Lane Bryant Catalog Online; if you need Customer Service, please CALL!
Jan 29, 2003 (Updated Jan 6, 2005)
www.lbcatalog.com or www.lanebryantcatalog.com (for those who like to type!)
Just fyi, and I just learned this today (thanks Connie!), Lane Bryant Catalog is not affiliated with Lane Bryant retail stores. If you want the website affiliated with Lane Bryant the brick and mortar store, please visit www.lanebryant.com
AN INTRO, SOMEWHAT UNRELATED VENT, ETC.
It is time to shop again, and once again I am wondering what size I will be this time. Finding myself between being a miss (sizes to/around 14, depending on what store you ask) and a woman (size from/around 12, depending on what store you ask) can sure be frustrating, especially when you are a 12 in one store, a 14 in another, a 16 in another and an 18 in another. Doesn't make much sense to me, but I am coping. ANYWAY, on to the store!
I discovered the Lane Bryant Catalog store when trying to see if Lane Bryant had an online store. At first I detested the site. Navigating was a nightmare, but it seems that they have improved that quite a bit. I still am not a fan of the layout; I find it far too overwhelming, but I'm getting past that. What really won me over was the fast delivery, great communication and the clothes (which used to be the case, but unfortunately, delivery is now slow and communication is hit or miss, with phone communication being better than their e-mail customer service). Also, the prices are in my range, and a lot less than Silhouettes and other companies out there.
As with Silhouettes, I found that once I found my size here, I can order just about anything off of the site and it looks great.
I am still not completely sold on this website and I tend to like their casual clothing a lot more than their fancier choices. I still purchase my dressier clothing from Silhouettes online store, Catherines or the Lane Bryant brick & mortar store.
Again, the casual wear is great. As a general rule, because I am sure the exception is out there somewhere, the clothes are comfortable. Let me put it this way, I have yet to find something I don't like, and I have purchased quite a lot of items here. Some of my favorites have been the shorts, capris and pants. Pants can be a pain for me to purchase, and I had no problems with the ones I got here.
WHAT THEY SELL, THE CATEGORIES/DEPARTMENTS, ETC.
Lane Bryant Catalog sells women's clothing starting with size 14W. They also sell footwear, but truthfully, I can't tell you much about their footwear from experience.
When you first get on the site, you will see Departments on your left. The departments are: Knit Tops & Tees, Sweaters, Shirts & Blouses, Bottoms (where I spend most of my time), Jackets & Blazers, Outerwear, Dresses, Suits, Special Occasion, Sets, Swimwear (I've been here a bit too!), Robes & Sleepwear, Intimate Apparel, Shoes, Accessories, Petites, Talls, Uniforms and Woman Within. Once you pick a department, you are brought to a page with a further breakdown of categories (for example, under my favorite bottoms category, you can then choose between pants, skirts, capris & shorts or denim). This made it very easy to find what I needed. After you pick where you want to go, you are brought to a page with small pics of the items, a short description and the price. Once at the item you want, just click on the picture, and the site will take you to a page devoted to just that item. On that page, there will be a larger picture of the item, the price, sizes, color choices, etc. They even have a size charts link that will help you to find the appropriate size for you. As always, I found this helpful, especially since each store's sizes are so different. Once done, just add that item to your shopping basket, and you are on your way. If you want to email a page to a friend, just click the e-mail icon on the bottom right of the page. This is a WONDERFUL feature!
Once you add your item to your basket, and adding the item was successful, you will see that the number in the box in the upper right hand corner of your screen will show you that you have 1 item (or however many you choose) in your basket. You can also view your basket at any time. Once you are done adding items to your bag, you can checkout by hitting the checkout button on the basket in the upper right hand corner of your screen (by the view link). This will bring you to the checkout screen. From there it is very easy, just fill in the necessary information on the page, etc., click on purchase and you are ready to go.
My biggest beef with the online process is that often I will try to add an item to my basket, and I won't be able to. There is no reason why, it just says that I can't add that item to my basket at this time (or something along those lines). That is really frustrating, because it has happened quite a lot. On the positive, when I can order what I want, the process is really easy.
Purchasing is pretty standard. They ask for the usual information, your credit card, shipping address, billing address, gift certificate numbers, etc. They send you an email letting you know when your order was shipped and when you can expect to receive your items. (GREAT feature again!) They also give you a link so you can check the status of your order. At the bottom of the e-mail they give you customer service information so you can easily contact someone if need be.
I think they are reasonable. I just bought shorts for approximately $11.00. They have dressier pants that run around $30. Both seem to be fine prices to me. Also, right now certain items have 15% off. At times they even offer free shipping. You can also find some great discount items if you hit the site at the right time.
Well, this is my biggest issue with them. Customer service does respond quickly via e-mail, BUT I wouldn't say they are always very helpful. Simple requests are easy for them to handle via e-mail, but if you ask for anything remotely complicated, forget about it. I have been going back and forth with them over one issue at least 10 times, and they keep screwing it up and making matters worse. I even had two responses to a VERY detailed e-mail that was a generic, "Thank you for your e-mail. We are unable to provide you with a store location as you have reached Lanebryantcatalog.com, which is not affiliated with Lane Bryant Retail stores." It is obvious to me that no one keeps notes on prior e-mails received, so they don't have any clue. I have to tell you, after this last incident, I was/am seriously considering not using them anymore even though I love the clothes and the prices. THAT is how frustrated I am with their customer service. Lucky for them I just had a wonderful experience on the phone with an extremely helpful customer service representative who was extremely helpful, very friendly and just exactly what I needed, because let me tell you, I was ready to rip them to shreds, and I was actually laughing when I hung up the phone.
When shipping your order, you can choose regular/standard or express. I always choose standard, and receive my items in a timely manner. For example, one of my orders was placed on 1/14/03 in the evening, shipped on 1/16/03 and it arrived at my door on 1/23/03 (only 6 days!) The cost of shipping is based on your merchandise total and is:
If your merchandise total is: Charge added to your order:
Up TO $19.00 5.99
$19.01 - $39.00 6.99
$39.01 - $59.00 7.99
$59.01 - $79.00 9.99
$79.01 - $99.00 11.99
$99.01 - $119.00 13.99
$119.01 - $139.00 14.99
OVER $139.00 16.99
The delivery cost is a little steep for just one item, but if you save up and order more than one, it is worth it. If you choose standard delivery, you should receive your items within 6-10 business days. Express delivery packages should arrive within 3-4 business days, but this is only if you submit your order by 3:00pm EST on Monday - Thursday. If you place your order between Friday and Sunday, your order is not shipped until Tuesday. The number to call if it has taken longer than the scheduled time is (800) 677-0216. Express delivery will also cost you an additional $7.99 per shipment. For items shipped outside the continental US, the timetable may be slightly different.
As you can guess, I have now had a problem with returning an order. I ordered a great sweater, but it had a hole in it. The returning process was easy. Just fill out the paper, slap it on the package and return it. They deduct the shipping from the cost of the item you return and refund you the difference. Unless, you complain about a product being defective. Honestly, I think my problem was with using customer service via e-mail. If I had used the phone instead, I don't think my return would have been an issue at all.
There is a VAST amount of information on the homepage. Among the many links, you can find links to some other companies that fall under the Brylane umbrella. Some of these are: Jessica London, Brylane Home, Roaman's, Chadwick's, etc. You can also order gift certificates, change your personal info. (if you start an account; you don't need one to browse though!), apply for a credit card, etc. etc. etc.
Lane Bryant Catalog has great items that work for me. The sizes fit me very well, so despite the occasional website problems I have had, and the somewhat distracting busy website, I felt that it was worth purchasing from Lane Bryant Catalog. The prices are right, they have a fair amount of choices. Now with all the customer service problems and the long wait for delivery, I'm a little more wary, but truthfully, I will give them one more chance, but know now NOT to use the e-mail customer service for anything remotely complicated.
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