Online shopping done wrong (and right)

Online shopping is showing strong growth in South Africa, and with bigger investments flowing into the market local eCommerce players are constantly improving their service levels.

Online retailers like Takealot, Kalahari, and Yuppiechef, for example, are offering South African shoppers a great experience with easy-to-use websites, fast deliveries, and efficient support.

Unfortunately not everyone is getting it right. Some of the new entrants are learning the hard way that eCommerce is not easy.

One example comes from a prominent brick-and-mortar retailer which recently opened its own online shop. Here is what went wrong, with examples of how it can be done better.

Ordering and delivery process

One of MyBroadband’s staff members ordered a few products from the retailer, which included 3 boxes of wine glasses. After waiting for around two weeks, the order finally arrived in a large box.

A more streamlined warehousing and delivery process is needed to ensure that clients receive products within days rather than weeks.

Packaging done wrong

The box had no “Fragile” or “Handle with care” signs on it. The three boxes inside, each meant to contain four wine glasses, were packed in the large box without any bubble wrap or protective padding.

Unsurprisingly, a few of the glasses were broken – with one of the boxes only containing 3 glasses.

Box with goods
Box with goods (no bubble wrap or padding)
Broken glasses
Broken glasses
One glass missing
One glass missing

Doing packaging right

Getting bubble wrap machines is a must, and doing proper checks before sending the products to clients is advisable.

Here are some examples of how an online shopping warehouse should function, and how products should be packed (thanks to Parcelninja for the photos).

Air pillow machine
Air pillow machine
Bubble wrap machine
Bubble wrap machine
Box with padding
Box with padding (air pillows)

Sending the wrong items to a client

The next order by the MyBroadband staff member from the same online shop was delivered without any broken goods, but this time the package contained the wrong products.

The client was given a dustbin instead of the other items she ordered. (For the record, she never ordered a dustbin).

What was curious was that the packing slip showed the correct order, with no mention of a dustbin, but rather bin liners.

When the client complained about the wrong items and the broken wine glasses, she was sent another package to resolve the problem.

Unfortunately the broken wine glasses were replaced with champagne glasses – another incorrect shipment.

Bin not ordered
Bin not ordered

Making sure there are no mistakes

An automated order and scanning system is a good start to ensure that mistakes are eliminated. Here is an example from an established online shopping warehouse (thanks to Parcelninja for the photos).

Item displays on picker's device
Item displays on picker’s device
Warehouse picker scanning
Warehouse picker scanning
Mobile device displays the item
Mobile device displays the item
Parcel fully packed
Parcel fully packed

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Online shopping done wrong (and right)