To my friends’ amusement I’m normally one of those super-organised people who never has an empty fridge, doesn’t forget to send a birthday card and starts Christmas shopping in July. Yes, July … you can great some great bargains on big brands in the summer sales. Trust me.
That’s why last weekend, on a dull afternoon before I got ready to go out in the evening to meet friends, I wrote a list of what I’d already bought and for whom. Then I composed a ‘to do’ list of what else I needed to buy and promptly browsed the internet to take advantage of some earlybird discounts and special offers.
It’s six years’ since the height of the internet boom and you’d think that by now the big name retailers would have learned what customers want from a website. I want to buy Christmas presents quickly, easily, have them delivered to my work address and have a few discounts and ‘3 for 2’ offers thrown in to make me feel all warm and festive. So why do some websites in 2006 still do the following?
1. Have a smiling director on the homepage telling you how eco-friendly and nice to their employees they all are, but not how to buy anything from them
2. Offer a two minute self-congratulory movie on the index page, which you’re told you can’t see (even if you wanted to) until you download Macromedia Flash
3. Lose all the contents of your basket if you press the back button in your browser
4. Not accept your registration details because your address isn’t in the out of date Royal Mail database
5. Have the most popular items out of stock. Sorry mates, you’re not getting a chocolate fountain this year
Happily an hour later I scored gold with some websites that it actually was a pleasure to do online business with – they weren’t too Macromedia Flash to take my cash. And they offered free delivery to boot.
Thanks to Amazon, HMV, Christian Aid Present Aid, Boots and Cancer Research Campaign I will have happy friends and family at Christmas and I can spend my weekends in December making merry rather than barging people out of the way in Woolworths. I can hear my friends taking the mickey out of me right now …