I know my husband is going to scream at me for using the phrase 'epic fail' but really, is there a better way to describe the disaster that was the Outnet $1 Birthday sale this morning? The sale promised the world – designer garb for $1?! Yes please.
One person on Twitter described the sale as "being invited to a party, picked up by a chauffeur and then being punched in the face on arrival". So what went so wrong Refinery 29 have opened up a support group?!
I was fully prepared, working in fashion and living on the west coast, to find the timing in the favour of the East Coast. It's sucks but I'm used to it by now, the West Coast produces wine and celebrities but apparently we do not wear clothes. So with this in mind I woke up at 6am (PST) to begin the periodic checking of my email waiting for the magic message from The Outnet letting me know the sale had started. To my suprise, the email was already there, sitting, waiting. The email had been received at 3.45am.
Keeping the start time of the sale secret (something many sites do) is one thing, starting that secret sale at 3.45am, is utterly ridiculous. Really who was up that early? Even those on the East Coast missed out with 6.45am being to early for them.
This alone is issue enough. Combine this with the over zealous marketing done on the run up to the sale (I had an email everyday for a fortnight) resulting in those who were up in time being presented with a site that couldn't handle a mass influx of customers and crashed repeatedly, and one has a disaster of epic proportions. Site failure like this happens with other sites too, Gilt and the Jeffrey Campbell sale springs to mind, but not to this degree. I've also heard story's of people having things taken from their cart during checkout, something both Ideeli and Gilt protect against. Making an already ridiculous experience much worse.
So what could they have done?
– Made the sale later.
– Kept the sale at 3.45am but given people advance notice (I would have gotten up!)
– Prepared the site more thoroughly for a huge influx of visitors
– Given a 'safe' time to items in carts
– Made the exclusive sale actually exclusive.
– Staggered the stock and invite times to correspond with time zones.
But what do I know? I just live my life online…
In all honestly this was a really bad PR move, instead of generating positive interest for a site that is only a year old they have created a whirlwind of bad press with 1000's of tweets and blog posts from people dissapointed with the sale, and I don't think this will be a case of any publicity is good publicity. I certainly have no interest in shopping with The Outnet after this debacle.
So what do you think? Did you snag something? I heard maybe five 'score' story's amongst the 1000's of tweets I just scoured. Did we expect too much? I honestly felt like I'd been hoaxed this morning and I know I'm not the only one.
By Kelsi Smith