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Oh, the nerve of some shoppers!

 1:57 am on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Kindly place my order on hold, pending confirmation from your company that you will match the delivered price of ***.** offered by the attached company for the exact same item.

One of my ecommerce clients sent me this just today. An order was placed by the consumer, it had been packed and ready to ship when the above email was received. Needless to say, the shipment was pulled.

I responded back to the client and told him the way I was feeling, I might have replied with something like...

Kindly take your business to the attached company and pay the offered price, thank you!

I may not have used those exact words but you get the sentiment. He replied stating that he already responded with a similar message. :)

Is business really that bad that people think they can treat online ecommerce stores like auction sites or let's make a deal outlets? We have a published price. If you find it elsewhere cheaper, great, buy it! There will always be a cheaper price somewhere. How much was your time worth to spend an hour to save $20.00?

Oh, the nerve of some shoppers!



 2:10 am on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been both a B&M merchant and a online merchant and oh the stories I could tell you!

My best advice? One out of twenty customers will be a jerk! Take it in stride
and dont let it ruin your day. After all you have 19 reasonable customers, let
your thoughts dwell on them...KF


 11:41 am on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I see a trend. The convenience factor will give birth to more and more bargain shoppers and some of these will be willing to push smaller shop owners to match the prices of competition. That doesn't mean you have to but I expect to see more of this. Especially if the item has earned knock-off status and the shopper can't tell the difference.

Question. Did your site ever mention price matching?


 12:06 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can understand them asking you to match a price? But after they placed the order?

People do forget that there are costs involved in selling. I had one friend ask for a price on an item and I gave him a lower price than the website. He said 'you haven't knocked much off that, can't you do it for x.xx?'. He wasn't happy when I said no, that's less than I pay for it. Another was shocked that I had added VAT on and seemed to think that I pocket the VAT - I had to explain that it went to the Government, not me!

Since the item was already packed and ready to go, I would've charged him/her the handling fee for a standard return.


 2:25 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I do get customers who let me know that if I haven't shipped by X amount of days, they will take their custom elsewhere or they email to cancel their order. I don't hesitate to tell them that's fine with me. I have on my website that it can take me 2 weeks to process an order because I make a lot of the things I sell. Even so, I get things out earlier than that. This weekend I got a really angry email from someone who wanted to know where her order was--she had ordered it 5 days previously, and I sure did charge her card quickly! Like I was some kind of skeev. In fact, the card hadn't been charged yet, and I was in the process of printing out mailing labels including hers when I got this email. It made me mad. I responded with an email that was a bit hotter than I would ordinarily write explaining that if she wanted some crap made in a Chinese sweatshop, she could rely on fast shipping from Acme Widgets Co., etc.; quality takes time. After I sent it, of course, I was wishing I hadn't been so sharp. Then yesterday she emailed with an apology.

Sometimes people just forget they are dealing with another human being instead of a thing. I have been thinking about ways to emphasize the humanness of my biz as a response to that but also as a way to make the shopping feel more real, more like people are in an actual small shop instead of dealing with some faceless entity.


 3:03 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is business really that bad that...

Yep, and getting worse. The message was rude but you have no idea what the buyer's situation is. Home builder, auto worker, bank president(!)?

Young sellers have been spoiled by prosperous buyers never quibbling over pricing or terms. Three years ago flippers lined up to buy hot condos; now people line up to get money out of the bank (ie. the Indymac run Friday).


 3:21 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't price match now or ever will as just to much trouble and problems that go along with this. I am asked all the time to price match and just reply we don't do price match as customer service cost and it isn't worth for a sale that provides really no revenue.

Times are getting hard so your gonna see more and more of this until the US can turn the corner.

I would have answered as you did as just the charge cost ya .25 for the authorization and heck if ya ran the card then it cost ya another 2.1% and then another 3% to refund the thing.

People don't understand this and it just a loss that can keep adding up and up and up. I most likely would have lost it to.


 3:49 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

We don't often get asked to match prices. Most of our orders involve several low priced items so it's hard for the customer to compare prices and hard for us to see whether the customer is correct. No two sellers are exactly the same; different levels of service, return policies, etc..

We do match on very large orders especially where we are too high. I'm sure most of you would listen to someone who wanted a break on a $5,000 order.

But in almost all cases where we decline to match, the customer proceeds to buy from us anyway.


 9:32 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree that the anonymous nature of the internet is probably the root of the problem when it comes to people being a little on the annoying side, or sometimes a lot annoying. There's performance issues involved in the items I manufacture and sell... My favorite one that I've gotten from people in the past is where they email and say they'd be happy to test one of my products for "evaluation" or to "do a review". I guess maybe I'd do that if it was Wireless magazine or something, but these are people that just have some little website, or not even that. I kind of feel like asking them what the heck they think we're doing here everyday... As if we're just sitting here waiting for some guy with a website to give us our big break.

I too have lost my cool a few times. I actually did it on a very popular forum that revolves around the subject of our products once. Somebody was whining for the umpteenth time about prices, and I blew my stack. I went into a 7 paragraph rant listing every single part that's included in the item, plus every single part of manual labor and how long each one takes to do. And no, we don't have a 100,000 dollar robotic machine that makes everything for us while we sit and play video games all day. I also explained in detail what it takes to run a business in America now, and that you're basically not going to survive on the same prices some guy selling overstock and liquidation stuff on eBay charges. The next morning I really wished I hadn't done it. But low and behold, I went on the forum and received numerous positive comments, and the sales actually doubled for a couple weeks.

So apparently it does pay to make sure people understand you're a real person... Not just some faceless corporation.


 12:41 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> So apparently it does pay to make sure people understand you're a real person... Not just some faceless corporation.

Dead on dpd1! That's been a part of my mantra to clients for years. Your website/business presence will remain faceless until you give it one. And this thread topic may very well be the result of that. If you pose as a corporation, you'll be treated like one. If you pose as a human being, you're more likely to be treated better.


 1:57 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you pose as a human being, you're more likely to be treated better.

Yeah, but if you "pose" as an efficient corporation, I think you're more likely to get more and bigger
sales... especially from large buyers. I know a $5,000 order makes me feel appreciated!

Ship a darn good product, fast, an you WILL be treated well by 99%. Ignore the rare nut case.

It's vital for the boss to adore his customers and to exude that attitude in front of his employees. A sour attitude permeates the whole company.


 3:22 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you pose as a human being, you're more likely to be treated better.

Yeah, but if you "pose" as an efficient corporation, I think you're more likely to get more and bigger sales... especially from large buyers. I know a $5,000 order makes me feel appreciated!

Consumers want the best of both worlds: A human "touch," a voice with a familiar name, and some warmth as well as the detached, efficient performance of a large corporation. A lot of the calls we get make that rather apparent -- "Oh, I wasn't expecting to have anyone pick-up when I called. Do you do XYZ...oh well Amazon and Zapatos do, so I thought you would, too."

Sometimes the comparisons and expectations seem quite unfair; out of line, even. They want someone to remember their name from when they called and asked a question about stock or shipping schedules but don't want to be contacted if we have a question in return, "Why do you need my phone number? You aren't going to send me any spam mail, are you?"

I would say the convenience factor has spoiled many people:
And no, we don't have a 100,000 dollar robotic machine that makes everything for us while we sit and play video games all day.

That attitude drives me crazy, too! Just because they can hit a few key strokes and purchase a widget does not mean real work is not involved in the order fulfillment process.

Thanks for the chance to vent a little. It's hard to smile and say, "Please, sir. May I have another?" all the time! Somehow, I keep doing it, though.


 4:13 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wish every consumer watched shows like "How it's Made" or "Made in America". I think a huge percentage of people do think stuff is made by robotic machines, when it reality, even some of the largest companies still use good old fashioned hand labor. The term 'hand made' use to evoke a sense of quality. Sometimes I get the feeling that now it evokes a sense of un-professionalism. 'Oh... You mean a real person is making my item? Can't I have a machine do it?' When I've mentioned the labor involved and it's cost, I've actually had customers tell me I should have everything done by CNC... So do I! Got 50k I can have? People watch these motorcycle and car shows that have machine tool companies lined up around the block to give them free stuff, and they think that everybody can have stuff like that.


 6:39 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

>> large buyers

I'm speaking about the average consumer and not a business level buyer (that's what I think you're referring to). On a B2B level, businesses are likely looking for other factors outside of price comparison. This means the design and presentation of your company will likely speak to the qualities they seek. But these are different from you should approach sales to a single person or family. And because they are a business looking for the additional qualities, they aren't likely to call you up and demand a price match.


 11:08 pm on Jul 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd just finished reading this thread when I ran across the following "pose as a person" example on a webhosting site. It probably depends on the customer, but this would give me a positive first impression:

Examplewebhosting was born on a duck hunting trip, believe it or not. We were sitting in our duck blind waiting for daylight so we could start hunting and started talking about where our various websites were hosted and the challenges and dilemmas we faced on an all too often basis. We decided to look into what it would take to start hosting on our own, dedicated to customer service and reasonably priced hosting.

OTOH, if I see copy with tons of grammar and spelling mistakes, I'm gone.

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