their packing dept. to prepare (fulfillment) for shipping the item. Not all e-stores carry their own inventory. If you’re in a hurry and need the item overnight, find out first if the fulfillment time is included in an overnight promise. If you’re in a hurry – don’t order on a Friday night. Not all shipping companies deliver on weekends either!
3) Shipping and Tracking: Once the item is pulled and packed, it must be labeled and entered into the manufacturer’s delivery system, which is usually Fed Ex or UPS. But if the item is freight – it may have to be manually entered into a specific trucking company. And if it is a freight company – you MUST arrange to be home to receive your item. They will call you or email you to schedule the appointment. Freight companies won’t drop the goods at your door and run, like Fed Ex and UPS. So make sure your phone’s message box is not full and that you check your emails around the time that you ordered. If you do not receive tracking information via email within 3 days, call, chat or email the e-store and query about your order.
Fredrik Raymond – Regis Collection FR44305BNI
4) Delivery: Did the item arrived broken? Or did you just decide you don’t like it and want it to go back? Keep in mind that if you purchased through a large e- broker, and there is a product issue, you must make an email request for response via your Amazon/Ebay etc., account. If it’s a customer remorse issue, you may have to pay shipping back and/or restocking fees, so if you didn’t research that before you purchased, go back online or call the e-store to find out exactly what you must do to return the item. Most e-stores have a chat center as well so that you don’t have to wait through an automated phone process. When you receive an item you’ve decided to keep – remember that large white envelope? Put your packing slip and any instructional or spec sheets in with the invoice and the next time you need to replace a part, a shade or a bulb – you’ll know exactly what to order.
5) Damaged Items: If the damaged box was left at your door, take pictures of the box and the item inside that appears damaged with your cell phone and immediately email them into the e-store customer service dept. State clearly in your email if you want a replacement item or a return & refund. This is an e-record that you immediately responded to the problem. It comes in real handy if you have a later dispute with an uncooperative e-store. If you do not receive an email instructional response within 24 hours, call the e-store or chat in. Human hands will help you through a replacement order, or will instruct you what to do. If the item is a freight item, you can make the driver wait while you inspect the item and you can refuse to accept it if damaged. You must sign an invoice stating you are rejecting it due to damage. The driver will also sign and give you a copy. If he doesn’t, insist that you receive a receipt that it is being refused due to damage – before he leaves your property.
6) Returns, ETC: Never, ever throw out or destroy the original box until you are sure you are going to keep the item. Many times, e-retailers will not accept items back without the original packaging. So be careful when opening the box. Don’t rip and tear things apart or throw away packaging in haste. That includes all the inner plastic wrapping, bubble wrap and Styrofoam pieces. Immediately email or call the e-store to receive instructions for return. It can be a relatively easy process when you are pro-active immediately. If a lighting item; and something appears wrong with the finish or a shade is broken – DO NOT INSTALL it! Once you install it – you can never return it! You may find that after you’ve installed it – the store is out of shades for another 60 days and it’s not so easy to ‘just get another’ shade. Always immediately contact the e-store and tell them your story…before you go ahead and try to fix the problem on your own.
7) Clearance Products: If you love the price of clearance items, just keep in mind that the item is slated for dis-continuance – that’s why it’s so cheap. That means there will be no replacement parts in the future either, so you may want to purchase an extra shade, an extra bulb or decorative crystal teardrop – to ward off future household accidents, which may happen.
8) Refunds: Most companies, excluding the enormously huge warehouse outlets, are restricted by a returns process dictated by the manufacturers. Since most e-commerce stores do not stock their own warehouses with items, most items ship direct from the manufacturers themselves. You have to receive your refund from the seller – but the manufacturer dictates the return policy. So sellers are bound by a process they must follow first, and that includes the item being received back into the warehouse and going through an inspection and notification process. This can take up to two weeks, because most items are shipped back, via ground shipping – which can take 3 – 7 days. There is no intent to steal or hold up your money. There is just ‘the process’, which is for the most part, is a well orchestrated and efficient one, considering the millions of items that pass through thousands of warehouses each and every day.
Confused customers can make matters much worse by unwittingly interfering in the process of a purchase issue, by simply not taking certain initiatory steps that would result in a satisfactory and quick resolve. Customer service reps are there to help you, whether on chat, email or by phone. But even they have limitations as to how they can assist you when you’ve unwittingly complicated your own situation – by not understanding how e-commerce generally works. When people understand the e-store processes, they can relax in the knowledge that indeed their problems will be resolved and that they will be taken care of by their e-sellers – who want their repeat business!