Flash sale sites are reaching the end of their growth trajectory, and might start consolidating soon.
Many analysts have blamed the problem on an inability to get designer labels.
But a recent study shows that various customer service issues could be responsible for the decline of sites like Fab, HauteLook, ideeli, and RueLaLa.
About 44% of social network commentary related to flash sale sites is negative, according to the study by Dotcom Distribution.
Consumers’ biggest complaints are related to shipping, log-in, marketing, and customer service.
According to the survey, BeyondTheRack, HauteLook, and ZooLily had the worst consumer feedback for shipping issues.
Fab’s site forces users to log in, which infuriated many customers.
Customers also expressed frustrations with “misleading” email marketing, according to the study.
One woman wrote that she was frustrated with TheFoundary.com because it sent out an email advertising free shipping when in reality the promotion only applied to purchases greater than $75.
These problems hurt the sites two-fold, according to the study: Customer service complaints on Facebook and other social media sites drive away both existing customers and potential new ones.
Flash sale sites can solve their social problem by responding to customer complaints regularly, and advertising promotions accurately, according to Dotcom Distribution.
The sites represent a $2 billion business, according to Reuters.
But to keep customers and attract new ones, flash sale sites are going to have to focus on the customer experience.
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