Amazon, purveyors of stuff and more stuff, has recently launched a new site that sells more stuff. But it's not for you. It's for your pets. And it's called Wag.com (cute!). Please don't tell me your Ragdoll kitten doesn't know how to use a MacBook yet. Uch, the g.d. schools these days.
Will I, a dog owner, be using Wag.com when there are 900 other sites out there for pet needs, including Petsmart.com and, well, Amazon.com? The jury's still out. However, during my brief visit to Wag, I did learn a few things: The site is adorable; their prices are meh; they have a big selection; their search button is aces. (How annoying is it when you search "coat" and 20 things totally unrelated pop up?)
This got me, not just a dog owner, but an avid online shopper, thinking: What makes a really good e-tailer?
Let's be honest, they're a dime a dozen. Try typing "dog food" into Google Shopping. Go on, do it. How many results come up? I got 258,000. That's a lot of Puppy Chow shillers. So, what would make me choose Wag.com -- or any place -- over another?
Reputation. Before buying something from an e-tailer I've never used -- and especially one I've never heard of -- I always Google their name plus "reviews." If they only have two stars, it's with good reason. Proceed with caution. I know this from experience. And by experience I mean I waited over two months for my mom's Christmas present to arrive one year. It would up being a Valentine's Day gift.
Prices. You can always find what you're looking for cheaper somewhere else -- but a lot of the time, these "cheaper" places are of the shady variety I speak of above. If the place offers a stellar price, but doesn't seem legit, it's not probably not worth it. Pay the extra five bucks (and look for a "free shipping" promo code).
Customer Service. Amazon, for as big as they are, has excellent customer service. Actually, they have magical customer service. If you want to speak to someone, there's a section on the site that lets you request a call from them. You click it and voila! Your phone rings 30 seconds later -- and it's a real person on the other end! Always poke around on a site to see what their customer service policy is before buying.
Overall Look. If a site looks like something your 14-year-old nephew made in his basement, pass. Professional websites know that appearance is a big part of their business -- and it's worth the extra cash to make the site look good. If a site looks a little too rinky-dink for your taste, find what you're looking for elsewhere. It can't be that hard. There are 258,000 places to get dog food.
What do you look for in an e-tailer? Do you shop online?