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Ecommerce doesn’t take holidays!

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday December 31, 2005 )

It’s been very interesting over the past week to observe the number of ecommerce merchants who have decided to shut down order processing/shipping between Xmas and the New Year.

Online businesses need to understand that the web doesn’t take holidays. Sure, a decade ago the average consumer expected companies to shut down and organized themselves around this. Not so any more.

Online business owners need to be very aware that while ecommerce has been a wonderful tool for boosting sales, it has also contributed to an increasing trend in customer loyalty being all the more fickle. In my opinion, you simply cannot shut down operations for over a week without losing customers – for good. There are very few markets that are so “niche” where your competitors won’t quickly scoop up some of your clients if you’re not operational!

Here’s an example.

I’ve been dealing with a large computer supplies company for nearly a decade, right back to the time when I had computer hardware business myself. Overall, their service has been fine, great pricing etc. There was never a reason for me to switch suppliers, so I rarely shopped around. In the computer hardware industry, a good supplier is hard to find, so once you do come across one, you tend to stick with them wherever possible.

Earlier this week, I needed to purchase some wi-fi equipment at short notice. I visited my regular suppliers site to find that they wouldn’t be processing orders until January 3! So, did I just say “blast!” and resign myself to waiting around?

No, I went out searching for other merchants. In my travels, I found many of them stating the same.

Then I stumbled upon Clearnet Communications, a smaller company, but with a great range of products and excellent pricing. I emailed them to check out processing and delivery times, plus a few questions regarding the equipment I needed.

At that point, I expected a response stating “can ship January 3”. Nope, Jerry from ClearNet got back to me very rapidly; they were operational. Not only that, but Jerry called me to discuss my needs and stopped me from making a mistake in my product selections. Usually when a merchant does that, it’s in order to sell you something more expensive; but Jerry saved me a stack of cash and a whole heap of grief! Under 2 days later, the items were on my doorstep.

Needless to say, my first experience with Clearnet Communications was so positive that my old supplier has lost my business – and the flow on business from my recommendations to others. While my initial purchase wasn’t huge, ClearNet Communications will most likely rack up thousands of dollars in sales from me in the years to come, simply because they understood that there’s no holidays in ecommerce.

I am sure that I’m not the only online shopper who switched from Company A to Company B during the last week due to the same issues. Kudos to all online merchants who understand ecommerce well enough to realize that people are out there shopping 24/7/365!

By the way, if you visit ClearNet, you’ll see they use an excellent shopping cart software package called X-Cart – it’s well worthwhile considering for your online business. It’s a locally hosted application, meaning the software is installed on your own server. If you need a remotely hosted ecommerce solution, check out my shopping cart software and services reviews. If you’re not sure of what kind of solution you need, you can learn more about carts in my shopping cart software guide.


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