Stores magazine, in its just-out October issue, has published its Favorite 50 list of the online retailers that shopper like most. Cruising down the list, I must first admit that I certainly have not shopped recently at all the stores listed. But I can add — with confidence — that the online stores that made the list and with which I am familiar made it, in my estimation, for three main reasons — merchandise selection, customer service and ease of moving through the Web site.
First, the top 10 retailers on the list:
7. Google.com (I thought it was an odd entry to the list; its main product is listed as information.)
OK, of online retailers in the top 10, I have shopped recently at Amazon, eBay and Overstock. I use Google about 100 times per day (or 200 or 300), but I don’t consider it a retailer. Needless to say, Google is top-notch.
Amazon: Incredible selection of merchandise. Easy, easy, easy to navigate the site. Customer service that goes way above and beyond.
eBay: Amazing merchandise selection, particularly considering that it’s a big online yard sale. A little clunkier on navigation than Amazon, but that’s mostly because of so many merchandise categories. In other words, the amount of merchandise — and figuring out where to look for what you want — can slow down a search. For the most part, fine customer service. The qualifier comes because sometimes a seller drops the ball. When it happened to me, though, the seller refunded my postage. Nice recovery.
Overstock: Besides having a sizable collection of merchandise and excellent customer service, Overstock’s prices simply cannot be beat. It’s fast, too. A rug I ordered arrived before my shipping confirmation.
Lessons learned: Make sure you have plenty of merchandise to choose from. Even if you just handle a few categories, be sure to have a wide selection of style and price. Update your Web site so that you don’t lose customers who get frustrated trying to navigate. Customer service, customer service, customer service.