Kid on their cell phone

Kids are squirrely. They get into everything – paint bottles, bags of potato chips, make-up, … Sometimes, they even find their way onto your online business.

It’s no surprise really. Most 2-year-olds are better with a cell phone than their parents. Not to mention, a lot of companies are leaning toward user-friendly websites that make the order process easy as ABC.

If a kid accidentally found their way onto your website and seems to be ordering something, take note. There are easy things you can do to rectify the situation so the adults have peace of mind, the kid doesn’t end up in time out, and you can maybe get new customers out of the deal.

#1:   Refund the Order, No Questions Asked

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Now’s not the time to be a Grumpy Pants. Did you get a call from Mom or Dad who was frantic over the fact that little Billy charged $150 on the credit card? Give the parents a refund without making a stink. It does way more brand damage to make the parents take the hit than to just suck up those costs.

Why is this a good idea?

Mom and Dad are going to appreciate how accommodating you were in this situation. They’ll see your entire brand as a real human with feelings, which is important as 63% of consumers choose authentic brands over those that seem less approachable.

#2: Turn It Into a Joke and a Marketing Opportunity

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No one has to cry or throw a tantrum in this situation (and I’m talking about you, not the kid). Look at this as an opportunity to boost your brand – whether it’s a funny Facebook ad, press release, or even going so far as offering for your company to sponsor the kid’s baseball team.

Why is this a good idea?

Research shows humor is connected to higher memory recall. If your brand has a good sense of humor, you’re going to naturally stick around in people’s brains. That way they’ll remember you when they need your products or services.

#3:  Send Written Apologies to Vendors/Suppliers

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A good business is a caterpillar with many legs. Make sure all the “legs” know about the blunder, and let them know you’re sorry they wasted time and resources on a bogus order. Odds are in your favor that they’ll understand the situation. 

Why is this a good?

You want to keep a good rapport with your suppliers. The average cost of supply chain disruption is $310,000 per year. By showing your suppliers you’re communicative, they are more likely to return the favor on their end if anything comes up, like a truck driver getting sick or stocking issues.  

#4:  Follow Up with the Adults in the Future

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Call back in a month or two and see if the parents or guardians have a need for your products or services. This works best if you have some kind of promotion going on or throw in a coupon for good measure.

Why is this a good idea?

It may seem pushy, but you want to create a connection with each and every customer. In fact, 64% of consumers want personalized offers from a company and referring back to their kid’s order is a great way to make that happen!

#5:  Be Better Prepared Next Time

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Consider this a learning experience. Bring in your developers and figure out what you need to change on your website so kids can’t go shopping as easily. Maybe it’s some kind of firewall or a captcha code they can’t possibly get through.

Why is this a good idea?

Your reputation as a company will take a hit if this happens over and over again. This is as scary as the Children of the Corn, especially if you’re like the 87% of executives who believe managing reputation risk is more important than strategic risks.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Baby on their cell phone

Are you thinking this will never happen to you? Think again.

According to the National Center for Education, 71% of children ages 3 to 18 regularly use the internet. And if that’s not enough, 96% of adults shopped online in 2019. That means the kids are growing up in a world where shopping online is the main way to make a purchase.

The kiddos are used to the internet and its role in the world of commerce. If they had the opportunity, and maybe a working credit card, there are all sorts of crazy things they’d like to buy!

What kids would buy online

At some point, the Anna’s and Isaac’s out in the universe could find themselves on your website. They might see that cool Fortnight poster, or that broom for mom, and buy it without a second thought.

Final Thoughts

An accidental purchase from your company is an experience that everyone will remember. Handle it with grace, and you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons. Keep a stick in your butt and your company will forever be known as the child haters.

Don’t forget, those parents, or maybe even the kids, could turn into repeat customers in the future!


National Center for Education. (2018). Children’s Access to and Use of the Internet. Retrieved from

Rabe, B. (2019, March 31). 5 Must-See Infographics on the Value of Brand Authenticity. Retrieved from

Olenski, S. (2018, June 15). The Guide to Using Humor in Marketing. Retrieved May 1, 2019, from

Wallace, T. (2019). Modern Consumer Behavior in the New Omni-Channel World + 31 Expert Tips to Dominate it Now. Retrieved May 1, 2019, from

Viz. (2018, January 8). 50 Statistics About Retail Marketing and Consumer Shopping Trends. Retrieved May 1, 2019, from

HICX Solutions. (2013, August 8). Supplier Management Statistics. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from

Status Labs. (2019). 72 Reputation Management Stats for 2019. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from

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