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Navigating the Maze of Online Shopping on Shopee: Lessons Learned from a Wrong Product Delivery

Allan Ung

Customer-Centricity at its Core: Where Service, Quality, Efficiency, and Reliability Intersect

Navigating Online Shopping Woes: Lessons from Shopee's Wrong Product Delivery

"Your most unhappy customers are your

greatest source of learning."

Bill Gates


Online shopping has revolutionized the way we shop, offering convenience and accessibility like never before. However, it's not always smooth sailing. One common challenge that shoppers face is receiving the wrong product. In this article, we'll delve into a real-life scenario of a wrong product delivery and extract key lessons for both shoppers and online platforms like Shopee. We'll also explore how the concept of the customer journey map can illuminate critical touchpoints in the online shopping experience.

The Tale of the Wrong Parcel: A Customer's Online Shopping Journey

Picture this: A customer eagerly awaits the arrival of their new 3 Ears Espresso Bottomless Portafilter for the Delonghi Dedica EC685 espresso machine, only to find themselves staring at a 2-ears model instead. Frustrated but determined, they embark on a journey to set things right.

Expectation vs. Reality: Unveiling the Discrepancy in Portafilter Delight

Expectation vs. Reality: Unveiling the Discrepancy in Portafilter Delight

Key Issues Unveiled

1. Mismatched Expectations: The customer's experience highlights the disconnect between what customers expect and what they receive, a common pitfall in online shopping.

2. Communication Hurdles and Lack of Empathy: The exchange of messages and images between the customer and the merchant via Shopee chat underscores the importance of clear communication channels and efficient verification processes. However, the contact center agent's task-oriented approach to "processing" the customer, rather than expressing empathy and patiently hearing out the customer, suggests a focus on metrics like First Call Resolution and Average Handling Time, rather than genuine customer satisfaction. Additionally, neither the merchant nor the Shopee contact center provided assurance that they would thoroughly investigate the original shipment of the wrong product, analyze the root causes, and implement necessary process improvements to prevent its recurrence.

3. Complicated Processes and Lack of Adaptability: Despite the 3 ears Dedica EC685 being available on Shopee's website, Shopee customer service cannot directly dispatch a replacement to the customer, despite having stock. This limitation arises from the after-sales reissue being managed by the seller's warehouse in Shenzhen, China. The discrepancy between Shopee's warehouse inventory and their handling of merchant after-sales service adds complexity to the resolution process. Shopee's focus on dispatching new orders rather than re-issuing replacements fails to adapt to the customer's needs, despite the issue originating from the Shopee Customer Service warehouse.

4. Logistical Challenges: The looming Chinese New Year exacerbates delays in the delivery of the replacement product, shedding light on the significance of robust logistics management.

5. Customer Service Conundrum: The customer's initial reach-out to Shopee customer service reveals a lack of clarity regarding post-purchase responsibilities. Moreover, despite attempting to contact Shopee Customer Service via the contact center, they were disappointed to find out that it operates only from 8am to 6pm, limiting their options for assistance.

Lessons Learned

1. Clarity is Key: Establishing clear communication channels and delineating responsibilities between platforms and merchants is crucial for seamless issue resolution.

2. Empathy Drives Satisfaction: Genuine empathy and patience in customer interactions can significantly enhance the customer experience and satisfaction, regardless of metrics like First Call Resolution and Average Handling Time.

3. Transparency Builds Trust: Proactive communication and updates instill confidence in customers and demonstrate a commitment to their satisfaction. Customers should be informed upfront about the limitations of after-sales processes and the handling of replacements.

4. Quick Response to Customer Inquiries: Responding quickly to customer inquiries demonstrates attentiveness and dedication to customer satisfaction. Prompt responses can alleviate concerns and build trust between the customer and the seller or platform.

5. Syncing Systems: Ensuring accurate inventory management and effective communication between Shopee Customer Service, merchant and customers can prevent errors and improve service quality.

6. Adaptability in Service Delivery: Recognizing the limitations of Shopee's after-sales service and exploring alternative solutions, such as direct shipment from the platform's inventory, can lead to more flexible and customer-centric practices. Services should adapt to suit the customer, rather than forcing the customer to adapt to rigid practices.

7. Visual Management Enhancements: Utilizing visual management tools to differentiate the 3-ear and 2-ear portafilters can prevent packaging errors. Clear labeling and distinct visual cues on the packaging can minimize the risk of incorrect shipments.

8. Importance of Customer-Centricity: In today's competitive landscape, customer service is crucial. According to a study, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Shopee's customer service may be the last line of defense to prevent customer defection, making an empathetic and proactive approach to problem-solving essential for retaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Integrating Customer Journey Mapping

By overlaying the customer journey map onto this experience, we can identify critical touchpoints where improvements can be made.

From the initial excitement of making a purchase to the frustration of receiving the wrong item, every step of the journey offers valuable insights into the customer's experience. Mapping out these touchpoints allows businesses like Shopee to better understand their customers' needs, anticipate potential pain points, and tailor their services accordingly.

Quality Communication Matters

While the contact center is supported by an internet call system, offering a "no-cost" option to customers, the call quality may not always meet expectations. In our scenario, the voice pitch of the agent was high, which can be irritating to an already agitated customer awaiting the correct product. This emphasizes the importance of ensuring quality communication channels, especially during sensitive interactions where customer frustration may already be elevated. Providing options for alternative communication methods or addressing technical issues promptly can help maintain a positive customer experience.


The customer's journey serves as a microcosm of the complexities and challenges inherent in online shopping. By dissecting their experience and integrating the concept of the customer journey map, we uncover valuable insights that can inform both shoppers and online platforms like Shopee. From the importance of clear communication to the significance of efficient logistics management, navigating the maze of online shopping requires vigilance, adaptability, and a customer-centric approach. Armed with these lessons and a deeper understanding of the customer journey, both shoppers and platforms like Shopee can strive towards a smoother, more satisfying online shopping experience for all.

In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce, the journey may be fraught with twists and turns, but with the right strategies and a commitment to improvement, we can navigate the challenges and emerge stronger on the other side.

Note: This article has been updated to include recent developments and insights. The information provided reflects the latest updates as of 17 February 2024. All opinions and interpretations expressed are entirely those of the author, based on his recent customer experience at Shopee.

Allan Ung

Article by Allan Ung, Principal Consultant at Operational Excellence Consulting, a distinguished management consultancy based in Singapore. Our firm specializes in maximizing customer value and minimizing waste through the strategic adoption of Design Thinking and Lean management practices. For further details, please visit 


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