An open letter to Topshop
October 7, 2010, 11:34 am
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Dear Topshop,

I am sorry to report that I will not be shopping with you again in the forseeable future. You have lost a loyal advocate purely on the grounds that you are wholly unable to communicate with your customers.

I visited the store on Friday 1st October to browse through your shoe department and found a pair I liked, however the price was not labelled. I wandered around for several minutes trying to find someone to help me, before coming across a group of your employees chatting loudly in the middle of the store, about their weekend plans. I’m not fussed by things like this usually, however it was lunchtime, the store was heaving, and there were other customers looking for assistance too. When I finally got their attention, I was told rudely by one of the girls that the shoes were £100 before she turned back to her conversation.

Irritated, but still keen to purchase the shoes, I took them to the counter to pay. Imagine my surprise when the cashier asked me for £160, not the £100 I was told they were. Embarrassed, I left the shoes at the counter and left the store very disappointed.

When I got back to my office I did what many would do and tried to communicate this issue with you via Twitter. Maintaining such an active twitter stream, I expected you to be listening as well as broadcasting, but I guess I was wrong. After several hours and no response, I tried again. Straight away another user commented on the situation and his message was retweeted by other users. Clearly an issue I’m not alone on.

Still no sign of acknowledgement from you, and very irritated, I decided to email your customer services department later that day. I even offered some professional advice on how to better manage your twitter feed. Straight away an auto-reply came back which informed me that “this is an acknowledgement only and we will reply to you within 24 hours”.

106 hours later and now very angry, I decided to email you one more time before venting my frustration and disappointment on my blog. Another auto-‘acknowledgement’ and another let down. Blog post it is then.

So, if anyone from Topshop is listening, let me summarise. Customers do not like to be ignored, least of all when they have an issue they need to communicate to you. All it needed was a friendly tweet saying ‘sorry to hear about your experience, we’ve taken note of it’. Having an online presence is a good thing, but only if you intend to engage with your community instead of spewing brand messages out aimlessly. Imagine meeting a friend to tell them something important, and they spend the entire hour talking about themselves and not listening to a word you say. Annoying, right?

You would do yourself a big favour if you spent more time nurturing relationships with your online community instead of, quite frankly, exploiting the following you have. If you damage one relationship online, you bear a significant risk of damaging a relationship with an entire community.

Over to you, Topshop. Let’s talk.


Lauren Severin (

*UPDATE 15:35 07/10/10: Topshop responded to me shortly after I posted, very apologetic but only addressing the poor in-store experience. I have requested a response about the Twitter / communication issue and I will update again.

*UPDATE 22/10/10 I recieved another email, this time from the Arcadia Group, who had been alerted to my post via Twitter and they wrote a very sincere apology about my difficulty in getting through to them via email and Twitter. I don’t know if it will change anything in the grand scheme but we can only hope. Thanks to everyone in my community for shouting about it and thanks to Topshop / Arcadia for eventually addressing the matter.