I am not the only customer to be continually disappointed and disgusted at the condition of some of the products that arrive on my doorstep.

My latest experience involved the delivery of some not-inexpensive ladies coats, bought as a gift, from one of the largest online fashion specialists. A business whose strategy, up until now, I have rather 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 coats looked as though they had just endured a game of garment football around the distribution warehouse. And these were famous, mid-market brands.

My conclusion simply is that this retailer really does not care what they actually give to the customer. Whilst they have become experts in online selling, masters of photography and flattery, the kings of algorithms, they clearly have no clue at all about the process of then giving the products to the customers. Their approach is at best unconsidered, and at worst negligent and shameful.

The joy of giving has been lost.

I have no doubt that the individual colleagues, particularly the buyers in these businesses, have some respect for the garments they purchase for the customer. Or that they would ever dream of physically giving them in such a disgusting state to a friend or a customer face-to-face. I would hope not. They would quite rightly be embarrassed and ashamed.

So why is it deemed to be OK to serve up such insults to customers in their own homes?

The problem is distance and anonymity. Whilst the commercial model itself clearly does not extend to delivering garments in cardboard boxes and tissue paper. But since when has it been acceptable for customers to suffer to ensure that a business model can function and turn over profit. Since when was ensuring our customers were happy not been a parameter of success.

Probably since most products became just a commodity. And definitely since customer themselves also became just a data set.

Shame of this major online business. They have no joy of giving, only the glee of taking margin.

This is a dangerous road for online retailers to take. Without the physical shop experience to generate favourable and intimate brand experiences, they are reliant on the experience of the doorstep as the physical embodiment of their brand. Seemingly for many it is a very distant consideration in the hierarchies of investment. Out-of-sight is clearly out-of-mind.

What a strategic mistake for online retail. To neglect the doorstep experience.
Many may well already be ruing this error. Because when the pots of money to spend on SEO manipulation run out it is the pureplay brands themselves who are becoming ‘out-of-sight and out-of-mind!’ for the customer.

Retailers are losing face. Becoming emotionally and financial bankrupt.