Tips for Streamlining the Online Ordering Process

Patti RennerEver have one of those days when it feels like you’re scheduled down to the minute? Not an issue… until it’s compounded by one of life’s curveballs. That’s when the convenience of a smooth ecommerce or mcommerce experience shifts from “nice to have” to “essential.”
My curveball yesterday was my 14-year-old son with a grapefruit-sized swollen ankle, a wicked sprain from wrestling the night before. He was home, leg elevated – hungry and sore waiting for me to run home with lunch. I was able to shift around my packed schedule to actually take a full hour at noon – enough time to get food, get home and get back. As long as I didn’t hit traffic, that left enough time for me to swing by my kid’s favorite burrito joint to surprise him with lunch – plus give me the time to care for his injury mid-day before returning to work.

To shave off a few minutes and avoid the line-out-the-door lunch crowd at the burrito place, I went online that morning to place my order for a speedy pick-up. Their website was easy to navigate, and actually fun to use. Plus it was quick. Overall great experience (kudos to them). It’s also worth mentioning that my son usually orders from their app and has similar praise. In fact, he likes the app so much that we end up eating there much more often. For their ecommerce team, it doesn’t get much better than that, right?

Actually, it gets worse. I was ahead of schedule when I arrived to pick up my order. It was great to move past the long line and go straight to the cashier – a true reward for ordering online. I just needed to grab by order and race home to spend lunch with my son.

“Oh, an online order? You’re gonna have to wait a minute.” Not the response I wanted to hear. Pickup time for me was 12:10pm. I arrived at 12:09 (scheduled to the minute, right?). No problem, so I back up to the wall to wait with the others – no less than six other people camped out, waiting for their orders. Chatting with them, I discovered five placed orders via Web, fax, or app, and one had won free lunch for her office and was there to pick up.

There we waited… five minutes, 10 minutes, 15… 20…
A steady flow of people who stood in the out-the-door line placed, waited and received their orders – all while we clever “order ahead” folks waited in burrito purgatory.

Finally, at 12:45 – I received my food. And an apology. And a refund. And another free meal for the next time I order. And a personal call from the manager later that day to apologize. They really did try to make things right. Of course, you can’t do much for the time I lost. The people were great – but the system was flawed.

If you offer an online order option and you want it to grow, some advice:

  • Be sure a systemized order fulfillment process is in place and clearly understood down to the lowest level of the organization.
  • If you can’t handle online/app orders during peak times, don’t offer peak times as an option for pickup.
  • Test the process at all steps, not just those digital. Online experiences are one thing (and were great in this case), but the real test is in-store at the personal-contact moment.

It just shows that even the best online and app experience can be sabotaged by an in-store experience that’s not properly designed to support it – especially when things get busy or when employees are unclear of the process. Digital orders need to be smoothly integrated into order processing or it negates the trouble of the slick website/app to begin with.

I may be out of the running for Mommy of the Year for missing quality time with my son yesterday; but hey, at least we got a free lunch out if it.

4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Working on your online sales. With online sales still on the rise, a good way to boost your business earnings quickly and easily is to improve how you do business with customers on the Internet. Here are some tips to improve your visitor’s sales experience. The Lunch Pail […]

  2. […] Working on your online sales. With online sales still on the rise, a good way to boost your business earnings quickly and easily is to improve how you do business with customers on the Internet. Here are some tips to improve your visitor’s sales experience. The Lunch Pail […]

  3. […] Working on your online sales. With online sales still on the rise, a good way to boost your business earnings quickly and easily is to improve how you do business with customers on the Internet. Here are some tips to improve your visitor’s sales experience. The Lunch Pail […]

  4. […] Working on your online sales. With online sales still on the rise, a good way to boost your business earnings quickly and easily is to improve how you do business with customers on the Internet. Here are some tips to improve your visitor’s sales experience. The Lunch Pail […]

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