Boot Vendor Communicators: The Good and the Bad

These days when so many orders for new boots are placed via on-line ordering systems, it is expected that vendors will send an email to acknowledge placement of the order, provide order details, and information on when to expect delivery. That is common.

What is woefully inconsistent is how vendors communicate with purchasers after-the-sale, especially to confirm delivery.

There are some excellent vendors who communicate very well, and some really bad ones with whom I have experience. Learn more…

What most people expect when purchasing products — in my case, new boots — on-line is:

1. To advise when your credit card will be charged for the sale.

2. To explain whether your purchase is subject to collection of sales tax for your state

3. To explain and detail shipping costs (and provide options based on speed of delivery)

==> both #2 and #3 are important information to have before placing an order because these amounts added to the purchase price result in the apples-to-apples number to compare when doing price comparison shopping across the ‘net.

4. To have any discounts, coupon codes, promo codes, etc., be available and actually work (some don’t!)

5. To ensure that the on-line system is up-to-date with inventory in real-time. So if you want a pair of boots in a certain size, you can tell on the website whether the boots are in stock or not, and if not in stock, how long it may take to fulfill backorders (or even if a backorder is accepted.)

6. Have realistic sales and realistic discounts with promo/coupon codes providing discounts from the same base MSRP or list price.

7. To communicate when boots are shipped and

8. To provide tracking information on shipments.

So here’s the run-down of some of my experiences with random vendors of new boots. This is not a comprehensive list.

A. [Rating: 6/8] — great place for (mostly) work boots. Offers frequent %-discount sales. Coupon codes work. They charge your card only when the product is shipped. They send email (sometimes) that “boots are shipped” but provide no tracking information. Their on-line system is *not* up-to-date with inventory, because they often place “drop-ship” orders with vendors. I have had one order with them on backorder since July, 2016. I receive weekly email saying the boots are still on order and has provided revised shipping dates that keep slipping. Not Working Person Store’s problem, but the vendor’s (Chippewa Boots… really really bad about producing adequate inventory of popular boots!)

B. [Rating: 7/8 w/penalty to 4/8] — huge inventory of all sorts of boots. Their website is up-to-date with availability of products. They don’t charge your card until your boots are shipped. They provide good communications with tracking information when boots are shipped. The only thing that drives me NUTS about Sheplers is that they continually adjust their list price to reflect the current fake discount-of-the-day. They always have the same target sales price and employ funny math in an ongoing obfuscating manner that baffles savvy consumers, and takes advantage of consumer gullibility. I rate them 7/8 on my scale, but because of their goofy math and almost daily breathless “sale-sale-sale” emails, I penalize them three more points, making the final rating 4/8.

C. [Rating 0/8] — Sometimes offers good sales on Lucchese Boots, usually around U.S. Thanksgiving at the end of November. I regret, however, this company does most everything wrong: they charge you immediately when you place an order, even if a product is not in inventory and has to be drop-shipped by Lucchese. They provide no tracking information or any post-sale communication except an order acknowledgment. This company does process orders and you do get your boots… eventually. However, I had a problem recently and it took a while to resolve: I ordered a pair of Lucchese boots and the website said the order would take “about 4-6 weeks.” At week 10 of no boots and no communication, I contacted the vendor and only then was told, “Lucchese discontinued these boots; I’ll find a substitute.” I replied to say that I did not want a substitute and instead wanted a refund. I was promised a refund in “2-4 business days.” 10 days later upon a second reminder, the refund was provided. I regret, but this company has poor communication with customers. I do not intend to buy boots from them again.

D. [Rating 6/8] (Big Black Boots) — the owners of this small San Diego-based company are reliable, honest, and communicate well. They advise when orders are placed for drop-shipment, and give tracking information. They charge your card upon order placement, which may not coincide with shipping. But they are a very small operation and can’t extend credit. I get it. I am more forgiving of these guys for that situation because I know that they are very reliable and I have been a customer for some 20+ years. I have always received what I ordered on time and I have never had a problem with an order.

E. [Rating 5/8] Country Outfitters — another huge on-line retail operation that provides almost daily on-line discounts and promotions for boots. Their pricing is competitive, but not always the best price, so shop around. This company is owned and operated by Acumen Brands — a conglomerate much like Justin Brands. I am wary of these entrepreneurial companies. Just give me the willies about making profit (and yuppie values, which I eschew.) This company does provide excellent post-sale communication on shipments and tracking information. But their pricing is variable, inconsistent, and very hard to comparison shop.

F. [Rating 7/8] — this is a new brand of boots to me, brought to light by someone who sent me an email. I will write a blog post about them soon. This company earned this high retailer rating (my opinion) because their website is accurate and up-to-date with inventory, their pricing is realistic for mass-produced boots from Leon, Mexico. They don’t hide where the boots are made — in fact, they are proud of it. The on-line purchase was simple, and post-sale communications was superb — even to the point of not only receiving tracking information, but several emails where they interpreted the tracking info and said, “boots are on the way,” “boots to be delivered today,” and (best yet), “your new Tecovas have been delivered!”

Life is short: Good customer communications is good customer relations!

5 thoughts on “Boot Vendor Communicators: The Good and the Bad

  1. I agree about Shepler’s. Love the selection, but HATE the 50% off today ONLY “sale” that goes on for WEEKS!

    • Yes I have used when I bought a pair of White’s Nomad engineer boots. I remember that I was charged for my boots on the date of sale, rather than on the date of shipping which was about four weeks later so that’s a -1. I also looked at my email history, and found no tracking information provided to me, either — minus 1 again. Otherwise, the company is reputable and you get what you buy.

      I have heard that they are also good about returns, though I have not had to return my Nomads to them.

      I don’t wear those White’s Nomad boots much because they’re so darn heavy, which is not Baker Shoe’s fault — it is my own. I don’t like to feel like I am walking in Frankenstein’s feet. It’s exhausting.

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