Target Shoppers Resort to Unusual Methods for Jason Wu

Jason Wu for Target created another online buying frenzy.Jason Wu for Target created another online buying frenzy.Jason Wu for Target launched late Saturday night and quickly sold out. Although the collection didn't cause quite the same frenzy as last fall's Missoni collaboration, frustrated consumers have gotten very creative in tracking down all their desired items.

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Target has a strong social media presence, and the folks who run their Facebook and Twitter accounts were clearly prepared to do damage control on yet another hyped designer launch. Shoppers had one main concern: what time would the collection be available online? Just like with the Missoni launch, Target gave a vague response of "early morning," perhaps to avoid another site crash. Other customers asked about store availability and sizing information. Soon Twitter was crashing and Target searches were yielding that all-too-familiar "Oops" message. Not a good sign.

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The Jason Wu cat print tote was one of the first items to sell out.The Jason Wu cat print tote was one of the first items to sell out.When the clock struck midnight EST, a few items were available online. @TargetStyle tweeted that the Milu cat print tote and matching scarf were available as were three dresses. But no one could find them. Target.com's search engine was not pulling up results for "Jason Wu" and when you clicked on the Jason Wu collection icon on the main page it just took you to a preview of the items. If you went to the women's dresses section you could see the Jason Wu styles. But rather than clicking on each item to purchase, you had to click on a tiny red plus sign to add to your cart-a new site component that confused even the most well-versed Target shoppers. The site seemed to have other issues as well. For one, the Jason Wu items were only visible to many people on Google Chrome, not Firefox or Safari browsers. Sometimes items were added to the cart only to disappear. Some shoppers had their orders canceled within minutes.

Hoards of consumers continued to swarm Facebook and Twitter until the Target reps couldn't keep up with their comments and complaints. Why couldn't they find the items they were willing to pay good money for during a recession? Why did Target trickle out the items forcing customers to place multiple orders that required many shipping fees? People were furious. You don't get between a lady and her Jason Wu! But then a shift happened. Shoppers began helping each other, scouring Target.com for items and sharing links via Target's social media outlets. Women were positively giddy that they outsmarted Target and were eager to help others score their Jason Wu items of choice. "The white dress is online! Click here!" a shopper wrote on Facebook. And while many consumers still had trouble, the sense of community was evident by scores of "thank yous" and happy reports of confirmed orders.

This white, flared Jason Wu dress was a favorite amongst online shoppers.This white, flared Jason Wu dress was a favorite amongst online shoppers.In the end the bad web experience was magnified with very limited merchandise up for grabs. Shortly after the midnight release, shoppers complained that sizes were already gone. Just hours later, items like the $19 cat print scarf were gone altogether. If you went to bed Saturday with hopes that "early morning" meant 8 a.m. you'd wake up to find only a handful of items left in size XL. In store was just as bad. Only select Target boutiques were stocked, and many with limited items and sizes. One shopper complained on Facebook that she got up early to be first in line, and only found nine Jason Wu items on the racks. Many stores imposed no shopping limits and some shoppers reported that men arrived early and filled up their carts with the intentions of reselling all the goods on eBay. Time for more damage control!

Here are some statements from Target Style's Facebook page:

-"About 1,200 stores had Jason Wu for Target items today. Stores will not be replenishing supplies. Apologies."
-"While we won't be restocking online today, please continue to watch Target Style on Facebook and Twitter for inventory updates."
-"We do anticipate additional items to become available within the next few weeks. Please watch Target.com for those items or Target Style Facebook and Twitter for updates."
-"Feel free to reach out if your order hasn't shipped by end of day Wednesday."

Target's social media people tried their darnedest to wrangle frustrated shoppers and maintain order. But finally shoppers took matters into their own hands, starting a Facebook group called Jason Wu for Target :: Swap, Sell & Buy." The group currently has 417 members attempting to locate the Jason Wu items they want, swap items for different sizes, and even take orders for strangers from their local store. Most of them would do anything but resort to buying from the greedy vultures on eBay. Speaking of, by noon on Sunday there were 3,200 Jason Wu for Target items listed on the auction site. 24 hours after the initial online launch there were over 12,000 items on eBay, some already having sold for three to eight times their retail value.

On a positive note, we placed two online orders late Saturday night and both were confirmed as shipped in their entirety today. So while merchandise was limited, shoppers will not likely be waiting several months for their orders or have many items canceled. And in addition to some extra items coming back on Target.com later this week, we're sure returns will help replenish some stock online and in stores. Can't wait till then? Avoid Target and eBay and head over the ultra-inviting Facebook swap page. At this point it's clear Jason Wu for Target shoppers are the most helpful of all.

Related links:
Jason Wu for Target Already on eBay
Jason Wu for Target: New Collection Features Handbags and Scarves (PICS)

Jason Wu for Target coming in early 2012
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