January has to be one of my favorite months of the year. In addition to the fact that the 12th is my birthday (cards, presents and flowers are graciously accepted), with the hustle and bustle of the holidays over I get the time to shop guilt-free for myself. After Christmas sales, winter-gear closeouts and 1st quarter specials are definitely my scene.
While my personal favorite shopping areas happen to be outdoor malls (one of which is located dangerously close to my work), the cold and currently icy conditions make skipping from one shop to the next in the open air particularly unfavorable. So what’s a girl to do? I turn to some of my tried and true favorite online shopping sites to get in my spending fix.
It’s no secret that Internet shopping continues to grow in popularity. With the most surprising change being the growth of the senior demographic (see Sarah’s illuminating blog from earlier this week). As the online marketplace continues to strengthen, what do e-commerce websites have to do to keep their customers coming back?
True story. I needed to find some amazing fuchsia shoes for my wedding. (Yep. I rocked pink shoes under my white dress.) Being that fuchsia shoes are often difficult to find in physical stores, or at least to find a large selection – a girl’s gotta have options! – shopping the Internet was a necessity. So I stopped by my two favorite online retailers and struck out. They had a few cute pairs but unfortunately their options greatly exceeded my modest budget. So I went to Google, and typed in “fuchsia shoes.” Tons of websites popped up. I passed up the first two that I had already shopped and dived into some amazing new stores.
After many hours of shopping and much thought and deliberation (my husband will tell you – it was rather painful for him), I finally narrowed it down to two pairs of fabulous shoes, but still had to make my final decision. With the price being almost the same, my decision came down to the extras provided by these companies. When would I get them? Were there any discounts available? How much was shipping? And what would happen if they didn’t fit?
I settled on one of my new favorite shoe and accessory websites. They offered me free, overnight shipping and the option to return the shoes free-of-charge should they not fit properly. How could I deny those benefits? Their site and service offerings completely matched my needs.
Online shopping can be a little scary when you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. And if an online retailer isn’t up front with you about their plan of action should something go wrong with your order, you have to wonder why. Speed, quality and accuracy are some of the most important aspects to consumers. Having the product is one thing. But meeting the needs and wants of your customers is the key to growing customer loyalty.
Did I have to have those shoes next day? No. But I wanted them.
No matter what your need may be, whether you need fast promotional products, stylish shoes or a parka for an unexpected snowstorm, the ability to get what you need – when you need it – can be enough to cement a lifelong relationship with a company or store.
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