Home > Sell On Amazon > Customer Satisfaction (Part 2)

Customer Satisfaction (Part 2)

Continuing our discussion of making sure your customers are happy, the next topic is the condition of the product when it’s received by your customer.  The bar to meet is that the product is in pristine condition.  You may think I’m exaggerating, or that being in pristine condition is a worthy goal that you don’t really have to meet, but that is not the case.

Pristine really is the minimum of what you should consider to be acceptable.  Imagine how disappointed a customer is when they receive their new item in the mail and the product’s package is bent or crushed, or there’s a discoloration.  Even if in your opinion ultimately the blemish has no effect on the value of the product or its usefulness, you’ll have a disappointed customer.  I had one customer leave me negative feedback because the shipping package had a corner crushed in the mail during transit.  I.e., not the product or the manufacturer’s package (which the customer indicated were undamaged), but the box I had used to hold the product during shipping.

This is an extreme example, I’ve only had one complaint like that, but you get the idea.  When the product leaves your hands it should be in absolutely pristine condition so you don’t disappoint your customers.

Leaving your hands in pristine condition isn’t enough, of course, it needs to arrive at the customer in pristine condition as well.  If the product is damaged in transit the customer won’t feel any better about it.  Make sure you package it in a rigid container (like a strong box) with enough void fill (e.g. bubble wrap) that the product arrives at the customer’s house in the same pristine condition in which you mailed it.

One word here about void fill.  There are several types to choose from (bubble wrap, peanuts, etc.).  When you’re choosing a void fill be considerate of your customer – that will also leave an impression on them.  I’ve never used void fill that will be messy for the customer, like Styrofoam peanuts.  I would have never thought about this, except that I occasionally receive product from a manufacturer that uses messy void fill, and it’s a lot of extra work for me to dispose of it.  As a retailer it’s natural to think about what you can do to make a positive impression on your customers, but it’s also necessary to think about and avoid anything that can make a negative impression.

Occasionally you’ll receive a product from the manufacturer that is less than pristine, e.g. the product’s package is damaged even though the product itself is fine.  I suggest returning it to the manufacturer, or giving it away to a local charity.  You could also sell it as ‘used’ instead of ‘new’, though that can be a lot of extra effort and I don’t find it worth the time.

When you’re using a fulfillment service their ability to store, retrieve, and ship products without damaging them is essential.  You’ll want to periodically place an order for yourself so you can see what kind of job they’re doing.

Random Observations

I’ve been looking into a selling in a new product category, and having difficulty finding a manufacturer who will sell to me.  I’ve mentioned before that there are some manufacturers who won’t sell to online retailers, but in this case the problem isn’t that I’m an online retailer.  It’s that it’s a premium product category, and the manufacturers reserve territories for their brick and mortar retailers.

What does a physical territory have to do with me, an online retailer?  Nothing really, but the manufacturers aren’t concerned at all about online sales, they’re only interested in physical territory.  Since I happen to be in an area that’s already covered by brick and mortar retailers for these products, the manufacturers won’t sell to me because they consider it to be competition for their existing retailers, even though I only intend to sell their products online.

That’s unfortunate for both me and the manufacturers, these products are definitely underserved online and I believe they would sell well.  Perhaps I’ll move to a remote area that isn’t covered by brick and mortar retailers.  The manufacturers will probably wonder why so many people in such a remote area are buying their products.


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