The phrase “if something seems too good to be true, it usually is” is a common one, and even applies to the world of electronic commerce. Whilst weekend sales might be good for consumers, as well as online advertising campaigns intended to boost sales by offering ludicrous discounts, the truth is that such tactics can often backfire generating a set of circumstances that can damage both high street and online businesses. Weekend crowds, long lines at the register and understaffed departments give consumers a very bad shopping experience, and online deals are not exempt either – particularly if a rush of traffic crashes the site’s checkout system.
The groupon effect
The “groupon effect” is an example of this. This sees aggressive marketing campaigns — which have been set in motion without adequate preparation or realistic management of expectations for the business owner or the shopper — sending sales into overdrive. The problem is that a shop can end up being overwhelmed by the sudden deluge of consumers who arrive in order to redeem a group coupon.
This can lead to the business receiving very poor online reviews instead of the sales boost and increased brand recognition that had been the intention.
When a firm’s main focus is on growing sales at the cost of operational harmony, it could mean you end up doing your business more harm than good. Possible ramifications include the likes of undue stress and strain on the organisation, with employees having to scramble to meet demand; more time and money having to be spent on reputation management and public relations; production suffering due to inadequate resources and outdated equipment; bad reviews for both the product and the company; and an increased amount of waste caused by the disposal of damaged goods resulting from rushed production. There might also be a drop in customer service ratings and quality control resulting in the brand being tarnished.
The good news is that with just an ounce of planning — such as coordinating with the e commerce manager, the web content manager, the e commerce analyst and colleagues from other departments – a crisis can be prevented, resulting in a successful marketing campaign after all.