Target’s Response to #LillyForTarget Twitter Firestorm Not on Target

The launch of an affordable clothing line from designer Lilly Pulitzer by Target this past weekend caused a frenzy at stores and on Twitter.

LillyForTargetThe launch of an affordable clothing line from designer Lilly Pulitzer by Target this past weekend caused a frenzy at stores and on Twitter.

Real-time customer-engagement, social-media-monitoring and analytics platform Engagor analyzed how the retail giant dealt with an avalanche of complaints on Twitter over stores running out of Lilly for Target merchandise, and founder and CEO Folke Lemaitre offered tips on what should change the next time around.

Lemaitre said Engagor found that while some tweets were replied to within 45 minutes, the response time was a few hours in most cases, which “only leaves customers frustrated when they are trying to purchase a product they are passionate about.” Also, due to the high volume of #LillyForTarget tweets, most of Target’s responses were “very generic.” He added:

In this particular case, many customers were angry at Target for not being able to handle the excessive lines at the stores, as well as the customers desperately waiting online to purchase items. The collection launch turned into a flash sale-event, causing an outburst of questions on social media. Target was able to handle incoming messages to a certain extent, but it was unable to adequately follow up on conversations once consumers started ranting about their complaints.

Although it may have anticipated the success of the limited clothing edition, and that it would likely result in a mass amount of people turning to social media to talk to the brand, Target wasn’t fully prepared for this large of a social media outburst or the different types of questions customers were asking. Therefore, the brand was unable to handle the high volume of incoming social messages effectively.

Lemaitre also offered some takeaways for similar high-profile launches by retailers:

  • Follow up on new and existing conversations: Customers want their voice to be heard.
  • Create a social media crisis plan for different scenarios (e.g., Target’s website went down for a while) to be able to reply appropriately.
  • Train employees and social media teams to respond in a friendly, personal way. Target was far too distant when replying and didn’t show authentic concern for customers.
  • Use more powerful, targeted software, like Engagor, to keep a close eye on social response time and help divide the workload.

Readers: Were you part of the #LillyForTarget firestorm on Twitter?