Another Satisfied Customer

Well, I finally did it. “It” being buying something on the Web. Yeah, yeah, I know — it's about time, what with this newspaper mentioning e-commerce 20 or 30 times a week. I'm an instant gratification shopper. Give it to me now! There's also this patience level that gets pushed every time I download pages off the Web. I spend enough time looking at news sites, doing research and such. Why do something that annoys me? (Memo to all you Web marketers: forget all those bells and whistles on your pages; if you want to sell something, make your pages download as quickly as possible.)

So, anyway, I was looking at stereo speakers in two electronics stores, but I did some comparison shopping and found them cheaper on Crutchfield's Web site — not a lot but enough to make me try Net shopping. Crutchfield offers other enticements, including: all items are guaranteed — if I don't like what I bought, I can return it in 30 days and not pay return postage — as well as privacy and security statements. Actually, I don't get all this security talk. I agree with NetSmart's Bernadette Tracy, who just did a study on Web shopping and said, “The bottom line is that security is becoming a nonissue” (see story, page 19). People aren't buying because they're frustrated — you've loaded your site with too many pictures that take too long to download or your Web-site designer forgot his mission: Sell, sell, sell!

My last reason for ordering from Crutchfield: It'd only take two days to ship. Great! I went to the Web site and submitted my order to have it sent to my work address in less than 10 minutes. That included downloading the pages and reading the privacy statement. I didn't have to go to the store and listen to another salesman tell me why I needed the more expensive speakers. The speakers arrived a day later than I first thought they would because Crutchfield calls to verify shipments when they're to a different address than the billing address (another security measure). No biggie. I was even able to track the shipment on its Web site as well as at the UPS site, which shipped it.

All in all, a satisfied customer. I'll be back online as long as it's fast and the price is right.

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