Sears screws up an order, loses sale.

For all of you who run an e-commerce business of some kind, here are some tips for avoiding lost sales in a down economy:

  1. Make sure that when the customer hits the ‘confirm order’ button that they don’t get some cryptic server error page. This is a critical part of the order accepting process, and most customers (including me) aren’t going to go back and re-enter all of their stuff to re-order it.

    When I was trying to place my order with Sears last night and the cryptic message came up I decided I’d just get my stuff elsewhere.

    But they sent an email explaining since I ordered stuff for store pickup and the store wasn’t open my order couldn’t be processed. When the store opened this morning I would get an email letting me know when my order was ready. If it were not for that email, I’d be shopping elsewhere already.

    Unfortunately the email alone was not enough to save the sale…

  2. Make sure that when your system tells the customer an item is in stock – better yet, says “4 available” and they’ve ordered one – that it really is. When my “Your order is ready for pick-up” email arrived just now, I discovered that 6 out of the 7 items I’d ordered were canceled. No offer to ship them soon, no mention of what other stores might have them, just that they’re canceled. Apparently if Sears doesn’t stock, I don’t need it.

    These are the same items that showed as all being stock when I’d placed the order. I’d chosen a particular Sears store because they had everything I’d needed. The only reason I’d ordered online at all was because there was a 24-hour sale online sale that ended at 6am this morning (yes, before the store would open.)

I will now be buying my few hundred dollars worth of tools from someone else.

I’m embittered by the fact that I’d mentally taken care of ordering the stuff I needed – it was an item off my list. Picking them up was something I’d been looking forward too. Now it’s a chore back on the list, I’m disappointed, and I’ve got to go hunt down a new place to get everything. Now my money is tied up at Sears and I have to wait for the return to process and make sure it doesn’t get screwed up.

In short, I started out planning to spend some money and get something I needed and wanted. Instead, I’ve (albeit temporarily) spent my money, but gotten nothing but wasted time and uncertainty.

There’s already enough uncertainty in my life right now, and I don’t need more. I now think Sears sucks. I’d prefer craftsman tools to the other alternatives, but not at the expense of rewarding an incompetent organization for wasting my time and making me feel like an idiot for ordering from them in the first place.

[UPDATE]

I just realized that there’s something that seems kind of crooked about this. I have an email saying that my order could not be processed until the store opens. So, the store opens this morning, they process the order, find that they don’t have most of the stuff I wanted. But my card was STILL BILLED FOR THE TOTAL AMOUNT.

Now I definitely think Sears sucks.

Ok, who has decent hand tools at reasonable prices? Snap-on, SK and Mac need not apply – I’m not paying their prices. I need 6 point sockets, 1/2″ drive, in standard and metric.

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