By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
I was a loyal customer of a national office supply chain (they’ll remain nameless to protect their otherwise good image). I was a preferred customer, which entitles me to special discounts and occasional rewards (on those rare quarters when I buy “enough” product.) They also send me an email, seemingly weekly, of sales and special offers.
Ten years ago, I scanned their latest missive and noticed deals on paper shredders. I’ve been using a light-duty model for years and it’s showing its age as it groans through the documents I feed it. I figured that when it shredded its last page, I would replace it with a heavy-duty model.
Incredibly, they were offering an “on-line only” price of $10 for a light-duty model, similar to, but better than my old faithful. At $10, there was little to lose; the super-deluxe model could wait.
I went to their website to place my order. I entered my email address only to be informed that they had no record of it in their files.
How curious. They had just emailed me that morning; obviously, someone had a record of my email. Unfortunately, the marketing department and the IT (information technology) department were not operating from a common resource.
I was going to abort my order (one explanation why e-commerce shopping charts are abandoned). However, out of a sense of adventure, I forged on. I placed my order without logging in; at it’s conclusion I was asked to sign-up to receive email alerts. I entered my address and they happily took it.
There was an obvious disconnect between what Marketing was doing and IT’s ability to support them. I wonder how many sales were lost as a result.