Amazon has consistently captured a greater percentage of my retail dollar year after year. With policies like the ones Eddie Bauer and Jos. A. Banks employ, I'm confident that will continue.
I'm mostly writing this to get something off my chest, but I think I have a point as well: Most retailers are blowing it and losing.
I think REI is an example of a retailer who gets how to leverage their online and physical stores to create something better than what you'd otherwise get. I can order things online and get them delivered free to the local store and free to my house over a certain price point. I'm willing to stop by the store to pick up a purchase because I like going there (and usually REI sells something else when I come by).
I've run across two merchants who don't get this at all. My first example is Eddie Bauer (EB). I stopped in to pick up some jeans because I like how the EB jeans fit. I was told "You have to order waist sizes over 40 inches online. We don't carry them in the store." Never mind that the 20-something clerk essentially just told me they don't have room to carry inventory for fat people. She didn't have a way to help me. Sent me out of the store and hope I go to the Web site. How stupid is that? But it gets worse. When I went to the Web site to place the order, they charged me a $3.00 "handling charge" over and above the shipping. They don't charge me a shipping OR handling charge when I go into their physical store even though they've paid through the nose for space, people, and systems.
Over the weekend I had a similar experience at Jos. A. Banks. I went to the store and they didn't have my shirt size in stock. I asked the clerk if he could order it and he said "sure." He walks to a terminal, orders the shirts, and when I look at the bill it has a shipping charge of $5.00 on it to ship to their store. Not only do I have to pay, I have to drive over and pick it up too.
Eddie Bauer and Jos. A. Banks are making a liability of the fact that they have both online and physical stores rather than finding ways they can work together. Rather than leveraging their presence in multiple markets they're making me resent it. Any wonder I buy from Amazon (where I have a Prime membership) any chance I get? Amazon has consistently captured a greater percentage of my retail dollar year after year. With policies like the ones above, I'm confident that will continue.
These companies are spending lots of money on loyalty programs and social media strategies and then killing it all with how they mistreat their online customers.