The current line of ranting on technological subjects continues… This time it is the result of some mixed experiences with Jessops, a camera retailer with both on- and off-line shops.
Surprisingly for a High Street retailer, Jessops price their camera systems competitively with most online shops. For anyone who has not been unfortunate enough to try an dip their toes into the world of Digital SLR cameras, the whole thing is a muddle of choosing a camera body and lens from an array of options that really are mind boggling. Annoyingly, there are few retailers who provide the best price on everything, one will have very cheap lenses, but expensive camera bodies, another will be cheap bodies but extortionate shipping costs and so on.
As a result of this muddle (and wanting to have my new toy right now!), I eventually came to decide that the best solution would be to buy the camera and a kit lens from Jessops (I went for the Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 18-135mm lens for anyone who cares), then order other bits and pieces from cheaper, online, retailers (Warehouse Express is very good value for lenses).
Jessops was certainly not the cheapest, but it offers one “unique” selling point. You can shop online, pay the discounted internet prices, and collect the goods from the local Jessops store “in as little as an hour.” This tipped the balance for me as I needed the new toy by the weekend. All went well and I looked around the Jessops site for odd bits and pieces – each time ensuring the site said “Collect at store available.” In the end, I built up an order close on Â£1000 (when you throw in a backpack, filters, cleaning kits, spare batteries etc., it all adds up 🙂 ). Finally satisfied with my online-consumer retail therapy, I went to the checkout.
Again, each item was clearly marked it could be collected at the store. Great I thought. I would be able to collect it all after work on Friday (today) and be able to spend the weekend taking photos of puddles. Happily, I continued with my order, entered my home address, chose the local store and entered my card details. To Jessops credit, they do not take the payment until you turn up at the store and collect your goods. That certainly is a well done for them.
At this point, it all went sour.
The confirmation screen popped up saying the goods would be available for collection, not in the implied hour, but next week. Thursday. A whole SEVEN days later. Compare this with the online retailers who, for the same price (postage eating up the savings), could have delivered it by Monday – or for a little more, Saturday. Needless to say I was gutted.
Have I seriously missed the point? I wasn’t sure what I had misunderstood about their advertising, so I emailed Jessops. To their credit, a human replied to me early on, the next working day:
Thank you for your e-mail the goods would normally be available for collection within an hour if all the stock is available , with your order 4 of the items are not in store therefore they would be sent via our warehouse so with the weekend coming up your promised time would be 19th July .
I am very sorry if this was not made clearer when placing your order.
Well, it certainly was not made clear until the very end of the process – after I had surrendered my home address, telephone number and credit card details to Jessops. Basically they are saying that the goods were not in stock, so the “collect at store” availability thing was pointless. Thinking along these lines, I replied to Jessops with:
Thank you for getting back to me and clearing this up.
Each of the items I chose was clearly marked as available for
collection at the store, this was one of the reasons they were chosen.
It might be worth investigating why the website front end is giving
out incorrect information like this. It is strange that purchasing the
items from your shop is slower than having them delivered to my house.
Not the best complaint email I have ever fired off but I was in a hurry 🙂 . Oddly, Jessops response cleared nothing up and seemed to be simply a restatement of the previous email and what seems to be a little white lie: (Emphasis mine)
The website will indeed say ‘collect at store available’ on the item page, because some of our 250 stores will have the item in stock for the 1 hour collection, and the store which haven’t currently got the item in stock, will give a 48hr collection time, as the good will then come directly from our warehouse.
Once you have placed the good in your basket, and given your postcode, the website will then bring up a list of stores, and times and dates on when you will be able to collect. This information is given before any personal details are put into the website, so that you know when you can collect the goods.
once an order has been placed the stores will then hold the goods for 7 days.
I hope this explains the collect at store service for you.
First off, the “Collect at store available” seems to mean that at least one shop in the UK has it in stock. Now, correct me if I am being pedantic but that is so pointless as to be a complete waste of screen real estate. It adds nothing to the customers shopping “experience” and provides them with no information which can help advise their purchase choice. Why is it there?
More importantly, the bit in bold seems to say you are told early on in the shopping process when the collection times will be. When I placed my order, and selected the store of choice, it never once said the collection date would be a week away. The first point it made that clear was the confirmation page.
Sadly, I have just checked it now, trying to re-order the same items and it DOES day the earliest collection will be next week for my store. This is strange, as I looked in the store today and they had every single one of the items I wanted in stock – I would have bought them but they are more expensive in the store. As I see it, there are three possibilities:
- I fsked up. Always very possible. I am 100% certain there was no indication of delay though.
- The had it in stock, then sold out. Possible I suppose, but see above.
- They updated the script as a result of my complaints – welcome to the realm of conspiracy theories!
Whatever the possibility is, Jessops has soured my “shopping experience” with them, and now there is no way I am going to order from them. There are cheaper online-only retailers, but they charge quite a bit of shipping to get to the remote part of the UK where I live now, and it takes time. That said, for the price Jessops were charging, I can have it shipped to my house on the same day I could collect it from the shop.
In itself, this would have been borderline “Bad Shop” material, but this came the week after I made a snapfish order and arranged to collect that. The collection day arrived, I went to shop with the order number and they denied all knowledge. I went home, contacted snapfish who assured me it was there, so I went back the next day and there it was…
Add it all together and Jessops is now in my list of “Bad Shops.”
[tags]Jessops, Bad Shops, Camera, Digital Camera, Technology, Online Shopping, E-Commerce, Nikon, Nikon D80, Snapfish, Warehouse Express[/tags]