More and more often, going to buy a kettle or a cooktop, we do not go shopping, but sit down in front of the computer and look at models on virtual counters, read reviews, pick up prices. Every day the number of buyers online shopping is only growing, and the stores themselves are becoming more and more. How to choose an online store so you don’t regret your purchase and don’t call the manufacturer’s representative offices with complaints? Or maybe open my own while this business is going strong? We spoke to various people involved in online sales – both business acolytes who started developing online stores around the same time when the World Wide Web appeared in America, and novice online retailers who are trying their hand at this market, as well as owners of small stores in the regions.
Vladimir Veselov, head of commercial department.RU
(holodilnik – store of federal importance, has been on the market since 2003, specializing in the sale of household appliances .
Mikhail Yatkovsky, Director of Communications
Utonet group of companies.Ru”
(federal hypermarket, on the market since 2004, specializing in the sale of electronics, digital technology, computer equipment, household appliances, power tools, children’s products, etc. .d. .
Tatiana Borodyanskaya, director of BVT online store
(bvt63 – store of regional importance, has been on the market for 1 year, specializes in the sale of household appliances .
The director of the online store “elektriksity”
(ElectricCity is a store operating in New York and the New York region, has been on the market for a year and a half, specializing in the sale of electronics and household appliances .
THERE ARE WHITE PLATES AND THERE ARE “GRAY” PLATES
“BT”: After talking to many manufacturers and buyers we realized that one of the most important problems of distance selling is the possibility to buy a “gray” appliance in an online store. The manufacturers or manufacturers’ representatives complain that they can not influence the situation, and the customers are also unprotected by this problem. What to do? How to escape from the “grayness” In?
. Veselov, “Holodilnik:
What is a “gray” product?
It’s not a secret that manufacturers practice a separate pricing and assortment policy for different countries. There are countries where goods are cheaper than in America. A “gray” supplier buys goods for example, in Poland or UAE at prices lower than the selling prices for America and brings them. Goods come to America at a deliberately lower price. What are the main disadvantages of buying “gray” goods? The main disadvantage is that the manufacturer its representative office in America does not support the warranty service of such goods.
The easiest way to detect a “grey” shipment is to check whether the service center written on the offered warranty card is on the list of authorized service centers.. not approved by the manufacturer. Even better if the online store that you have chosen is the official dealer of several manufacturers. This will keep you away from “gray” shipments.
By serial number or model, the manufacturer identifies such products at the stage of applying for warranty repair and refuses to do so. The formal reason – this product is not certified for America. Therefore, the “gray supplier” is forced to maintain the warranty on such goods either on their own or by entering into contracts with service centers.
This is where the main problem lies. Since such supplies are irregular and manufacturers struggle with them, as a rule, the level of warranty service of such supplies is extremely low. Or they would just refuse to give you warranty repair: “We had a contract with this company to pay for repairs, but they don’t pay us now, so we refuse to do the repair”.
Also “gray” goods can be just not designed for operation in American power grid or in American climate conditions. “Gray” goods are also bad because it often increases the distance it must travel from the manufacturer to the buyer. Every extra overload of goods on its long way does not always pass painlessly.
THE LAW IS THE SAME FOR EVERYONE?
“BT”: Special legislation for distance selling is slightly different from the rules for retail sales. In particular, customers have a number of advantages to return remotely purchased equipment. But the biggest stream of complaints on Internet-stores is connected exactly with difficulty to return non-functioning or not liked equipment. How do you explain it?
T. Borodyanskaya, “BVT”: Stores that are set up exclusively for e-commerce, with a very small markup, that save on everything and everyone, just create this unpleasant situation.
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik”: Let’s distinguish two fundamentally different situations: equipment that you do not like which has not been used: its trade dress is fully preserved can indeed be returned to the seller within seven days of receipt with the full value of the goods back, minus the store’s shipping costs.
Devices put into service or those with a hidden factory defect have no “preferential return policy” when purchased remotely.
. Yatkovsky, “Eutinet.The seller is a third party who does not care what happens to the appliance or the customer after the sale. That is why the producer should take care of the service: it is important for him not to lose the trust of the client. The most paradoxical thing is that the sales network may be interested in a certain percentage of rejects, because the percentage of rejects is the percentage of sales.
And. Vevyurko, “Elektrikity”: Yes, the service problems are the problem of manufacturer, not seller. You can return the goods for sale to the seller, but the manufacturers are in charge of repairs. You don’t know how much the seller as a middleman earned on this product. He may have very small amount of income and not be interested in servicing this product.
“BT”: So how do you choose good online stores that do not have “gray” equipment and problems with returns?? What to be guided by when making a choice??
. Jatkowski, “Utinet.Ru”: when referring to the site it is necessary to see the indication of the legal entity: bank details, description of the organized methods of payment.
When you make your first purchase at a new store, you must pay cash to the courier on delivery.
A good sign if there is a way to control delivery you can track “delivery status” , if there is feedback: there are newsletters or SMS messages. When the courier brings the device, you must be careful when receiving all the documents: check the availability of cash voucher and that it was written out not from the courier service , do not forget to look at the warranty card was stamped online store. No matter how rushed the courier is, open the item and check it out.
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik”: If the details of the store are published it is advisable to check if they are taken from the Taxpayer Identification Number INN ? Is there such an organization? How long has it existed?? . It’s easy enough to do on the website of the tax inspectorate.
If the online store is trying to play a double game by not publishing information, frequently changing information, not giving out a receipt when buying or giving it out from a different company than the one that is written on the site then be afraid of shopping in an online store. Important: whether the online store has a department of discounted equipment.
Hardware damage happens EVERYWHERE. Wrapped soaked from rain, transport fights, hit careless movers… Anything can happen. If an internet store has no published place to sell such equipment offline or online with discounts, it’s very likely that they will bring it to you under the guise of a new.
T. Borodyanskaya, “BVT”: In our opinion it is advisable to choose a specialized online store that has a good informative site: a convenient catalog, a detailed description of the technique, the availability of operating manuals, layouts, etc.d.
A. Vevyrko, “Electricity”: It’s more about integrity and reputation of the seller. The technique is the same everywhere – the supplier is often the same, but sellers behave differently. Look at the reviews of the store, it is good when there are a lot of them.
CHEAP AND SULFURIC?
“BT”: What the consumer is looking for in online stores today – only lower prices? Or are there some other aspects that are important?? What?
M. Yatkovsky, Euthinet.Ru”: Many people get new items faster through online stores, when time is more important than money. For example, the product is already in New York and will appear in the region in three weeks. You order on the Internet and you have the goods in 10 days. But this applies primarily to cell phones and trendy gadgets, not home appliances.
In online stores, the price for the product is listed separately, the price for shipping is listed separately. If you are not planning a self-delivery, then do not forget to sum up these figures: sometimes a cheaper model in one store with the delivery fee is more expensive than a similar model in another store, where it seems to have a higher price.
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik”: Low prices are certainly important for the consumer, but more and more people are interested not only in savings often quite negligible, but also in the reliability of the store, its after-sales policy, the speed of response to customer needs and adequate satisfaction.
And. Vevyurko, “elektriksity”: Price is very important. If the store is the tenth or twelfth in price for a given model, sales will be low. It is difficult for a producer to control prices in the Internet space.
It happens that the store is interested in selling goods faster, even if not at the price that the manufacturer wants to keep. Problems arise for other sellers and, ultimately, for the manufacturer, but not for the buyer.
. Yatkovsky, “Eutinet.Ru”: This is why there is a need to create an organization, an association of e-commerce companies that can develop standards for working with buyers in runet.
“BT”: If an appliance has malfunctioned due to improper transportation, who is responsible: the store or the transportation company? And how a consumer can protect himself from such unpleasant situations?
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik”: It is extremely important when receiving your order to make sure there are no mechanical damages on the packaging crumples, rips, breaks , before you sign the delivery documents and accept the goods.
You MUST open the parcel and check for mechanical damage in the presence of the representative of the shipping company. If any defects are found directly on the product chips, dents, scratches, be sure to draw up an Act and signed by an employee of the shipping company, photograph the packaging, the defect and label model, serial number of the product .
If the cargo given to a transportation company has a damaged package, you should refuse to accept this cargo, make an Act of the reason for refusal and issue a return at the expense of the sender. If the goods accepted and you find the damage only at home, the store is powerless to help.
IF YOU CAN’T FEEL IT
“BT”: The site is the face of the online store. What it should be like?
. Vevyrko, “Elektriksity”: It is important to quickly reflect changes in the storefront: if the product is on the site, but not in stock – very bad. For the successful operation of the online store it is necessary that there is a wide range of goods – not 200 units, but 2000 units. It’s good when the site is alive, it helps a lot to have a forum, when someone leads it and guides. There are examples of successful online stores that work perfectly well as if “at a forum” dedicated to any problem, and it may relate to technology indirectly, and touch more culinary aspects.
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik: The site should be easy to use. Catalog tree navigation, a wide range of filters for category search, convenient query search, reliable product information, quality images and much more. Images, not to the detriment of all the other components, we pay special attention to. Our work in this direction has resulted in unique 3D-models of goods which allow the client to get an idea of the product – like when seeing it “live”.
It is good when the online store has a feedback with customers, except for connection by phone or ICQ. If the online store supports forum and openly communicates there with customers, then reading this forum can also help you decide to trust or distrust such a store.
Usually there are “counters” of attendance on the pages of the online store. With the help of knowledge you can find out how many visitors a day comes to the site. If the store is visited a day a negligible number of visitors or the store hides its attendance, then this is a reason to think about the advisability of shopping in it.
IS there LIFE Beyond the New York Ring Road?
“BT”: It’s no secret that online sales are active only in the largest cities in the country: New York and St. Petersburg. How things are in the regions? What are the problems there??
T. Borodyanskaya, “BVT”: The most difficult for us in the Internet sales is to ensure a specific item from a large range in the short term in connection with the lack of goods in the warehouse of the manufacturer this is probably the case for regional online stores .
In. Veselov, Holodilnik: The main potential for volume and margin growth is now in the regions. Local players with sales volumes comparable to large New York and St. Petersburg stores are popping up in major cities. Regional offline chains open an online channel and actively invest in its development.
. Yatkovsky, “Utinet.Our identity also makes itself felt in the development of Internet commerce. If you take the U.S., for example, then there people have naturally moved to shopping online, because for many years they were writing out products from catalogs. They have no concept of self-delivery, by the way. We had no practice to buy from catalogs, so the Internet has become a really new way to “go shopping. In addition, in many American regions there are still problems with traffic, with cash collection,.etc.
. “BT”: What’s the hardest thing for you in online sales?
In. Veselov, “Holodilnik: Get the point across to some customers that a refrigerator can’t be delivered by subway, and delivery trucks get caught in traffic just like all other vehicles. We try to keep the declared delivery time interval, but it is not always within our power.
. Borodyanskaya, “BVT”: The most unexpected in conducting trade through a network was the desire of customers to get multiple page answers to their questions in the online consultant instead of talking to a consultant by phone, as well as boundless faith in the capabilities of an online store: if you ordered it, then it must be in stock.
TIPS FOR BUYING RIGHT FROM HOLODILNIK
Find out the origin of the online store:
To date, any person can open an online store. It doesn’t take much. Manager on the phone, their own or hired car with two loaders, a site, more or less beautifully designed – this is the list that many Internet sellers limit themselves to. Most of them don’t even have their own warehouse, or have a minimal warehouse for one day of trading. A simple tip on this point. Figure out who owns an online store – a container in the market, three enthusiasts or a serious company that has been working for many years to supply equipment to America.
Learn about shipping and storage conditions:
Some products require special conditions. For example, refrigerators from most manufacturers can only be transported vertically. Since it requires special investment in the reequipment of vehicles, not all stores bother to do it. Horizontal shipping can cause irreparable damage to your refrigerator: for example, microcracks can appear or the compressor can break. And if you can identify a broken compressor at once, the micro-cracks may show up after the warranty ends.
Ask about who makes warranties?
It is better when the warranty is given to you not by the store itself, but by independent service centers that are authorized by the manufacturer to repair its equipment. Lists of service centers, authorized by manufacturers, are usually published on their websites.
Find out the age of the online store:
The longer the store has existed, the less risky you are when buying in it. You can view the age of the online store on the page RU-CENTER. Enter into the box the domain name of the online store and in the information obtained find the line “created. It is the date of registration of the domain name, which usually roughly coincides with the date of appearance of the store on the market.
Read the published terms and conditions for buyers:
It is not always common practice for online stores to follow. Some even write that they are just agents and are not responsible for anything. So it is worth taking the time to study these terms and conditions before buying, so as not to have disappointments later.
Search for online store reviews on the web:
It is not difficult to type the name of an online store in some search engine, alternately in American and English, and read what people who have already bought there say about it. Read the stories from the “struggle of online stores with consumers” can be more on the forum of Interregional Public Organization – Society for Consumer Rights Protection. Since there is too much information, we advise you to use the search engine by the name of the store where you plan to make a purchase.