Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When Deals Disappoint

I'm trying not be irritated with Ecomom. They're a small business, not a giant chain store or mega corporation. They tried their hand at a great Thanksgiving sale....but they failed miserably.

The problem started when they offered a deal through Plum District where buyers received a $50 voucher for just $10, using Plum District's Black Friday promo codes. Ecomom should have known that their last promo like this caused their site to crash.

The problem grew when this voucher was coupled with Ecomom's own Thanksgiving weekend promo - spend $50 get $20 off and spend $100 get $40 off. Savvy shoppers soon figured out that their Plum District voucher could be paired with the Ecomom sale, equalling HUGE savings - $70 of products for spending just $10 or $100 for spending just $20.

The Ecomom site was flooded with traffic. It crashed. For days.

I bought my voucher on Saturday, and apparently, like thousands of others, tried using my voucher over the weekend. I was never successful in ordering my products, and today, I found out that every item I had planned to buy Nolan for Christmas, along with my back up plan items, had sold out.

I'm trying not to be irritated. Worst case scenario, I hold onto the voucher, use it down the road, and get $50 worth of products for the $10 I spent on my voucher. By no means a bad deal.

Here is what bothers me, though.

Online promotions, like daily deal vouchers and Facebook giveaways are becoming increasingly common. Companies have to be aware that deals spread across the internet at a rapid fire pace. Bloggers share deals with thousands of readers seconds after the deals become live. There should be someone on staff who is aware of this, someone who says, before we offer this deal, we better be prepared to handle it.

Ecomom could have dealt with their situation in a number of better ways. They could have followed the practices of Groupon and Living Social, and had a waiting period before the Plum District voucher was available for use. This would have significantly decreased traffic because users would not be able to couple the voucher with Black Friday promos. They could have programmed their system to block the Plum District voucher from being coupled with the Black Friday savings. They could have anticipated increased website traffic and better prepared by increasing their server capacity.

There are many things THEY could have done. But what do you, the buyer, do when a deal has turned out to be a disappointment? Well, after a tiny bit of venting, perhaps online :), move on, and realize that really, it just doesn't matter.

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