It was a brilliant idea, brilliantly marketed. Pegged to New York Fashion Week earlier this month, Target teamed up with upscale Italian designer Missoni to create an exclusive collection of clothing and housewares for the retailer.
Promoted in a novel way with a social media 'character' (a giant doll named Marina), the amount of hype and anticipation by fans crashed the store’s website when the line launched online on Sept. 13. And things haven’t gotten better since.
“More than a week post-launch, some shoppers who bought the 400-product Missoni collection at Target.com are posting on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter that they won't shop at Target again because their online orders are being delayed — or worse, canceled — by the retailer,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
One 23-year-old Florida resident got up at six in the morning on launch day and spent $700 on a bike, plates, and clothes designed by Missoni only to get an email from Target that her order had been cancelled, the paper reports, and customer service was not helpful.
"Instead of taking responsibility, they didn't care,” said Brielle deMartino. “I have always been pro-Target, but I don't want to give my money to a company like that again.”
And she’s not alone. “Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with customers complaining that they got emails from Target notifying them that their orders will be delayed or canceled altogether,” the Post-Intelligencer reports. And that kind of publicity is never good.
A Target spokeswoman said the “unprecedented” demand for products affected some orders and that the store has “a team dedicated to addressing those guests who have been affected," the Post-Intelligencer reports.
Target had an inkling of consumer demand for the Missoni collection when its sneak peek pop-up store in New York for Fashion Week sold out in six hours instead of the three days it was supposed to stay open.
What's more, the retailer had upgraded and relaunched Target.com before the Missoni launch, the Boston Globe reports:
Target’s new website, designed on an IBM platform and hosted by AT&T, buckled under “unprecedented demand,” the company said in a statement this week. “This demand impacted our Target.com site and affected the shipment and delivery of select guest orders.” It’s still unclear exactly what went wrong. Three Massachusetts companies that worked with Target on its website — Endeca Technologies Inc., SapientNitro, and Akamai Technologies — would not comment on the failure. Target would not elaborate beyond its statement. Regardless of why the site couldn’t cope under the strain of high demand, some jilted customers appear less than understanding. And with a campaign built around social media, Target is now feeling shoppers' wrath.
Frustrated Missoni buyers are posting their frustration on the Target Style Facebook page (see below), among other social outposts, although the first comment indicates that the warehouse is catching up with orders.
Now, it remains to be seen if this consumer anger will linger or fade away.