What Can You Learn From Ebuyers Mistake On Cyber Monday?

Now I know this is late getting published but here are my thoughts on the Ebuyer Cyber Monday fiasco.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of what happened then I will give a bit of a background story here.  Ebuyer are a large company based in the UK that specialise in electrical and computer products.  This year to try and maximise the sales and impact of ‘Cyber Monday’ (28th November 2011) they started to market a £1 Sale where they would offer last remaining stock items for  £1.

ebuyer £1 SaleThis seemed like a fantastic marketing tactic to gather a lot of interest but also to shift end of line items which were no longer desirable.  The reality however was that they underestimated the demand and instead the large amount of visitors at 10:30 am crashed the Ebuyer site.  With such limited stock and such a high volume of potential buyers this was the worst thing that could of happened to Ebuyer and many of their potential customers decided to let them know how they felt.

They received thousands of complaints from both customers who were unable to reach the site, but also many who paid for products they managed to order through Google Checkout but later found their order had been refused.

Many complaints posted on Ebuyer’s Facebook page claimed that the site failed to process orders which used the Google service, which meant that their orders didn’t go through.  Others said that they received an email hours after they had placed an order telling them that they wouldn’t receive the product as it no longer existed on the system, having already been sold.

Ebuyer said that they received “an overwhelming response” to the £1 clearance sale and had “an unprecedented number of visitors” to their site.  They went on to explain that many of the items on sale were from limited stock and they understand that many shoppers had trouble reaching the site in order to take advantage of the offers.

“We understand that many of our customers could not get their hands on these deals, resulting in a degree of disappointment. However, we will be running many more sales and promotions and customers can look out for plenty of amazing offers for the rest of this week and beyond,” they promised.

One shopper said that they had found a way around the problem by buying from the technology retailer through their eBay express page.  Other users on the company’s Facebook page accused Ebuyer of running a marketing scam and deleting customer complaints from the page.  One user commented “Here at Ebuyer (a website that sells computer parts and specialises in technology) we trick our customers into flooding our website at the same time all for a bogus ‘£1 Clearance Sale’ knowing our servers can’t handle it and only our staff can access the website, using a direct line,”

One Facebook Fan created this image to get across his thoughts on eBuyers incompetence and lack of preparation for their £1 Sale.

ebuyer fail picMy Thoughts

It would seem somewhat short sighted of the company to not make provisions for what was bound to be a popular sale, on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.  But I think a lot of people were too harsh on Ebuyer.  Let me tell you why.

There is no denying that what happened left only Ebuyer to blame, but the logistics involved with offering such a sale were enormous.  They had to contend with making sure they had the capacity and man power to deal with orders, questions, inventory and dispatch on a day when I guarantee they would of had full man power.  They made one oversight with regards to their server capacity and they paid the price for it.

A lot of selfish people were complaining that they couldn’t get their £1 deal but that day will have cost Ebuyer thousands and thousands of pounds in wages, missed sales and perhaps most importantly a damaged reputation.  What I find commendable about what happened is that throughout the whole time of the site being down, Ebuyer did their utmost to keep people informed about what had gone on, with continuous updates on Facebook and Twitter they were genuinely concerned about their fans and didn’t want them to feel like they were being ignored.  For a company as large as Ebuyer it would of been easy for them to cut the whole thing off and ignore the backlash but they didn’t.

The same day the Managing Director of Ebuyer Armando Sanchez posted a press release acknowledging what had happened and offering his apologies.  You can read this here.

In my opinion Ebuyer did the best they could out of a bad situation and i’m sure this expensive lesson won’t have to be taught again.


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