Online retailer SurfStitch apologised to customers through email when its website crashed yesterday, offering up a discount voucher to say sorry.
SurfStitch has used an innovative email marketing campaign in answer to a website system malfunction yesterday.
The website experienced high traffic yesterday in anticipation of its 300 Brands sale, causing a server meltdown. Over 500,000 people visited the website in the first 10 minutes of the sale.
In response, SurfStitch sent out an electronic direct mail (EDM) to its customer database with the subject heading “Friday 13th came early for us….”
The email detailed the online debacle, and offered customers an extra 20 percent off SORRY voucher in apology. Every order today also received a free gift.
“Yesterday, we messed up. In our excitement of wanting to celebrate our achievement of 300 brands, and offer our customers a huge thank you discount, our site was overwhelmed with traffic,” the email read.
“We had over 500,000 people on our site in the first 10 minutes which resulted in our servers being unable to take the traffic load. Some servers were so stressed that they packed their bags and went home for the evening.
“We have updated our network with increased capacity and will be investing further in the coming weeks to ensure this disruption doesn’t happen again to you, our valued customers.
“Again please accept our sincere apologies, and the team at SurfStitch hope we can celebrate further milestone achievements with you guys in less eventful circumstances in the future.”
This is an example of how businesses can use marketing to their own advantage in an unsavoury situation. Firstly, by protecting the brand reputation online and responding to a negative situation before there is a chance of a viral attack from customers through social media, and secondly, by creating another revenue stream with the use of discount vouchers.