Shoes will probably be one of the last consumer items to keep their brick & mortar stores. After all, the sizing is so important, right?
The other day I was looking at the Merrell web site and I was interested in a number of their styles. I spoke (well, chatted online) with one of their customer service reps who admitted that no store in the Seattle area carries the full range of Merrell shoes, and that they do not even know, from time to time, which retailers carry which shoes. “However,” she added, “you can just order what you want, and return the ones that don’t fit.'“
That sounded interesting so I thought I’d try it out. I ordered five pair, intending only to keep one. Shipping was free because of the size of the order. When they arrived, I unpacked them and had a little private shoe-modeling session with my partner and fashionista.
Sure enough, although all were the same shoe size, in reality several of them did not fit at all. Not to worry. I chose the pair that fit and that my fashion advisor assured me would garner the most looks, then printed an RMA and sent the rest back. All within 30 minutes of receiving.
So now I’m left wondering, is this truly a good user experience? What is the carbon footprint of shipping five pairs of shoes and returning four, compared to getting in a car and driving to a shoe store that might not have the styles I’m looking for?
My mind can’t do the math. I’ll try again later.