‘Distant’ online retailers are becoming ‘expert in selling’ but forgetting ‘how to give’

Distant’ online retailers are becoming ‘expert in selling’ but forgetting ‘how to give’

I am sure I am not the only one to have been disappointed and disgusted at the condition of some products that arrive on my doorstep, from online retailers.

My latest experience was the receipt of some ladies coats from one of the largest online fashion specialists. A business whose strategy I have up until now admired.

The coats arrived in plastic bags. Inside the bags the coats were not even folded, they were just ‘in the bags’ and were creased to the point of being unsalvageable. The products looked like they had been played football with around the warehouse. And these were famous, mid-market brands.

My conclusion simply is that this retailer does not care what they give to the customer. They have become experts in online selling, their mastery of using models and photography to make products look good is of the highest level, but clearly the process of then giving the products to the customers is at best unconsidered, and at worst negligent and shameful.

The art of giving, the joy of giving, is being lost.

I have no doubt that the individual colleagues, particularly the buyers in these businesses, have respect for their garments. They would never dream of physically giving them in such a disgusting state to someone physically face-to-face. They would be rightly embarrassed and ashamed to give such things.

The problem is distance and anonymity. They, their customers, and the world sees the beauty of their websites but the shameful process of ‘giving & receiving’ is largely hidden within the confines of individual’s homes.

I accept that the business model does not extend to receiving my garments in cardboard boxes and tissue paper, but every business model extends to showing respect for their products and the customers who buy them.

Shame of this major online business. But they are not alone. Out-of-sight is out-of-mind. The art of giving, the joy of giving, is being lost.

Retailers are ‘losing face.’

It is a dangerous road for online retailers to take. Without the physical shop experience to generate favourable and intimate brand experiences, they are relying on the experience of the doorstep as the physical embodiment of the brand. Seemingly for many it is a very distant consideration in the hierarchies of investment.

What a strategic mistake for online retail. To neglect the doorstep experience.
Many may well rue this error. I for one will return my purchases and never darken the retailer’s website again.

Retailers are losing face. Losing face physically & emotional.
And there are many new operators and facilitators who are happy to take their place in the customer’s affections.

‘Retailers are ‘Losing Face.” is an extract from the book ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer.’ by Tim Radley.

If you would like to read more about the new ways that retailers are working with suppliers, how to develop different kinds of inventory, the importance of a ‘passion supply chain’ and how supply chains should be determined by product role, then you can find all of this and more in ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness.’

Available worldwide across all amazon platforms and popular online booksellers from Waterstones, Blackwell’s & Foyles to Barnes & Noble and The Book Depository.

For more information, click here.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers