Search:
Newsletter signup:
Engagement

The business of social media marketing, storytelling and gamification

Social Business

Integrating social business thinking and technologies throughout the enterprise.

Social Analytics

The business of social media listening, understanding and reputation

Sustainability

Social media meets social responsibility.

Social Commerce

Where social media relationships translate into transactions

Home » Community, Engagement, News, Social Commerce, social media marketing, Social Media News

ASOS promotional problems show that brands must not underestimate customers

Submitted by on December 11, 2012 – 9:47 amNo Comment

British online fashion retailer ASOS.com made some big promises over the weekend, offering fat discounts across everything on its site and escorting frenzied Christmas shoppers and outfit-less partygoers towards salvation like a guiding star.

It’s a well-respected retail brand, selling affordable fashion and high-end designer labels alike, so from the outset it should have expected demand to be big. But it didn’t.

Despite the Ts & Cs stipulating the promotion would end at midnight, the company pulled it early, citing a whole raft of contradictory reasons. This did not go down well with bargain-starved fashionistas.

Quickly, the brand’s Facebook page exploded in negativity, with hundreds and hundreds of customers lamenting ASOS’s decision to kill the offer, not to mention the huge numbers complaining that the promotional code didn’t work in the first place, or that the site was running so slowly even while the promotion was live that they missed out and felt hard done by.

ASOS tried to soften the blow with another – less appealing – promo, but the mob was already baying for blood (a situation not helped by feeble damage control efforts on Twitter, where the official brand account mentioned nothing of the halt, and the customer service account – apparently run by someone that doesn’t understand how to use the ‘@’ function – seemed unsure and inconsistent in its responses to irate shoppers).

So what’s the lesson, here? No matter how much chatty camaraderie brands have with their fan base, or how well-liked they are, customers won’t hesitate to turn on them if they feel they’ve been wronged somehow. Just look at the hot water General Mills got itself into recently; much-loved family cereal brand Cheerios suddenly became the focus of hateful comments and negativity when customers felt they were being lied to about the product’s ingredients. Like ASOS’s customers, they felt disrespected through a lack of transparency, and they weren’t happy about it.

There’s a fine line between love and hate, and brands can so easily end up on the wrong side if they don’t look where they’re going.

 

Editor’s Note: Learn from the digital pioneers, brands like Coca-Cola, Carnival Cruises, Whole Foods, Vodafone and scores of others. Their social media blunders – in the areas of crap customer service, plain dumb marketing or simply being caught short in a crisis – provide valuable lessons from which to shape future corporate comms policy. It all can be found in our new e-book, #FAIL: The 50 Greatest Social Media Screw-Ups and How to Avoid Being the Next One. Buy the book today on Amazon UK, Amazon or on Lulu where you can find it in paperback and epub.

Share

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Additional comments powered by BackType