Flash Sale Sites Don't Deliver when it Comes to Shipping

Flash sale sites like Fab, Gilt and RueLaLa excel at offering savings to consumers, however, they often fall short of meeting consumer shipping expectations, according to a new study.

Fullfillment and logisitics solutions provider Dotcom Distribution has announced the results of its Facebook Flash Sale Analysis, which took a look at 2,776 Facebook conversations between customers and flash sale sites. The results reveal that one in five (22%) Facebook comments are related to negative shipping experiences with these companies. In addition, 49 percent of all negative comments were related to shipping.

"Flash sale customers are social-savvy, and they are taking to Facebook to express their frustrations, specifically when it comes to issues like delayed orders or shipping issues," said Maria Haggerty, president of Dotcom Distribution. "If these sites want to improve their social feedback, they need to start by selecting a fulfillment partner that has the scalability to handle the high volume of orders that come with flash sales."

While most of the customer complaints regarded the speed of delivery, others mentioned the condition of products. According to the report, Fab.com and Gilt.com ranked the best out of the top 11 flash sale sites, with 36 percent of negative comments relating to shipping. Conversely, BeyondtheRack.com, HautLook.com and Zulily.com all tied for last with almost two-thirds of negative comments mentioning shipping problems.

That being said, the report also notes that customers post positive comments on these companies' Facebook Pages as well, especially in regards to specific products and positive customer service experiences. According to the data, 30 percent of all positive comments are about products. Ideeli.com, for instance, ranked highest among the sites with 57 percent of positive comments relating to its products. One Ideeli customer even posted, "Got my new OTBT ShoShone shoes tonight - even my cat can't stop admiring them! They're so comfortable - I don't even want to take them off to go to bed!"

On the other hand, Facebook comments about customer service were mixed with both positive and negative reviews. One example from a Fab.com customer commended a customer service representative, saying, "I would like to recognize customer service agent, Nicholas. He helped me with a problem on December 6 and was a great spokesperson for Fab. Please give him a giant raise, or at least a giant cookie."

Other noteworthy findings from the Dotcom study show that out of all the comments analyzed, 44 percent were negative, 29 percent were positive and the remaining 27 percent were neutral. Moreover, OneKingsLane.com and Zulily.com were the only two sites that received more positive comments than negative overall, while RueLaLa.com had an equal amount of positive and negative comments (each at 38%), and the rest of the analyzed sites received mostly negative comments. However, one in five negative comments involved flash sellers' websites, and many complaints related to login issues. In fact, three percent of all conversations were about login issues or a preference to not login at all.

Check out the list of flash sale sites ranked by percentage of negative comments related to shipping, lowest to highest, below:

1. Fab.com (36%)

1. Gilt.com (36%)

3. RueLaLa.com (37%)

4. JackThreads.com (39%)

5. Ideeli.com (43%)

6. OneKingsLane.com (44%)

7. Plndr.com (53%)

8. Foundary.com (57%)

9. BeyondtheRack.com (61%)

9. HauteLook.com (61%)

9. Zulily.com (61%)