Sunday, December 23, 2012

Online Shopping and Merry Christmas!

A week ago, my wife decided to buy some Christmas gifts online.  So she went to a reputable online site with multiple sellers and ordered some stuff with express shipping.  She ordered from seller A and seller B.

Only after we paid, we realized that seller A was located in China while seller B was located in Singapore.  I went to the profile of seller A and found that some buyers did not receive their items even after two weeks!  Damn, we need the items to reach us before Christmas.  We started to panic a little, especially after seeing most of the questions buyers posted on seller A's profile went unanswered.

I quickly sent a bilingual email to seller A, in Chinese and in English because I concluded seller A might not be too conversant in English, hence the unanswered questions on his profile page.  True enough, he replied in Chinese saying that the items will be sent out on 17 Dec.  He subsequently gave me a tracking number and a site to track.  But when we clicked on the site, it says no information found.  So we emailed the seller again.  He told us that during holiday season the website might be overloaded and 'with luck(WTH?)' the parcel should be able to arrive before Christmas.  There is nothing much we could do except formulate a plan B if they do not arrive in time.

Seller B is located in Singapore so we are not too worried.  Worse come to worst, we will just drive over to the seller's house and pick up the stuff.  Then we received an email from seller B saying that items A, B are out of stock, asking us to choose something else.  All right then, we chose something else.  Then he replied that something else is out of stock as well.  Ok then we chose something else again.  We also fixed a delivery time on Sat evening time.  The day before, he emailed to say that one item I ordered is left with the last piece and is defective and asked me to choose another.  Ok fine, we chose item T.  Then on Sat, he emailed to say he cannot deliver this evening and asked if Sunday morning is possible. We agreed on a Sunday afternoon delivery.

When the items finally came, we saw that one item was missing.  It turned out to be item T.  I messaged him about it and he admitted that he forgot about it.  I will get a refund from him instead.

As for seller B, today (Christmas eve) I called speedpost about my parcel from China and confirmed that it is still in transit (somewhere over the poppy fields in Laos I presume) and will not reach Singapore in time for Christmas.  Hooray!!


Actually I am glad I get to experience all these issues with online shopping as a buyer.  I did not get particularly angry at any point of time, except a sense of Deja Vu.  Those issues I mentioned are not new to me.   As an online seller myself, I am also guilty at some point of time of all the above or even more.  Now I can empathize fully when customers emailed me about not receiving their products, not able to track their product, missing items etc.


So in 2013, we resolved to improve our communication with our online customers.  We will do whatever we can to alleviate their stress in ordering an item from a country hundred of miles away.

In addition to that, we have decided to move to a new webstore.  This webstore will enable us to have more exciting products, better shipping options, more promotions etc.  There will also be an option for domestic shipping so locals can buy their essentials without making a trip to town.  We will also be adding a few more interesting product lines.

Stay tuned, as 2013 promises to be an exciting year!

With that, we would like to thank all our customers for your support and we wish you a Merry Christmas!