Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


From the ancient history of ecommerce…

Let me start this post off by saying that my four year old grandson, Colden, loves loves loves National Geographic Kids magazine.  It is his absolute favorite and has replaced his subscription to my childhood favorite Highlights magazine.   I also want to assure you, dear reader, that it’s not in retaliation for that switcheroo that I’m writing this post, for I too, as a lover of science, am enthralled with all things National Geographic.
It’s their abysmal attempt to provide me with an efficient eCommerce experience that has set me off.

It started off innocently enough on Thursday June 27, 2014 with a National Geographic Kids email solicitation to renew my subscription.  With one of my favorite portraits of Colden staring me in the face, how could I not renew?

So I clicked on the link in the email to take me to their website to order my renewal.  Typed in my credit card number and ordered a two year renewal which, after all, is the better financial deal.  I was then immediately taken to the following confirmation page:
“You will receive a confirmation of the order by mail within seven to ten days“. sic
SERIOUSLY!  You’ve got to be kidding me.
And then there is the “Please allow 1 business day for our records to reflect this change”.  That is clearly the smoking gun of a website that is disconnected from the rest of the company’s back office systems.  You’d think that in this case that would be harmless.   After all, how timely do system updates have to be when you’re processing an order for a monthly magazine?
Evidently, if you don’t want to annoy your customers, the updates need to be timely AND utilized by other systems in the company.
Just two days after renewing my subscription…not signing up for the first time, but renewing…I get this solicitation sent to the same email address that is in my CUSTOMER profile:
The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  Not impressed.
The good news is that this email solicitation came only days after my renewal.  Had it come weeks or months later, I might have forgotten that I was a customer and ordered another copy (I’ve done that before).  You don’t think they do that on purpose do you?  Nah.
Let me circle back to my opening observation.  I love this magazine, and more importantly, Colden loves it.  So I’m happy.  I just think that left hands and right hands should know what their doing…and in real time.