Ultimate Guide: Payment, Tracking and Delivery
- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 23 July 2010
The Ultimate Guide: Shopping for bicycles and gear online is a multipart report with tips, trends and analysis of the Australian Market. You can download the ebook version. This part looks at payment, tracking your order and delivery.
Credit card payment is the most popular method of payment for goods online, 97% of survey participants have previously paid for cycling goods using a credit card and 67% have used PayPal.
PayPal is an alternative to credit card payment and promotes itself as a payment option with better dispute resolution and security. Payment using PayPal can be convenient as it operates as an independent online account to pay for goods and services as well as receiving payment. The PayPal dispute resolution is however contentious as it can be a difficult process with no guarantee of a favourable outcome.
Shops may offer alternative payment options such as “payment in advance” by bank transfer. For overseas purchases, this can be a slow and problematic option, though for online purchases locally it may be convenient. Payment via invoice is uncommon as it is risky for retailer to send goods before payment is received.
Direct debit is also relatively uncommon and despite the convenience of paying directly from a savings account, sometimes there are added fees for direct debit payments which make it more expensive than credit card payment. For consumers, this method is safer than one may expect as the retailers need to be properly authorised and registered before they are able to process direct debits.
Tracking your order
While order tracking is not offered by all online shops, it is particularly helpful and often an order tracking number (or link) is sent automatically via email once the order is placed. The larger shops tend to inform the customer via email at every step of the way so that the customer knows when the order has been packed, dispatched and is in the hands of the courier or post. In addition, a delivery tracking number may be provided to follow an order that has been dispatched and is in delivery. While this is useful, often this assumes that in the case of delays or problems, the customer, rather than the retailer, will need to contact the delivery company to resolve these issues.
Regular ‘order status’ notifications, particularly during delays, help to relieve customer uncertainty and reduce time required for customer support (e.g. answering numerous requests about the order status).
Once an order is submitted, the payment provider usually does an automatic check to ensure that the payment details are valid while the retailer manually checks the details of each order, searching for common patterns that are typical of a fraudulent order. When the order is approved, payment is then processed and the order is passed to the product pickers who collect all of the items. The pickers then pass all items to the packers who package everything and include all required documents before sending the order on to be dispatched.
Overseas orders are usually sent via air freight and some online retailers may work with courier companies in Australia or alternatively deliver via Australia Post. Before an overseas order can be delivered, it needs to pass through customs. Prior to placing an order, make sure that you are aware of the ‘assembly state’ of the items or bicycle. Are you able to assemble the bike or parts yourself and do you have all of the required tools?
This is article is from The Ultimate Guide: Shopping for bicycles and gear online. You can download the entire ebook (free) from here.
You can discuss this article and the ebook in the Australian Cycling Forums.