What would you do if your brand’s retail website suddenly offered up pricey consumer goods for a fraction of their value? Would you honor the prices as they were shown?
That’s exactly what happened to Walmart this week. Items like a 24-inch high-definition Viewsonic computer monitor and an InFocus IN2124 Projector and were listed at the bargain price of $8.85, reports ABC News.
Orders placed during the glitch were being reviewed, and many were being canceled and refunds issued, along with a $10 e-gift card to put toward future online purchases. The company did not say whether or not any orders would be honored at the $8.85 price.
We ran an opinion piece earlier this week from Chris Langway vice president, e-commerce business strategist, Optaros, on how the IT department has become a crucial part of any e-commerce operation:
To thrive in today’s always-on, always-with-you digital environment and to stay one step ahead of your traditional competitors and slick new start-ups, companies need to be more nimble and responsive.
Walmart’s snafu demonstrates with chilling clarity just how much is at stake when it comes customer-facing websites.
Walmart was able to respond nimbly, indicating that the company does, indeed, have a solid grasp on integration between internal departments. A technical problem like skewed pricing can cost more than just dollars and cents. Here, a giant brand is in the position of either taking a big hit from a profit perspective—or risking an alienated customer base.
With a more siloed organization, what happened to WalMart could have easily been a disaster. What happens when IT can’t respond quickly? How many thousands of dollars could have been lost?
There are two big questions in play here: How do you manage potentially disastrous public-relations issues like accidental bargain-basement prices, and how do you maintain an organizational structure that allows for quick resolution to technical issues like this one?