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Lessons Learned from Target's Missoni Fiasco

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 04, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Economics is all about supply and demand. But what happens when demand far outstrips supply? Basically, you'll be hearing from lots of angry customers. This is a lesson learned from Target's Missoni fiasco.

A few weeks ago, excited budget fashionistas lined up outside Target stores nationwide when the Italian design house launched its discount line.

Digital shoppers also rushed the retailer full force via its website, causing site outages. It seems Target was unprepared for to handle the massive interest in the new line. A rash of bad publicity and complaints hit the airwaves.

What are some takeaway lessons that small businesses can glean from Target's blunder?

Prepare for possible site downtime.

Unfortunately, your website's bandwidth is not unlimited. This is something that many of Target's customers discovered when they tried - and failed - to get on to purchase Missoni gear. Small businesses likely won't be receiving the same amount of traffic that Target gets, but they should be prepared to handle a normal amount of traffic.

Evaluate your business' bandwidth needs and prepare your website accordingly.

Keep customers informed.

Many Target customers also became irate when Target started canceling their Missoni orders. Occasionally, customers with canceled orders would also find their credit cards charged. Make sure you keep your customers informed of the refund process - nobody wants to be left in the dark when their money is at stake.

Ensure your website's inventory and sales functions are working.

One of Target's biggest problems is that it oversold the goods. You never want to tell customers that they can't get an item that they've legitimately ordered. Double check your online store's inventory tracker to make sure it actually works.

So was the fashion line a hit or a miss? Sure, it may have generated some negative publicity. But, Target's Missoni collaboration will soon be followed up with a line by Jason Wu, one of Michelle Obama's go-to designers. It seems clear the retailer still believes that its consumer base will still line up to get some designer duds for less.

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