On Friday night, a pricing mixup caused 6pm.com to lose nearly two million bucks. Around midnight, there was a mistake made in the pricing engine that capped everything on the site at $49.95. This only affected merchandise which appears only on 6pm, and not products that appear also at its sister site, Zappos.
On 6pm, you’ll find brand-name products at deep discounts. For instance, there was a $1400.00 GPS system available during the snafu for only $49.95 during the six hours of the pricing problem. The issue was discovered – and corrected – by 6am PST that morning. The company states that it will honor all purchases made during that time at the prices which were advertised. The cost of the messup for them is estimated at $1.6 million.
Sister site Zappos uses customer service as their key component of sales. It has paid off well, as it’s considered to be the biggest online shoe store on the Internet with over a billion dollars’ worth of sales in the past year. It was acquired by Amazon last year. They claim a large percentage of their sales come from repeat customers who are happy with the company and the way they are treated.
Several blogs are hinting that the price snafu could be some type of odd viral marketing campaign. I can’t believe that any company would willingly eat nearly two million dollars in lost sales for the sake of marketing. Sure… cut your prices. That’s a great way to make sales. But cost yourselves (and your investors) a chunk of change that large on purpose and you’ll likely find yourself out of business.
Did you manage to get some awesome buys over at 6pm on Friday morning? If so, share your steals and deals with us.