Customers Don’t Think Omni-Channel: They Think “Help Me, Please”

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After a two year pause in basketball my son decided to join a casual spring team to play with some of his friends. Of course, as any parent knows, two-year-old basketball shoes will never fit a growing boy, so we’re off to the races to get a new pair of shoes.

Because our weekend got away from us we didn’t have time to run to one of the many local sports stores. We have our pick of Dicks Sporting Good, Sports Authority, or Models literally all within two miles of home but instead we opted for the late night internet shopping. But this story isn’t new, isn’t this what we all do?

For me going to the store is never a pleasure. First of all, my boys don’t want to shop, even for themselves. If it doesn’t involve playing, eating or video’s they aren’t into it. But for me, it’s more about the service in stores these days, or lack of it. If I want to be treated like a number I can just shop online. Local reviews for the sport stores near me sum it up well. Here is one from 1 week ago for our local Dicks Sporting Goods, which admittedly is the biggest and usually most well-stocked store of the three.

“This place sucks – I mean it sucks.

I wandered around this place looking for something with no mention of help. Not one person asked if I needed help finding something. There were so many employees in the place, there was traffic inside!”

Who wants to go shopping when there is a store full of young zombies staring at you but not helping? Not me.

But it didn’t get much better when I shopped online. It took about 10 minutes but we found a pair and ordered them. We found a good deal on Dickssporinggoods.com, cheaper than Amazon and easier to return since the store is right around the corner, and as the final bonus, they were offering free shipping. Bargain. Ordered. Done. But no, it couldn’t possibly be that easy. By midnight we had a note from DSG. “Your order has been cancelled.” That’s it, no reason. #ServiceFail

Most shopping websites don’t think of the consumer. They don’t offer good search. The filtering is just ok. The product availability is not accurate. The images of the products leave you wondering. The reviews are hard to comb through. And even when they do get some of the above right, or right enough, they don’t make it easy to apply coupons.

One of the best sites for online shopping in my opinion is WhiteHouseBlackMarket.com but even they have glitches. At Christmas I couldn’t get my order to go through, it was probably browser related so I emailed the company. No reply. When I went to buy something else in early February same issue, so I called the company, placed the order and left a message with the rep that they may have issues with certain browsers. I also made it a point to leave my email and phone and offer to help them test it. No reply. #HelpRejected

The point isn’t about browser failures, cancelled orders or zombie sales clerks. It’s about engagement. All I want is helpful, useful engagement from the vendors I work with. I’m not thinking about the omni channel. I’m not worried about laptop, phone, iPad or in-store shopping. I just want to shop quickly, easily and with the outcome I expect. And, I want a little help doing it.

I know you’re on the edge of your chair wondering how in the world my son got his basketball shoes. Well, I did what every busy American does. I went back to Amazon, bought the shoes, free 1 day shipping with prime, done in less than 2 minutes including good pictures of the product and all the help I needed. The lesson for other vendors – just make it easy to do business with you and find more ways to help a mom out.

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