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Monday, January 12, 2009

Farewell to Ferrit - thank god!

The timely demise of Ferrit should serve as a wake-up call to many online retailers in NZ. A common theme amongst the myriad of comments made about Ferrit experiences was the appalling after sales service. For online retailers, the sales process does not end when the buyer clicks buy now, pays with a credit card and awaits their goods. It ends only when those goods arrive, in a satisfactory condition.

Any successful online retailer will tell you this. But for some reason they are few and far between. Given the uniformity of access, and often price, on the internet - there are no local shops - to not deliver the best possible service is commercial suicide.

The best online retailer I have experienced in NZ is Gourmet Direct - they make it their business to ensure you receive what you have ordered, on time and in good shape. They will always have my business, irrespective of competitive pricing. Customer loyalty for online retailers is critical.

Ferrit was a poor site in every way - poorly constructed, understocked, weak content, technically inadequate and appallingly marketed.Even with Telecom's billions behind it it could not make a go of it, even in a country where online retailing is generally behind the times and consumers less savvy.

What makes this doubly sad is that NZ, with its geographically diverse population, is ideal for online retailers. But the market needs a wake-up in order to start delivering. Maybe the end of Ferrit will be just that.

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