It’s 9:26 p.m.–a full 16 hours after the limited edition Missioni collection launched on Target.com, and the website is still down. Meanwhile, more than 15,000 items from the Missoni for Target collection are already on eBay, many selling for double the original price. Target is attempting to respond to every angry Tweet sent to @TargetStyle. The retailer says some stores will receive more Missioni in the next few days; online will not. Target spokesman Joshua Thomas spent the day apologizing for the empty racks and online woes, saying traffic was heavier than a typical Black Friday and demand far exceeded expectations. You’d think the fact that a pop-up in New York sold out of its entire stock within six hours last week might have better prepared the company for what happened today.
Now, Target must scramble to fill the space that was earmarked for Missioni for the next six weeks (Xhiliration, anyone? Anyone?). While the stores may experience increased traffic for the next few days from people hoping for more, word spread fast that it’s all gone. Target counts on its designer lines to drive traffic to other departments within the store. If you’re not making an extra trip for Missoni, you’re also not grabbing the inevitable $100 of incidentals. Time will tell if this frenzy actually hurt, more than it helped Target.
So what’s the takeaway?
1. More bandwidth online. Or a beefed up help desk? Basically, don’t test your redesigned website with your most heavily hyped designer collaboration.
2. Make sure marketing matches production. The ads always look amazing. The collections don’t always live up, or in this case, live on. When you’re investing in ads in Vogue and throwing parties at New York Fashion Week, you better be prepared for demand.
3. Thinkfast. It would likely take too long to re-issue, and by that time, the fashion-mob moment will have passed and word will be out on how things actually fit. But perhaps Target could capitalize on the attention by letting desperate shoppers order ahead for certain items to be re-issued, or even vote on select items to bring back. That would stick it to those who immediately tried to sell on eBay, extend the Missoni buzz, and serve as a mea culpa to frustrated customers.