STEAMED at Light Impressions

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by TheFlyingCamera, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Back on June 4, I ordered a bunch of gallery pins (the little steel L-shaped pins used to mount variable thicknesses of glass/mat/backing to the wall) from Light Impressions. I have a show to put up on the wall by July 15, so I figured that I would have had more than enough time to get them. Well, I had not gotten any email, phonecall or merchandise from Light Impressions as of today, so I called to find out what's going on. The customer service rep I spoke to was very nice and polite, but he informed me they were still on backorder and would not be in for another four to six weeks. He told me that their website has no connection to their inventory. This is totally unacceptable in this day and age - even circa 1998 websites were starting to have direct connections to inventory levels, and even when they didn't, most retailers would email or call to let you know something was on backorder within 48 hours of receiving the order. This is now 2010, and that degree of customer service or lack thereof is totally unacceptable, especially when you are charging the premium prices that Light Impressions charges.
     
  2. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    I've been buying from Light Impressions for several years. I really like the quality of their products, but they have about the worst customer service that I have ever seen. They never tell you when something is backordered, and a lot of their products are. When you buy frames or mat board from them for upcoming shows, and you get no indication when you will be getting them, it kind of screws up your plans.

    Yes, when you call and talk with their customer service people, they are all very nice. But I don't get the feeling that Light Impressions has any control over delivery times from their suppliers.

    As much as I like their products, I've decided to give up on them and start looking for other suppliers.
     
  3. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Don't know the company but sounds a bit like they order from their suppliers only when the have got an order themselves, the classic stock on demand theory. Works fine as long as your own suppliers can supply within a short time span.

    Was always better when a company "held" stock rather than ordered as needed - but doesn't hold much sway with the accountants!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2010
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I wouldn't be nearly so pissed off if they would just tell you what's on backorder and provide an ETA, kinda like B&H. If you're not going to spend the money on holding inventory, at least spend a little on upgrading your website.
     
  5. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    That is very true - I can do little other than sympathise.

    It is a great shame when companies cannot see that the "new sleek" way of operating "on demand" requires suppliers to be on-board with the process and the customer service interface to be real-time, accurate and dependable.

    I agree that if you don't invest in the "customer experience" then one has to invest in holding stock. They seem to be cutting corners all round and of course the customer suffers - untill the customers go elsewhere then the company suffers.

    Shame to have people willing to spend money but make it difficult to be a return customer. *apologies, ranting over*
     
  6. spoolman

    spoolman Subscriber

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    If you haven't been dealing long with Light Impressions, you might try Conservation Resources in Maryland I believe.Just Google them.They might be a little more pricey than Light Impressions but they have much better customer service In my opinion.

    Doug :smile:
     
  7. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    Their website did used to be tied directly to inventory, but is no longer. And they did not use to charge you for your order until they shipped—but now they do upon placing your order, even if your items are on backorder.
     
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Another source to consider is University Products which is in MA, I know a few people who use them regularly.
    http://www.universityproducts.com/

    Though I bought some stuff from L.I. long ago, and was satisfied then, I've seen so many similar reports about their customer service, I don't have any intention of buying from them again.
     
  9. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I don't know if they have what you are looking for, but I get great prices and fast shipping on mount, mat, and foam core boards from www.dickblick.com.
     
  10. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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  11. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Thanks for the reminder. I have had an order with them for over 3 months now, I forgot about it. I had them cancel the order.

    Oh, the mighty have fallen. :sad:
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i've bought from them
    they are good ...

    i've never bought from LI,
    and chances are i never will ...
     
  13. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    why not just buy from somewhere else if you are not happy, moaning to us will not help you any.
     
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  15. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Scott.... try www.documounts.com They'll hook you up. They are fast, responsive and their website kicks @$$. They take custom orders on mat cutting, and frames, and have tons of supplies.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Shaggy-

    I AM ordering from someone else. The point was not to as you so nicely put it "moan", but rather to hopefully save someone else the agony and/or get the attention of someone at Light Impressions so they realize they're cutting off their nose to spite their face by skimping on the customer service to "save" a buck or two.
     
  17. I don't know if these guys have L-pins, but I've used them in a pinch when Light Impressions didn't have what I needed:

    http://www.archivalmethods.com/

    Good luck.
     
  18. Jan Pietrzak

    Jan Pietrzak Member

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    Scott,

    I did some looking around, Freestyle has them on their web site. Have them check stock and order. If you have any problems let me know.

    Jan Pietrzak
     
  19. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Well at least when Light Impressions decided to go downhill, they went all the way.

    Roger
     
  20. eddym

    eddym Member

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    For me, Light Impressions used to give decent service when they were in Rochester, NY. But since they moved to the West Coast, they've gotten pretty sloppy, not to mention the increased cost of shipping from there to Puerto Rico. I rarely order anything from them now.
     
  21. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    I can’t see how that model would possibly work unless you only sold to distributors and large retailers that had a large stock themselves and would order long enough in advance that you could fulfill their order before they ran out of stock. We have many customers that often need items in just a day or two.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  22. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    As an ecommerce business owner I can understand the website inventory problem. I have run into issues where the in house financial system is not compatible with the website. A more difficult problem is when you are manufacturing items since the website does not know much material will be required to make a product and it cant know how much you can make since that depends on what sizes you plan to make. In both cases there is simple work around. Enter high stock numbers in the site, and when you go out of stock just change the out of stock item to zero. Even the free ecommerce websites support that.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  23. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    It's amazing what word of mouth can do. I will never buy from Light Impressions based on what I've read here.
     
  24. Sim2

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    Perhaps that might have been my point - for some businesses the classic supply on demand model does not work for all businesses, despite what the accountants might believe.

    Sim2.
     
  25. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    I understand the original poster's frustration, and I don't discount the folks who've voiced similar issues with LI. But I'll add that I've bought from LI occasionally in the past and would consider them in the future, even after they moved away from me and the shipping times are longer, personally. I've gone from ordering by phone from their old location to online from the new one, never had a customer service issue. Just didn't want to see this thread be a total pile-on on LI (okay, their website can be a little of a tangle, but ordering custom-sized stuff is always a little more involved...)
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Bill-

    the issue was not a matter of ordering something custom - I'd be far more understanding of a delay in providing the item if it were custom. But this was a very simple communications issue revolving around what SHOULD be a stock item that they buy from a supplier. Regardless of the cause, it speaks to at best very poor inventory management on LI's part- if they know that the lead time to get replacement for a given item from the manufacturer is 6 weeks, then they need to manage their inventory so that they order again when they have a six week supply remaining. They also need to do sufficient inventory tracking such that when an order comes in for something that is in fact out of stock, they notify the customer within a reasonable period of time and offer the customer options on how to handle the shortfall. Because they have done none of the above, they've lost a good repeat customer.