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September 17th, 2000

A Good Shopping Experience: 800.com

With all the complaining I’ve done over the months about various stores, I figured I’d take a Ping to discuss a very positive shopping experience I had the other day.

During my lunch break, I hopped onto 800.com to check out Monster cables for my new home theatre speakers. I went in knowing that they had a $20 off $100 coupon, but not knowing all that much about which Monster cables would be appropriate for my system. As I browsed their thorough selection, I noticed that there was free shipping on the Monster products, resulting in an even better deal (especially since their base prices were about the same as the local Circuit City).

The feature that really put my experience over the top, though, was their online help system. Rather than working as a pop-up window, their live operator chat is a java applet that sits in the bottom frame of your browser and the upper frame holds the store’s web site. While asking questions about the Monster cables to the operator, she was able to change the upper frame of my window, directly showing me a specific product. Also nice was the ability to have the chat transcript e-mailed to me after we were finished.

Because of the help I received and the good deals they were offering, I didn’t even bother to comparison shop — 800.com gave me what I wanted. Sure, I came up 5 cents short for using the coupon (I ended up buying a power strip instead of paperclips, this time) and I had a little trouble using their site with Opera, but overall, I was extremely happy with the way things went. And now I’ll finally be able to use those new home theatre speakers (from another store with good customer service: hifi.com). -ram

Posted in Technology

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday September 17, 2000 -- 3:40:39PM
That sounds like a good deal, Ryan. I'll probably end up getting smallish electronics from them... but fear buying a TV online, when the time comes. (Yes, I'd rather try to sandwich it into my car's backseat.)

My insurance company had a surprisingly similar feature... you could hook up with a live operator online and ask questions directly. It was a much faster response than via the phone (even with the time it takes to dialup accounted for.)

How are the cables?



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday September 17, 2000 -- 8:49:00PM
That's cool your insurance company does that online, Paul. I think more companies will follow suite.

I haven't gotten the cables yet (though they shipped the same day I ordered them!)... I should have them Monday or Tuesday.



FROM: Sheriff Buford T. Justice
DATE: Monday September 18, 2000 -- 9:07:23AM
I've bought a few high-ticket electronics items online.

This site has some great info on mail-order and online electronics places.

http://www.audiosurvey.com/

However all the places listed you have to actually pay for the stuff, you can't just leave the pump like last time.



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