Building trust is an essential part of the buying process. With people staying home, more and more we are dependent on online shopping. We’re dependent on information that we hope is accurate, honest, and transparent.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Right now there are scammers on every corner anxious to make a sale.
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Like you, I’m doing most of my shopping online. There are things I was getting by without, that suddenly ramped up in importance. Like only a tiny amount of freezer space.
So I started my search locally and of course, there was wasn’t much. With just my husband and myself, I was unwilling to buy one of those behemoths that are so popular with large families.
That made it even harder. The last freezer in town was $1899 and 17 cubic feet of freezer space. About double what I wanted maximum.
I tried Amazon and the big box stores online. Nothing. I finally remembered Sears carried appliances and tried there. They didn’t have anything. However, at the bottom of the results page, it suggested I explore their Sears Marketplace.
I found a cute little apartment or family room size unit...just 3 cubic feet. I’d never heard of a company called GreatDeal365. The price on special was $277. That sounded okay. I clicked to get more information. It showed the price marked down from $2982.29.
Alarms started going off in my head. Why would a freezer that size be nearly $3000? I figured they had slapped that price on it so they could show a big markdown. Interesting marketing.
I really needed it. It was in stock. Shipping was free. I ordered it and the tracking information showed delivery on March 27. Eagerly, I watched the tracking information and started thinking about what I’d get from my butcher to put in it. Steak! Yum!!
About 8PM, on the scheduled date, I got an email. The freezer had been delivered. How strange. No one had come to the door, the dog never barked.
I pulled up the tracking information. It had been delivered to a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, OR. My freezer was sitting on a curb clear across the country.
I reached out to the company via email. They got back to me and apologized. Yes, the order was lost. They did offer to replace it...when another one came in. I replied that would be okay. I knew it could be hard to find another.
Two days later I received another email:
“Dear,Thank you for your response The new item will arrive our warehouse after one month We can refund a full if you do not want to wait Or we can send it to you”
I responded, “Please send it as soon as it is available. If you see any delays arise, just please let me know. This is a perfect size for just my husband and me.”
Dear,Thank you for your response I'm so sorry for the inconvenience, The new item will arrive our warehouse after a month Could you please wait for it? We can send it to you asap when it arrives Waiting your decision Take good care and have a nice day
My trust was waining. I replied, “Please just cancel my order, refund my money, and send me a receipt this has been done. Thank you”
Dear, I checked the item and found it will arrive our warehouse end of this mouth, Could you please wait for it? Or i refund the full money for you, Waiting your decision.
I replied to cancel.
Dear,'If you cancel the order, Maybe you can't buy this item with so lower price, Waiting your decision, Stay safe.
“I am no longer interested. I have requested you cancel this order twice. Please issue my refund in the next 2 business days. If I don't get confirmation, I'll contact Sears Marketplace and my credit card company.”
They had completely lost my trust...Slow and poor quality communications. (I did not edit their responses in any way. Those are verbatim.)
Skimpy website information and general handling of the situation undermined their sale.
It also tarnished how I felt about Sears and their Marketplace...guilt by association.
To tap into the opportunity to help people through this crisis, it’s essential to ramp up the clarity and believability of what’s on your website and social media.
Make the content clear and believable. $2982.29 reduced to $277 fails on both counts. I didn't believe it. Would it even work? Was it a second?
Provide adequate useful, relevant content to help shoppers trust you and buy.
Make sure to stay in touch with the buyer throughout their journey. That content is important too. Write clearly and directly to the person, like a conversation.
I could tell in a heartbeat that the person I was in communication with was not a native English speaker. Using an editorial app like Grammarly or something similar could eliminate grammatical and sentence structure errors.
When I think about how that freezer company handled the customer service it gave me a lot of doubts. It was like they weren’t paying attention. I felt like they didn’t read my responses.
You don’t want customers to feel that way. Your communications need to flow like a conversation. You want them to feel like you respect them.
Make the buying path clear. They are here because they need something. Make it clear how they can purchase it, what shipping will cost and approximately how long delivery is.
You and I both know delivery can be a little unpredictable, so don’t make promises you can’t keep. People will be patient if they understand the efforts and steps you are taking. Providing tracking information is crucial.
When I work with clients the goal is clarity, honesty, usefulness, relevant information presented in a transparent way. Whether you offer wellness, alternative health, CBD...or freezers, the quality of your content and communications matters.
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023