Experts in the discount retail arena believe that Target has become a victim of its own success. The limited-time line launch of Italian designer Missoni has haunted the discounter since September 13th when the collection was launched. Not only did Target's website crash, it was down most of the day angering customers.
More than a week later, some shoppers who managed to buy the Missoni for Target line are posting on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that they will never shop at Target again because their online orders were significantly delayed or even worse, completely canceled.
Customers who work up on the Missoni launch day and spent large sums on Missoni clothes and related items were enraged when they received delayed emails from Target saying the orders were canceled. Reports of rude or unconcerned customer service reps has also hit the media.
Target added buzz to the event by showing images of Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the famous twins, celebrating the Missoni for Target pop up store in New York. Target created so much buzz for its exclusive, limited-time line that it generated even more buzz on the back end about all the problems.
The discount retailed who is famous for the bulls-eye logos are now scrambling to undo the damage. Target is also fighting other nightmares such as potential labor disputes nationwide.
Consumers worried about the economy are easily being influenced by what their friends say about their shopping experiences on social media websites.
"This was badly handled," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys Inc., a New York customer research firm that has an index that shows Target's image has taken a hit. "What was supposed to be engaging and delightful is now the opposite — disappointment."
Morgan O'Murray, a Target spokeswoman, said the company experienced unprecedented demand for the collection and is working on correcting problems.
"This demand impacted our Target.com site and affected the shipment and delivery of select guest orders," O'Murray said in a statement. "Providing an exceptional experience is incredibly important to Target, and we have a team dedicated to addressing those guests who have been affected."
The Missoni collection was an attempt by Target to regain the cachet it lost among the fashion-forward crowd after it began focusing on expanding its food business. Target is among a few retailers who have partnered with high-end designers that create exclusive lines they can offer for a limited time at deep discounts.
The collections can spur demand by creating a sense of urgency to buy. Last year, Target scored big with a line created by Liberty of London, offering 300 items with the designer, which is known for its floral prints, and selling out of most of it in a couple of days.
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