Visit us on Facebook!
Visit us at STELLAService.com
Call us: (212) 366-1483
Email us: email@example.com
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
As a result of evaluating the service of thousands of online retailers – some of them with “unfriendly” return policies – we were unfortunately left with hundreds of random products at the end of 2011.
As opposed to auctioning off these products on eBay or otherwise disposing of them, we decided to turn the negative situation into a positive one by giving away the items to those in need. Check it out!
Happy holidays from all of us at STELLAService!
It’s wedding season! In particular there’s a very important wedding that just took place, and of course I’m talking about William and Kate. Naturally, my morning routine of watching Good Morning America had been infiltrated with coverage of the “Epic Event”.
As part of its coverage, ABC found anyone they could who was attending the wedding and interviewed him/her about useless information. For some reason, I actually paid attention to the interviews last week. Glad I did… One young guy they interviewed was not only the very close Step-2nd Cousin of Prince William, but also happened to be one of the co-founders of Quintessentially, “the world’s leading private members’ club with a global concierge that provides a unique brand of service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” Never hearing of this before, I was intrigued to see what something like that costs. After being made fun of by my “in-the-know” girlfriend for never hearing of Quintessentially, I Googled the company and did some perusing.
Starting at $1,500 a year for a General Membership, plus an additional $300 for joining, I am rewarded with 24-hour access to the world’s finest lifestyle management service. This started to make me think how much people are truly willing to pay for 24-hour service. AMEX Black Card holders must charge a minimum of $150,000 plus an additional $1,000 annual fee for their service. Yes it would be great to have a personal driver to escort me to work, instead of having to bike on the crazy streets of NYC or have someone take out all the brown M&M’s from my bag of candy because I can’t stand brown M&M’s, but I realize that’s not realistic and not necessary.
It’s obvious that not every ordinary person can afford these luxuries, but that doesn’t mean they are banned from extraordinary service. Our mission here at STELLAService is to bring transparency to the online shopping market, and help consumers find the best online shopping experience possible. By ordering a $28 pair of REEF flip flops on ZAPPOS I am rewarded with 24/7 attention, free shipping and returns! Now that’s service. Service I can afford and service that is extraordinary.
So in the coming weeks, I’ll prepare for the biggest wedding of my summer, my older brother’s. And although it won’t be covered by ABC every morning and no famous people will attend, I do know… I will buy my shoes at Zappos because if they don’t look good with the suit I ordered on J.Crew, I can return them for free. I’ll buy a new 3 wood at DiscountGolfWorld.com for the weekend of golf at the Bachelor Party. And order shiny china from Saks as a wedding gift for the newlyweds. I’ll do all this buying online with a smile on my face because I know, thanks to our online ratings, that you don’t have to be in Westminster Abbey to receive the royal treatment.
The term ‘Invisible Hand’ is a term originally coined by the economist Adam Smith. Boiled down, this term is meant to describe how in free markets, people are free to pursue their own self-interests. Smith believed that when people pursued their own self-interests, the free market would provide for these interests and society would therefore be better off.
While the invisible forces of the market may be difficult to spot, the product that goes by the same name as Adam Smith’s infamous term is anything but. InvisibleHand is a browser plug-in that subtly lets a shopper know whether the product they’re looking at is available for different prices at other e-retailers. It’s helpful for casual shoppers who may not always know the different sites where a product can be bought on the web.
It seems the plugin is helping consumers reign in some serious savings. So far their homepage lists their total savings found for consumers to be $410,049,783, with an average savings per product of $11.65.
However, while InvisibleHand does offer great savings to its users, it also helps illustrate a major trend in e-commerce: pricing convergence. A simple search for a Samsung flat-screen television reveals the number of retailers selling the same product for more or less the same price.
Below you can see the InvisibleHand (the yellow bar at the top of the page, and the corresponding drop-down menu) listing the prices different retailers are offering for that same product.
In addition to the Amazon.com price of $807.00, you’ll notice that the circled prices deviate at most by two dollars. Including Amazon.com, that’s a total of 10 sites with a near identical price (and we’re not even displaying all of the search results). Next, take a look at some of the sites offering the television: Walmart.com, CompUsa.com, Newegg.com, Bestbuy.com, Sears.com and Buy.com. Given the enormity of these retailers, we’re willing to bet that in addition to this particular television, they offer many identical products at near identical prices.
While pricing may not be identical for EVERY product across the web, it’s becoming increasingly true for mass-produced items. With that in mind, pretend you’re in the market for a television and you see several different models available for the same price across 10 different sites. At that point, what information would YOU use to make your decision? Here at STELLAService, we’d like to think we know…
American Express released survey results last week concluding that “Americans will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent service”. We’re suffering from a bit of deja vu here at STELLAService ( we released a similar study (in partnership with Ovum) this past March and reached an eerily similar conclusion).
All joking aside, we’re thrilled that American Express reached the same conclusion after conducting their own survey. Their findings provide further reinforcement that delivering excellent customer service is of the utmost importance to consumers and can positively impact a company’s bottom line. In the world of ecommerce, websites currently displaying the STELLAService Seal are taking full advantage of this fact by signaling to consumers upfront their commitment to excellent customer service. As if customers ready to spend more for great service isn’t enough, the study also found that people “spread the word willingly and widely when they experience good service”.
The Amex study was conducted in 12 countries (including the US) and produced some other interesting figures around customer expectations and the perception of customer service (to read the press release click here). To see the original STELLAService study click here.
I don’t know about you, but when I go shopping for clothes, I try to avoid the fitting rooms at all costs (especially in NYC). They’re usually overcrowded, and I’m just too impatient to try things on. In fact, if I like a piece of clothing that I own, I will refer to its size before I go to the store because I can just “grab and go” when I make my visit. Needless to say, I was seriously moved when I saw this video the other day:
Can you envision the virtual future for retailers? This is a powerful concept and one that has many applications in-store as well as online. Moreover, the options to create a better customer experience is expanding for retailers, especially when you think about the merging of mobile, online and in-store operations and technology.
When you envision the future of shopping, what does it look like?
Hey there savvy shoppers!
There’s still over a week left to buy Mom something for her big day next Sunday, May 9th. With so many online retailers selling the typical mother’s day gifts- flowers, gift baskets, jewelry, etc.- it’s vital to know which sites stand by their promise of excellent customer service.
Need some inspiration to shop for mom? Allow Mr. T. to remind you:
We started our Mother’s Day shopping early and purchased over 100 bouquets, rings, pendants, chocolates, and gift baskets while collecting over 10,000 customer service-related data points to evaluate the website usability, shipping and returns, and customer support of 33 of the most popular Mother’s Day destination sites in the country.
We took all this information and created the STELLAService Mothers Day Shopping Guide will give you insight into what sites to avoid (flowers in a box?!) and which ones to shop ’til you drop (free shipping no matter the cost!). You can also find the report on our STELLAService website.
Shopping to please moms everywhere,
The STELLAService Team
I was recently shopping in Victoria’s Secret last week, mulling over a lip gloss purchase (over 25 flavors to choose from!), and a sales associate approached me and asked if I wanted help. Unable to make a decision, I asked her what the most popular flavors were and she was able to help me. It was then that I made the connection between her approaching me and proactive live chats-real-time conversations initiated by the company. The smartest proactive live chats are initiated because the internet retailers have tracking software that detects when you click on a certain page or “click around” a lot on a website, which signals the customer is in “help me” mode.
Above: Tennis Express, Golfsmith, and Golf Outlets USA make it easy to find their live chat right on the homepage in the top right corner.
A recent survey conducted by Forrester Research revealed that only 5% of online retailers have proactive live chat and that 21% plan to offer this service within the next 12 months. This is no surprise given some of the perks of live chat that aren’t frequently considered:
1. Record the response ability
What did the customer support representative say again? Well, just go back and read it!
2. You can be hard-of-hearing
In order for the hearing impaired to ever get assistance from customer support, their only resort is to email the company, which could take up to several days to receive a response. In order to receive live assistance, live chat allows the hearing impaired to receive immediate response.
3. No need to turn off the music
Don’t you hate turning off a song right in the middle? Well, with live chat, you can keep listening and jamming to your favorite tunes.
4. You can do it at work
Shopping during lunch hour? Don’t want to disrupt the whole office? Using live chat can prevent disrupting those around you.
5. Plan a surprise
This is the best way to contact customer support if you’re planning a surprise or purchasing a gift for someone right around you. Your spouse doesn’t have to know you’re trying to get expedited shipping for tomorrow’s anniversary present you’re just purchasing today!
Essentially, proactive live chat offers the same experience as a sales associate assisting a distressed shopper in the store. It transitions the online shopping experience from a virtual space to the feel of a real-life space.