Monthly Archives: January 2014

What’s Worth More in Retail, £5.50 or a Happy Customer?

So, here I am trying to buy just over £300’s worth of furniture from an online retailer. Nothing terribly unusual about that – I’ve spent way more in single online orders in the past, I consider myself a pretty confident online shopper, and this is a well known UK retailer.

There are a couple of things about this transaction that are really rubbing me up the wrong way though.

Firstly, I keep getting error pages during the checkout process. The last time this happened was during the “taking our payment” stage, which has left me not entirely sure if the order’s been placed or not. (The website being so flaky at the moment, I’m not entirely sure I trust the accounts / your orders section.)

The error page also has a line on it saying that if I’d like to place an order, I can phone them up. Calls will cost at least 5p per minute. Now hang on, why on earth would you charge your customers for the privilege of buying something from you? Ok there are certain cases where I can see the benefits of this, but really only if you charge your customers a lot so buying from you becomes a desirable status symbol. Charging a small overhead just makes me feel like you’re penny pinching.

I have no idea how long the order call would take. My experience of corporate phone lines makes me think 5-10 minutes of being on hold, followed by 5 minutes for the order. But maybe the computer system is misbehaving for their phone staff as well, so the call will either be wasted, or take much longer. But I’m going to estimate that placing my £300 order would cost me somewhere between 50p and £1.

Similarly, I am being charged £5 for delivery. This is a flat fee, and doesn’t scale depending on the number, size, or weight of items I’m buying. Again, it’s possible to look at this as “wow, having two pieces of heavy furniture delivered for so little is a bargain”, but since I don’t really have any anchor here I’m seeing it as “wow, I’m spending £300+ and they’re trying to stiff me for an extra £5”.

So overall my opinion of this retailer has plummeted, mainly through the perception that they’re trying to unfairly add an extra 2% cost on to my order.  User experience – it’s not all about the colour of buttons, you know.

Obligatory First Post

Good afternoon.

If you are reading this then the chances are there’s a decent amount of content on the blog and I can reasonably consider it a minor success (or at least, not and abject failure) in terms of personal blogging projects.

You see, I have “done blogs” before. Three or maybe four times. One I even got reasonably good at updating (good in the regular sense, not necessarily in the “high quality content” sense), until A Series of Events caused me to delete the whole thing. Probably a bit rash in hindsight, but I really couldn’t be dealing with the distraction at the time, and it was my blog so my rules.

Oh and I have a tumblr I’m trying to keep alive as well, though it’s incredibly boring unless you happen to be exactly in to the idea of looking at hundreds of screenshots of iOS game UI. Which currently it appears is as much a niche subject as I imagined (still that one also serves the purpose of categorising my collection of hundreds of screenshots os iOS game UI, so is useful to me if nobody else).

Anyway, all these things combined mean that I have absolutely no intention of publicising this thing until it has an amount of content on it. Should we decide how much, right now? (Obviously I am thinking aloud, literally only I am going to read this.)

31 posts. That is how many. One for every day in January. Which is fairly arbitrary in itself as I have no intention of it being a daily blog.

Edit: And I’ve now totally broken this self-imposed “rule” anyway. So probably better to just ignore almost everything I ever say that I will do, ever again.

At this point I’d write about what sort of stuff I am intending to blog about, but there seems little point – you’ve come here when there are 30 bits of “stuff” already (yes this terrible introduction counts as a thing, my blog my rules remember), so you probably have a much better idea than I do of what it contains.

(Truth be told, I just find that I feel odd without a bit of web space to host things on. How terribly futuristic I must seem to the 8 year old me.)