Summer sales and stock visibility

Two Essential Retailers share their experiences of trying to grab an eCommerce bargain.

Saltrock stock disappointment

You know when you order several items online and take advantage of the upsell for a couple of quid towards the end of purchase? Well, it’s quite annoying when that’s the only item that turns out to be in stock.

“I recently ordered three items on the Saltrock website from their clearance pages and all went through successfully. The total cost was £25, plus £3.95 delivery for a hoodie, a jumper and I threw in a T-shirt I didn’t really want because it was only £5. Pretty good, I thought, especially because I had a voucher for £10 making the whole purchase £18.95.

“A couple of days later I had an email saying the two items were no longer available but they had dispatched the T-shirt! I went on to the website and the items I had ordered still appeared to be available online. And I would have even happily accepted alternatives as there were a number of nice items on offer. This surprised me because the retailer claims to have the technology to enable full visibility of stock  and where it is moving to.

“I had gone from getting a bargain to a not really fussed T-shirt for £8.95, certainly not something I would have bought on its own. I contacted customer services and after a protracted conversation, (it appears they are only allowed to reply to a customer once a day) I have got nowhere and certainly feel hard done by. They sent me a review to fill out and a week or so later I was refunded the delivery charge, but surely with their technology this whole episode shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.”

Oasis and the human touch

Meanwhile, another Essential Retail employee had nothing but love for Oasis and its excellent customer service.

“I spotted a dress online in the Oasis summer sale that would have been the perfect wedding guest outfit and at 50% off, I rushed to put two sizes in my basket – my default eCommerce attitude when I’m charged delivery, but have the option of free returns. Sadly there was only one size left in a 12, but I decided to risk it anyway. After seeing another black work dress very cheap, I completed my order of two items and paid my £3.99 nominated day delivery charge as standard.

“When the parcel arrived I found the upsell dress I’d added to my basket still had its security tag attached. And it fitted. How annoying – I was going to have to return it or go in store to have it removed. The other dress which had caught my eye in the first place, on the other hand, did not fit. So I decided to just go into store to return it and have the tagged removed.

“But I really wanted the dress in another size – I could just picture myself Pimms in one hand, confetti in the other at that summer wedding. I decided to tweet Oasis about the security tag, and after transferring to Direct Message, I was chatting to the nicest customer service person who also said they would try and hunt out my wedding outfit dress in a larger size. This was a manual version of the retailer’s ‘seek and send’ service where the website searches for particular items from across the store estate and delivers it to the customer’s local store. This Twitter exchange went on for most of the day and we discovered a size 14 hiding in the Oxford Street store, but my new Twitter pal could not guarantee it would be there when I arrived later that afternoon as no one was answering the phone.

“It was all very dramatic as I ran to the store and was reunited with my dream dress, which I took home to try on as I was in a rush (after detagging the other one to many apologies!). But, just my luck, it was too big and I had managed to lose the receipt on the tube.  A quick call to the branch and they reprinted my receipt and kept it safe until I could return to the store. Even though I didn’t get my dream dress, it was hands down the best customer service I’ve received in such a long time and reminded me that it is the human touch which matters the most, even if you are shopping online.”

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