Net-A-Porter launched in 2000. I found it thrilling. What a smart idea of aggregating all of the designers online where I could go back all the time to see the latest and greatest. It was easier to find new merchandise there than going to a department store, particularly new designers.
I remember buying a red handbag on Net-A-Porter that cost me less, including shipping, because of the difference between the euro and the US dollar. I saw the same bag about six months later at a store, which was much more expensive. Now that doesn’t happen because the retail world has caught up to that.
Before that was Matches for Fashion, then there was MyTheresa, then Ssense, and Farfetch. What I love about Farfetch is that the front end is similar to Net-A-Porter but the back end is an aggregation of small boutiques worldwide. I have visited many of the boutiques on their site when we travel. It is also well run, simple to use, and return. Ssense, not so much.
There are only a few times where I have shared horrific experiences with companies on this blog but this particular experience is one I can not keep to myself particularly during these times when so many people are going out of business.
I made a purchase on Ssense. Simply put, I never received it. I tracked the package and it was noted as delivered in the Canadian Post system. I called Ssense. They said sometimes that happens, just wait a few days, it usually shows up. It never showed up.
I called again and then they began to look into it. I called a week later, they still had not begun to look into it, their bad, now they were going to start an investigation. I asked for my money back in the interim. They refused to do that and pleaded with me not to call my bank (aka American Express) so that the investigation would not be stopped. Questionable on why that would make any difference but I obliged.
Four weeks passed, I kept on top of it until finally, I received an email in my box saying that they looked into the issue and the box had been delivered and signed for. Did they provide who signed for it? No. Did they give me any other information? No. Do they believe me? No.
I had got some questionnaires over this time from the Canadian Post to understand the delivery situation. We have a doorman, and we also have four families living in our building, so nothing gets lost.
I found out that Ssense hands off their deliveries from Canada to USPS vs. UPS, FedEx, or DHL. That is the number one problem. USPS doesn’t deliver packages in NYC even if they are supposed to. They hand you a slip saying that they attempted to do it, but it is not with thousands of other boxes in a facility in Soho or Chelsea. I never got a slip.
All the other competitors in this area use the best mail and delivery services. What are the cuts into their margins? I have no idea, but it works for the consumer. I wonder if the powers that be at Ssense have been watching the slow destruction of USPS over the past year? Where is the coat I purchased? I have no idea.
What I do know is that I will never buy from Ssense again….and I called American Express.