This week the high-end department store provided another digital learning moment. The company's offered of an $85 stone wrapped in a leather pouch. The item sold out but was mocked across social media and the store's product review section. If the uproar over Nordstrom selling $85 and $65 rocks (the later is still available at select stores) seems like a natural opportunity for jeering, maybe it is. Could scorn have been avoided with some broader focus group testing, or consideration of timing ; it being the Holiday season when many struggles with basic needs? Perhaps.
If your organization has a digital presence, you should be aware of and keep a balance between risk and opportunity. I don't work with Nordstrom, nor do I have visibility into their digital operations. I don't know if the department store has a policy on comment moderation or if that policy needs to be improved. I do know that Nordstrom managed to get existing and new audiences discussing a luxury product. That product completely sold out. The communications effort was free and generated much web traffic.
So in my book, it was a genius marketing effort; intentional or not; that paid off, without immediate and evident risk to the organization. And this is an effort that should be managed or quashed by digital policy.