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Apr 22, 2015
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Target's Lilly Pulitzer collection sells out within hours, crashes website

Published
Apr 22, 2015

Many eager shoppers that could not wait to get their hands on Target's Lilly Pulitzer collaboration collection were left empty-handed after its launch.

The collection was not only sold out within hours of its launch, but the Target website crashed early Sunday morning. At about 1:59 a.m. EST, the company’s Twitter account announced that its website was "updating and will be shoppable soon." The company followed with an announcement at 6:52 a.m. that its website was up and running, but by then most of the collection was sold out. Shoppers shared their disappointment via social media.

The collection generated much excitement since the announcement of its launch in January. Target released an app to promote the collection earlier this month, and New York City shoppers were given the opportunity to shop the collection before its nationwide release at the "Lilly Resort" pop-up in Bryant Park. Customers lined up as early as 5am for the opening, which was at 8am
 
In a statement, Target said that heavy traffic was the reason for the website’s slowness. "We realize there is an extreme amount of excitement around this collaboration, and we apologize for any disappointment this may have caused."

The website snafu is reminiscent of the launch of the company’s collection with Missoni in 2011. The heavy traffic slowed the site considerably for most of the day much to the dismay of customers.
 
This issue often arises at the debut of limited release collections. Streetwear brand Supreme is known for its exclusive collaborations that are very difficult to buy. At the brand’s Lafayette store in SoHo, lines form as early as the night before when exclusive merchandise is to be released. Online shoppers typically have less luck at buying merchandise due to site crashes. Those that are lucky enough to buy the highly sought-after items are known to resell their purchases on eBay and fashion forums.
 
H&M also experienced a website crash after the release of its collaboration collection with Alexander Wang late last year. The company’s collaboration with Versace also crashed the website and was reported to have sold out within 30 minutes at select locations.
 
Online sneaker shoppers experience slow websites due to heavy traffic on the release day of coveted Air Jordan re-releases. To combat this, shoppers use shopping bots—a software cord that acts as a real person—to shop with them, or at times for them, to increase their chances of securing purchases.
 
Nike has come up with ways to combat bots. On Sunday, February 9th, 2014, the athletic company suddenly released the highly sought after "Red October" Nike Air Yeezy II sneaker, which sold out in 10 minutes. Due to the spontaneity, Nike was able to avoid customary release hurdles like campouts, price markups and a site crash.
 
When limited release collections sell out within minutes the demand for the product and the brand increase. Shoppers become willing to spend more on the things that they were unable to buy at the original retail price and find themselves lining up for the next collaboration.
 
Most of the Target, Lilly Pulitzer collection is being resold on eBay with just over 31,000 auction search results. Target spokesperson Joshua Thomas confirmed that "The collection is limited-edition and available only while supplies last."

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