Let me start by saying I have loved Smartpak forever and have been a loyal customer since they started. I have bought supplements through Smartpak for over ten years at least. I know there are varying opinions about Smartpak out there, however I have always had great luck with them and I really have had no complaints until now. Generally, I check Smartpak first when I am looking for a horse related item, mostly because I get free shipping with the standing supplement order (let's be real, paying for shipping is dumb if you can help it!) and because they ship from MA, I generally get orders within two days.
Well, it seems they have been having issues with their warehouse system for a while now. I never really noticed the problems on my end, because my Smartpak supplements always arrived faithfully every 28 days and general items I ordered were still showing up within a few days, too.
Then I had the big idea to switch Ellie over to Gro 'N Win ration balancer this fall, since she really doesn't need grain, but I still wanted to be sure she had the right balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Gro 'N Win is not available anywhere in New England, but when I saw Smartpak carried it, I figured heck yeah, might as well add it to my 28 day auto ship supplement order and have my horse's feed also delivered to my house every month. It seemed like a great idea and would save me time and effort.
The first month I started Gro 'N Win, my supplements arrived in October 29 and the Gro 'N Win came two days later on Halloween. Ok, not a huge deal. I didn't think much of it, but it did irk me slightly. And it was odd because the shipping/tracking info never worked at all for the ration balancer.
However, my second and latest supplement order arrived on November 23, but the Grow 'N Win arrived on December 4. That is 11 days later if you are keeping track, so not exactly on a 28 day cycle, but more like a 39 day cycle. And again, the shipping info never showed up at all so I had no idea when it would arrive. This made me grumpy. If I choose for something to arrive every 28 days, something important like my horse's feed, especially a feed I cannot get locally at all, eleven days late is unacceptable. I had ordered enough so I would not run out, but at eleven days behind schedule I was down to just two more feedings left in the bin. Would Ellie have been fine without her "grain"? Of course. But that is not the point. If I am expecting my feed to arrive every 28 days, it seems as though Smartpak cannot be trusted to do so. I was not impressed.
I hemmed and hawed about what to do. Then just the next day, I receive a nice little Christmas gift from Smartpak, thanking me for my years of being a customer and included is a $20 gift card. I admit, it made me hesitate a bit more on what to do about the Gro 'N Win, because I really do want to see Smartpak succeed and get their shipping issues ironed out. I didn't want to bail on them, but I wasn't happy with an auto ship order arriving 11 days late.
|I am a sucker for kindness and handwritten thank you notes|
I go to their site and see that if I sign up for their 28 day auto ship, the Gro 'N Win is only $18.99 a bag, compared to $19.81 a bag at Smartpak. Yep, it is only 82 cents, but still, it is cheaper! I realize I can also add in my barn cat's food and save yet another errand in my life.
I ordered it on Friday at 8:45 am and cancelled the Gro 'N Win with Smartpak immediately afterwards. I wrote a kind but honest reason why I cancelled the feed order. By 3:30 that afternoon, I had an email from Smartpak.
I hope that this email finds you well! I wanted to reach out to thank you for filling out our cancellation survey. We appreciate it. I completely understand your frustration and disappointment with us, because this isn’t representative of the customer service we pride ourselves on. Please know that we don't consider these delays to be acceptable in any way and we're sorry to have let you down this time. We are confident that these growing pains will be worth it because we assure you this improvement will help serve our customers even better and faster in the future.
I'm adding a credit into your account for $25. That credit will never expire, and it will automatically apply towards whatever you order with us next! We appreciate your patience and hope you'll give us another chance with your ration balancer in the future.
Saturday rolls around and look what shows up on a FedEx truck.
Yup, my Gro 'N Win that I ordered from Chewy. It arrived in just under 29 hours from when I ordered it on Friday, shipping for free all the way from Pennsylvania to Maine. I just chose their regular shipping option and it said it was estimated to be here by this coming Tuesday. But it arrived the NEXT DAY.
Sorry, Smartpak, but you just can't compete with that. You used to be able to, but I understand things change. If the "free shipping" option is now going to take a week and a half and 28 day auto ship on items other than supplements is not going to actually ship every 28 days, count me out. I will keep my supplements with Smartpak at this point, but Chewy has my feed order from now on.
The problem is once you start something like super fast and free shipping and I have come to expect that, but then it changes to super slow shipping, it isn't a good thing. Smartpak can give me free money every week lol, but it is not going to change the fact that Chewy beat them out in this instance. And now I will be aware that if I need an item in a hurry, I either will have to pay for fast shipping with Smartpak, or I will buy it elsewhere.
For example, on December 6, I went to use the $20 gift card from the handwritten note for Christmas treats for the horses from Santa and saw that the "free shipping" option said my items would arrive around December 18. If I actually paid for second day shipping, the items would be here on December 10. Fair enough. It seems Smartpak is still able to ship almost as fast as they used to if you pay $$$.
I don't begrudge Smartpak for wanting to "upgrade" their warehouse or even if this is actually a ploy to make money on fast shipping, but it is an example of a business changing something I have come to expect and it is not going to go well for them in the long run. It is a bummer all around, for sure.