E-Commerce

Readers decide whether online retailers get candy canes or lumps of coal

How did online retailers perform this year? We asked our readers, and more than 100 of you responded. Here's what you had to say.


Last week, we asked TechRepublic’s readers to tell us about their online shopping experiences during the holidays. If the retailer performed well, we asked you to give it a candy cane. If not, we said to reward it with a lump of coal.

More than 100 online shoppers answered our call. The results? Amazon.com was easily the favorite of most who told us about their shopping experience. Though not every order was perfect, readers loaded Amazon.com’s stocking with candy canes.

Readers also let us know who left them holding the bag. Though there were a few people who were pleased with their service, most readers who responded to our inquiry would have e-mailed lumps of coal to Toys R Us.com .

Here’s a rundown of who made your holidays merry and who left you out in the cold.

Candy Canes go to…
Amazon.com
In most cases, readers gave Amazon.com a gigantic candy cane for timely deliveries, accurate orders, and excellent customer service.

Jeff Lindgren, for example, gave Amazon a candy cane after his items were in stock and arrived on time. The company also sent confirmation e-mails promptly.

Robert Mallott also gave Amazon a candy cane after “they delivered, as promised, in all cases.” Tricia Davidson, who ordered a copy of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” from Amazon, received it sooner than promised.

And, after a mistake was made in his order, William Massey was refunded all of his shipping charges on his following order, which Amazon sent free by overnight express mail. “All my other orders from them this holiday season arrived in two days,” Massey said. “They deserve a large candy cane for sure.”

Buy.com
Buy.com scored a candy cane from Eileen Jeffery. She ordered two CDs the week before Christmas and received them two days before the holiday. And Daniel J. Garmer complimented Buy.com on their “cheap price, very quick delivery, and an easy-to-use Web site.”

Lands’ End
Matthew Waldo was one of several people who told us that Landsend.com made for good shopping and that his order was “filled, shipped, and delivered promptly.”

L.L. Bean and Woolrich
Another mail-order favorite that seems to be embracing e-commerce is L.L. Bean . Kelly Jo Anderson praised both Lands’ End and L.L. Bean, which delivered her orders on time.

Fellow apparel maker Woolrich also did well, according to Beth Simpson. The company, which delivered her item two days after placing the order, even included a free gift with her purchase.

Coldwater Creek
Coldwater Creek , another mail-order catalog business, made Suz Randis happy. She placed an order with the company after the Christmas rush but received her items in three days. “Three cheers for companies like this one that give cybershopping a great name.”

eToys
While Toys R Us left many who responded unsatisfied, eToys garnered plenty of candy canes. Douglas Copland said his two items, shipped at different times, arrived within days of ordering. And Mike Pitts, whose family bought Christmas gifts for needy children, ordered an item from eToys on Monday and promptly received a toy saxophone for a 6-year-old girl two days later.

Chapters.ca
Jamie Raue found Chapters.ca prompt. After ordering two books on Dec. 19, Raue received one on Dec. 21 and a second the following day, after Chapters.ca upgraded the order to priority.

Last week, we asked TechRepublic’s readers to tell us about their online shopping experiences during the holidays. If the retailer performed well, we asked you to give it a candy cane. If not, we said to reward it with a lump of coal.

More than 100 online shoppers answered our call. The results? Amazon.com was easily the favorite of most who told us about their shopping experience. Though not every order was perfect, readers loaded Amazon.com’s stocking with candy canes.

Readers also let us know who left them holding the bag. Though there were a few people who were pleased with their service, most readers who responded to our inquiry would have e-mailed lumps of coal to Toys R Us.com .

Here’s a rundown of who made your holidays merry and who left you out in the cold.

Candy Canes go to…
Amazon.com
In most cases, readers gave Amazon.com a gigantic candy cane for timely deliveries, accurate orders, and excellent customer service.

Jeff Lindgren, for example, gave Amazon a candy cane after his items were in stock and arrived on time. The company also sent confirmation e-mails promptly.

Robert Mallott also gave Amazon a candy cane after “they delivered, as promised, in all cases.” Tricia Davidson, who ordered a copy of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” from Amazon, received it sooner than promised.

And, after a mistake was made in his order, William Massey was refunded all of his shipping charges on his following order, which Amazon sent free by overnight express mail. “All my other orders from them this holiday season arrived in two days,” Massey said. “They deserve a large candy cane for sure.”

Buy.com
Buy.com scored a candy cane from Eileen Jeffery. She ordered two CDs the week before Christmas and received them two days before the holiday. And Daniel J. Garmer complimented Buy.com on their “cheap price, very quick delivery, and an easy-to-use Web site.”

Lands’ End
Matthew Waldo was one of several people who told us that Landsend.com made for good shopping and that his order was “filled, shipped, and delivered promptly.”

L.L. Bean and Woolrich
Another mail-order favorite that seems to be embracing e-commerce is L.L. Bean . Kelly Jo Anderson praised both Lands’ End and L.L. Bean, which delivered her orders on time.

Fellow apparel maker Woolrich also did well, according to Beth Simpson. The company, which delivered her item two days after placing the order, even included a free gift with her purchase.

Coldwater Creek
Coldwater Creek , another mail-order catalog business, made Suz Randis happy. She placed an order with the company after the Christmas rush but received her items in three days. “Three cheers for companies like this one that give cybershopping a great name.”

eToys
While Toys R Us left many who responded unsatisfied, eToys garnered plenty of candy canes. Douglas Copland said his two items, shipped at different times, arrived within days of ordering. And Mike Pitts, whose family bought Christmas gifts for needy children, ordered an item from eToys on Monday and promptly received a toy saxophone for a 6-year-old girl two days later.

Chapters.ca
Jamie Raue found Chapters.ca prompt. After ordering two books on Dec. 19, Raue received one on Dec. 21 and a second the following day, after Chapters.ca upgraded the order to priority.

Readers gave lumps of coal to…
Toys R Us
Based on what readers told us, the largest lump of coal could have had Toys R Us carved into it. Vickie Rea said that Toys R Us “dropped the bag. I wasn’t able to get my order on time even though they kept promising on their Web site that it would arrive before Christmas.”

And Jim Carr gave Toys R Us a bag of coal: “No status, no updates, no confirmation,” Carr said. “”Will not shop there again, online or in the actual store.”

John S. Schadl, who shopped with four other online retailers—toytime.com , etoys, smartkidstoys.com and macys.com —also had no luck with Toys R Us. “I could not find any of my items in stock there,” he said. Tony Wiese said he ordered from Toys R Us on Dec. 10 and still hasn’t received his order.

Alloy.com
Joanne Erickson gave a bag of coal to Alloy.com , a site for teens. “Horrendous service—shipped my order in four separate releases after numerous back orders and kept charging me huge shipping fees erroneously,” Erickson said.

egghead.com
Jay Savege has promised to “never buy anything from egghead.com again. Although they charged my account immediately, six weeks later they still hadn’t shipped my order.”

NexTag.com
Joy Holman, a systems specialist, gave NexTag.com , which sells computers, software, books, music, and movies, a huge lump of coal. After ordering two VHS tapes through two different retailers, she still has not received them. “I won’t be doing business with them again,” Holman said.

everycd.com
Deborah Barker chucked a lump of coal at everycd.com . After making several calls to the business, she found out the item she ordered was not in stock.

Candycoal?
Several of the responses we received at TechRepublic were the opposite of most. Ernest L. Kramer, for example, was happy with his orders from Toys R Us. “All arrived on time.”

Hermanese Sims, who had luck with Amazon.com during past orders, was unhappy with the company this year. Though Sims ordered next-day air delivery on the morning of Dec. 20, he didn’t receive his package until Dec. 22. Sims has returned the package and is expecting a refund.

F.J. Van Wetering, who ordered a CD and videotape from Amazon, is still waiting for the order he placed more than a week before Christmas. He also hasn’t received one of the two magnetic sculptures he ordered as well.

Next time, order early
David Feagin, who works for a trucking company that hauls mail, suggested that other online retailers would fare better with customers if customers ordered earlier.

“I have been here for about nine years, and this year had the heaviest mail traffic that we have seen,” Feagin said. “I believe that online shopping is the best way to shop for what you know you want, but it must be done early. I would not have ordered something the week of Christmas and expected it to arrive on time.”

For the complete listing of candy canes and lumps of coal, see our chart on page three.
Are there other online retailers that either performed well or poorly that you want us to know about? Send us an e-mail and let us know.
Readers gave lumps of coal to…
Toys R Us
Based on what readers told us, the largest lump of coal could have had Toys R Us carved into it. Vickie Rea said that Toys R Us “dropped the bag. I wasn’t able to get my order on time even though they kept promising on their Web site that it would arrive before Christmas.”

And Jim Carr gave Toys R Us a bag of coal: “No status, no updates, no confirmation,” Carr said. “”Will not shop there again, online or in the actual store.”

John S. Schadl, who shopped with four other online retailers—toytime.com , etoys, smartkidstoys.com and macys.com —also had no luck with Toys R Us. “I could not find any of my items in stock there,” he said. Tony Wiese said he ordered from Toys R Us on Dec. 10 and still hasn’t received his order.

Alloy.com
Joanne Erickson gave a bag of coal to Alloy.com , a site for teens. “Horrendous service—shipped my order in four separate releases after numerous back orders and kept charging me huge shipping fees erroneously,” Erickson said.

egghead.com
Jay Savege has promised to “never buy anything from egghead.com again. Although they charged my account immediately, six weeks later they still hadn’t shipped my order.”

NexTag.com
Joy Holman, a systems specialist, gave NexTag.com , which sells computers, software, books, music, and movies, a huge lump of coal. After ordering two VHS tapes through two different retailers, she still has not received them. “I won’t be doing business with them again,” Holman said.

everycd.com
Deborah Barker chucked a lump of coal at everycd.com . After making several calls to the business, she found out the item she ordered was not in stock.

Candycoal?
Several of the responses we received at TechRepublic were the opposite of most. Ernest L. Kramer, for example, was happy with his orders from Toys R Us. “All arrived on time.”

Hermanese Sims, who had luck with Amazon.com during past orders, was unhappy with the company this year. Though Sims ordered next-day air delivery on the morning of Dec. 20, he didn’t receive his package until Dec. 22. Sims has returned the package and is expecting a refund.

F.J. Van Wetering, who ordered a CD and videotape from Amazon, is still waiting for the order he placed more than a week before Christmas. He also hasn’t received one of the two magnetic sculptures he ordered as well.

Next time, order early
David Feagin, who works for a trucking company that hauls mail, suggested that other online retailers would fare better with customers if customers ordered earlier.

“I have been here for about nine years, and this year had the heaviest mail traffic that we have seen,” Feagin said. “I believe that online shopping is the best way to shop for what you know you want, but it must be done early. I would not have ordered something the week of Christmas and expected it to arrive on time.”

For the complete listing of candy canes and lumps of coal, see our chart on page three.
Are there other online retailers that either performed well or poorly that you want us to know about? Send us an e-mail and let us know.




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