Buying online with the help of Vic the guinea pig!

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.” – Eric Schmidt

1. “Our pleasure is your leisure!”

I work in the Redballoon Pleasure Relations team (yes, that is our team name).

Our daily goal is to help generous gift givers and lucky recipients use our stellar service.

For those brought up in the world of computers purchasing one of our great gifts online is an easy and expedient process. No fuss, No bother. However, there are many (like myself) who have discovered the wonders of computers in adult life. For us it does not come naturally and for many it brings out Techno Fear!

(‘Technofear’: Main Entry: technofear
Part of Speech: n
Definition: fear of technology or the effects of technological development; also called technophobia)

2. Vic the Guinea Pig

vic pic

So when I was asked to contribute to the inaugural Redballoon blog I pondered long and hard about what would be relevant to our customers and in particular the technically challenged. Then I thought about Vic. He’s not really a guinea pig, he’s my very obliging father-in-law and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me telling you that he has just turned 80.

I called Vic and said, “Would you mind being my guinea pig?” “Are you drunk,” he said. “Not at all” I replied “Would you mind if I put you to the test and see how you got on buying a few things from the site” “No problems, but what’s with the guinea pig?” was the reply.

3. The test

So I set Vic a test: Buy 3 items from the site: 1 Experience, 1 Gift Certificate and 1 Gift Box. I gave him no tips or pointers, just the web address. Off he went and 24 hours later this was the feedback:

I have had a go at purchasing the three items you mention and had no trouble at all. I purchased $100 Gift Certificate, One hour flight simulator in Perth and Lolly Box. I think it is very self-explanatory and as you keep telling Lyn (my mother in-law), all you have to do IS READ THE SCREEN. However there is such a wide range of options maybe this would confuse some people but by and large it was absolutely fine. Vic

With this reply I realized my glaring error. Vic, you see, is a retired electrical engineer who has embraced the plethora of modern technology. Next time I will ask Lyn (the M-I-L). She is a wonderful lady with the thought process of an abstract artist. Watch this space

4. The upshot

Seriously, not everyone is like Vic and whilst many see the benefits of buying on-line, the fear of using the computer can hinder and frustrate.

Redballoon offers you the chance to buy for friends and loved ones a once in a lifetime experiences, something which can never be re-gifted and stuck in the attic, but you want that buying experience to be as straightforward as buying from your local milk bar.

Here are a few top tips to get you through:

  1. As Vic said: Read the screen. The answers almost always right in front of you and with most websites there is a help centre to answer your questions:
  2. Don’t panic. You are only looking and are never committed to purchase until you pay and by then you will be an expert
  3. Give us a call or send an email. We are here to help.
  4. Just like most new things, give it a go. You’ll be surprised how easy it is and at the end you’ve gained new computer skills.

5. The steps

If none of the above helps, but you are willing to give it a try, just follow the steps we provide to all our new customers:

1. Find the experience you are after and click on ADD TO CART

2. In your shopping cart confirm your selection and quantity (should you wish to purchase more than one voucher)

3. If you wish to purchase several gifts, click on BUY A GIFT to take you back to the search area. You can return to your shopping cart at any point by click on the cart icon at the top right of the screen.

4. When you have completed your shopping, click on Proceed to Checkout.

5. Log in to your account, or register as a new user

6. Select delivery options for your Gift Vouchers / Boxes (do not change the dispatch date if you want these items dispatched asap!)

7. Proceed to Payment

8. Provide payment details via Gift Certificate, Credit Card, Paypal or other and hit place order

9. Read and tick the box regarding our Terms and Conditions.

10. Your order will be complete within minutes. Take down your Order ID and payment details (if you pay by any other method than Credit Card).

The steps may make pretty dull reading, but it will help you through the first time and from there you will never fear the dreaded internet, but instead come to think of it as the useful tool that it should be.

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  1. Posted December 16, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I must pass this onto my mother who refuses to buy things on line as she is 55 and deems it too difficult – I am going to use this as an example to show her that if an 80 year old can do it, so can she… She asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I have always wanted to go for a balloon ride, so found one on your website and directed it to it, however the above was the response I got, so now she will have no excuse.. thanks for the great tips on ordering!! happy Christmas Vicky

  2. ben
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Vicky, Many Thanks for your kind comments and great feedback. The whole aim of the blog is to help and hopefully assist. Do encourage your Mum to give a go, but if she wants a hand we are here to help. Have a Great Christmas and Balloon ride. Regards, Ben

  3. Posted June 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Where is the subscribe button?

  4. vashti
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    you can subscribe at the top of the page for email updates or an rss feed.

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