Online shopping experience
Ive been working with cars
and other vehicles as a hobby or business since the early 60s and a few years
ago when NAPAonline.com went up, I found it was a terrific way to get parts.
One big advantage was that I
could find parts for rare vehicles (such as my old Maserati Bi-Turbo) just by
entering the actual Bosh or other manufacturer part number.
Last week I tried them again
and everything that was right about NAPAonline.com is now broken.
I wonder why companies do
this. Is it incompetence? Or is it a deliberate way to drive customers to the
stores (which are little better, the last three visits to the local NAPA store
turned up nothing useful, and the one before that only had half the wheel
bolt/studs I wanted).
Am I exaggerating? You
I ordered a pump for a 1987
Jeep lots of them are still on the road, even though ours is just used on the
Needing to actually use Jeep,
I selected the rebuilt water pump which was listed as in stock and shipping in
That was Sunday, by the next
Sunday the NAPAonline site was still marking my order picking parts which,
allowing even for incredible incompetence among human workers at the warehouse
translated to me as out of stock.
No emails about this
problem, no nothing.
So I checked the advanceauto.com
In five minutes I not only
located the part I needed, the site confirmed that the local Advance Auto store
Not being all that trusting,
I phoned to confirm, but it was TRUE.
I then returned to
NAPAonline.com to cancel the order.
This message was on my order
to cancel this order.
Fine, but they didnt publish the e-mail address there, OR
have a link embedded in that message.
Totally bogus Web design!
I found Customer Support buried in various low-contrast colors
at the bottom of the page and tried that.
I found an e-mail address and sent a cancellation message on
Sunday, but also knew enough to phone them in person on Monday.
The contact screen (http://napaonline.com/MasterPages/NOLMaster.aspx?PageId=17)
says to e-mail OR phone from
Fine, at I
called and the online message says to call after
OK, so I call back at .
After about 60 seconds of nonsense message, the recording
says they are probably busy and I should e-mail instead, then hangs up.
Now I PREFER e-mail, but this national company doesnt seem
to answer e-mail on Sundays, even though their stores are open, but the really
important sign of bad e-commerce design is that the Web site didnt bother
warning me that no one would answer the phone number it TOLD ME to call!
So, what did NAPAonline.com do wrong?
>Their online inventory obviously wasnt accurate.
>They didnt bother informing me that there was a major
>They didnt make it easy to cancel the order.
>They told me to phone, but the phone told me to e-mail.
>Customer service didn’t operate Sunday (even though their stores are open.)
For now I wont be doing any further business with
With the holidays coming up I will post other exceptionally
good or bad shopping sites I run across.
And, lest you think I am overly picky, Ive not only been
involved in computer-based inventory management for more than 40 years, I have
a very successful online business which has never screwed up inventory, and always
contacts customers if there are any delays caused by weather or such.
I now how this works,
used to know how it worked they have just failed to maintain a good
e-commerce site which used to work fine.