Tyler here from The157store Fareham. Hope you're all well!
You may have seen that we have re-launched our online business after previously having to halt it. We had to halt it because our usual processes would have broken social distancing rules. We always view the safety of us and our customers as the priority.
We spent weeks finalising a partnership with UPS who will now handle all our orders and make sure you receive them quickly and safely no matter where in the world you are. I'd like to thank Vittoria C. from the UPS Portsmouth department for her help in making this happen.
We feel like we have a duty to confirm our new processes to you, in order to give you full confidence that we are conducting business in a safe way.
Why did you re-launch?
As a small business, the lockdown immediately stopped 100% of our income. For four weeks, our business did not take a single penny during what is historically a busy Easter period. However, we still have overheads like rent, stock bills and wages. Being a business that only employs 3 people, we believe that launching online orders again will help us survive the struggles that every small shop is facing.
We are now totally confident we can do this in a safe, ethical, and morally sound way.
We are very lucky to have very supportive customers all year round, and we are counting on you once more to help keep our shared dream of oldskool shopping service alive.
How are you meeting social distancing rules?
Tyler is working from home maintaining the website, handling your orders, manning the customer support channels, managing the stock system and running the social media. Andy (who lives closest to the shop of the two of us) will be making daily trips to the shop (by car) to pack orders whilst wearing relevant hygiene equipment.
Our packaged orders are then picked up directly from the store by our delivery parter and dispatched to you using their incredible delivery network that has been carefully re-worked to abide by social distancing rules.
How is Tyler managing online stock if he is working from home?
Andy is conducting daily stock takes and checking everything is accurate. He then emails these stock details to Tyler, who can update the site from home using cloud based computing systems that we have newly implemented for our re-launch. (This is part of the reason why our re-launch took slightly longer than expected).
Why can't we come to the store to collect orders?
In line with the governments advice, each person is allowed one daily exercise or a journey to get vital supplies like food or medicine. We would feel guilty of encouraging people to make non-essential trips to collect orders from our store.
But I'm making a trip to the supermarket which is right by your store?
See point above. We have no way to verify that your journey actually classes as essential. And in any case, we would not feel comfortable allowing the general public to collect from the store as this puts Andy at risk. He has to return home to his wife and children. The risk of spread is not worth it. You can order for fast and safe UK delivery within 1-5 days.
What are your delivery times like?
Our new delivery parter is UPS, and at time of writing (21st April), they are delivering as normal and meeting their regular delivery time frames. That means we can still offer you fast UK delivery of 1-5 days. This is far more likely to be closer to 1 days than 5 days, but orders won't be classed as late until the sixth working day has passed. You can keep up to date with UPS exact operations on their website. If our delivery time frames change, we will let you know via social media, our website, and by email if you have an order outstanding which will be affected.
International orders (outside of UK) will be dispatched as normal and delivered within our 7-14 working day time frame as normal. This may be quicker in EU countries as UPS offer express EU services. You'll be updated at every step of your order.
I want to return something. How do I do this?
We would like to discourage you from returning items during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you're unsure of sizing, please contact us BEFORE ordering, Tyler and Andy will be on hand all day-time every day to give you any info you need such as measurements and material components so you can make sure you order the correct size/style.
We are discouraging returns because of COVID-19 infection risks involved. However, legally we still have to offer returns if the orders are not fit for the purpose or faulty.
As a small business we cannot facilitate returns collections directly from your home. And we cannot encourage you to go to your local post office to send items back to us. So, we will be allowing customers to hold on to their orders placed during lockdown and return them to us for store credit when the lockdown in the UK is lifted.
The customer always pays returns postage. This will be between £2-£5 at your local post office once the lockdown is lifted.
We would like to make it abundantly clear that we will only accept returns that meet the following criteria:
- Unworn (show zero signs of wear)
- Returned in re-sellable condition (imagine you were buying it brand new)
- ALL original packaging and tags IN ORIGINAL PLACES.
- Have been pre-authorised by The157store (contact email on website)
Upon receiving returned goods, we will be steam cleaning them by hand - much like we do with every garment that we display in-store. This helps to kill bacteria on the garment without spoiling its status as 'brand new'. It also helps to remove creases that occur during postage / transit.
As a small business trying it's best to cope with the turmoil of COVID-19, we would like to urge you to consider re-selling privately, or opting for store exchanges and store credit vouchers before asking for a refund. We hope you understand our reasoning behind this. This does not affect your statutory rights.
Hopefully this article will answer all of your questions about our re-launch. As a small business, we are always here to listen to your opinions and we value your feedback. Feel free to reach out to us on social media!
Wishing you all the very best in these deeply unsettling times.
Andy & Tyler at 157 x