The latest Alertbox from Jakob Nielsen refers to‘s e-commerce design (more detailed analysis here), saying:

“ continues with outstanding use of confirmation email to sustain customer relationships and long-term loyalty. A week ago, I got an email from them confirming that they were going to ship the new Harry Potter book to me with arrival on the publication date. Considering that many fans pre-ordered the book many months ago, it was good to remind them…Otherwise they might go out and buy it (again) elsewhere, which would lead to expensive returns and reduced customer satisfaction.”

I did order Harry Potter months ago (February!), but on, which is maybe a little less diligent. I didn’t get my confirmation until Saturday, Harry Potter Release Day, telling me they were “preparing it for shipment” and directing me to the web site, when I found I could expect delivery, oh, maybe July 24. Although it was being prepared, not shipped, I had no option to cancel the order. Son #1 went out and bought the book so he could get started reading and hope to avoid all the spoilers that are flying through the air like Harry playing Quidditch.

The book arrived July 23, despite a notice inside that said “We are using a larger box to ensure you get your Harry Potter on release day — at no additional cost to you!”