I also have had the opportunity to collaborate with other marketers at agencies and client accounts to understand the elements of a great digital experience.
So I was surprised and annoyed to be shop-blocked when I attempted to browse on dillards.com. I clicked to get detail on a pair of pants and BAM! the landing page above appeared.
"DON'T lose your place in line!
DON'T close your browser.
Stay on this page and you can start shopping as
soon as other customers ahead of you check out.
Thank you for your patience."
OK. First of all - on what planet is a three line headline of DON'T statements considered a good idea? I don't know about you, by my response to being scolded by my browser is: you are NOT the boss of me!
Second - am I to understand that the site was FULL? That Dillard's needed to install a red velvet rope and a bouncer outside their website because so many many shoppers are clamoring to get in?
Third - and this is a big one - I was not trying to checkout, I was trying to BROWSE. I can *maybe* (big maybe) see the need to slow the queue to actual checkout, but just to view a page? The mind boggles.
I closed the browser after waiting 3 minutes -- yes, even with 3 big DON'T commands I was able to find the strength to close it. Curious, I went back 4-5 hours later - same landing page.
Now I think it's pretty clear this approach is about as far from a best practice as one can get. Yet, I also think it's an example of a kind of "solution" many of us have inadvertently attempted -- a failed solution that happens when you solve the wrong problem.
I'm guessing that Dillard's had an issue with site response time or felt abandoned carts were caused by delays... and they decided to "fix" it by reducing the number of shoppers at any given moment. This might look good on paper. By keeping me and others wanting to shop "outside" their site, response metrics probably improved. But that is the equivalent of disconnecting callers to reduce hold time in a call center.
They are solving the wrong problem.
So Dillard's lost my transaction this time. But I think there is a broader lesson: make sure we are solving the right problem. Encourage our teams to challenge the basic premise of a solution before we run too far down the wrong path and DON'T look back.