The latest in baby and tot fashions, celebrity baby favorites, new baby product reviews, and baby boutique sales and promotions

Monday, October 1, 2007

Confessions of a Baby Boutique Owner

I have definitely learned a few things in my time running a baby boutique. When I first started, I went WAY overboard. I wrapped every single order in a nice gift box and tied it with grosgrain ribbon. Inside, my customer would find their item neatly wrapped in tissue paper with a gift card thanking them for their business. At first, it would take me an hour to prepare one order for shipment. If a customer received an item late, I threw in a little extra something. Heck, I threw in freebies all the time for no rhyme or reason. All of the above are nice gestures and I still do them when the situation is warranted. But what I learned is what the customer REALLY wants. Having a nicely wrapped order is not what makes a customer return and ultimately that is what us retailers want. My customer wants just a few things and they are all Free! They want great products that are unique and high quality. They want good customer service meaning emails/phone calls are returned promptly and they are updated on their order status. If an order is late or you are out of stock- just tell them (nicely, of course). And finally they want to be taken care if something goes wrong. I have made mistakes, but I have always made them "right". I always cringe when I shop on a site and I see this: "we are not responsible for lost packages". What does that mean? If my order is lost, you will tell me tough luck? That to me is poor customer service and you can kiss that customer goodbye. I understand having to protect yourself from delivery failures, but can you just leave the customer out in the cold? I protect myself here by always using shipping services with tracking information. Fed Ex and UPS even provide free insurance . Yes, I have have had lost packages. Yet, I have never lost money from them. Eventually, the order is found or I am reimbursed for the loss.
Most of my business is repeat customer and referrals. I hope that speaks loudly as to how well I am doing providing what the customer really wants. Thoughts, opinions?? Shoppers- what do you look for when shopping online?

No comments: