Disney Store Offers Make-up Discount

If there is one thing about Disney’s merchandise program I’m constantly amazed at, it’s how they manage to screw up the limited edition merchandise events so frequently. If they didn’t have a brand with such a strong history, I don’t think people would put up with it.

Think of it this way, if Nordstroms (to pick a store at random) told you there would only be 100 of an item on a first come first serve basis, but when you arrived the store was closed, only to find out later that the item was sold, just out of a back door to some other customers, you’d be pretty mad right? If it happened again you’d be furious, and a 3rd strike would force you to think twice about giving that store your money.

Yet, there’s a 14+ year history of Disney screwing up limited edition merchandise events just like that. So, when I heard that lack of planning, unreliable technology, and a failure to understand demand has now impacted The Disney Store online event, I wasn’t surprised.

It is nice to see The Disney Store going out of their way to make it up to guests who may have felt slighted by the event. This email was sent out today:

Dear Disney Store Guest:

We know that every time you visit DisneyStore.com and shop for your children, family and friends, or for yourself you expect to find quality products matched by a quality online experience. On Tuesday, October 18 our site experienced technical difficulties as thousands of Guests simultaneously attempted to purchase our limited-edition doll collection. Due to the unprecedented traffic to our site, many Guests visiting us online were disappointed by the shopping experience.

The Designer Doll Collection has been the fastest-selling limited-edition doll collection in Disney Store’s history. We have learned many lessons with the release of this collection, and are implementing new systems to manage limited-edition product sales more effectively in the future. We understand that we are viewed by our Guests as more than a retail destination; we are representatives of Disney where exceptional Guest service is always expected.

To apologize and thank you for your continued loyalty we would like to give you a special 1-day gift. The discount code, THANKYOU25, allows you to shop online merchandise at 25% off* on Thursday, October 20. We value our Guests and we will continue to strive to deliver a magical shopping experience at DisneyStore.com every day.

If the Disney Store or any of Disney’s other merchandise departments is serious about preventing snafus like this in the future, they would do well to ask the customers how they want an event like this to work. Yes, there will always be hiccups, but there are ways to mitigate the impact of technology, even while putting it to maximum use. Yes, you can offer limited edition merchandise online, even very limited, and still do it in a way that’s fair and emphasizes the exclusive nature.

But you don’t offer a set of dolls, sell them separately, and then not offer people who want to buy a complete set a way to do that without rolling the dice. If you have a problem with releasing one doll, why would you then release five dolls on the same day? When you don’t do it right, all you’re doing is supporting the secondary market and not your fans. It’s not rocket science.

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12 Responses to Disney Store Offers Make-up Discount

  1. J says:

    Thanks to a lackluster afternoon I had the pleasure of witnessing this all unfold the other day. It was like watching a nascar race where they start the race before completing the track.

    All Disney Store needed to do was increase their website traffic flow for a few hours and problem would have been solved. The site wouldn’t have crashed, and people would have been able to buy and be done with their dolls within a few minutes.

    As for the issue from the beginning. The only real way of preventing ebayers and other resellers from intentionally scooping up the merchandise before others have a chance is implementing a RSP plan similar to what they do at special events and making all limited edition merchandise a 1 per person per item.

    I read a tweet from the Jim Fielding the other day stating that they have no way of knowing how popular a certain item will be until release so preplanning a release can be difficult. Here’s the solution Mr. Fielding. Treat every limited edition item as being so popular you expect the worse. Allow only one of each item per purchaser, RSP etc.. Do something. Then when interest fades or turns out slower then expected, open up the release to allow multiple purchases by a single person.

    The rule of thumb here is to under promise and over deliver. Thats exactly what Apple does. Disney seems to be in the state of doing the opposite by over promising then under delivering. You want to set yourself up for success, not disappointment.

  2. David says:

    Not quite the same, but it reminds me of the WDW 40th merchandise. I tried to buy some as soon as the park opened only to find empty shelves.

    I was able to find a lot of the items on eBay the next day for several times the original price.

  3. Mrs Compton says:

    And they do it over and over and over. D23 was a freaking nightmare. Maiden Voyage of the Dream a nightmare as well. It’s not their first rodeo but they sure act like it each and every time and you know who benefits? The re-sellers. Your common ordinary fan can’t get the cool stuff. So guess what? I’m not playing the game any more. I refuse to spend my entire day waiting in a line to BUY something and then find it’s gone when I get there. I don’t need this stuff that bad. It’s a want, not a need.

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  6. And it’s not only the Disney Store online that has a knack for screwing up merchandise releases. Witness the 40th Anniversary merchandise at WDW on October 1. There were thousands of people waiting in an enormous line to buy stuff, and somehow Disney figured out how to make them wait even longer.

    They gave out wristbands and assigned each wristband a timeslot. A – 9-9:30. B – 9:30-10. C – 10-11. D – 11-12. E – 12 – 1. So if you had an E, you couldn’t come back to buy stuff till noon. So after all the D wristbands bought their stuff at 11am, and got finished by 11:20, the cashiers sat idle until noon, when the E’s were let in. They couldn’t let the E’s in sooner, in case there were D’s still out there that didn’t show up until 11:45.

    This methodology meant that they didn’t open up the sales to the general public until after all the timeslots had passed. So if you didn’t have a wristband, you had to wait in line all morning, and then finally at 1:00 pm the line started moving.

    And they screwed up the wristband distribution too. A huge line formed at 5am. They started handing out wristbands at around 7. But instead of going down the line and giving them out in the order in which people arrived, they decided to make us go through the security checkpoint first. And not in any sort of orderly fashion. So people who didn’t have bags breezed by those of us who did, even though they arrived much later.

    It’s not like Disneyland doesn’t do this all the time. Where’s Meg Crofton? Shouldn’t she be bringing good ideas from Disneyland to WDW, and vice versa?

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  8. Marsha says:

    This sort of thing happened on the first DCL Panama Canal Cruise, people from the DIS boards were sleeping in the hallways so they could snap up all the pins as soon as they were released. And T Shirts, one person bought EVERY one of them, at once. ,On the return cruise, we did pin reservations. I have seen the unwashed masses racing through DCA to get limited release pins, and buying as many as allowed, with 6 or 8 kids in tow, buying the same amount. On the Dream Inaugural, they tried to limit things, with little success. Disney just doesn’t get it, they do this same thing over and over and over, yet each time they expect a different result. The ebayers are never going to stop, and unless and until Disney figures it out, they will continue to have the issues.

  9. Marsha says:

    ANd PS< if I had been trying to get any or all of these rather unattractive dolls, and did not, the 25% off code would not make me happy at all.

  10. Bridget DeFort says:

    I don’t understand how a company this size allows this to happen. They have sold limited edition items before, how come they didn’t learn from those items? I’m sorry but they had to have some idea how popular these dolls were going to be.

    As a avid Disney fan I was so disappointed. I had my doll in my shopping cart, all information entered and was just waiting for my confirmation number & receipt when site crashed. I couldn’t get back on, but than was reading on Twitter & Facebook that dolls were selling out. I read alot of people had same issues. I wasn’t even buying all of them I just wanted one for my daughter.

    While it’s nice and generous for the “discount for our difficulties”, this could have been avoided with better planning on the release and sales of these dolls.

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