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Tale of Two Cyber Mondays: JC Penney Struggles, Levi's Thrives

  |  November 29, 2010   |  Comments

Facebook was a sounding board for Cyber Monday shopping experiences; JC Penney fielded complaints all day about its slow site.

jcpIf JC Penney's Facebook page is any indication, the retailer's Cyber Monday sale has not gone as planned. The page administrator for the Plano, TX-based clothier has fielded comments all day from angry consumers who apparently could not place their JCPennney.com orders due to technical difficulties.

The following examples of unhappy shoppers' Facebook.com/JCPenney posts appeared before 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time:

"Just have to chime in that I too have been trying to place an order ALL day and I keep getting errors. I am officially giving up now. I guess I didn't really need to spend that $200 anyway, lol."

"tried this site countless times. wouldnt work i tried ALL wknd. Went to SEARS spent all of 20 minutes there. And got all my shopping done."

"I am so annoyed with this site. I finally got my order placed and it went in twice. They said I couldn't cancel it so I have to wait till I get it and then call them to send me a return label. This was not worth it and I wish I had just ordered someplace else...."

"Gee Thanks JC Penny for extending the black Friday sale because of all the problems with the site that day! Unfortunately you forgot to mention it would be the same exact annoying problems again today! No thanks! My time is valuable."

jcp23The retailer received some nice comments as well, but these were few and far between compared to gripes about its website. Here are two examples: "I had no problem! Thanks JCP for the free shipping;" "just placed my order = ) very happy with JC Penney.com."

To JC Penney's credit, its Facebook page administrator has persistently sought to individually help complainers by pointing them to the brand's customer call center. One post read: "We're sorry if you are experiencing site slowness. If you would like to call our customer service number at 1-800-322-1189, we will be happy to help you place your order. We will honor Cyber Monday deals plus free shipping on orders $25 or more through Tuesday November 30th. Thanks for your patience."

Spokesperson Kate Coultas admitted heavy traffic had hurt the site's performance and repeated that deals would be extended to Tuesday. Asked whether the same issues occurred on Black Friday, she said JCP.com didn't incur an outage but was slowed by a 500 percent increase in traffic compared to the same day in 2009.

"Last Friday, our call center team helped assist our online customers by taking their orders over the phone - all Black Friday pricing was honored," she said.

Facebook Users Laud Levi's 4-Hour Sale

Meanwhile, Levi's Cyber Monday sale ran from Noon to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and appeared to put shoppers in a much more festive mood on Facebook. Customers took advantage of a 40 percent discount offer with free shipping.

The deal was pushed through various online channels, according to Megan O'Connor, director of digital and social marketing for the San Francisco-based brand. "We are using all digital platforms to amplify our sales message: Facebook media and newsfeed, Twitter, Levi.com, emails, search, and banners," she said.

To juxtapose JC Penney's social media reality, here are some of the posts that appeared on Levi's Facebook page:

"Thanks! I just ordered 5 pair and saved $77.50 with your cyber code and free shipping! Woo hoo!"

"LOVE the Curve jeans...thanks for making my shopping for a new pair easy!"

"i just saved over 90.00 dollars i love cyber monday woohooo"

"yey...got mine...24 bucks! Kohols was on sale for 32.99 -15%...still saved 4 bucks over Kohols sale...woo hoo"

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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