I had something completely different in mind to post today, but something happened that made me change my mind. I’m going to address something that annoys the heck out of me. And I suspect it annoys a lot of you too. What is it?
American Girl’s Website
I’ve never seen such an epic fail when it comes to website maintenance in my life. My issues started several years ago when I tried to sign up for e-mail notifications. I got nothing. I tried again using the same e-mail address. Nothing again. So I used a different e-mail address and I finally got somewhere.
Then there was the day I went into one of their big sales. Traffic was heavy but I was actually able to get in. You can imagine my frustration AND surprise when I clicked on an item I wanted to look at, only to be taken to a completely unrelated item not in the sale!
More recently I had issues with their rewards program. Evil Twin and I had gone together to place a rather large order, but when it came time for me to get the points I was due, I was shorted. I e-mailed to complain, was told it would be fixed. It was, but a few days later, the correction was reversed! I was furious, and I sent them another nasty e-mail. So nasty in fact, I got an actual phone call from them, apologizing profusely. I finally got my points straightened out and got the rewards certificate I had coming, but it should never have reached that point of ridiculousness in the first place.
I think what concerned me more than anything was the fact that when I said something to the person I was talking to about issues with their website beyond this, she acted like she knew what I was talking about and that she was aware of the problems and that they were being worked on. So why aren’t they fixed?
This morning they had some price reductions on a few things I wanted to get. Only one problem–no “add to bag” buttons on ANYTHING on their website! How the heck does that happen? So I called to order and even that turned into a hassle because of the fact that they had two e-mail addresses for me due to the original glitch I encountered way back when. Good grief. I finally got my order placed, but I’ll be honest, this whole experience has left a very bad impression on me.
It probably doesn’t help matters any that I know that I am not alone in my frustration. Several weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone who said she knew of several people who thought perhaps their credit card information had been stolen via American Girl. I’ve had my suspicions myself about that, I had not one, but two credit card numbers stolen last year and AG was the common denominator. Apparently LOTS AND LOTS of people are having problems with their rewards not being properly credited to their accounts and have had to call multiple times as well to get it fixed. This shouldn’t be happening. And then there is the whole issue with outages and not being able to get in during times of heavy traffic. That should NEVER, EVER be happening. If it is and it happens as frequently as it does with their site, then something needs to be done about it. It’s that simple.
I shop a lot online, and have for years. I can say in all honesty, I’ve never encountered a retail commerce website with as many issues as the AG website. I shop regularly at Lands End, Amazon, Walmart and numerous other places that would run circles around AG with their sheer number of products, customers and sales. And not once have I ever encountered a problem with any of these sites.
AG has had a huge reduction in sales over the past few years. They keep trying to figure out how to fix that. There are several issues that could be the culprit, and I suspect it’s actually several things. But it sure doesn’t help matters any when your website continually has issues. Instead of spending all this money on trying to come out with the next best thing every time the wind blows, perhaps it’s time to invest some of that money in your core infrastructure. Instead of having a half-baked website that is not only full of glitches, but not exactly user friendly, maybe it’s time to spend some money on a real IT department.
I only bring this up because I know that it’s not just my problem. I’ve read comments on other blogs where people have vented their frustration with the same or similar problems with the AG website. We are not alone. Keep in mind, I’ve only mentioned a few of the issues I’ve had, these aren’t all of them. I suspect if we all got together with our complaints, we could write a book. (insert head shake here)
There, I said it. Talk amongst yourselves…