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A bad e-commerce website is the best way to miss sales

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Among the websites which irritated me in the last few months, Vert Baudet may well come first.

Vert Baudet is a company specializing in baby cloting and children’s wear. The brand belongs to the RedCats group which also owns La Redoute.

I will not go into in a detailled usability analysis. I’ll just focus on one particular feature that really annoyed me and eventually drove me crazy.

After I ordered two items on the site for a friend of mine who just became father, I got a confirmation email telling me that the items would be delivered within 5 working days; nothing but normality.

After a few days another email was sent to me because the delivery time couldn’t be kept. It quickly went up to several weeks and although the status of my order in the website was shown as “pending” or “in preparation” I was unable to cancel the order. My friend had gone on vacation with his newborn and with no one at  home to take delivery of the parcel, the order was doomed to go back to the sender after 15 days at the post office.

The heart of the problem and the source of all frustrations was the contact point with the company. The ergonomics of the Vert Baudet website is so bad that even when you’re logged in your accounts (with all your credentials and purchase history available) the only way to get in touch with the company i through a damned contact form that requires that you fill in two dozens fields (all mandatory of course). The most incredible is that they even require that you fill in the name of the items purchased, references and their size.

Since you can’t reply directly via email to the answer you’ll get in your mailbox, your only way to go is to fill in this form every single time you want to communicate with the company.

My take:

How do you want to have smooth relationships with your customers if you put so many hurdles between you and them?

Make sure your contact points are well identified and it’s easy to get in touch with the company. Apparently this is something Vert Baudet has not understood yet.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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