Hey everyone – As many of you may know (and I’m sure a lot of you do not), 6pm.com is our sister site. 6pm.com is where brandaholics go for their guilt free daily fix of the brands they crave. Every day, the site highlights discounts on products ranging up to 70% off. Well, this morning, we made a big mistake in our pricing engine that capped everything on the site at $49.95. The mistake started at midnight and went until around 6:00am pst. When we figured out the mistake was happening, we had to shut down the site for a bit until we got the pricing problem fixed.
While we’re sure this was a great deal for customers, it was inadvertent, and we took a big loss (over $1.6 million - ouch) selling so many items so far under cost. However, it was our mistake. We will be honoring all purchases that took place on 6pm.com during our mess up. We apologize to anyone that was confused and/or frustrated during out little hiccup and thank you all for being such great customers. We hope you continue to Shop. Save. Smile. at 6pm.com.
Director of Brand Marketing & Business Development
Zappos Development, Inc.
Update: Upon further investigation and clarification with our merchandising team, I realized that the statement about "capping everything on the site at $49.95" was not 100% accurate. There are some items that are sold on both 6pm.com and Zappos.com, and those items were not affected by the pricing mistake. The pricing mistake applied to items sold on 6pm.com but not Zappos.com (the vast majority of inventory available on 6pm.com). The actual dollar figure of our loss is accurate - over $1.6 million. Let's just say this was not a boring weekend for us.
Update 2: We've received a number of inquiries asking for more details as to what happened, so here are more details from Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos.com, Inc.):
We have a pricing engine that runs and sets prices according to the rules it is given by business owners. Unfortunately, the way to input new rules into the current version of our pricing engine requires near-programmer skills to manipulate, and a few symbols were missed in the coding of a new rule, which resulted in items that were sold exclusively on 6pm.com to have a maximum price of $49.95. (Items that are sold on both 6pm.com and Zappos.com were not affected.)
We already had planned on improving our internal pricing engine so that it will have a much easier-to-use interface for our business owners. We are also planning on adding additional checks and balances to hopefully prevent this type of thing from happening again.
To those of you asking if anybody was fired, the answer is no, nobody was fired - this was a learning experience for all of us. Even though our terms and conditions state that we do not need to fulfill orders that are placed due to pricing mistakes, and even though this mistake cost us over
$1.6 million, we felt that the right thing to do for our customers was to eat the loss and fulfill all the orders that had been placed before we discovered the problem.
PS: To put an end to any further speculation about my tweet (
http://twitter.com/zappos/status/14576863056 ), I will also confirm that I did not, in fact, eat any ice cream on Sunday night.