The Wacky Math Of Online Retail

Step 1: Type in ‘calvin klein formal shirts’.
Google

Step 2: Click on first ad on the Google results page.

Step 3: Land on the shoes section of the site.

MACY’s

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Why The ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ Strategy Does Not Work All The Time

For certain categories other people’s buying behavior simply does not make sense. For example, why would a person buying a messenger bag also be interested in shorts or a sweater?

Another example:

figis.com - recommendations

According to e-consultancy providing web shoppers with bad quality recommendations could be worse than offering no recommendations at all. You can read the article here.

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Online Retailing For Dummies

While online retailing is considered a highly complex science involving deep understanding of aspirational behavior in reality it’s a rather simple practice. In the online world simple ideas have mega-impact. An illustration:

Irrespective of the product category the equation ‘shipping charge > product price’ is always a losing proposition, so why does IKEA indulge in it?

IKEA

The only instance where I can see this working is online narcotics trade.

The same rule applies for gift wrapping. For products where price of the product is less than the gift wrapping charge I’d like to see log files on what % of people actually go ahead with the option. Posted below is an example from PetSmart.com

PetSmart product page

Observe the green sections of the image above. Posted below is the pop up about giftwrapping:

PetSmart GiftWrap page

Not everything about this checkout process is bad, adding the Hacker Safe logo right next to the ‘add to cart button’ is a great idea!

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Rule 1 Of Customer Surveys….

….Don’t send a survey before the event date.

Survey

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Nearest Store Location

While trying to find the nearest store location for a footwear company I was given the following options:

Are you selling magic shoes?

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Valentines Day Scam

Retailers pay a lot of attention to store walk-ins; in fact they can rightfully claim to be experts. But they don’t know diddly squat about customer service. An example. Through I steer clear of the Valentines Day scam this year I decided to get something from RedEnvelope. Click click and I was at the shipping options page (this was turning out to be easier than I thought). The system presented 3 options, slow shipping, quick shipping and delivery on Valentines Day. I clicked option 3. Obviously. Imagine my shock when last night (on the 13th) I get my ‘thank you for the lovely gift’ call. I paid RedEnvelope 90% more (for shipping) to do just one thing and they screwed that up. Why spend 6 bucks on customer acquisition when service is so bad that customers have no incentive to return?

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Incompetent Customer Service

Shipping notification email –

According to UPS the Package was delivered on 1/9:

Considering FTD.com gets 2.1 Million visitors a month I would say this is a pretty big problem.

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