Joined Up Web Sites

Spread Shirt are company that allow you to design and print your own t-shirts. They also allow people to set up online shops selling t-shirts that they have designed. There are two Spreadshirt sites, one for the US and one for Europe.

A couple of months ago I saw a shirt in a Spread Shirt shop that I wanted to buy. Unfortunately, it was in the US store, which means it would be shipped from the US. And that would cost about $10. Shipping from the European site is £2.20. I decided I didn’t want the shirt that much and forgot about it.

Yesterday I decided to dig a bit further. I couldn’t really understand why I couldn’t order the shirt from the US but have it printed in and shipped from Europe. Isn’t that the advantage of print-on-demand shirts? They can be printed anywhere. So I emailed Spread Shirt customer support (in the US) to find out how I could do that.

I got a reply in a few hours. They explained that the two Spread Shirt sites were run completely seperately and that the two systems weren’t joined up in a way that allowed the process that I was suggesting. It wasn’t the most helpful of replies. I could have guessed what they were going to say.

But at the bottom of the reply was an invitation to fill in a survey rating the help I had got from customer service. And as an incentive to fill in the survey they promised a coupon worth $5 in any Spread Shirt (US) shop.

So I filled in the survey and then ordered the shirt using the coupon, which effectively dropped the cost of shipping to $5 – close enough to the European cost to make it not work worrying about the difference.

I still think that the differentiation between their two systems is crazy. If you’re an international company, then you should really try and act like one. But it’s nice that they give you a backdoor method to get round the problem.

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