We used Constant Contact software to design an online store for a 12 Day holiday event. We warned tech support that we expected a high level of volume on the first days of the sale and were assured your servers could handle it. In fact, the high volume could not be handled by your server, and the program failed from the first day. It was a 12-day nightmare! The "tracking" of stock failed; customers were not able to move to check out during high volume periods, and therefore, we oversold on many items. We had to refund many customers and lose all those processing fees! It was a mess! We spoke numerous times with your tech support who acknowledged the problem. In the end we were told "We can see the program failed, and we don't know why!" To be told that and then not offered a refund or a credit on our subscription is unacceptable!
I would like to know what is the problem and how to avoid it. What is high volume (how determined), can we preemptively be warned when "program fails" and product overselling (huge concern for us as every item is unique, so quantity 1) and can this setup be trusted?
We had approximately 300 sales in the first day--though some of these were "carts" that never checked out. That was part of the problem too. We had a few really popular items, that always sell out when we have our in-person event. The "traffic" for the first 2 hours was so great, that it seemed to cause glitches in the software. Constant Contact claimed they had never experienced this before.
I would estimate in the first hour, there was a sale processed every 20 seconds. Many had trouble checking out so left the items in their cart, hoping to return later to check out. However, after 30 minutes, the cart automatically empties.
When an item sells out, you receive an email notifying you. However, these emails are sent before the purchase has actually been made (once an item moves from the cart to the start of the checkout process). However, if someone abandons their cart, the item that you received an “out of stock” email about goes back in stock and so at times, we received multiple emails saying the same item was out of stock—which was confusing.
In the case of our most popular item in the store, we received many emails saying it was out of stock. When we checked the back end of our store, it showed we had 42 left in stock, and so we kept selling. Then after receiving more out of stock emails, we’d check again on the back end and see that the stock was HIGHER than it was a few hours ago! The stock tracking is simply not reliable. When we contacted customer support the first time about the fluctuation in quantity, they attributed it to items going in and out of people's carts and assured us everything was "working as intended." This was an over hour-long call with customer support. The next morning, however, we reviewed order receipts for another item and discovered that we oversold on that item. At this point we panicked and shut off sales on our most popular item, as once again, the stock quantity had gone up. This prompted us to start manually counting the number of sales on several items to compare with the number of items we originally had in stock.
Long story short, the stock tracking can not be trusted. We oversold on numerous items.
Appreciate the very detailed response. Going to double check our inventory.
Most of our items our quantity 1, all have tracking on. Our out of stock emails have been confusing.
Hang in there!
Good luck with everything, Shelley! I hope you have better luck than we did.
Hi @ASCJ I apologize for not only the delay in our response but also the delay in our response. With that said, I have spoken with our Builder Support directly who has expressed we have not seen cases where shoppers were unable to move to checking out when a website was receiving a high volume of visitors. Are you still having this experience?
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