A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.


Business: Make it Easy for Your Customers

The other night I was in Pleasanton for an eBig SIG. The SIG got out early and I decided to head over to Stoneridge Mall. Pottery Barn for Kids had had a Bubble Beater that I wanted to buy for the youngins. I had seen it before Christmas but didn’t want to stand in line for one small item. During my visit to the Pottery Barn I got outstanding service, the problem is that I walked out without making any purchases. They didn’t have any Bubble Beaters in stock. I asked about a quilt that caught my eye and they didn’t have any of those in stock either. So the attendant suggested checking to see if the products were available online. They were not.

The issue that I have with retail stores is that if you sell something in the store you sure as hell need to sell it online as well. Don’t make it hard for your customers to buy your stuff. Neither the quilt nor the Bubble Beater is available online. You can only buy them in a brick-and-mortar store. This makes no sense.

Online catalogs for retail companies should have every product they sell available for purchase. The print catalog can have a few less and the brick-and-mortar can have even a smaller subset. People understand that a store doesn’t have enough space to carry all of a company’s products, but carrying products that are only available in a store and NOT available online is inexcusable. I’ve been trying to think of a reason that Pottery Barn does this and the only reason I can come up with is to try and get customers to visit their brick-and-mortar stores. This seems counter intuitive to me. And to make the whole thing just hilarious there was a catalog waiting for me in my mailbox when I got home that night. A catalog that did not contain either the Bubble Beater or the quilt. Go figure.

While I'm complaining about retail stores...I stopped at a Lego store during the Christmas season hoping to get some Lego people for my son. He has a lot of bricks but few people. But the Lego store didn't carry people, although they did have a ton of bricks. So I was delighted when I saw that I could at least buy the Community Worker Lego set through their catalog. I can’t image why Lego doesn’t make it easy to buy people. But they got a huge wake up call over the Christmas holiday. I ordered the Community Workers set early December...it arrived last week. There was such demand that the set was back-ordered. I hope that Lego realizes that they could sell a lot of people if they just made them available. Might I suggest soccer players?

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At January 24, 2006 5:33 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

I'm sure there are stores that agree wholeheartedly with you and offer all of their products on their website. Circuit City evens lets you order online and pick up at a store in 24 minutes.

And I think you mean hockey players.

At January 24, 2006 5:51 PM, Blogger Kim Greenlee said...

LOL. I would want hockey players but my chief Lego user is a soccer fan!


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