When I was at uni, I used to really enjoy going shopping. Back in the late 90’s that’s pretty much what student loans were for after all. Oh yeah, that and paying for my social life.
Since then, my shopping trips have reduced year on year, in a similar way to my social outings. (Social outings? I’m so shocked that I just used that phrase that I can’t even delete it. I’m only 34, not 94, honest).
These days, I shop almost exclusively online. It’s less time consuming, cheaper and quite frankly less annoying.
You may or may not have noticed if you’ve read my blog before that I’m not keen on people. Being stuck in a small shop with approximately 50 of them is my idea of hell.
Being able to buy virtually everything without leaving my house or encountering another person suits me just fine. And yet, there are a few things that I rarely buy online, including anything from a pharmacy.
This is usually because I end up grabbing what I need at the last minute. After all, if I need medicine for the children it’s no good waiting a few days for it to arrive.
Sometimes though, I can be a little bit organised. Just a little bit. So I stocked up in advance on some bits and bobs that I knew we would need from Chemist Direct. Oh, and I treated myself to an electric toothbrush.
I know, that’s an excessive amount of plasters. We have loads of plasters in the house. Somewhere. I’ve decided to put them in various easily accessible locations so I can always find at least one stash. Clever or what?
One of the advantages I listed about buying online was the cost. The electric toothbrush is a classic example. Had I bought that from my usual pharmacy, I’d have paid an extra fiver for it.
The only problem with buying online is that customer service isn’t quite the same via the internet as it is face to face. I ordered my shopping from them on the 13th of May. It arrived on the 30th of May.
On the website, standard delivery is estimated to be within five working days, although they do say that it could take a little longer.
After ten days, I was a little surprised that I hadn’t heard from them, so I used the ‘help’ option on their website and emailed them. I didn’t receive a reply.
They emailed me (with no reference to my query) on the 28th of May. They said that there were “supplier issues” with part of my order (a first aid box), so they were cancelling it. I wasn’t given the option to choose an alternative item or wait for the one I’d ordered.
On the same day, I received another email from them to say that my order was being dispatched.
Therein lies the problem with shopping online. Had I gone to my local pharmacy, I would have seen that the first aid kit wasn’t in stock. I would have bought a different first aid kit because we need one.
As it stands, I’ll still end up going to my local pharmacy to buy the missing first aid kit.
I do know a little bit about online retail, and I know that it is possible to put stock levels on a website, so that if an item is out of stock, the customer can see that this is the case.
I’d love to see Chemist Direct change their website so that people know whether an item is in stock when they place their order.
That said, the prices were great and the items we received are perfect. I’m particularly delighted with my toothbrush.
So, would I use them again? Yes, but I would need reassurances that the customer service issues had been resolved.
I’d like to see it indicated on the website if an item is out of stock. I’d also like to know that emails inquiring after orders would be responded to.
If there was a problem with an item on my order, I’d like to be given options, i.e. wait for it to be back in stock, choose an alternative product or cancel the order.
I probably should have contacted Chemist Direct on Twitter about my order but it didn’t cross my mind.
Please note, I was given a discount code to use on the Chemist Direct website for the purpose of this review. Views, opinions, secret yearnings for an electric toothbrush and plasters – many, many plasters – are all my own.