Wayfair Doesn't Have Just What I Need: Quick Deliveries and Dependable Customer Service
"Wayfair Has Just What I Need." A catchy jingle with an expensive, elaborate media campaign behind it, but unfortunately, Wayfair doesn't offer two things that are critical to me as a professional Lifestylist®: quick delivery and knowledgeable customer service that can get things done.
As a business owner that has clients all over the country, It's critical that I have suppliers and partners that will help me back up assurances I make to my customers. Typically I am buying entire homes or apartments of furniture at a time, but when a sofa was damaged in one of the Riedman Companies corporate apartments in Erie, PA it was going to make more sense to buy something retail and have it delivered since what I needed wouldn't make my supplier's minimum requirements.
Erie, Pennsylvania has to be one of the only areas in the US that doesn't have an Ashley Furniture Store nearby. Their quality, value, and great design for the money makes them my typical go-to, but wasn't an option in Erie. So I remembered the Wayfair commercials and thought I'd see if they had something that would work. They did, and they said it could ship the next day so I placed my order, paid up front for the sofa and thought that I had a great solution for me and the client.
I received notice that the sofa would be shipping out of Cranbury Township, NJ which is approximately 450 miles from Erie - easily driven in a day so I was shocked when they told me delivery would take a month! I called to question why and to cancel my order but was told since it was already in the system I would not get a refund until the sofa was unsuccessfully delivered to the client and returned to the manufacturer - that could be 2 months! They said it should be delivered much earlier than that, this was a worst-case date.
After 22 days, the sofa has now traveled over 2,089 miles, and at one point was less than 50 miles from Erie. Imagine what this is doing to our environment if they are driving all of their deliveries in circles and adding more than 1,500 miles to each order. It has been sitting for almost a week now on a dock in Aberdeen, MD which is 100 miles from where this journey started. I'm just praying it arrives in good condition after being taken on and off of trucks that many times.
Wayfair may offer free shipping, but believe me, there is a price to be paid for that "free" service. I am only as good as my word, and Wayfair has shown they aren't a dependable, trustworthy partner in my business.
Amazon though is going to really give Wayfair and other companies like this a run for their money. We met up with them at the Las Vegas Market where they were talking to designers, manufacturers and the media about their Amazon Home products. I was impressed. Their dedication to helping smaller companies be successful under the Amazon brand was something I hadn't thought about, but have been considering ever since. They have some great, affordable lines including the new Novogratz Collection which I'm going to feature in one of our model home interiors. eBay is also looking at ways to attract and work with the design community.
This has been a painful lesson, but one I won't forget. So many times it isn't the product the customer remembers, but the customer service that comes with that product, and The Lifestylist Brands will only be partnering with companies that have the same philosophy and commitment to this as we do.