Yesterday marked the first birthday of Net-a-Porter’s little sister, The Outnet. The designer discount site has been immensely popular since it’s launch, mostly due to it’s regular flash sales. I’ll put my hand up to admit that Outnet stalking had turned into one of my favourite pastimes, I know many of you were the same. There was something strangely hypnotic about watching the price of a Marc Jacobs bag tumble before your eyes.
To celebrate their first birthday, The Outnet went all out with a £1 designer sale. The sale to end all sales. This was all very heavily marketed and as the big date, April 16th, drew closer, the hype just grew and grew. But as I logged on to Twitter, I knew something was wrong. Everyone was complaining about not being able to log in, the site crashing and not being able to check out. This happened a couple of months ago during their pop-up sale. But seeing as you had to RSVP to have access to the £1 sale, I had assumed that they would have looked at their server capacity in relation to the expected demand.
It’s been an absolute PR nightmare for them, with many a disgruntled fashionista turning to Twitter and Facebook to vent their frustrations. I have to say, I feel that the fallout was handled very badly, my eyes popped out of my head when I read them tweet ‘It was always going to be a bit of a lottery’! I also think ity was very bad practise to be talking about the number of orders when so many people were frustrated and disappointed by the sales shambles. The best analogy I read was this:’It’s like being invited to be VIP party, being pickedup by a chauffeaur and being punched in the face upon arrival’. Here’s a little representation of the type of feedback across Facebook and Twitter:
It was very reminiscent of the American Apparel crazy sale madness, see below video. To be honest, these two events have left a very sour taste in my mouth. I feel that companies are far too busy creating hype and noise about their sales to worry about how to manage them logistically, whether that’s extra security in real life or working out server loads online. What do you think of The Outnet madness? Did you manage to get anything? Did you get caught up in the American Apparel riot?!