The Importance of Ecommerce Order Status Updates

If you read this blog regularly, you know by now that I am a huge fan of online shopping, which works out well since my livelihood depends on it! Last week, after scouring the city for a very specific brand of spray ink for my newest creative obsessions, art journaling, I discovered a website that provided the product for a fair price plus didn’t charge astronomical shipping fees. I immediately placed my order on Thursday morning.

Today, when I logged into the ecommerce site, I could see that my order was placed and that my credit card was charged, but I could not see whether or not the order had shipped and if so, how to track said order. Now, this is my pet peeve about ordering online–placing the order and then hanging out in limbo waiting to see when the product will arrive. It doesn’t help matters that I am not an especially patient person when it comes to this sort of thing or that I spent all of my Wednesday evening searching for these ink sprays only to wind up going home empty handed.

I admit it. I’ve been completely spoiled by the flawless customer experience that Amazon.com brings to ecommerce. And I will tell you that I considered ordering the products from Amazon since we have an Amazon Prime membership which means I get the goods in two days for no charge.

Unfortunately, Amazon did not have a very good selection of the spray inks available for Amazon Prime shipping and while the listings that they did have showed the products for a third of the retail price, the shipping rang in at $5 per item even though I was ordering all of my items from one vendor. This effectively meant that I would be paying nearly 50% more than retail to use an Amazon vendor simply because of shipping charges.

So, I ordered the spray ink from “the other guys” and even had a web coupon that made my shipping for the entire order a mere $.99!  Since I placed the order, I have been doing my best to wait patiently. I didn’t even check their website over the weekend. But this morning, I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to check.

When I logged into my account on the ecommerce site, I immediately found my order. Yay! That’s a good sign, right? When I clicked on the linked order number, I was brought to a summary page of my order. Another opportunity to cheer. But then I noticed that there is no way to check the status of the order other than the static little box at the top of the order summary that was empty. (Grumble, grumble.) See above image.

I sent an email to the customer service address that was on my order confirmation. No response. I called the phone number included in the email and got a woman who told me that products ship within 3 business days of receiving the order. (Note–this was NOT called out on the website itself.) When I inquired about the standard shipping options that I had been given–keep in mind that it was my ONLY option when I placed my order–I was told that the item shipped via United States Postal Service and that once the order left their warehouse, the shipment was out of their hands and there was nothing they could do about how quickly it delivered. Oh–and that once the order shipped I could go back to their website to check for the tracking number. (Grrr.)

I was simply dumbfounded. This is NOT the type of service that my experiences with the ecommere gold standard, Amazon.com, has trained me to expect. Like I said above, I’m spoiled and I admit it, but I want my Amazon-like experience on every ecommerce site I purchase from. And I certainly expect timely shipping with an automatic order status update email.

The Take Away

Today’s take away lesson is that a simple automated email that states that my order would ship within three business days would have kept me informed about my order. An automated tracking notification would have sealed the deal and told me when to expect my purchases to arrive. A simple automated email would have made me a whole lot happier as a customer. If you aren’t utilizing automated notification emails for your ecommerce transactions, I highly suggest that you start soon.

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