Volvo Laval Or How To Sell Car Parts Offline


The other day during the last snow storm of the winter I parked my car in the garage and found out there was a part missing on the bumper. Not a big deal – things like these happen all the time and you just have to fix the situation fast and furious. So I take my cellphone and take the above photo to send it to my contact Greg at Volvo Laval for help.

He gets back to me and says the Service Department employee needed the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and a quote with the original paint was coming soon.

In the meanwhile I scanned Google with a bunch of keywords to try to get the part number myself since there was nothing to be found in the vehicle user guide. Within minutes I found the part on eBay with part number 30698209.

So here I am with a price of $30.45 USD + $45 in shipping from an eBay seller in the US. Just to be sure I also screened a couple of car part sites in Canada that unfortunately did not keep that part in stock.

Back to the Volvo Laval which I thought should be much faster and easier to complete. Greg called me back a couple of days later saying the price was $37 CAD + $45 to paint it in it’s original. Honest price and 48 hours to get hold of if I was willing to pick it up since there is no online payment option.

Trying to avoid a drive to the Volvo Laval dealership although it is open on Saturday mornings now I manage to get the part shipped to my local garage for installation  whilst changing winter tires. He had no clue how to install the part so I was back to square one.

So another email to Greg at Volvo Laval who sent me this reply whilst being out of town:


Now this is a prime example of an “online search” becoming an “offline sale” where the local garage just lost a customer of 8 years because Greg applied what is called the “Challenger” sales pitch: just take care of it and make the customer happy matching an acceptable price fast respecting his agenda!


Some industries are not ready yet to manage online sales because DIY skills are required and when a professional mechanic can’t install a $37 part you really have to trust Challengers like Greg “offline”. I will be taking all my maintenance business to Volvo Laval now that they are open on Saturdays!

Thank you Greg!




How A Theatre Near You Could Be Selling More Seats



Last week my wife mentioned going to a theatre with the entire family. First reaction: let’s check what movie she is talking about!

After clicking the link of Geordie Productions I realized this wasn’t about going to see the latest Captain America at our local IMAX theatre. No, this was about buying tickets for a theatre play The Iliad and The Odyssey based on our daughters interest in Greek history. The initial email she had received now became a task to try buy these tickets online on a commuter train using a Google Nexus tablet!

Well, first you had to register an account. Not great, but since the other option was to make a call whilst 200 people in the train would be listening to my conversation I trotted along and created one.

First great surprise was getting a discount if you attended both shows! Pricing was actually cheaper than going to the IMAX if we count in the popcorn and drinks for everybody! Five minutes later I had to fill out my credit card details that I know by heart – which for some would have meant to pull up their credit card in front of 10 people in the train. A PayPal payment option would have avoided this decision to make at the end of the cart process.

So what a great surprise when today I received a personalized email saying everybody at Geordie was thrilled to have us there at the show the coming Sunday.


How does it come the team at Geordie Productions provide a better customer experience than big cinemas with huge budgets and marketing teams? Why were they able to take the time knowing the profit margin can’t be higher than popcorn or soda drinks? A traditional theatre that is 200% web 2.0 is the answer!

Wishing Jessica and her team nothing but success and looking forward to the show!






Fitbit Force – Great Online Product Recall

Just bumped into a situation where my Fitbit Force has been recalled. If I had not purchased the item online giving my email address to Futureshop there would have been a slim chance for me knowing this!

Another reason to buy online more often! I never got this kind of service when buying something in a retail store!

Note: I signed up for the Fitbit replacement model they are working on so they did not lose a customer. My wife who also has one almost refused to send hers back so that makes us two!

Fitbit Force Marketing Team – great job with your announcement!


Next Time You Click “Accept” Make Sure You Read This First!

terms and conditions button

I accept the Terms & Conditions

Corey Eridon from Hubspot just shared this amazing story that honestly is a wake up call for most of us including myself.

Wrote a Negative Online Review?

It’ll Cost You $3,500

Read the entire post here and make sure you consider looking at the details of terms and conditions from US web sites moving forward! Lawyers and consumer rights have little in common based on this article south of the Canadian border it seems.

Keep shopping online,


IKEA 3D Kitchen Planner – Online Shopping Experience

IKEA Kitchen 3D Planner Software

IKEA Kitchen – 3D Planner software

Being Swedish my first blog post about creating a better online shopping experience for the majority of people had to be about buying something complex from IKEA.

So here I was in Paris visiting my brother who had installed a complete IKEA kitchen by himself. It had me thinking out loud that it can’t really be that difficult. So I went back saying we should try the same thing back in Montreal this autumn!

Well, summer passed and my wife was all up for it once kids got back to school. Pumped up with a North American “Yes We Can” spirit we visited our local IKEA Store and managed to pick the kitchen we wanted in less than 3 hours. We don’t bid on eBay; we have a Buy Now kind of attitude and you should try it if time is money for you too.

Now comes the tricky part: we had to use the IKEA 3D Kitchen Planner software to design our kitchen ourselves. Not there in the store; but at home after taking all the measurements! So here is what happened:

1) First you want to avoid browsers that are not supported which means any computer must be at least 2-3 years old or just take Microsoft Explorer to be on the safe side since that’s what most outdated computers run nowadays. Don’t even attempt to look for a tablet app since the team at IKEA still is trying to understand how to make it that simple to design a kitchen!

2) Kitchen software works fine once you get the hang of it. We are in North America so working with inches is the norm. Took 2-3 hours to complete our virtual IKEA kitchen and honestly the 3D view was confusing to say the least. Confident we now tried to order the entire design online which was not an option we found out.

3) You have to get your design reviewed by a IKEA Certified Kitchen Specialist – some kind of blue/yellow belt in how all these items fit together without causing any injury to you and your loved ones. After spending two hours with one of them I have to admit it was totally worth the time, but doing it on the computer at home with somebody taking over my screen would have done the trick too.

4) We placed the order and two weeks later the entire kitchen arrived.

5) Installing it is another story.

Conclusion: if you ever played Sim City for more than an hour, enjoyed building a replica of your fathers car using Lego parts or just have this Kung Fu Panda kind of “Inner Peace” attitude buying an IKEA Kitchen online is totally doable without hiring any professional. Installing it though will demand skills that you can’t learn on YouTube!

If you have any questions about the IKEA 3D Kitchen Planner software I would love to hear from you. As a former software product manager I can quickly evaluate what’s a feature and what’s a bug! :)

Keep shopping online,



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