Ordering the Wrong Item
When shopping in traditional stores it is quite difficult to accidentally purchase the wrong item because the sales process typically involves the consumer physically carrying the item up to the sales counter to make the purchase. However, in online shopping where the consumer never physically handles the item before the purchase is complete and the item delivered it is certainly possible to purchase the wrong item. This can occur when the shopper uses the website to make the purchase and clicks on the wrong item or when the consumer contacts customer service to make the purchase and provides the wrong product number. Even if the consumer clicks on the correct product and provides an accurate product number he may still make a mistake in the ordering process if there are options such as size or color associated with the item. This problem can be rather troubling because the consumer will be disappointed when the incorrect item is received.
Receiving the Wrong Item
Even when online shoppers do not make mistakes during the ordering process it is still possible for the consumer to receive the wrong item. This often occurs when the orders are filled by hand and a mistake is made in the warehouse. A warehouse maker may ship the wrong item completely or may ship the correct item in the wrong size or color. Again the consumer will likely not know a mistake was made until the order arrives. The online retailer will likely take responsibility for returning the incorrect item and will ship the correct item as soon as possible. However, this may not completely correct the problem in all cases. For example a consumer who purchased an item for a specific event may not receive the replacement item in time for the event.
The Need to Return an Item
In situations where the online shopper orders the wrong item as well as situations where the online retailer mistakenly ships the wrong item there may be a need to make returns. Although this may not seem to be a huge problem it can be particularly troubling for some consumers. In particular online shoppers who opt to do their shopping online specifically because they work odd hours may have a great deal of difficulty making returns. This is because the process of shipping the item back to the online retailer will generally involve taking the item to a post office. Depending on the hours in which the consumer works, it may be difficult to get to a post office during regular business hours and may require the shopper to take time off from work to make the return.