Clothing rental service Rent the Runway is experiencing serious operational problems, causing delays in orders and hundreds of customer complaints. As a result, the company said it will not accept new event rental requests with delivery dates prior to October 15. It is also not taking any new subscribers until its supply chain issues are fixed. The company hopes that, by putting a hold on new business, it can retain existing customers and subscribers by addressing their issues first.
In an update on its website, the company explained that the delays started September 13 due to unforeseen issues with significant changes to its fulfillment operation in New Jersey. The Rent the Runway team is hard at work on a fix which it hopes to put in place by or before the middle of October. In the meantime, they offered the following explanation to subscribers:
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- Rent the Runway is working nonstop to fulfill orders, but they can expect one to two days of additional delays. Customers can still place orders, but they will not be delivered on time.
- The company will proactively reach out to those most affected by the delays to offer an appropriate solution.
- On event orders theyve missed, they will issue a full refund and $200. Details will be provided later.
- Rent the Runway has reached out to customers who have orders that were supposed to arrive between September 27 and October 6.
- Orders scheduled to be delivered on October 7 or after will be delivered on time.
- Everyone with a canceled order will receive a full refund and $200. Details will be provided later.
The company shared these steps in a tweet on September 26.
Despite the too late apology and explanation, customers shared their frustrations on Twitter too. Some received no notification of the problems and had to buy dresses elsewhere the day of their events. Here is a small sampling.
Business of Fashion reports that Marv Cunningham, the head of supply chain at Rent the Runway, is stepping down. He joined the company a year ago after stints at Target and Amazon. Business of Fashion also reports that the timing couldnt have been worse, with the supply chain failures overlapping the Emmy Awards.
Great ideas for subscription services are golden, but only when they are well executed. Rent the Runway was known for its unique offerings, but it has fallen short in the execution of its subscription service. The company has apologized and tried to explain it, but this may not be enough to bring back long-time customers or new subscribers who were let down, especially since the company knew about the problems but did not notify its customers in time that they would not receive their orders in time for their events – weddings, awards dinners and other high profile events. Ugh. I wouldn’t be very forgiving. They have a lot of work to do to regain their reputation.