Friday, March 25, 2011

Lilly Pulitzer Store Review

TGIF, Shopaholics! Any big plans for the weekend? It feels wonderful to say, we are planning quality beach time and that is it! :-) 

As my frequent readers and friends already know, I have been doing quite a bit of shopping lately for my favorite brand, Lilly Pulitzer. Beginning around March 10, the market was flooded with a lot of opportunities to get my "fix".  (both online and in-store). Throw in the "Lunch At Lilly" promotion, then the Via shoppes online sales and you have one very spent out Shopaholic.

Now I don't know about you, but once I make a purchase (at any retailer, Ebay, even Shopaholic's Preppy Closet) and the seller has my $$$ or card number, I want the merchandise to arrive quickly. And honestly, if it doesn't arrive within 7-10 days after purchase, I start to get a little squirrely. Now if the seller/store has a legitimate issue and notifies me of said issue, I do have patience and can deal with the problem without getting nervous.

Our world is automated - cards are authorized immediately, packages are shipped via online software through UPS, Fedex, USPS, etc.  Frankly, a business who doesn't communicate - doesn't ship - then leaves me sitting around to "wonder" what happens - I have to wonder if they care about my business. Do they really want it? Hey, it's a bad economy last I heard - right?!?!? Shouldn't businesses be taking care of their customers and trying to retain them, rather than ignoring them and screwing up in every possible way? This scenario leaves me extremely confused. Thankfully, there are lots of stores who just get it right. Every time. They never disappoint. I don't have to beg them to ship, and they take me seriously. They know I'm going to buy, and treat me as a valued customer whether I call, email, or post on their Facebook wall.

Now seems like an appropriate time to tell you that in my previous life (read: work life) I was a business manager. My location had annual revenue in the neighborhood of $50 million dollars and I directly managed 12-15 employees. I know how long it takes to process an invoice. I know how long it takes to process a package for shipment. I also know how long it takes to earn the trust of a customer, and that it takes 4-5 new customers to make up for one lost customer.

Recently, I've had experiences with nine Lilly Pulitzer (corporately owned, Via and online) stores. I am going to tell you about each one below. Please note: these are MY experiences. Not my sister's, not my BFF's, not my Facebook friends. MY experiences only. Some of these stores I've had previous experiences with, and they were different than my recent ones. This review focuses only on experiences I've personally had within the past two weeks.

C. Orrico - Palm Beach, FL - Online Purchase during the recent "March Madness" Lilly sale. I placed an order for 2 items. Within the first twelve hours of the sale, I was notified that neither of the items were in stock. So I didn't receive any items from C. Orrico. However, I would definitely order again, the next time I am looking for something.

Village Palm - Grosse Pointe, MI. Two Online/Telephone Purchases, one during "Lunch At Lilly" and one during "March Madness" sale. Only one item was out of stock, and I was notified of this fact the next morning (after placing an order at 1AM). I was absolutely thrilled with my "Lunch At Lilly" goodie, and plan to order from this store again very soon. My order was shipped promptly and arrived from MI to coastal Alabama within three days. Sarah and her staff ROCK!  Buy with confidence from Village Palm!

Lilly Pulitzer Corporate Store - Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Ordered via telephone as part of the "Lunch At Lilly" promotion. My coveted Ricci Shift Dress in the "Calendar Girl" print arrived within three days and I was charged properly. Stellar buying experience, another winner in my book!

Purseladytoo - Online Store (link HERE). One of the easiest and most hassle-free shopping experiences in recent memory. Placed an order online (just one item) and immediately received order confirmation via email. The very next morning, I received another email that the item had been shipped - along with tracking information. My order arrived within two days of purchase and there was even a little gift inside. Superb and efficient service. Yet another place where you can buy with confidence!

The Colorful Gator - Gainesville, FL. Placed an order and paid via Paypal on March 10 for three Lilly dresses. As of today's date, the dresses have yet to arrive here in coastal Alabama. I have been in touch with the store via email and telephone several times and am still waiting on their arrival. Now I have a tracking number and am hoping they arrive by Monday. I was quite disappointed as one of the dresses was a gift for my BFF's birthday. We celebrated said birthday on Wednesday, so I guess you'd say my BFF's gift was "one dress short".  To say I'm not happy would be a huge understatement.

Lilly Pulitzer Corporate Store - Southlake, TX. My long-time readers already know, this is one of my favorite stores. I placed a telephone order with Amy and the ladies at Southlake during the "Lunch At Lilly" promotion. As usual, my order was perfect. It arrived within three days, I was thrilled with my Lunch At Lilly goodies. Another winner; the Southlake store never lets me down. I will continue buying from this Texas gem!

The Pink Palm - Richmond, VA. Placed an online order last Monday as part of the "March Madness" Lilly sale. The order was for 4 items, 2 of which were very high on my wish list. I didn't hear from The Pink Palm until the following Tuesday (yep, 8 days later). When I did, I was told that only 1 of the items I ordered was available. Shipping was $12.50, and even a shopaholic won't pay $12.50 to ship a yoga top that is on sale for $24. I respectfully declined the offer of the one top, and therefore didn't receive any items from The Pink Palm. They were kind on the telephone and very apologetic about the speed of service, but 8 days isn't acceptable in my book. Sorry. However, because they were kind, and because I spoke to a "real person", I would consider ordering from them again. It might not be anytime soon though.

Under The Palm Tree - Overland Park, KS. As part of the "March Madness" Lilly sale and a St. Patrick's Day promotion, I've placed two orders recently with UTPT. Only 1 item (out of 8) was not available, and I was notified within four hours of placing my online order. Another Shopaholic favorite store that never disappoints - shipping was fast, service was friendly and efficient. Hadley, Mimi and Sara have always treated me as a valued customer - whether I order one sale item, a full priced item, or a box full! UTPT has earned - and will continue to receive - a large share of the Lilly buying that happens around here! 

In The Pink - Boston, MA and various other locations. Placed an online order during the "March Madness" Lilly sale event. The whole experience didn't start out very well, as ITP's website had all kinds of problems. It was timing out, and sometimes completely unresponsive. I suppose it was silly of me to be surprised when I went days without hearing of my order's status. I only ordered 4 items, and two of them were high on my "wish I'd have bought this earlier" list. Four days after placing my order, I was notified that only 2 of the items were available and the order had already been shipped. Note: the only reason I heard from ITP within 4 days was I posted on their Facebook page. Further, imagine my *surprise* to see that I was charged $10 for shipping, when ITP had plainly stated on their FB page that shipping was FREE for all orders placed on Monday. This was their "gift" to customers for all the problems that were experienced during the order process. Since last Friday, I have been trying to get in touch with ITP to have my $10 shipping charge credited back to my account. Now before you think "that's silly, it's only $10"; you are correct - it is only $10. It's not about the $10, it's the principle of the entire situation. If a company makes a promise on their website or FB page, they should honor that promise with their customers. Period. At this point, I seriously doubt ITP even cares about my business. That's ok though, it will be a long time - if ever - before I'm brave enough to order again.

And there you have it! An honest summary of my experience. My "tried and true" stores always perform and never disappoint. They know me - I know them. For me, it makes sense to continue spending my $$$ where I know it is appreciated and I have confidence in their ability to take care of me. That's really all I ask - I buy, they ship what I order, I'm happy, they're happy. It should always be that easy, right?!?

Hopefully you were able to score some great deals during the recent sales and promotions! Any winners or losers in your book?

Have a Fantastic Friday!




28 comments:

  1. Wow, you are living up to your "shopaholic" title lately! ;) I had a HORRIBLE experience with In the Pink, but I was THRILLED with the service I got from Under the Palm Tree. I also recently placed an order with Village Palm, my other favorite store. After this I think I will stick with Village Palm and Under the Palm Tree... the few dollars I SHOULD have saved ordering from In the Pink were sure not worth the hassle!

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  2. Yep..I ordered from In the Pink too and had a horrible experience with them as well. I ordered 3 items on Tuesday, the 15th. Apparently I am getting 2 of them although neither has arrived yet. Didn't hear from them at all until yesterday(after posting on their FB page)I had noticed two charges on my account though, so assumed they were for two of the dresses(this was earlier this week)(I was also charged shipping for each one.Which ticked me off seeing as I ordered the items together) Then when they called they said they found the other dress and would ship it (free shipping)and needed my credit info again so they could charge me for it(the dress) .So I thought cool.(still disappointed in the slow service and being charged double shipping on the other two..but hey, at least I was getting everything..cool) Then they e-mail and say my one of the dresses was not available so I'm only getting two afterall. Turns out they had charged me double for the first one!ARG. Supposedly they'll be re-imbursing me. I had hoped to take my dresses on my vacation this week but unfortunately neither of them arrived before I had to leave today. Hopefully they'll be there when I get home. I also ordered from Oceam Palm in VA on Monday,the 14th, and got my items that Wednesday. And I ordered from the Lilly website on Thursday, the 17th, and THAT order already came. Will NEVER order fom ITP again.

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  3. I had the same experience from In The Pink. I never got my order and they only contacted me via email 8 days after placing my order to tell me they didn't have anything I ordered. Two of my friends had same experience and one of them did write to Lilly Corporate about them. None of us will ever shop with them again. I did have a great experience with The Pink Palm in Richmond though.

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  4. Lori, great, helpful post! I'd love to get your take on whether you'd still continue ordering from a Lilly store that did this. I pre-ordered Lifeguard Press items back in January from them, and the store said they would send them out in mid-March. I know they had some mishaps with a corporate order, but when I emailed them just to check on my order, saying no rush, they responded with "We apologize we do not have the stock to fill your order. We will be issuing you a refund today." Some of the items consisted of koozies, sticker sets, etc. totaling around $30, and they just don't have anymore? So disappointed. What do you think? Thanks for your help! :)

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  5. I too have had problems with in the pink, and the pink palm. I really want to like the pink palm b/c it's the closest lilly store to me, but the service is terrible. It takes awhile to receive a response, the associates don't always seem to know the product, and shipping is too much!

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  6. Ashley- We just felt bad that you had not received your items. We had an employee who sent out the first round of items to all the wrong addresses and we lost a fair amount of product. She lost us several hundred dollars of Lifeguard Press, and most of the product that was meant to go to orders including to the right people/wrong address. We understand if you no longer wish to order from us. We thought you would rather have your money back than wait as we tried to get the product in again, so that you might be able to get it somewhere else who might be able to get it to you sooner.

    @Lori and Lucy - thank you for your kind words about UTPT. We had a staff of two running the entire Lunch with Lilly, sale, and promotions and we appreciate any kinds words. We are human, we do make errors, but we try to do the best we can to rectify them.

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  7. Funny stories about In the Pink. The exact same experience happened to me last summer. I ordered a pair of shorts that were on sale. I waited a week and never received a shipping confirmation. Finally I wrote to them and then they simply said in a rude tone that they were sold out. I responded and mentioned to them they should get a better system because they are letting customers down. They never wrote back and frankily, I think they could careless. I'd avoid shopping from them at all costs. Under the Palm is by FAR the best store for Lilly. You can't beat their customer service.

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  8. I understand that online ordering is preferred than speaking with the stores directly, but it appears that the issues arise when shopping online. I have had issues with online shopping and even with UTPT before. I have even had issues with store like Nordstrom and Saks and I know I am not the only one! Keeping an online database up-to-date in real time is very hard to manage. These issues always arise when sites are in high demand. Does anyone remember the summer blow out sale on lp.com and the many issues they were having? Those issues sure didn't keep anyone of us from purchasing Lilly items. And even if you don't purchase from Lilly directly, it is the same principle by shopping Via stores- still buying Lilly, Lilly's numbers are still going up. How is service and shipping when a large sale or promotion is not going on? I tend to have great experiences during those times.

    How is your when you physically shop stores? Those are often my best experiences.I would imagine the Via stores didn't open and have a physical location for solely internet shopping. Should stores drop everything or ignore customers in a store because I might call? If I was physically shopping a store, I would be more irritated that I was ignored than if I was the person on the phone and asked if the store could call me back.

    Stores that offer PayPal are doing US a favor. I find PayPal to be a bit overwhelming especially when I have sold multiple items on Re-Lilly in a day. I can't even imagine what it would be like for a store to do this and when we are ordering multiple items.

    We as buyers can't expect items to be shipped immediately. And weekends sure don't count. The post office isn't open 24/7. The store employees don't work 24/7. Yet sometimes we as buyers expect them to bend over backwards for us. We have to be understanding and forgiving. These people have lives just like we do.

    It is sad to see your continued disappointment publicized but yet your continued support. It is sad that we as Lilly lovers speak so negatively about our loved brand when things aren't perfect.

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  9. Great post! Leading a Colorful Life, I'm am not trying to start anything just merely stating another point. It is 2011 and if stores can't keep up with the happenings of the Internet, they shouldn't have an e-commerce site. Period.If stores don't have enough man power to staff the physical store and internet orders, maybe they shouldn't do both.
    Between Ebay and Shopaholics Closets, some days I sell countless items. I don't own a store, I am just an individual in the business of reselling. But, because I value my customers, I ship the next day or the same day if my postal worker hasn't come yet. Paypal makes it fool proof. You print out the label, tape it and you are done. You don't even have to go to the post office. This process is the same for any store that accepts paypal. And, I know people who own stores also have a life. I have one too but I would never take someones money and then leave them hanging. Again, I am not arguing with your point, just stating the other side.

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  10. Leading a colorful Life- I think you are missing the point of what we were saying. I understand employees do not work 24/7 but customer service should be #1 for all stores. When a store does not contact a customer to make them aware their item is out of stock or unavailable, it is not very professional nor great customer service. Simply ignoring customer emails and not responding is a bad business practice.

    I think it is great to share our shopping experiences with others. For my own self, I will always avoid In the Pink due to their bad customer service but will always give my business to Under the Palm and some other stores because they deserve it and want it.

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  11. I think your reviews were well done Lori. Very factual, not the emotional rants that bloggers are often guilty of posting.
    You most certainly have lived up to your Shopaholic title!
    I've ordered a good bit here lately, and had great experiences.
    I ordered from Purseladytoo late last night. Before I even finished my coffee this morning I had a shipping confirmation. I love that she does that, few of the stores seem to be doing shipping confirmations here lately.
    I called Ocean Palm about an item I saw on the website, and Meredith was just polite as she could be. I had my item within a few short days.
    I ordered from Colorful Gator a couple of times right before the Lunch With Lilly. Both orders I used Paypal for, and both were shipped promptly. I have ordered from them several times and never had to wait long for the items to arrive. I was surprised to see they were having issues with slow shipping lately.
    I also ordered from In The Pink during the sale. I placed my order at about midnight thirty when it launched. The site was not working well, so I grabbed three things, checked out, and planned to go back later. I think I am one of the few, I actually received all three items within a week. Two arrived on Friday and the third on Monday. All in all I was happy, but I was sad to see so many having issues.
    I have only had one poor experience lately. I ordered an item on a Wednesday at lunchtime, and later found it it did not even ship until the following Monday, and it arrived Friday. That was after I paid $10 to ship it. I asked for tracking info after a week of hearing nothing, and the store owner got very defensive and upset with me. I hope I just caught her at a bad time.

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  12. Mmmm...interesting post from A Colorful Life. Interesting in the fact that it's someone from In the Pink posting on here under a different name. I know this because I send them a link to this blog and advised them to listen to their customers. They posted this shortly after I sent it.

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  13. Wow...everyone should go and read the In the Pink FB wall--this alone will never make you shop there again. Not surprised either.

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  14. I don't know if it's really the store to blame if there is an odd mess up during a sale or a time when there are a lot of customers shopping in-store. Patience is definitely needed during crazy sales, like during the fiasco that happened during the LillyPulitzer.com online sale last year. Even they had trouble, and they are much much bigger than a local via shop. It is very expensive to have an online inventory system that is constantly updating with purchases made both online and in-store. We should be grateful that we have so many stores to choose from, and that we can even get good deals on Lilly, because I can remember the days when nothing was ever on sale.

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  15. Just to add-- my rude experience w/ In the Pink was not during a sale period.

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  16. The Pink Palm is my local store in Richmond and they are usually pretty snobby. It's unfortunate that I would rather order online than go to the store 5 miles away from my house.

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  17. The Pink Palm Richmond is also my local store. Yes, they may have gotten in over their head with this recent sale. But, they are the farthest thing from snobs. They are quite the opposite.

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  18. so glad you shared the PurseLadyToo link!! i'm browsing the site now!!

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  19. You nailed it, Lori!

    I, too, had wonderful experiences with both Under the Palm Tree and The Village Palm. Of course, I expect nothing less because both of these stores are always amazing!

    As for ITPT - after posting on their FB page, I was also contacted by them and told that several of my items were not available. They kindly offered substitutes. However, I'm still waiting for my order. My card was charged early this week, but I haven't heard one word about whether my items have shipped, and nothing from them has arrived at my house. So I sit and wonder, and get really antsy...

    I must add that I'm so glad you reviewed PurseLadyToo. I've never ordered from them, but I noticed today that they have some beautiful accessories. Now I know that I should definitely add them to my list!

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  20. Thanks for the info Lori! I have to say - The Pink Palm Bethesda used to be my "local" store when I lived in DC and I always had positive in-store experiences but I never shopped online with them. I'm a little surprised by The Colorful Gator too, every time I've ordered from them they've been helpful and shipped relatively promptly.

    I also had to give my 2 cents about Under the Palm Tree because I was super impressed with them recently. I placed an order the day after Lunch with Lilly and was disappointed to receive an item in the wrong print. I contacted the store and they immediately shipped out the right item - didn't charge me, didn't wait for me to return the wrong one, just shipped it right then! I actually got the right one the day before they got my return. Everybody makes mistakes but how you handle those mistakes is what sets a business apart, and as for how UTPT handled that mistake, that's darn good customer service if you ask me!

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  21. I 100% agree with all of it! ITP literally took 3 1/2 weeks to mail me a sweater this fall and that was after 2 emails and 3 calls to the store. I will NEVER shop there again. Colorful Gator also took 3 weeks of emailing to confirm they had an item in stock so I never ended up ordering from them. UTPT and Village Palm are BY FAR the BEST!!! Hadley and Sarah are awesome...every package I receive from them comes in 2-3 days flat and I live in Seattle. I won't even waste my time at some of these other places. 1 bad experience is 1 too many when there are so many stores you can by from. I am totally loyal to UTPT and VP :) Great Post!

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  22. Purselady has great customer service and super fast shipping - just thought I'd add that review :-)

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  23. I would rather not have to comment on a blog posting or defend my store, The Colorful Gator, but the past month has been a very challenging time for me. All within the past year, I have opened a business, got married two months ago, and had a sick member of my family that passed away several weeks ago. My family and my new husband had to plan the memorial service and attend the funeral to lay her rest.

    I do think that some VERY valid points have been made that I as well as some other stores need to do a better job of at least communicating what is going on, although with these events in my personal life and family issues, I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to have to explain myself (especially on a blog).

    What was left out of the my store review was the fact that I took responsibility for messing up the order and offered Lori $75 worth of store credit for the two orders that weren’t shipped out on time and was never told that her order was a gift for a friend’s birthday or it would have been shipped much sooner. I also offered store credits to other customers as well. There are a lot of stores that don’t do that when they make mistakes.

    On top of everything else that has been going on in “life,” I am the only one that answers emails and processes the Internet & Paypal requests for The Colorful Gator. I did offer Paypal as a payment option, however, when you are receiving 40+ orders and trying you’re best to respond to emails after sending out an email blast to 400+ people, things do fall through the cracks. I have to send out additional emails sending Paypal invoices and I also have to take it out of our store inventory system….so, needless to say, it’s much harder than receiving a phone order that we can process right away. To better accommodate our future shoppers, due to all the problems, we will no longer be accepting Paypal unless it’s a special circumstance.

    We LOVE & value our loyal customers who understand that things aren’t always perfect but if we do mess up, we try to make it worthwhile. We have JUST made it past the 1-year mark of being open and hope to continue to work out our “new store” kinks. Thanks to those of you that spoke kindly & support LOCAL BUSINESSES throughout our wonderful country!!

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  24. I still haven't been able to reach In the Pink, after several (polite) emails and phone messages. Whatever issues they are having, their strategy is clearly to just not answer their phones. I want to continue to shop in their actual locations as I've always had pleasant experiences there, but the issue with ordering online is just so unprofessional and annoying that I probably won't go back for awhile. Thanks, Lori, for providing your reviews of other stores. I look forward to shopping (and continuing to shop) at these stores!

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  25. I gave up on In The Pink years ago. They have always had customer service issues. In this day and age there is no excuse for poor communication and service. Great post, Lori!

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  26. uncool post. very biased and not completely honest. no store owner should have to defend themselves here.

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  27. I am afraid I have to agree with Sarah Brooke above. Some of my experiences with the Pink Palm, our local store, have been great. Other times, the attitude has not been good. The Ocean Palm in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach has the nicest people and they make shopping there a lot of fun!

    Having grown up with Lilly (my mom was buying them from her when she was selling them at the beach), I am very particular about my purchases. My favorite Lilly store is C. Orrico. The big one in Palm Beach is the best, and the little boutique in Delray Beach isn't bad, either! However, there will never be anything as wonderful as the original Lilly shop off Worth Avenue. It was magical.....

    http://theclassicpreppy.blogspot.com/2010/03/growing-up-lillified-with-miss-betty.html

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  28. In the Pink was TERRIBLE. I ordered a dress and a bottle of perfume that was marked down to $20. I waited a week with no word from them and tried to contact the store and the girl would just tell me she doesn't deal with internet orders. Finally had to check my bank account to see that I obv didn't get the dress and only got a bottle of perfume with $10 shipping tacked on. No sorry, kiss my ass, or anything included in the package. Somewhat glad I didn't spend the $100 on the dress that I would have because it would just be $100 more in their pockets. Thumbs WAY down!

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