March 12, 2013
My Weird Day in the World of eCommerce
I really hate the world of failblog - but I ran into two examples from the world of ecommerce that might really fit the bill. The reason I do not like failblog is because so many times it criticizes noble and honest attempts to do something good. In so many cases, there is good intent - but it just comes out poorly. It is good to remember that the easiest way to avoid failure is not to try anything.
But today, I came across two very odd examples of eCommerce gone wrong. Sure there are good intentions here - but it seems that with so many companies right now, the race is to see how few people you can have watching the shop. 10% cuts to the workforce over and over will take its toll. And maybe that has led to my two weird examples from eCommerce today.
A Great Price for a Computer - if you can get it....
So I found this today on the Best Buy site. I have purchased a great deal at Best Buy over the years. In fact, that is where I bought my last PC four years ago. I think that my PC is on its last legs, and I was thinking about the need to get something new. So I spent a few minutes and looking around today. I found a pretty cool looking Lenovo PC at a good price. And it was not sold out...so that is good. So all I need was to figure out if I can order it for delivery or store pickup. But it seems that it is not available for shipping. It is also not available for store pickup - but, if you are a masochist, you can check the stores for the item that you cannot pickup in stores. It seemed like a cool PC - keep looking....
Thanks for your purchase - here are three things you might want...or not.
If you have ever purchased anything at Amazon, you probably have been really surprised that the recommendations that came after the purchase really were quite good. They present recommendations better than just about anyone out there. And you can imagine executives sitting in meetings suggesting that they could do the same just as well. Some companies do pretty well. Most companies probably do not do as well. Which brings me to an email I received today.
When we shop at Sears, we get an email receipt (which is pretty cool). In fact, late last week, my wife went and purchased a sweater from the Lands' End store at Sears. But today, they sent me an email with the above recommendations for other things I like. They actually identified 3 things that were picked JUST FOR ME. The three items are things I have NEVER seen at a Sears store...and are very curious indeed. These items - picked JUST FOR ME - are a Comb Binding System (when you get reports that have those plastic coil bindings - this is Comb Binding) and two different literature organizers - which you would see in a sales office inventory closet - just like in the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan 1990 film Joe vs. the Volcano:
After having a paranoid feeling that someone got our card - bought all sorts of office equipment at Sears - and they are following up with more to purchase (this did not happen), we began to think the following:
How do you go from a sweater purchase to making a recommendation to buy some specialized office equipment and furniture? These are my thoughts....
- People who wear sweaters might also be people who need a $2500 comb binding system.
- People who need to organize literature are always cold.
- When they saw in my occupation that I am a librarian, it was clear that I would have a need for this type of equipment.
- People in Michigan love to comb bind documents and would do it all the time - if ONLY THEY HAD THE EQUIPMENT.
- A random product generator made the connection between a sweater and equipment that has very rarely been sold to individuals.
- The person who wrote the algorithm has always wanted a comb binding system...so shouldn't everyone.
And thus ends my weird day in the world of eCommerce. I think I am going to go to Meijer...you can get anything there:Completely Off Topic!