Shopping Discussion

Indigo going down the drain?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 29th, 2022 8:00 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
May 14, 2006
8 posts
12 upvotes
Ferland-et-Boilleau

Indigo going down the drain?

Hi,

First, there are no Indigo store in my area, so I'm only speaking for the online store. Years ago, I decided to buy my books exclusively from Canadian companies(I buy ALOT of books, and I admit I was filling amazon pockets.) So, I've been ordering online at indigo for years now, shifting all my books purchase from amazon to Indigo for english books, and local libraries for french books, all to keep the money in Canada when possible.

It was all good, but about just before the pandemic, I started noticing a steep decline in service and promos at Indigo, and it only got worse since.
- No more manga sales
- No more "top-off" points for plum(maybe I'm just unlucky, but it's been years since I got one)
- Alot less Plum points bonus promotions, or false promos(a meager 500 points for full price pre-order when you know the book will get a 40% discount when released...)
- Alot, and I mean alot, of shipping errors(wrong book sent)
- Horrible shipping delays on multiples orders(ex: shipping label created on a monday, but shipped 4 to 6 days later when the book is listed as in stock...)
- They removed themself from cashback programs like Greatcanadianrebates and Rakuten.
- The last 2 Plum Plus renewal, I had to call to get my bonus points. They simply never appeared until I called.
- It's been more and more dificult to talk to someone for Customer Service. They axed the email support, replaced it with a chat bot with eventually a human answering(chatting) , but lately the chat bot never pass the puck to a human anymore and creates a "ticket" instead, ticket that stays unanswered f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Not kidding, they never get back to me anymore through that system.
- Calling is the only option that seem to work, but even then, the waiting time is a killer, and most of the time the CS rep is totally clueless how to help. Latest example, orders passed on Dec 15th had no plum plus discount(10%) applied. When I finally reached them today(lost 2 hours waiting for the line)They had no idea why, and they had no idea how to give me the due credit!! They said they could only give me points to compensate, which is not acceptable at all in my mind. So I asked for a refund.
- Their website never evolves and is now severly lagging in functionnalities. You can't even search in your order history, that's a simple database request to code!!! Shops using Shopify have more functionalities....

This has all the signs of a ailing company, struggling to stay afloat. Less promos, cuts in the fidelity rewards, lots of errors, failing systems that goes unoticed(or so they say) until we complain, no more development(website), untrained CS staff, bad CS period... :(

So, I'm left wondering if Indigo will be there in 24 months... Toughts?
Last edited by kinwolf on Dec 20th, 2022 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
28 replies
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
13436 posts
8810 upvotes
Markham
kinwolf wrote: Hi,

First, there are no Indigo store in my area, so I'm only speaking for the online store. Years ago, I decided to buy my books exclusively from Canadian companies(I buy ALOT of books, and I admit I was filling amazon pockets.) So, I've been ordering online at indigo for years now, shifting all my books purchase from amazon to Indigo for english books, and local libraries for french books, all to keep the money in Canada when possible.

It was all good, but about just before the pandemic, I started noticing a steep decline in service and promos at Indigo, and it only got worse since.
- No more manga sales
- No more "top-off" points for plum(maybe I'm just unlucky, but it's been years since I got one)
- Alot less Plum points bonus promotions, or false promos(a meager 500 points for full price pre-order when you know the book will get a 40% discount when released...)
- Alot, and I mean alot, of shipping errors(wrong book sent)
- Horrible shipping delays on multiples orders(ex: shipping label created on a monday, but shipped 4 to 6 days later when the book is listed as in stock...)
- They removed themself from cashback programs like Greatcanadianrebates and Rakuten.
- The last 2 Plum Plus renewal, I had to call to get my bonus points. They simply never appeared until I called.
- It's been more and more dificult to talk to someone for Customer Service. They axed the email support, replaced it with a chat bot with eventually a human answering(chatting) , but lately the chat bot never pass the puck to a human anymore and creates a "ticket" instead, ticket that stays unanswered f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Not kidding, they never get back to me anymore through that system.
- Calling is the only option that seem to work, but even then, the waiting time is a killer, and most of the time the CS rep is totally clueless how to help. Latest example, orders passed on Dec 15th had no plum plus discount(10%) applied. When I finally reached them today(lost 2 hours waiting for the line)They had no idea why, and they had no idea how to give me the due credit!! They said they could only give me points to compensate, which is not acceptable at all in my mind. So I asked for a refund.
- Their website never evolves and is now severly lagging in functionnalities. You can't even search in your order history, that's a simple database request to code!!! Shops using Spotify have more functionalities....

This has all the signs of a ailing company, struggling to stay afloat. Less promos, cuts in the fidelity rewards, lots of errors, failing systems that goes unoticed(or so they say) until we complain, no more development(website), untrained CS staff, bad CS period... :(

So, I'm left wondering if Indigo will be there in 24 months... Toughts?
I would say most of what you said (less promotion, worse customer service, long waiting time...) happens for most companies. Try to call banks and see waiting times

Renewal bonus, I never had issues. I am plum plus member

Shipping delays, I never had issues as well, but I guess it depends on your location

Online web, yes, I agree they should improve. Their recent ios app update is messy, you can read app store reviews. I gave 2 stars

The biggest challenge for indigo is that less and less people read paper books, so less book sales and less traffic to store
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2016
2187 posts
2730 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
I would say less and less promotions and stuff is happening everywhere. Look at these giants like Starbucks (no more Bogo events), McDs getting rid of stickers, Tims (devaluing points even more). And then there are the larger retailers such as Canadian Tire and Superstore that only offer points for gift card purchases and no longer straight discount, or are using points as a sales method instead of real discounts. Retailers are struggling more and inflation has also hit them to some degree. And now wit Indigo, the company has been doing poorly for some time now. I'd kinda say that every retailer in Canada struggles unless its American or a general type Canadian (think Loblaws family, Canadian Tire). Most Canadian retailers are dying or get bought out by Americans (look at Rona). RW-CO (Retmains family overall), Aldo, and stuff are almost bankrupt now. And also given that Starbucks is turning into more fast food type and less luxury and offically is starting to emphasize drive thru instead of walk in meant they closed all Indigo/Chapters locations which lowered rent revenue even more. So i think you will see these cost cutting measures increase unfortunately. But nonetheless, thanks for supporting a Canadian retailer than has funds, white collar jobs, some more local products (like Rocky Mountain Soap products) and basic retail jobs here. I also suggest buying their gift cards to shop since it lowers the price even more.
The Biggest of the Big has arrived!
Sr. Member
Dec 8, 2009
695 posts
740 upvotes
I contacted their support recently during one of their Plum/Plum Plus promotions. While I agree that chat bots in general can be a bit annoying, I got through to someone fairly quickly. They were helpful and even pushed my suggestion to fix the problem in the future higher up the chain. I received an email from someone higher up fairly quickly and they implemented the change for the next sale.

Top notch customer service all around as most places just pretend to take your feedback into account.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 13, 2010
7785 posts
1811 upvotes
Scarborough
Its best to either buy online and ship to your home, or pickup at nearest stores after ordering.
All these points gimmicks suck

If i wanna read a book i just buy it.
Ofcourse i wait for the small paperbacks to come out. Prices have skyrocketed everywhere

Buy wherever u find it cheapest.

I have a plum regular card and its been useless.
Never make enough rewards for even $5 off

Although sometimes u can try get the “2 for $20’ sales they have in store on some shelves
(Used to be 2 for 15) few yrs ago! I could get 2 paperbacks for 15 but now its 2 for 20
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 16, 2015
4130 posts
4027 upvotes
Toronto
whats indigo?
To the moon
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 16, 2015
4130 posts
4027 upvotes
Toronto
wow they got -250 million retained earnings. rip
To the moon
[OP]
Newbie
May 14, 2006
8 posts
12 upvotes
Ferland-et-Boilleau
TempletonPeck wrote: I contacted their support recently during one of their Plum/Plum Plus promotions. While I agree that chat bots in general can be a bit annoying, I got through to someone fairly quickly. They were helpful and even pushed my suggestion to fix the problem in the future higher up the chain. I received an email from someone higher up fairly quickly and they implemented the change for the next sale.

Top notch customer service all around as most places just pretend to take your feedback into account.
Lucky, I'm still waiting to get the initial reply to a ticket created last week by the bot
Temp. Banned
Jun 20, 2020
17142 posts
22932 upvotes
Toronto
Redsanta wrote: whats indigo?
Indigo Books & Music Inc., known as "Indigo" and stylized "!ndigo", is Canada's only major English-language bookstore chain.
Destiny is all
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2013
2328 posts
1690 upvotes
GTA
I stopped shopping at Indigo years ago when the local Indigo refused to price match with their own online store for a book they had on the shelf. Could not figure out the business sense in asking the customer to go online for the better deal especially when Amazon dominates that space. This was years ago so not sure if that's still their policy.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23540 posts
22501 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
lpin14 wrote: I stopped shopping at Indigo years ago when the local Indigo refused to price match with their own online store for a book they had on the shelf. Could not figure out the business sense in asking the customer to go online for the better deal especially when Amazon dominates that space. This was years ago so not sure if that's still their policy.
Don’t see this an issue … but clearly you did

Not that uncommon for a Retailer to have 2 price lists
One for instore and another for online

Depends on the retailer on which one is cheaper

Sometimes it’s online … like Indigo
Sometimes it’s InStore … like Costco

A lot depends on how the Co structures their distribution system
Indigo runs its online shopping out of one giant warehouse in the GTA
Which is also their Canada wide Shipping & Receiving / Distribution Centre

Costco … doesnt have a whole lot of distribution centres …
Most of their Receiving is done directly at each warehouse
Online Shipping is a combo out of 3 things …
One direct from the manufacturer to the Customer
Or via the few regional distribution centres they do have
Or directly from certain warehouses (little known fact … depending on regional set ups )
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2013
2328 posts
1690 upvotes
GTA
PointsHubby wrote: Don’t see this an issue … but clearly you did
I still see it as an issue, but it's their business model and they can do as they see fit. Ultimately, the bottom line will prove whether this or any other decisions made are sound or not.
Deal Addict
Apr 5, 2017
1419 posts
1266 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
2023 will definitely be a year of try outs, who will rise, who will fall.

Bath and Beyond comes to mind. They have the potential, but seems to be a lot of nefarious mismanagement in the mix.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2019
750 posts
970 upvotes
Oilers Country
Bigboy16 wrote: I would say less and less promotions and stuff is happening everywhere. Look at these giants like Starbucks (no more Bogo events), McDs getting rid of stickers, Tims (devaluing points even more). And then there are the larger retailers such as Canadian Tire and Superstore that only offer points for gift card purchases and no longer straight discount, or are using points as a sales method instead of real discounts. Retailers are struggling more and inflation has also hit them to some degree. And now wit Indigo, the company has been doing poorly for some time now. I'd kinda say that every retailer in Canada struggles unless its American or a general type Canadian (think Loblaws family, Canadian Tire). Most Canadian retailers are dying or get bought out by Americans (look at Rona). RW-CO (Retmains family overall), Aldo, and stuff are almost bankrupt now. And also given that Starbucks is turning into more fast food type and less luxury and offically is starting to emphasize drive thru instead of walk in meant they closed all Indigo/Chapters locations which lowered rent revenue even more. So i think you will see these cost cutting measures increase unfortunately. But nonetheless, thanks for supporting a Canadian retailer than has funds, white collar jobs, some more local products (like Rocky Mountain Soap products) and basic retail jobs here. I also suggest buying their gift cards to shop since it lowers the price even more.
I'd argue that with the exception of Walmart, Costco and Home Depot, the "success" of American retailers in Canada has been overblown. Target was a $7B failure, Lowe's lost $2B on the sale of RONA, Best Buy ran Future Shop into the ground and its own chain is struggling, Office Depot flamed out in Canada. Nordstrom hasn't expanded beyond a handful of stores.

Meanwhile there are plenty of Canadian companies who are very good at what they do: London Drugs, Simons, Giant Tiger, Overwaitea, Leon's to name a few. And consider the Canadian chains which took over businesses owned by American retailers, such as Sobeys (Canada Safeway) and Metro (A&P Canada).

The demise of the Starbucks locations at many Indigo stores was not unexpected. Starbucks Canada went berserk for the better part of a decade, putting locations in virtually every strip mall, bookstore and Safeway. There were situations in my area where Starbucks would have an outlet in an Indigo or Safeway and then another freestanding location right across the street. This made zero sense and it was inevitable that the overstored situation would have to be dealt with. Too many locations were cannibalizing one another--it has little to nothing to do with Indigo.
Member
User avatar
Aug 14, 2021
427 posts
715 upvotes
Over Yonder
Every business deserves to fail. I don't see the issue here.
Sr. Member
Jul 7, 2019
750 posts
970 upvotes
Oilers Country
DaVibe wrote: They seem fine to me. Huge line ups every time I've visited over the past few weeks.
They're always busy at Christmas. Gift-giving season. With many stores in the discretionary category (like Indigo) sales drop like a rock in January and February when everyone is faced with their Christmas bills.

For many retailers, the run-up to Christmas is what makes or breaks their year.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 13, 2010
7785 posts
1811 upvotes
Scarborough
yeah try going in january to the store, maybe prices will be marked down some on few shelves.
OR buy the 2 for 20 type paperbacks only.

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