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Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Retail Customer Service is driving my wife to the web

I don’t know if our experience matches yours, but here’s the scoop:

Customer service at several of the national chain department stores where my wife and I shop is simply atrocious. We’ve gone into a variety of departments ready, willing and able to buy, but couldn’t find what we were looking for. So, we start looking for a clerk to help us. The only clerks we find are often anchored to the check-out counters, and that, in itself, is understandable.

But there is no one else available to help.

So, faced with such a dilemma, we often find ourselves leaving the department store seeking a smaller “niche” store, or returning home to search the web — where at least we have access to many tools which will help us find what we’re looking to buy.

I’ve long contended the web is a buying medium — in the sense, that if I know what I’m looking for, at least in general terms, it’s often easier to find and buy it on the web than it is at the mall or shopping center.

Thus, in the face of at least flat, if not declining, retail sales, ecommerce & mail-order sales have continued to grow at relative to overall retail sales. The details of this are available at my web site, where you can download a chart of Retail Sales by Month, or a spreadsheet file of the actual data.

I wonder if retail stores could organize their inventory sufficently to enable a computer-based local search of what SKUs are on-hand and locate the product on a map of the store. Wouldn’t that be cool?

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Filed under: Direct Commerce, Uncategorized

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