Friday, December 28, 2012

When Promotions Go Wrong...

So, last week, Instead SoftCup ran a promotion where they were giving away free Softcup 2 packs to anyone who wanted to try their product. Now, in retrospect, I'm betting they never thought that a menstrual cup would be such a popular item for a free sample (their facebook free sample ran out as well and now they're giving out a $1/off coupon) -- or that word of mouth would happen so fast.

However, instead of honoring their agreement when the demand went higher than they'd ever expected to supply, they canceled everyone's orders. I was going to post a review, but instead, now I have nothing but a rant. The e-mail they sent out reads:

"This message is to notify you that your order #114166 from Softcup has been canceled for the following reason: Misuse."

Um, okay. So, instead of sending out an apology--you know, "We screwed up, sorry!"--they sent out this comment on the cancellation receipts. Some of the earlier cancellations were given the comment that the promotion was meant to be a buy one, get one free deal. Looking at my cart, I see that I have that option as well now (which wasn't included in my e-mail).

Changing the coupon was one thing--that was rude, but completely understandable. However, for those of us like myself who only got the "misuse" e-mail, it was uncool business practices. If I hadn't had friends who also tried to use the coupon, I wouldn't have known why I had received such an e-mail.

Here's a tip, Instead: Don't insult potential customers. I've wanted to try a menstrual cup for a while, but have been very dubious as to whether they would work for me or not. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Putting down the equivalent to what I pay for pads every year for one product that I might hate and can't return just does not strike my fancy.

I think we would have all understood an accident. Their site even put out an apology--it would have been nice if they had sent a link to all of the people who wanted to try it. I might still try them in the future, but I want to make a suggestion to small companies for the future:

When making a free coupon, make certain to add "Free to the first [feasible number] customers to use the coupon code." And if you mess up? Instead of reason "misuse" -- how about reason "We screwed up and we're sorry!"

Just a thought. In the meantime, you can still try a sample pack for $2.50 and free shipping. That seems like a fair deal, if you're still looking to try out a disposable menstrual cup.