A better way to put items on hold

21Dec09

Last week, I called a store and asked them to place an item on hold for me. The retailer was having a big sale on lots of products, so I figured there was a good chance they’d sell out before I got there. However, once I arrived and asked for the item, it was nowhere to be found.

It turns out this wasn’t a problem. They had plenty of copies of that product in stock, and I quickly found one in the right size. I ended up buying something totally different, though, since my original choice wasn’t as nice as it looked online.

But what if I did want the first product? What if I got there and it was sold out, and they didn’t put one on hold for me? I would have been quite pissed. All of this made me think of a few tips that stores should consider when letting customers place items on hold:

– Tell the customer where they should go inside the store to pick up the item.
– Assign a claim number to the request, so there’s some element of accountability.
– Offer a service to hold the item longer than the usual end-of-the-day or 24 hour hold time, perhaps by charging a nominal fee for the privilege.

By implementing one or more of these improvements, the retailer would probably get more of the people who put items on hold to actually buy them. At the same time, the experience would be less haphazard from the customer’s point of view, thus improving their overall satisfaction with the purchasing process.



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