Steamed at slow shipping

I Finally Caved in and ordered a product from a DRTV commercial, Mister Steamy. He sounds a lot more exciting than he is: Mister Steamy works with your dryer to steam wrinkles out of laundry.

I wanted Mister Steamy before Christmas so I would not have to iron table linens. I placed my order online on Dec. 7, thinking that was plenty of time.

It wasn’t. Mister Steamy arrived Jan. 19.

The e-mail confirmation, which I admit I didn’t even look at, said to allow two to three weeks for delivery. Considering I paid $13.98 in shipping on a $19.99 item, you’d think it would arrive sooner than six weeks.

I realize that “As Seen on TV” products tend to be low-end, and maybe no one should expect superior service with them. But it’s a shame when these merchants drop the ball on the back end.

DRTV can drive a whole new audience into the direct channel. But when the service is lackluster — high shipping fees, a glacial delivery pace, junky packaging — customers are not likely to see the benefits of direct or give it another try. I’m not sure I would if Mister Steamy had been my first experience.

(How does Mister Steamy work? Not that great, but I don’t iron much in the winter. We’ll see the next time I need my giant cotton tablecloth pressed.)

Speaking of DRTV, take a look at “Digital prospecting takes hold” for details on how Murad is using the medium to acquire customers. Consultant Shari Altman also provides some great tips for starting a DRTV campaign.

On another note, you might notice a familiar name on the masthead: Sherry Chiger has rejoined Multichannel Merchant as editor at large. She’s also editor at large on our sister publication Chief Marketer, and the editor of E-mail Essentials, the e-newsletter formerly known as Magilla Marketing.

Magilla Marketing editor Ken Magill has moved on to new opportunities, and we’ll miss his great coverage and inimitable style. But we look forward to Sherry putting her stamp on the new brand and covering e-mail and e-commerce for us.

For the past two and a half years, Sherry’s been editorial director of Catalogue e-business magazine in the U.K. We couldn’t be happier to have her back on this side of the pond — and back in the MCM fold.

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