Were you one of those hundreds of people that stood in line to buy a Nintendo Wii, Tickle Me Elmo, or Furby only to be met with disappointment? Did you wait breathlessly for an eReader and then curse as shipments were delayed? I know we’ve all been the kid just behind the one who gets the last pudding cup.
So what happens when there’s a demand and vendors can’t provide for it? If you’re a big name company like Nintendo or Disney, you can shrug and move on with your next market-crushing product. But if you’re a smaller brand, you can’t afford to lose any customers or loyalty.
In one weekend, I had this happen to me three times. However, all three of the brands associated with my problems went out of their way to rectify the problem.
1. Top Cow Productions
Problem: During the first day of Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, I stumbled upon Top Cow Productions’ booth. However, compared to the other publishing companies present at the convention, their product selection was fairly lacking: they only displayed a handful of titles.
I expressed my concern to the man running the booth, and he apologized, and then explained that their product was running late. To compensate for the inconvenience, he explained that he was offering a deal of “Buy two, get two free.”
Solution: If you’re low on product, first apologize for the inconvenience. Then offer a discount for what product you do have.
2. Stylin Online
Problem: Later that weekend, I went into one of Stylin Online’s massive shirt forts on a mission to find an Avengers t-shirt. Not only did I find a cool graphic tee, but it was sparkly. A sparkly Avengers shirt? It must be mine now.
I asked one of the employees to help me locate said shirt in my size, but sadly, the mission was unsuccessful. They couldn’t locate the t-shirt at all, let alone in the right size. But before I could even pout, the employee handed me a card for their online store with a promo code.
Solution: If you’re completely out of stock, offer your clients a discount or coupon for a future purchase. They’re more likely to buy that item when it’s back in stock and maybe even add a couple extra products to their shopping cart.
3. The Aesthetic
Problem: In my single non-geeky jaunt during the weekend, I attended a concert at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. One of the openers, The Aesthetic, slated the show as their CD release show. However, due to some sort of production problem, there were no CDs to release.
At the beginning of their set they explained the situation and promised that everyone who bought a ticket would receive a CD. I didn’t even go to see that band and I’m already a fan of the goodwill they extended.
Solution: If your out-of-stock product doesn’t cost much to produce, but has the potential to create long-lasting fans, consider giving it away for free. People enjoy receiving items for free, especially if they didn’t expect it.
Ever have an experience where you couldn’t get the product you wanted when you wanted them? Did the brand offer anything in return? If not, did it stop you from purchasing anything else from them?