E-Commerce Horror Stories: Halloween Edition Part 2

Only a few days to go before one of our favorite holidays of the year- Halloween! If you haven't seen our past bundle of scary stories, take a peak here. Running an online retailer, just like any other job can be extremely stressful, especially when having to rely on the internet for success. While technology may be quite advanced, it doesn't necessarily mean all the bugs and kinks are worked out. Whether you use the internet for recreational purposes or rely on it for your income you are most likely aware of the struggles that accompany it.

To add to our collection of scary eCommerce tales, we'd like to introduce you to a couple new characters. Sit tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!

Pizza Night Gone Wrong: Paolo decided it was time to enter the age of technology and start a 100% online pizza delivery service. He had owned a successful mom and pop shop "Paolo's Pizzeria" in his small New Jersey town for the past 20 years, serving the absolute best pizza around. When Paolo decided to convert to the online world, he didn't take into account the challenges he would face. Halloween had consistently proven to be one of his busiest nights of the year which meant it was time to update his check out system- or so he thought. Earlier that morning Paolo decided to contact his web team to create what he believed to be a more efficient check out.

All week Paolo had been preparing for this day, stocking up on necessary ingredients ensuring that he would never run out of food. When the clock struck 5 orders started pouring in. Unfortunately, so were a large volume of phone calls from unhappy customers. The check-out system was a fail! Complaints of orders gone wrong and webpage crashes were only a small brunt of the problem. A night that was meant to be fruitful ended up being a complete disaster. As word quickly spread of this issue, customers shied away from Paolo's as they ran over to the local pizza shop to pick up take out before their trick or treaters arrived! As the night came to a close, only a handful of orders had been successful made.

Moral of the story: Never do any sort of testing right before a big wave. This is bound to cause problems and can tremendously hurt your business. Keep the customers attention span in mind. Think to yourself, if you aren't able to complete something quickly will you stick around and wait for it to correct itself or will you go searching elsewhere? If you want to implement a new feature, test it out long before a big rush. Whether it's check-out or AB testing, don't take the risk of hurting not only your sales, but your reputation!

Costume Catastrophe: As Halloween approached, Curt's Custom Made Costume's business was in full throttle. Curt sold customized costumes at a competitive price, which got him tons of publicity and new customers. Curt and his team had been making costumes for 30 years for a variety of customers ranging from trick or treaters to theater production companies. He had a golden reputation- but not for long. As his business gained popularity online, more of his customers turned to social media for questions and complaints.

Social Media had never been a big part of Curt's business, therefore he had never paid much attention to it. A few days before Halloween he got a frantic call from his daughter "DAD! Have you been paying ANY attention to your social media? You have hundreds of customer reviews and questions that have yet to be answered! People are in an uproar!" Curt panicked, was this really a generation of online complaints rather than the traditional phone call? It had been months since he had logged onto any of his social media accounts. Little did he know, his target audience were millennials- the generation of social media.

Damage control had to be done! While his reputation took a turn for the worst, his competitor, Caitlin's Costumes had taken social media by the reins. Caitlin had a whole team dedicated to social media to ensure her customer's needs were always being met. Caitlin's team provided 24/7 customer service care by phone, chat and social media. There was no chance of a customer slipping through the cracks. Her bases were covered! When Halloween figures were produced, Caitlin came out on top- by a long shot. Looks like Curt shouldn't underestimate social media after all.

Moral of the Story: Always boost personalization and support any way you can to ensure customer satisfaction. Don't underestimate the power of social media. Whether you are showing your appreciation for a positive review, dealing with a customer complaint or helping sort out a problem, all customer interaction should be taken seriously. Give your customers a personal expiernece they will never forget.

Did we give you the goosebumps yet? While our Halloween stories may be coming to a close for the year, it doesn't mean you can't share yours! Tell us, what eCommerce nightmares have kept you up at night?