The First Crisis We Have Experienced
In the middle of October, we have experienced a shipping nightmare. And that is the first crisis we were dragged in since we launched the brand.
Around 6th Oct, we’ve being receiving emails from a few customers asking us to check their shipments status as the online tracking record has not been updated for a few days. When we checked this with the shipping agency, we’ve been told that shipping is normal, just the online update may lag behind of the actual status due to busy season and their shipping partner’s system.
So we replied this to our customers.
However, after a few more days, the online record still was not updated. We started to be alert and tried to communicate with the shipping agency every day to check the shipments status quo.
At first, we’ve been told the same, and asked to be patient on this. Until a couple of days later, we received a note from them with an excel list of all delayed shipments, stating that all those parcels have been sent to a wrong transit center, that’s why the record stopped update after the customs clearance. And this incident happened to a huge load of shipments, not just ours.
That’s where the long waiting part and all frustration continued. The awful thing is we can’t give our customers an accurate time when their delayed shipment could be delivered.
We immediately sent out a delay notification and apology email to customers whose order is from end of Sep and early Oct.
We are terribly and truly sorry about this awful experience they have to endure.
Each day, we would receive customer’s email to ask to check the shipping or to cancel the order.
Among those orders, some are iPhone 13 / Pro cases. We all know that this would be the customer’s first case for their new iPhone. Can you imagine how terrible it would be to leave your new expensive phone unprotected by any cover?
And some customers need the bags they bought for a travel, or a purse for a scheduled party, or a hat as a gift for a special occasion.
This delay just ruined everything for them.
Even though some orders are not in urgent need, still who the hell are we to make customers wait for more than 20 and even 30 days (in the end these this is the delivery time for the delayed shipments) for a standard product. Let’s face it, we are not Apple or Hermes! Just a new brand no one knows!
With all the pushing and frustrated communication with the shipping company, gradually delayed parcels all got delivered one by one in the end of Oct and around early Nov, except one. Until today, one of the orders which is a leather fanny pack, was still not delivered. The last online update was still on 23rd, "Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS, USPS Awaiting Item".
And the terrible thing is the shipping company can’t even tell us the status of it. Was it lost or still on transit? They have no clue. Although we refunded the customer, this must be like a nightmare experience for her.
In the end and in total, we suffered a big financial loss from this incident. But compared to the brand image and reputation sufferance, that is minor. Once a customer has a terrible experience with you no matter what the reason is, you might lose them forever.
It is similar to a relationship issue. Once your heart is broken, you would want a break up, right? That’s what we think.
But what we are really touched and grateful is how amazing most of our customers respond to this delay drama. They have shown us kindness, patience and understanding along the way.
We can’t express how much we appreciate all those supports. Can only bear this in mind and improve our work in the future.
We changed to a new shipping partner now. And in the past 3 weeks, most shipments from them to United States got delivered around 7 days; only a few around 10 days. As international shipping, it is not that bad. But surely not enough yet.
As a D2C brand who solely depends on e-commerce channel, shipping is crucial to customer experience. With so many platforms and brands offer next day delivery. We still have a long distance to catch up.
Our next plan is to stock some products in outbound warehouse in United states, so this could offer a faster shipping experience to our customers.
So, please stay tuned. We will update this in the post.