Lately I've been really advocating independent businesses, and I'll continue to do just that. I fully support indies and I think their importance, especially on the local level, is completely underestimated. That said, there are some drawbacks about ordering from indie companies that I'm learning, and I'm sure you have some to share, too.
For starters, a lot of companies have terrible websites without the information you need, from the product ingredients, warnings or instructions to decent photos of the products. A coffee company that I just ordered from had so little information that it was difficult to read the coffee flavors in the photos, and they weren't listed on the website. I thought they'd at least send me information, but not only did they not do that, leaving me with absolutely no idea with how to make the cappucino mix I received or what was in it, but they also didn't include ANY information, including a receipt! I've never received a box of things in it like this. It felt like a random shipment from Amazon, especially after so many other indies that I order from take such care in what they do. To add insult to injury, it took over a month to get here due to some label issue (that you had to join a Facebook group to learn about; there was no email communication about the delay at all) and it didn't taste like it was supposed to, either. I am not naming names because it could be a fluke and I'm not into giving small businesses bad reviews... but I won't order again, either.
Many small businesses don't communicate well, either. Too many expect you to join their Facebook group, follow them on Instagram, or engage in social media otherwise to keep up with them. When I inquired about something I'd read wrongly in an email newsletter to a local business owner she sent me PARAGRAPHS berating me for not following her on social media and how her email list was "just a courtesy," among other things! Wow. I've never gone to business school, but I've worked in customer service and I know you don't treat potential customers like that. I'd been so excited to try her little shop and now I'll never go there.
Do you have any bad experiences with indie companies? How about tips in how to spot which ones will deliver a quality product and customer service? Share your stories, advice and business recommendations in the chat.