In honor of the holidays, I thought I would share my recent adventure trying to buy a jumper seat as a gift for my infant daughter.
Since I'm a cyber-addict, I did my research, found the perfect model, and decided to purchase it via Wal-mart's online site at a price of $64 dollars.
Then, I decided to just go to the store instead to pick it up (to save on shipping). At the store the price was $80! I asked a clerk about the discrepancy, and he said that the prices were usually different. However, I could order it online and have it shipped to the store for the $64. Help me understand: I have the product in hand, but it is cheaper for Wal-mart to ship me different one (what about gas, guys?) than just give me the same price as online and send me out the door?
So, muttering to myself, I went home and went online to place my order. The online price one day later was $76 dollars. Now I was really mad for obvious reasons. Needless to say, Wal-mart didn't get my business and I found a used one on Craigslist for half the price. But this got me thinking about how the web impacts customer expectations.
Bridge Your Gap
In today's market, consumers are having their expectation of bricks and mortar retail shaped by online interactions. People are becoming used to:
The ways that they shop online impact their offline expectations. Barnes & Noble is one example where you can walk into a physical store and use a kiosk to search inventory, locate items, and order anything that is out-of-stock. You don't need to hunt the stacks unless you want to do so. The online and in store experiences and prices are linked together.
It is imperative that your online and offline experiences and policies line up--otherwise you have a confused customer, a lost sale, and an unflattering blog post to deal with.
Anyone else have a story like this?