Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yeah, I’ll Take a Free Panini!

It’s a new year and your back to counting calories and packing your lunch. Well, your favorite eateries are on to your intention to eat smarter. To get you back, they’re launching resolution-approved “healthy alternatives.”

A “Power Panini,” eh? Ok, I’ll try it!
If only I could register….

Originally shared with Corner Bakery’s eCafé members only, the offer went viral. (Get your free sandwich here. Hurry, the offer expires at the end of January). And so, the first few hours of the promotion were plagued with site outages, user frustration and abandonment.

I’m reminded on a larger scale of KFC’s inability to meet demand back in 2009 when offered coupons for a new, healthier variety of grilled chicken. While Corner Bakery built and iron-clad registration process to keep back-end redemption management in check, they neglected to adequately plan for registration on the front-end.

Back-End / Redemption Management:

Success! The promo asks participants to select a specific store, date, and hour for redemption. All decision points possess a decreasing balance of free product available. Emailed coupons are only considered valid during the selected one-hour window of time; thereby ensuring stores the ability to juggle promo redemption alongside regular foot traffic.
Front-End / Promo Distribution:

Fail! In trying to better handle redemption, Corner Bakery had to develop a multi-step and somewhat cumbersome registration process. That, coupled with under-estimated popularity and response, led to site crashes and slow and spotty availability.

(I finally did get my coupon).
Beware of Social-Share!

The important thing to remember is that you can’t let historic email response rates be your guide. When you encourage your target market to share a promotion on Facebook and Twitter; you have to plan for exponential response. It’s a great way to grow your digital marketing list and incremental sales, but can quickly turn south if you severely underestimate anticipated response and neglect to commit adequate server bandwidth.

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