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Two simple mail-order ideas

I ordered a suit from and got two surprises in the box:

IMG_00231. A nice shopping bag.

For a luxury site like this, they need to work to give you the luxury shopping experience. It was nice to get all the extras that you don't normally get by mail: The bag, the hanger, the tissue paper. I didn't feel like I had made a low-end shopping choice.

IMG_0024 2. A pre-paid return label.

This even beats Zappos' famous return policies. I didn't even need to go online to make a return. Stick the label on the box and drop it off. I'm much more likely to buy next time knowing that returns are this simple.

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  1. Rob Wolf July 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    I like the premise of the bag–bringing a bit of the luxury shopping experience to mail order. But I also think it strikes a sour note. How wasteful to include all the packaging that retail demands, but mail order should eliminate? I’m all for the “free prize inside,” but I think they could have come up with something more creative, and suitable to the medium.

  2. Paula Drum July 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    I believe that the brand experience is even more important in the online space when there is not a physical outlet. The shopping experience online is part of the experience, but it extends to the moment of actually receiving your ordered product. Brick and mortar companies have the ability to influence that experience through every touch point in the store. Singapore Airlines is famous for thinking about the total experience even down to the signature fragrance they spray on their planes.
    BlueFly, Zappos, Levenger, and countless other online brands understand the benefit of the total customer experience. A simple thank you card will often go a long way. I’m currently the process of developing the total brand experience for which will launch this fall. I can’t tell you how important I believe this is. What is the ROI-loyalty, frequency and an enduring brand.
    Paula Drum
    General Manager, (launching this fall)

  3. Elaine Spitz July 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Paula, thanks for sharing. I know that the bag is not necessary, but you will reuse it and it makes you feel luxurious. I get it. I am a huge Zappos fan and have always found a return UPS label in the box (although I haven’t purchased from them in about 3 months). Looking forward to and more tweets from you.
    Elaine (laineyd7)

  4. Nathan Gilliatt July 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    Sweetwater (a mail-order pro audio shop) includes a few small pieces of candy with your order. Good ideas don’t have to be big or expensive.

  5. chad Schomber July 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm #

    When the subject of “Customer Service” comes up, I get chills. I used to work for Lands’ End–still a big pusher of the brand. Their exceptional customer service is two-fold. There’s the public/customer facing stuff you’d expect from any big brand. But there’s also the behind-the-scenes stories that are simply amazing that no one hears about.
    Here’s example of their commitment to their Guaranteed. Period.® policy:
    Proof that it’s not just marketing fluff.

  6. Betsy July 24, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    Always, always, always LOVE the Bluefly bag that comes with. I know I should find it wasteful, but I don’t. I find it to be a bit of luxury from a discount purchase… it gives me the same thrill as having shopped retail and walked down a busy street swinging my fabulous bag. Sue me, I’m a girl. And Bluefly gets that.

  7. James July 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    There’s nothing inherently female about being obsessed with status or conspicuous consumption.

  8. Christine July 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    But with Bluefly, they ultimately charge you $6.95 for the return shipping (they deduct that amount from your refund). With Zappos you may have to go online to get your return label, but you don’t get charged at all for it. I’d rather take the <5 min to retrieve a free label online.

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