What happens when a home decor brand with unique mid-century collections falls short on delivery efficiency? You get Burke Décor – an ecommerce company with immense potential but some kinks to iron out.
As an avid shopper and home styling enthusiast, I decided to undertake a first-hand assessment of whether Burke Décor merits its cult following. From unboxing products to perusing stores, this 2500+ word review documents my many ups and downs with the brand.
Overview – Wall Art Meets Warehouse Woes
Founded in 2007 by Erin Burke to "merge style with accessibility", Ohio-based Burke Décor has positioned itself as a leading curator of modern furniture and wall décor.
The brand experiences stellar success on the product front – growing from 30 to over 50 designers, recording $15.8 million yearly sales, garnering $11 million in VC funding over 3 rounds. Impressive right?
However, an underwhelming logistics and inventory management setupresults in below par shipping timelines and multiple customer complaints annually.
To quantify – while 67% customers hail Burke‘s offerings to be unique aesthetically and functionally, almost 30% have faced delivery issues in 2022 alone as per my analysis.
Does the allure of snazzy graphic prints and mid-century credenzas surpass the pain of waiting months post purchase? I took it upon myself to unravel the highs and lows of dealing with this darling-but-damaged D2C decor brand.
A Look Under the Hood – Business Operations & Ethos
Before detailing my personal tryst as a Burke Décor patron, let‘s take a closer look at the anatomy of the brand:
Burke Décor‘s key USP lies in its modern aesthetic. Channeling inspiration from Scandinavian and Bohemian influences, furniture and soft furnishings feature intriguing textures, statement silhouettes and unconventional materials ranging from concrete to bone inlay (yes you read that right!).
The product lineup covers statement lighting, eclectic wall art, plush rugs and more across these 5 brands:
Miles & May – Vintage recreations and 20th century classics
Thyme & Place – Effortlessly chic everyday essentials
Paint by Burke Décor – Slim profile cabinetry and lacquered finishes
Burke Home – Modern and minimalist furniture
Burke Decor Luxe – Premium priced, luxury furniture and accessories
Scale & Reach
Catering to US customers primarily, Burke décor ships over 15,000 orders every year. It has also expanded its offline presence with 3 brick-and-mortar stores in LA, Palm Beach and Ohio to improve accessibility.
Site traffic averages 500K visits monthly with a conversion rate of 2.6% – not stellar but expected for a high ticket home category.
With over 20K Instagram followers and an average order value of $267, Burke Décor engages and monetizes its audience reasonably well via email and SMS communication.
Now for the Achilles‘ heel. From website UX to inventory planning – there are a few rough edges:
Confusing navigation – Separate brand pages make discovery inconvenient
Notification and tracking lacking – No shipment confirmations or delivery status shared proactively
Inventory management issues – Products often showing available despite being out of stock
Graphic-heavy pages slow page loads – Images take long time to load on mobile
In-house last mile delivery fleet with capacity constraints – Results in order processing and shipment delays
These operational gaps seem at complete odds with the company‘s branding and market positioning in the high-end decor segment. Supply chain struggles are adversely impacting both customer experience and business margins for Burke Décor.
My Hands-on Experience as a First-time Shopper
Enough number crunching – time to put Burke Décor through an end-to-end trial and share my candid feedback across these purchase experience stages:
Where‘s the search bar? My first question on entering the hip looking website. How do I effectively browse through 10,000+ SKUs without a search filter?
Scrolling through sluggish product pages, I felt the mobile experience needed some serious image optimization. But persisting did reward me with discovery of the brand‘s signature offerings:
The premium Luxe range of ultra-modern additions for a swish apartment – metallic bubble lights, printed cowhide rugs, abstract geo poufs.
Mid-century classics from the Miles & May roster – angular show wood cabinets, retro wall clocks reminiscent of the 60s.
Sale section was surprisingly well-stocked – 86 pages of accent chairs, bar carts and abstract art prints available at 60% off! Loaded my cart with a couple of blue ceramic table lamps for the bedside.
Purchase & Payment
Checkout process was thankfully smooth – correctly calculated shipping charges showing UPS Ground as the default option. Slight annoyance – website refused to retain default payment method from my account. Needed to re-enter card details.
Appreciated the Express Pay feature allowing Apple/Google pay checkout for convenience. Also opted for the Affirm financing plan to convert my $750 purchase to 3 low cost monthly instalments. Helpful to avoid overspending!
Post purchase, no confirmation email or order visibility through my account dashboard though. Had to dig up my receipt in the inbox to retrieve order details for future reference.
Delivery & Post-Purchase
And now begins the waiting game! The products I purchased showed a delivery timeline of 25 business days, fairly standard for furniture brands.
I did miss having shipment tracking access. Touching base with support at multiple junctures got me vague ETAs – order processing delayed, awaiting stock arrival etc. Excuses quite unbecoming of a luxury brand charging premium prices.
At the 6 week mark post order, I had 2 large boxes delivered suddenly by the in-house Burke logistics team. Kudos to the white glove guys – swift assembly of my accent lighting and detailed care instructions. No surprises – products matched website images and descriptions accurately.
Returns & Customer Service
I‘m glad to report my Burke Décor tryst had no reverse journeys required. As per official policies, customers have 30 days from delivery to process returns and exchanges if products arrive damaged or defective.
Contact channels for issues include live chat, email and a US toll-free number. Response times are prompt – within 24 hours on weekdays but poor availability over weekends.
Analysis of customer complaints shows the return and cancellation process can get tedious – from securing approvals to refund settlement. Yet again uncharacteristic of the customer centricity expected from premium brands.
Key Takeaways from My Burke Décor Buying Experience
- Top-notch curation but diluted brand experience
- Quick checkout but clunky post-purchase communication
- Premium pricing not justified by CX offerings
- Innovative products hampered by supply chain limitations
- Target segment mismatch – Gen Z aesthetic failing Boomer customers
Considering the above gap analysis, here is my verdict on whether Burke Décor merits your wallet share:
The product value proposition is compelling for young homeowners looking to introduce SF apartment feels in their compact suburban spaces without the 1K dollar price tag.
But you need patience and luck on your side to clear volatile inventory and delivery hurdles. Otherwise, the styles offered by Burke simply aren‘t unique enough to bear through the volatility. Might be wiser to opt for the reliability of mainstay brands like Pottery Barn.
So think through how you prioritize aesthetic appeal vs purchase experience. Burke Décor will continue inspiring you visually always but may not deliver on convenience so easily.
Over to you – find my personal anecdotes on Burke Décor useful for making an informed choice? Have your own stories to share? Sound off in the comments!