Friday, 4 September 2009

Chums doesn’t want to be my friend

Yesterday I visited the Chums website to request some catalogues (all in the name of research, you understand).

Instead of filling in a request form, Chums--which targets the grey market with its range of “traditional clothing”--requires that customers add the desired catalogues to the basket and go through checkout to order them. A bit clunky, but when done properly it isn’t too much of a hassle. After all, this is also the system Cath Kidston uses for requesters of its magalogue and it works fine, as I can attest.

However, unlike the smooth process at Cath Kidston’s website (which even sent me an order-acknowledgement email to confirm my order of £0.00), Chums wouldn’t even let me into its checkout area. Apparently my order total was “too low” and I should “please add more items to your basket!”. No thanks, I only wanted a catalogue.

It made me wonder, what if I had been a would-be customer stumbling across the Chums site for the first time. Would I have bought something just to receive some catalogues? How many customers is Chums turning away because it won’t give away its catalogues so readily?

It’s possible that Chums relies on telephone orders for most of its business--or catalogue requests for that matter. But it’s worth remembering that even if most of your customers prefer to place their orders over the phone rather than online, that’s no reason for making a visit to your website a frustrating and unfulfilling experience.--MT

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