Hi Waterstones employee,
I used your website to order a book yesterday, and I probably won’t be using it again.
- You wanted me to make a new account.
I know you want my details so you can spam m-, sorry, keep me informed of interesting offers. But what I wanted to do was buy a book, not create yet another password on another site. All you need are my billing address, card details, delivery address and an email address. So just ask me for those and give me an option at the end to save them.
- Adding addresses was hassle
I entered my billing address (or as it turns out “Registered address”). I then wanted to change my delivery address, so I do. But its changed my billing address as well. So now I realise I have to add an “Other address” and have to go back and enter my addresses again. There’s a reason all other websites use the same descriptions for their data. It’s so that customers don’t have to learn new things for every website. This is the point when I start to mildly dislike your website.
- To set my default shipping address I have to click a cross. Yes that’s right. A big red cross. What do big red crosses mean? They mean delete, remove, cancel. Not “I want this one”.
- While writing the above I looked at my account information page. I don’t know what you think, but “Alter[ing] your credit card details” has nothing to do with the title “Delivery information”. And again, how do I change my billing and delivery addresses? “Set up frequently used delivery addresses for yourself, family and friends”? At least this is under the correct heading, but look what else we also find here: the Billing-, oh wait, “Registered address”.
- I think I entered my card details at some point, I’m not really sure. I was very confused. Now this is a minor point: On my card the expiry date is 07/09. On your website the expiry date drop down box lists Jan, Feb, Mar… etc. Now quickly tell me the name of the seventh month! Now! Got it? Well done, it is July. But that took you longer than looking down a list of number shapes and seeing which one matched the shape on my card. If there’s one thing you take away from this email then make sure you at least change the expiry date drop down to use numbers.
- So now, I’ve managed to persuade your site to accept my payment details. Fantastic. I leave slightly frustrated. I go watch Aliens with my friends, which to be honest doesn’t help my mood as I forgot how much of a poor actor the little girl in it is. Damn she’s annoying.
- So now it’s 9:00am. I’m running out of milk and cereal when I check my email. The book is out of stock. Well done Waterstones. You let me buy something you don’t have. I believe this breaks at least one of the basic guidelines of selling stuff. And for your enjoyment here’s a quote from the email:
the publisher has confirmed that the item/s shown below are not currently available, but an item request has been placed with the suppliers so that we can fulfil your order.
Tell me, if the publisher isn’t publishing how can the supplier supply?
If there’s one good thing about your site then it’s that I could cancel my order easily. The other would be that it looks pretty. But that doesn’t help you much when I’ve just ordered at Play.com and vowed never to return to your side. And I’ll probably moan about it to my friends as well because a) How can such a large book chain fail so badly at selling books b) I’m a vindictive bastard.
And now I’ve spent over 45 minutes writing this email. Brilliant. I hope you appreciate this.