A Tale of Two E-Commerce Sites

A Tale of Two E-Commerce Sites

How to Do E-Commerce Right

So, it's the end of 2007, and I've decided it's time to do a little hardware shopping for the office. I snagged a great deal at a local store on a triple-interface external hard disk with USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and eSATA ports. It's my first eSATA hard disk, but (like most folks) none of my PCs have eSATA ports.

After a bit of research, I decide the best way to add an eSATA port is to use a converter cable that plugs into an internal SATA port and provides eSATA ports via an empty slot on the rear of the case. Newegg's got a dual-port bracket for $3.19. I duly order it, and to avoid the spectacle of paying more for shipping than for the item, I add a couple of cakeboxes of Verbatim DataLifePlus printable media (CD-R and DVD+R).

Newegg fires off a series of detailed emails, the first within moments of my order, providing complete details of what I ordered, along with UPS tracking information after the order shipped. They delivered the goods - and they're good! Here's the detail from my first Newegg email:

There's no doubt about what I ordered.  

How Many E-Commerce Mistakes Can a Company Make? Start Counting

I also needed to replace my sadly outdated Photoshop 7 with an upgrade to Photoshop CS3. Since I switched to a Canon Rebel XTi digital SLR this summer, and later switched to shooting 100% RAW files, a lot of my DSLR friends have been singing the praises of Adobe Lightroom.

Adobe's been offering a combo special - $75 off when you order Adobe Photoshop Elements CS3 with Adobe Lightroom. I'm a Windows user (that's why I write this blog!), so I ordered - or tried to order, at least - Windows versions of both. I also received an email from Adobe confirming my order. Here's the order detail:

Compared to Newegg's order detail, 'detail' is exactly what's missing from this order. What platform (Mac or Windows) did I order? Did I order the full or upgrade versions? I can't tell. Can Adobe?

What else was missing? Well, Adobe promised to send me an email with the package tracking information. They didn't. The only way I found out that Adobe had even sent my order was to battle through its cumbersome online customer service website earlier today and click the shopping cart (as if I was planning to make another order) before I could display a detailed summary of my order...only to discover that Adobe says I ordered the Mac version. Noooo!

Unhappy Customer, Unsatisfactory Options

I've gotten a couple of different versions from Adobe of what to do when I receive the wrong software (which won't arrive until Monday, even though I placed my order two days before my Newegg order). In version 1, I'll have the joy of digging up every serial number I've ever had for Adobe Photoshop to get a cross-shipment of the correct version. In Version 2, I get a refund right away, but need to reorder the product. I'm not sure which is worse, so I'll be hitting the ibuprofen and acetaminophen bottles to cure a headache first.

Here's to Learning How to Do E-Commerce Right

So, here's a few New Year's resolutions for Adobe, and any other technology company that does direct selling:

  1. Make sure your 'thanks for your order' message makes it really clear what was ordered. Sometimes customers make a mistake, and sometimes you do. Either way, there's an opportunity to fix the problem before it goes out the door. Amazon.com does it, Newegg does it, so why can't Adobe?
  2. Follow through on your commitments to keep the customer informed. If I had received timely, detailed information on my order, I could have corrected it before it was shipped. As it was, Adobe never informed me of anything - I had to dig through their site for it - and by the time I found it, I couldn't fix the mistake in the order.
  3. If you can't do e-commerce right, hire somebody else to do it for you. I bought the Photoshop CS3/Lightroom bundle from Adobe because I couldn't get it anywhere else. I'd rather have made my purchase from Newegg, Amazon.com, or other vendors who know how to do e-commerce right. It wouldn't be difficult for Adobe (or other vendors whose e-commerce sites are lame) to team up with companies that do this for a living.

I'm hoping Adobe makes it as easy as possible for me to get the right version of CS3 - but I'm hoping even more that they decide to stop playing around with e-commerce and do it right.



+ Add a Comment


My last 4 shipments from Newegg all arrived in one...count it....ONE day! Even though I paid for the 3 day and am on the east coast.

They must have drop-ship sites as well.


Adobe goes in waves, some years they care, some years they don't. This must be an off year.

There's no time like the future.



I tend to use www.mwave.com
They have an excellent website and excellent service similar to newegg where they send a receipt immediately.

The descriptions are exact, with part numbers, and they have an excellent customer support, where they will allow you exchange anything if you think its faulty. Ive had to exchange CPUs, and motherboards before and never had a problem!



I have placed three orders with Newegg within a year. In each instance in less than 24 hours I've received three e-mails keeping me informed on the status of the orders and they have been shipped out within that time too. I also received the orders in the three days promised. I've placed orders with other sites and get one e-mail confirming the order, sometimes a thank you and that's it. Other E-Commerce sites should learn a thing or two from Newegg.



To ease your worry, the Lightroom disc is actually dual-platform - there are installs for both Windows and Mac.



I went through the same thing about a year ago. It took 6 hours worth of separate calls to straighten the order out. I had purchased Adobe Elements locally earlier that year. Registered it. Got a coupon for 50% off to upgrade my copy old copy of Adobe Photoshop to CS. I spent the money, but the order did not properly go through. I called, got confirmation number after confirmation number, but no account order history online... They collected my money instantly. But the order took 3 weeks to update and then ship. WTF??? Had I not called, I'd have no receipts, no confirmations of an order, and maybe no merchandise. I do not, do not recommend buying from Adobe.com


for the lolz

newegg does me right.

however, little bashing needs to be done on thinkgeek.com. The people who run that website are complete and total idiots. I ordered a binary watch.. and the tin and box was totally destroyed. And this damage didn't happen during shipping. It happened before it was actually shipped. Then i bought a second thing from that place. it took them a week and a half to process my order and then it took dhl a week and a half to deliver it... OMFG. Never going to buy from thinkgeek again.
I do it for the LolZ. =)



I love Newegg.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.