Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Have Computer System Delays Recently Spiked Up?

An Apology from Hanna Andersson
In your experience, have computer system hiccups in ecommerce fulfillment recently spiked up?  Several readers have reported significant delays and lost orders across multiple vendors, and including shipping services, even significant phone wait times.

One reader, for example, received this note:
Please accept my sincere apologies for letting you down with your recent order. 
We recently upgraded our order processing and fulfillment systems. While we anticipated temporary service impacts, delays have been longer than expected. It may not feel like it today, but these upgrades will allow us to serve you better in the future (I promise!). 
I recognize how critically important it is to get your products to you in a timely manner, and I assure you we are working around the clock to get back to the high standard of service and shipping speed you expect from us. We will get there, and I appreciate your patience with us through this transition. 
As a token of our thanks, we would like to offer you a 20% discount on a future order. To be sure we’ve worked out the kinks in our new systems, we’ll send the offer on July 6 along with the details. 
All of us at L.L.Bean truly value you as a customer, and we look forward to serving you better. 
Stephen M. Smith
President and CEO
These delays have significantly predated the recent ransomware outbreak, and seem more widespread than any single AWS outage.  A few readers have asked, are others  experiencing any significant anomalies?


  1. Thank you, Muffy, for posting the note I received and opening this discussion. While I appreciated acknowledgement from Mr. Smith, I found the 20% off in July offer rather surprising and lacking. I received the email on 4/21. In a fast moving ecommerce world, three months seems like a long time to get it right. I also expected a more immediate incentive to shop again, or was he doubtful that my experience before then would be so bad that I shouldn’t place any orders? Meanwhile they are having a 20% off coupon promotion open to everyone. I just checked the turn-around time for an item in my wish list and see that if I ordered it today I would receive it by June 7th. (I live twenty minutes from the flagship store in Freeport but usually the things I want are not in stock at that store...another issue!) As a comparison, I placed an order with Marks & Spencer in the UK last Wednesday afternoon. It's currently out for delivery!

  2. I got the sorry letter too. I ordered a waterproof phone case to take underwater photos on our recent vacation well in advance, but with their "upgrade" it wasn't going to arrive in time. However, L.L. Bean made it happen with old school customer service.

    I'm going to use my 20% off for a paddleboard....they'll probably wish they just sent the damn phone case.

  3. Yes, me too. Am still waiting for an item to be shipped that was ordered early last week. There have been other, unusual delays. They are apologetic and hopefully working this out.

  4. I had to cancel an order from L.L. Bean that would not have arrived by the time I would have needed it, even with paying for the express shipping.

    The strange thing was that I did not get a response to my emails to customer service (I saw 'strange' as usually L.L. Bean has excellent customer service) and I only got replies/action taken when I contacted them over Facebook.

    Often I really have the feeling that computer and IT things that were supposed to make things faster and better only add complications and are not an improvement.


  5. Having worked through multiple 'upgrades' with my previous employer, I cut LLBean a LOT of slack. Not one of our upgrades worked as promised, all involved some post installation jury-rigging, and all added hours to my regular 55+ hour week. We lost clients and revenue, heads rolled, and our brand suffered in our industry. You think it's bad when a shirt can't be shipped on time? Take a guess at the reaction from your valued accounts when insurance claims aren't processed . . .

  6. I've had no problems with my online orders. L L Bean is going through lots of change. Hopefully, things will return to their high standard soon. Susan

  7. I've received the same apology and thought it was odd that they were offering me a discount in July when the delivery problem happened in April. Also, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how they are related, the customer service people tell me that b/c of their recent upgrades to the online ordering and monitoring, that certain of the former monogramming styles previously offered are no longer being offered at this time. How that makes any logical sense is beyond me.

  8. I live in rural Minnesota so most, if not all, of my shopping outside of groceries is done online. The LL Bean hiccup from last month is really the only problem I've had recently and since then even Bean has been excellent in dispatching orders I've made promptly. Whether it's Brooks Brothers, Murray's Toggery, Vineyard Vines, J. Press, all of whom I have ordered from within the last four months, I have had not problems with the order processing or the shipping being on schedule and prompt. As I said this is kind of important to me due to where I live and my ability, or rather inability, to have access to the businesses I prefer to patronize.

  9. Yes I have. North River outfitters received my money on April 20th and acknowledged my order. Since then they have sent me emails asking me to finish my order by paying for it. There is no longer a way to speak to a real live human on the phone. At this point, I have written off the money and do not expect to receive any merchandise.

  10. I ordered some shirts from LL Bean and, when reviewing the e-mail confirming my order, noticed that I'd ordered one of them in the wrong size. When I called and spoke to a customer service representative, she mentioned that they are upgrading their computer system.

  11. Having been in the IT field for the past 27 years and witnessing the winds of change, all of this resonates with me. Companies looking to save a buck are using third-rate off shoring for everything from application development to customer service. It's extremely frustrating. --Holly in PA

  12. Delayed orders continue to frustrate L.L. Bean customers


  13. Customer service tells me they're still having issues. My last order was placed two weeks ago for a supposedly in-stock item. They still haven't "processed" the order. Inexcusable, really.

  14. A follow up, I received this email yesterday. I appreciate that they raised the promotion to 30% off:

    Dear Friend and Valued Customer,

    I am so sorry for the order delays and confusion you may have experienced earlier this year, and I can only imagine how frustrated you must have been. Please know that I am grateful for your patience as we work through the most significant upgrade to our systems in our company’s history.

    Two months ago, you received a message from Steve Smith, our President and CEO, offering you 20% off an order in the future. As a token of our gratitude for your patience, we are increasing that offer to 30% for you to use on a future purchase, anytime through September 2017, for anything – from a kayak or a tent to a pair of our small batch L.L.Bean Boots, whatever you want.

    We are working diligently to make sure all our systems are back in order. However, there is still work to be done, which means there remains a small possibility you may still be impacted by delays or lengthier shipping times on future orders this summer.

    Again, please accept my most sincere apologies and know we are committed to being a place you can trust to treat you fairly, with kindness, warmth and respect.

    I hope that you’ll use this offer for something you’ll love, and that you’ll find plenty of time to spend outdoors with friends and family in the months ahead.

    Wishing you a wonderful summer,

    Raina Maxwell
    VP Customer Satisfaction

  15. I placed an order with L.L. Bean a couple of hours ago and we'll see what happens. One item was probably in stock at the local store but the other item isn't available in stores generally, so I ordered on-line and I just remembered this thread.

    1. I placed an order on Saturday and it's arriving tomorrow per tracking. Marked improvement.

    2. According to the order tracking information, my order is out for delivery at 5:23 this morning, the order having been placed at 9:12 AM Monday. Not bad; could be better.

      I've never ceased being amazed at order tracking.

      One of the items I ordered was a pair of "classic fit," plain-front chino pants. I have two other pair, one old, the other really old. They do show wear at the hem but that's a sign that I really wear them a lot. L.L. Bean used to carry poplin summer-weight pants that wore very well and kept a press very well. They were probably polyester-cotton and may have lasted too long to be something they'd want everyone to buy. I don't think anyone makes anything like that now.

    3. I now buy multiples of something I like with the assumption that it will be discontinued. Right now I'm stockpiling L.L.Bean's 100% cotton cable knit sweaters in different styles and colors.

  16. I used my 30% off to buy a paddleboard. It has to be delivered via freight, so I won't be able to tell if the shipping is good or bad.