Department store David Jones unveiled its mid-season sale offers online this week, but shoppers were quick to point out a website error caused multiple “sale” offers listed as much more expensive than their originally listed prices.
Customers pointed to pages of shoes, dresses and childrenswear items that listed “Reduced” proces as up to hundreds of dollars more than their pre-sale prices, which stopped customers from completing online purchases at the bargain prices promised.
For example, one customer pointed out a pair of Emporio Armani booties was listed as “Was $324.50, now $454.30”, while other items, like a Ted Baker dress, were listed as discounted from $229 to $229.
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“Best sale ever!” said one window shopper, pointing to a pair of shoes that was $199 being listed at a sale price of $279.
In responses to customers, the David Jones social media team explained the company was aware of the IT issue. As recently as this morning, the retailer said it had staff on the case to resolve the problem.
“We’re aware of this. Our IT department are working to resolve this,” the department store told shoppers, asking for direct contact details from customers affected.
SmartCompany contacted David Jones for an update on the website issues and was told its IT team were able to fix the issues.
“Our website experienced some technical difficulties yesterday whereby a small number of items were incorrectly showing a comparison price higher than the advertised sale price. This issue has now been resolved,” a spokesperson for the company said.
On Wednesday morning most of the “reduced” items listed on the online store appeared to show correct sale pricing.
Sales periods are “mission critical”
Getting the basics of pricing and communication online during sales periods is vital, says CP Communications director Catriona Pollard, because shoppers can often go elsewhere at the click of a button to buy similar products.
“The critical thing for websites is that you don’t want to lose your customers. There’s so much competition and often you can get that item at three or four other places,” she explains.
“It’s a mission critical mistake, really, to get [prices] wrong.”
However, if bugs or problems do arise, there’s an easy two-step process for keeping shoppers on board and in the loop, Pollard says.
Firstly, communicate to shoppers that they can return to the site when the issues are resolved, and make sure they are encouraged to log back in once any issues are fixed.
“It’s pretty critical to do something to make them come back, it could even be saying, once it’s fixed and [they] come back, we’ll give [customers] another 10% off,” she says.
The second major task is to ensure that shoppers know there is an issue that needs fixing in the first place, and being transparent about any glitches.
“The other thing is that, depending on the volume of complaints, it doesn’t make sense to respond to everybody individually [on social media] in these cases,” Pollard says.
“If one person has one major complaint, you’ve got to deal with it — but otherwise, it could actually require a [general] statement given across the social media to say ‘we’re resolving this’.”
Making it clear your business knows about and is working to resolve any digital mishaps will stop people disengaging with your business, which is particularly important during sales times, Pollard says.
“Sales periods are so integral to the bottom line and you need to manage it. Otherwise, you’re preventing people from buying things from you,” she says.