[LINK] The state of e-commerce in Australia
Thu, 23 Aug 2001 11:16:57 +0100
While fully agreeing with the hopeless nature of the service given, I would
point out that the product in question is in extremely limited availability
globally. A guy I work with has spent the last few weeks searching all of
Europe for just such a cable and still has none.
The feedback he gets is that Palm are promising delivery to retailers then
failing to come through.
When I was last in Oz I tried to buy a Palm travel charger. These just
weren't available despite repeated promises from the high street retailer.
I eventually bought it over the counter at Singapore airport for half the
So yes, a lot of ecommerce companies service sucks, but in the same
conditions a lot of traditional retailers perform as bad.
On the other hand, contrast this with my own experience of Lastminute.com at
Xmas. I ordered some books for next day delivery (next day being the last
shopping day before the 25th) and received them on time.
About an hour later I received an email saying that Lastminute had reports
that Parcelforce would not guarantee delivery of these books in time,
despite earlier assurances, and Lastminute offered to refund my order so I
could make a dash for the shops. I was lucky to have the books in my mitts,
but appreciated a level of customer care that would have been unimaginable
in the off-line world.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jason Ball [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: 22 August 2001 05:54
> To: Link (E-mail)
> Subject: [LINK] The state of e-commerce in Australia
> I have to admit being a more than a little peeved with recent
> dealings I
> have had with one of the many e-tailers here in Australia, in
> this case
> I am curious what kind of experiences other people have had
> with e-tailers
> in Australia. Does anybody know of any who are getting it right ?
> I have worked in e-commerce for the last several years, and
> while I work for
> a supplier who is very active in the Business to Business
> space, I believe I
> have a good understanding of what is required for an
> e-commerce solution to
> With one exception (everythinglinux.com.au) I have yet to
> find an Australian
> based e-tailer that has fulfilment and customer service down
> to pat. And as
> these are core to the existence of any retail business, I
> wonder at how
> these etailers survive.
> I must however admit some bias towards everthinglinux as I am
> a personal
> friend of the owners.
> The story starts with me wanting to buy a serial cable for my
> new Palm m505.
> 1. Finding a supplier...
> Locate an Australian based e-tailer with the product I want.
> Not a whole
> lot of e-tailers available, but found e-store at yahoo.com.au.
> 2. Ordering the product...
> Go to their web site and order the product. Not the best
> site I have ever
> seen, but reasonably well organised and functional.
> The site shows the product as IN STOCK, and ensures delivery within 24
> hours. Great! so I place the order.
> I receive and Email and invoice for the full amount plus
> freight. Good so
> far. This invoice also states that the product is in stock
> and will be
> delivered in 24 hours.
> The funds are debited from my credit card within 24 hours of
> initiating the
> 3. The problems begin...
> 10 days pass, no product. No contact from the supplier.
> I call the customer support number on the invoice, and get a
> message stating
> that this is not the correct number, and to call...
> I call the 'real' number and manage to talk to customer
> service. The person
> on the other end of the telephone was courteous, polite and totally
> powerless to help me. I'm escalated to their manager.
> They did however offer to cancel the order within the first
> thirty seconds
> which doesn't bode well. I guess they have a lot of problems.
> It appears they are having problems with a supplier and the
> order has not
> been shipped. I suggest that they email customers if a
> product is on back
> order and will not be delivered - I don't think there was a
> lot of attention
> paid to this free advice.
> I was assured the product would be delivered within the week.
> 4. A package arrives...
> Well a parcel was received 10 days later. Unfortunately it
> didn't contain
> the product I had actually ordered.
> Had trouble getting back onto their customer support desk, but finally
> managed to convey the problem and once again was referred to
> their manager.
> I was advised they would send a courier to pick up the
> product I didn't
> want, but they can't provide an estimate for the product I ordered. I
> foolishly decided I had waited this long that another week
> wouldn't hurt.
> I was again given the option to cancel the order, but decided to give
> e-store the benefit of the doubt. I'm a fool.
> 5. End Game...
> It is now a week later.
> I still have the product I didn't want.
> I have yet to receive the product I ordered.
> I am still down the $80+ for this transaction.
> Customer service are not answering the telephone and my Emails go
> I have just had to take time out of work to lodge a 'Visa
> incident report'
> to get my money back as I refuse to pay for a product I
> didn't order. My
> time is in fact worth more than the money in question, it is
> the principle
> of the matter.
> 6. The problem...
> The obvious problem with this e-tailer is a near total lack
> of or inadequate
> provisioning of customer relationship management, coupled
> with a dubious
> fulfilment capability. Given an e-tailor business can not
> possibly survive
> without either of these I am a little surprised and more than a little
> Please note that the opinions expressed in this Email are those of the
> author (Jason Ball) and not of Corporate Express Australia.