Things have become so automated in the name of customer service that I think its actually become detrimental to customer service. I like to order online and I know that the one on one customer service is non-existent there, but that's no excuse for a total disconnect.
Customers like to shop online. To the brick & mortar shops, get over it. If I regularly received decent customer service at B&M businesses, I wouldn't be as willing to forfeit that comfort. But the fact is, most stores you go into, the employees know little to nothing about their products, they're surly and unpleasant. The caveat to that statement, is the small business specialty type stores. And I mean SMALL where the person who owns the shop is talking to you, showing you around and knows the products inside and out because he/she either made it themselves or knows personally the person who did. I am not affected by appearance, though. I don't care if the shop owner is covered in tattoos and has multiple piercings. I've been judged by my appearance all my life and refuse to that to others. As long as the individual is clean and doesn't smell like they need a personal introduction to soap and water, I'm good.
But I draw the line at stinky customer service and for some reason online shops think that they're immune to that particular expectation. News for you, you're not. Just because I pick my merchandise from the website does not mean that I'm willing to accept customer slights. Here's my expectations for online shopping.
1) The item should be well described.
Pictures should be large enough for young and old to see details. The option for 360degree view is optimal. Make sure your webmaster knows what they're doing, it's very aggravating to have a "click to enlarge" only to have the item showing on a bare webpage the exact same size as the original. The magnifying glass thing...annoying! I want to see the WHOLE picture large, not just bits and pieces. If you have an item that comes in different colors, provide a picture of the item in EACH color. (see Zappos.com)
Written descriptions should be COMPLETE. Where it was made and what kind of material it is made from (especially clothing). Is it dry clean only? If I'm ordering tea for instance, I want to know where it came from, when it was harvested, how it was processed, information about the flavor and even what kind of foods it would compliment.
A pop-up window when I click to order is a really nice option, I can choose the color, flavor, etc., and the quantity, click order and the window closes so I can continue shopping, no back and forth to the shopping cart like some shops. See Keurig.com
3) Shopping cart
A shopping cart should be quick & easy to edit, people change their minds all the time and having a quick window pop up when you click on it instead of taking you to a new page is a appreciated, at least by me. Edit, close window, back to shopping.
4) Filling out the billing & shipment
It annoys the living daylights out of me when I come upon a website that will not allow my billing address to be my PO Box. I live in the sticks, I prefer the security of my POB. If I had rural delivery my mailbox would be on the main road a mile away from my house. It would be amongst many other mailboxes and guess what? They get ransacked regularly. So when a business gets all snotty about my POB address it pisses me off because a) they're assuming I'm dishonest b) they don't care about me and my security.
What is worse is when they refuse to ship to a POB. I don't mind using UPS or FedEx, that's just fine, I'll give my physical address happily. But when UPS/FedEx aren't an option, I can't do business with them. Which, exactly whose loss is this? Oh yea...theirs. Because I'll just find someone who WILL deliver to my POB or send via UPS/FedEx.
Okay, that's pretty cool that you can fill out the shipping label from your office. I like it, too. But here's the thing, don't tell me my item has been shipped until it's actually been shipped. I know, there's usually a little note that says it may not have actually left their warehouse, but still. But that's really a small complaint.
Back-orders happen. But for the love of all that is green, TELL ME. I placed an order for a blouse that said it would be delivered in about 2 weeks. After 3 weeks I realized it hadn't come. I contact the company and they tell me the order was cancelled. But they don't bother to tell me why. By the time I finally got that answer, I just didn't care. I won't order from them again. Same thing with some work clothes from V.A.C. a month later when my boss calls they THEN tell her that they were a discontinued item. Exactly why did we have to CALL TO FIND OUT. Unacceptable. I won't be doing business with either of them again.
The thing about back-orders, is that there's a possibility that I'll just order something else, but if they don't give me the courtesy of a phone call or email, I don't want their damn products.