Why Does Anyone Order from B&H, Adorama, or Ritz?

Started May 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
nunatak Senior Member • Posts: 2,739
Re: The Cardinal Sins

SethG wrote:

nunatak wrote:

1. They'll take pre-orders, but fail to inform customers that NPS celebrities get to jump the line whenever they like. In some cases, the celebrities are even rewarded with swag.

I would be very surprised if this information would have had much of an impact on people pre-ordering. They would have figured "Well, B&H is a big retailer and will get plenty in stock."

Perhaps, perhaps not. Typically full disclosure is the best practice for retailer and customer. It gives customers the option of taking their business elsewhere ... perhaps even to a competitor whom discloses they don't service NPS above their regular order stream.

2. A tendency to deflect customers enquiries by blaming other parties.

In this particular case, how should they have done it? It IS a production problem on the manufacturer's side, not some kind of logistical problem on the retailer's.

Well, B&H could start by acknowledging they erred, failed to close the line, and are now stuck with a long line of dissatisfied customers. A better practice would be to accept responsibility, and encourage customers to stay by offering something of real value in return. Right now it looks more like they just want to quietly make this go away and point the finger at the other guy.

3. The continued practice of piling on pre-orders they have no way of knowing they can deliver in a "reasonable" amount of time.

Yes, absolutely. As soon as they knew that they were only getting a trickle of shipments, they should have stopped taking pre-orders. Did they do this? I had no interest in ordering the camera until it was readily available.

Sadly they did not do this, even when suggested by customers. Apparently a sale is more important to B&H than the customer's satisfaction.

4. If requested, they refuse to inform customers where they place in the queue.

I've seen a few comments about this one, and I still don't get how this information helps the customer. Without knowing how many units are coming in, and when (which, AFAIK, B&H doesn't know) your queue position doesn't help you.

I've suggested solutions to HenryP (B&H). IMO customers are more concerned about seeing movement than their exact position in line. They could interpolate the queue as it's dynamically adjusted for stock received, and their place relative to the front of the line. This is made by a relative comparison that doesn't require revealing absolute numbers. It offers the customer an option to assess whether they wish to stay, or try elsewhere.

5. No programs to reward customers for their loyalty and patience, and earn back the vendor their business. Even something as simple as, if you keep your order with us we'll give you free next day shipping.

If you had to put a deposit down or had some other cost outlay to preorder, then, yes, I think this is a valid suggestion.

Even without a cost outlay, the customer made a commitment. If they follow through with that commitment, then B&H might find ways of thanking them for their loyalty. Perhaps a gift card? Extended warranty? A credit on their bill?

6. Failing to do everything possible to help customers with their orders. Even if this means they lose the sale to another vendor.

If they don't have the product, and don't know when they'll be getting it in, how can they help the customer? A vendor should do everything within reason to service its customer base. But "within reason" is the important qualifier there. It would be better off to suggest that Nikon supply free copies of Capture NX or something with the D800 as an apology for the shipping and battery problems.

That's a useful and constructive suggestion. B&H has the leverage to get Nikon to offer up some swag for their customers. It's been a rocky road all around. For all we know, Nikon might've already offered to compensate retailers for this delay — but some retailers might not be passing along the benefits to customers. As you're in LA, you might know that at Samy's, this translates into "we'll pay the sales tax" events. For B&H and Adorama, it might translate into other goods, services, or other bonuses they could, if they wanted to, pass along to loyal customers.

However B&H doesn't volunteer squat. They ask customers to be patient, deflect blame, and pray the problem will go away. IMO this is an outdated legacy practice which is not to their benefit in an age of social media. Despite their online convenience, B&H is not the only game in town. Despite their apparent arrogance, people have choices.

What has been exposed, is that neither B&H, nor Adorama have instituted a program of best practices to keep their customers in the event they cannot deliver "that" what their customers trust them to deliver.

Again, realistically, what could they have done? They aren't getting the cameras in stock from Nikon. It's not because of anything they did or didn't do.

Realistically, I think the issue here is B&H not revealing how long the pre-order list was, or how fast it's moving. As long as the customer is strung along just enough to make the sale, this benefits B&H. Yet, if Best Buy can apparently order and ship cameras on demand, perhaps B&H might consider arranging to buy up their stock, forgoing their margin (plus other bonuses), to reduce their back order list. Or they can ask customers to hang-on, and they'll get a $X gift card, or other Nikon swag as a way of thanking them for letting celebrities cut in front, and continuing to accept pre-orders without knowing whether they'd be fulfilled in a reasonable time.

Realistically, that's what I'm think'n.

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