Founded on 2004 by former CEO Matt Rutledge, WOOT! is considered one of the earliest and most popular “one deal” online retailers. The theory behind its business strategy was creating focus, hype and differentiation despite the competitive e-commerce conditions. This agenda led Woot’s founders to employ the “one-deal-a-day” notion as their business model. This model created the focus needed for offering aggressive deals with up to 70% in savings for the end consumer. The focus was possible given the narrow array of products offered at a given day. Consumers who took advantage of these deals were then incited to visit the site and shop again via sophisticated e-mail marketing approach. This unique shopping experience included unconventional product descriptions in which products were described through humorous short stories written by the sites’ content writers. (At the same time, more serious, technical information was provided below the Woot-written description). The combination of highly attractive deals with well executed social media approach created an immediate hype among consumers. On June 30th 2010, the growing popularity of the site led to its acquisition by one of the worlds’ largest internet retailers – Amazon for $110 million. Since the acquisition, the company had gone through major changes, six of its key founder executives including the CFO Rene Gonzalez, the CTO Luke Duff, and CEO Matt Rutledge left the company. Apart from the changes in management, the business model had a significant impact as well. The website began offering a large array of consumer products on a daily basis including a selection of wine, shirts, home goods, electronics and more.
As previously mentioned WOOT! is now acquired by its parent company Amazon. However, the recent figures prior to the acquisition (2008-2009) show $164 million in revenue with 39.7% growth compared to 2007.
The company handles large volumes of orders daily which leads me to discuss the company’s weakest point – customer service. Woot offers merely email communication as its main channel of support and customer service related issues. Unfortunately, despite a thorough research throughout the website I was unable to find a phone number to discuss an issue that I may encounter as a consumer. According to a report provided by the BBB as of December 8, 2014 there are 354 filled complaints against WOOT most of which are representing problems related to the product or the service (210 out of 354). A break-down of the complaints and their related categories is
|Advertising / Sales Issues
|Billing / Collection Issues
|Guarantee / Warranty Issues
|Problems with Product / Service
On the other hand, Woot utilizes advanced email and RMA support systems. Emails are replied within 24-48 business hours by the website’s support team. The return policy allows returns within 21 days from the day of purchase. Not all products are refundable.
WOOT! reserves the right to impose a 15% restocking fee for any product that is returned and is not damaged and the original shipping charge will not be refunded. Otherwise, the customer can expect to receive a full refund for a defective product. Third party customer reviews websites such as Resllerratings.com give WOOT! very poor ratings (1.29 out of 10). However, these ratings alone shouldn’t deter a potential customer from having business with WOOT!. The large majority of these websites generate their revenues from affiliated online businesses, which are in return promised to obtain an access to respond and solve customer related issues resulting in higher ratings. These policies lead to a situation in which ratings are granted based on affiliated program
membership rather than on companies’ performance. Hence, they fail in providing the end consumer with a good and genuine piece of advice for a future online purchase.
The website is user friendly and is very fast and easy to navigate through. After spending 5 minutes on the website I was able to locate and access every piece of information that may be necessary. Product descriptions are clear and concise. They provide the sufficient information needed for making a deciding whether to purchase a certain product or not without overwhelming the customers with loads of
technical details. From the moment you choose a product it takes 4-5 clicks of a button before your order is processed. Similarly, requesting an RMA# (Return Merchandise Authorization) is just as simple.
Since its acquisition by Amazon, the small start up company has expanded its operation exponentially. Rather than limiting its sales to one or few products a day the company now offers a various selection of wide range of products including: electronics, fashion, furniture, toys and more!
Though, WOOT! is considered one of the pioneering sites to work as a One-Deal-A-Day site, new competitors realized the financial potential associated with such business strategy and were able to build their own customers’ community using the same approach. A partial list of these sites includes: Groupon, 1sale, Dailysteals, Offers.com and many more. Despite the ever-strengthening competition WOOT! is able to differentiate itself by offering a large variety of products along with a unique shopping experience. Since its acquisition by Amazon the company had gone through a major transformation. It extended its focus beyond consumer electronics and is now offering many selections of Wine, Home & Garden, Sport goods, Toys, and shirts.
Pros and Cons
- New exciting products every day
- Reliable and safe
- Attractive price and exciting, shopping experience
- Very long shipping times
- Strict return policy
- Lack of phone line for solving customer service related issues
WOOT! is a great modern online bargain store that represents an excellent shopping experience with deep understanding of its customer’s preferences. It achieves this goal by offering highly attractive deals on a daily basis while maintaining a vibrant social media approach with blog, emails and Facebook pages. Consumers want to make a purchase and become a member of its large community. The company’s weakest point however lies in its customer service performance. If you are the kind of a customer looking for exciting products at discounted prices, WOOT! is the right store for you. Just be sure to rmain patient as shipping times can get frustrating and getting help isn’t as convenient.
Five things you need to know before you make a transaction with WOOT!:
- The website is very safe. As a consumer purchasing at the store, you may be certain that your information is well protected by the means of the latest encryption technologies. This fact is not surprising given that WOOT’s payment methods are developed by Amazon.
- Great value for every dollar spent. The deals offered at the site are sold at aggressively discounted prices and in many cases are the cheapest to be found in the market.
- Products purchased on WOOT! will be delivered at the customer’s address in 99% of the cases. However, the delivery times are significantly longer than average. Most products are shipped within five days from the date of purchase whereas the default shipping method service offered may take up to 8 additional days before delivery. Many of the complaints against the company refer to this issue. It isn’t unusual to find customers who have been waiting for more than two weeks before the product is shipped.
- Not all products are new. Before you make a purchase on WOOT! be sure to check the product’s condition. Many of the items are sold as “Refurbished” or “Open Box”. The condition is normally stated in one of the top rows in the description section.
- Be ready to communicate via emails in case you encounter an issue as other alternatives are not available.
Woot’s Current e-Store Info Ratings
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