Bad Marketing even in This Economy

You would think that marketers would do a better job in this economy. But poor marketing decisions live on in spite of today's unforgiving marketplace.

Here's a specific example.

During Thanksgiving, my mother who lives in a rest home without transportation in a small East Texas town received a Penney's catalog. She asked me to buy her a $450 leather coat that was on sale for $179. So I told her I would get the coat for her since she has no means of transportation.

Living about three hours away, I told her I would order the coat online and have it shipped directly to her.

My wife and I have bought items online almost exclusively for the last five years. This is particularly helpful in a large city like Dallas because shopping at any store here immediately after Thanksgiving is not something we look forward to. We would compete with hundreds of shoppers waiting in a long line to purchase clothes.

So I went online to purchase the coat. I was also going to buy about $200 worth of other clothes since everything was on sale.

But the coat and all catalog items on sale were not available online! So I ended up spending zero dollars.

The catalog did not allow me to purchase any of the items online or by phone insisting that I go to the store from 4 AM to noon the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the sale. I'm sure the store hoped to lure me to the store location thinking I would buy more if I showed up at their store location.

This requirement backfired on them.

It not only angered me since I made a promise to my mother I could not keep, but it left a lingering bad taste in my mouth. Here was a retailer that required me to buy an item THEIR way instead of MY way.

The learning?

Don't force your customers to change their buying habits hoping they will buy more if they shop in a way they do not regularly do it. Customer expectations always trump the way the store wants to do business. Doing so will only cost them sales and obliterate customer good will.

Posted on December 6, 2008 and filed under General.